Why Is May Day Important to You?

14 Dec

Planning for the 2nd annual Richmond May Day Parade is already underway. If you missed the meeting last night, no worries, try and make the next meeting on January 10th at 7pm (after Food Not Bombs) in Studio 3 at Plant Zero on Southside. Or ask Kenneth Yates for more details etc.

I wanted to start thinking about why May Day is important to me, because I have a bad memory and forget details easily. I’m doing some research to remind myself. I would much rather celebrate holidays like May Day than ones like Christmas.

May Day is important to me because it is one of the few radical holidays we have. May Day isn’t about consumerism or candy or any capitalistic shit. It is a valid anti-capitalist type holiday that is still standing for something. I think it is more than important that we remember the struggles of workers, radicals, queers and anarchists. Those are the histories that are swept under the rug. But they are the ones we can learn so much from. I think May Day is important because I think learning from the past is vital. One thing that May Day shows us is that the US Government has never hesitated to persecute people based on their political beliefs. This is something that has happened over and over again, and the Haymarket Affair is just one example of it. If we forget the persecutions of anarchists and communists and queers and feminists etc. then we will likely stray in our strategies and tactics. We can not work WITH a system that does not hesistate to lock up, and even kill us for our beliefs. I do not want to forget that.

A current example of this is the case of the AETA 4, find out more online, or come to the Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the Wingnut on February 20th to donate money to their legal defense fund.

This is from the Wikipedia article on May Day and gives some info about the Haymarket Affair and yet another example of the US Government Persecuting anarchists for their political beliefs.

May Day can refer to various labour celebrations conducted on May 1 that commemorate the fight for the eight hour day. May Day in this regard is called International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day. The idea for a “workers holiday” began in Australia in 1856.[citation needed] With the idea having spread around the world, the choice of May 1st became a commemoration by the Second International for the people involved in the 1886 Haymarket affair.[9]

The Haymarket affair occurred during the course of a three-day general strike in Chicago, Illinois, United States that involved common laborers, artisans, merchants, and immigrants.[10] Following an incident in which police opened fire and killed four strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant, a rally was called for the following day at Haymarket Square. The event remained peaceful, yet towards the end of the rally, as police moved in to disperse the event, an unknown assailant threw a bomb into the crowd of police. The bomb and resulting police riot left at least a dozen people dead, including seven policemen.[11] A sensational show trial ensued in which eight defendants were openly tried for their political beliefs, and not necessarily for any involvement in the bombing.[12] The trial led to the eventual public hanging of four anarchists.[13] The Haymarket incident was a source of outrage from people around the globe. In the following years, memory of the “Haymarket martyrs” was remembered with various May Day job actions and demonstrations.[14]

May Day has become an international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. Although May Day received its inspiration from the United States, the U.S. Congress designated May 1 as Loyalty Day in 1958 due to the day’s perceived appropriation by the Soviet Union.[15] Alternatively, Labor Day traditionally occurs on the first Monday in September in the United States. People often use May Day as a day for political protest, such as the million people who demonstrated against far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, or as a day for protest against government actions, such as rallies in support of undocumented workers across the United States.[16][17][18]

One Response to “Why Is May Day Important to You?”

  1. allenharrelson February 10, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    May Day is a revolutionary celebration, just like the forth of July. The only difference is it’s for workers instead of slaveholders.

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