Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day History Lesson

Immigration Day is a continuation of long standing workers' traditions going back nearly 200 years. The racists and xenophobes of the blogosphere are trying to characterize this mass movement as some sort of corruption of "May Day." I find that ironic considering most of these same folks are fundamentalist Christians - are they calling for a "pure" May Day in the spirit of the pagan Beltane celebration? Interestingly the Catholic church in 1955 gave St. Joseph another holy day on May 1 as the day of "St. Joseph, The Worker." This in direct response to the day being a celebration of the radical left, which the conservatives in the Church clearly see as more of a threat than paganism, again, ironically enough.

In fact, Wikipedia has the true story of May Day, an International Workers' Day which was founded in the United States:
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with May Day) is the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Illinois, and a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. The 1 May date is used because in 1884 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, inspired by labor's 1872 success in Canada, demanded an eight-hour workday in the United States to come in effect as of May 1, 1886. This resulted in a general strike and the riot in Chicago of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. The May Day Riots of 1894 and May Day Riots of 1919 occurred subsequently.


The Red Scare periods [temporarily] ended May Day as a mass holiday in the United States, a phenomenon which can be seen as somewhat ironic given that May Day originated in Chicago. Meanwhile, in countries other than the United States and United Kingdom, resident working classes fought hard to make May Day an official governmentally- sanctioned holiday, efforts which eventually largely succeeded. For this reason, May Day in most of the world today is marked by huge street rallies of workers led by their trade unions and various large socialist and communist parties — a phenomenon not generally seen in the U.S.
Until now!

Appeal: Keep the right wing haters from corrupting the blogosphere with their lies. Copy this post and put it on your blog with the tags, or write your own. Flood the blogosphere with the truth about May Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment