May Day: A day for workers of the world
For some of us May Day (May 1) brings images of young girls dancing around the maypole, or may baskets left on doorsteps. For history and political enthusiasts, May 1 conjures images of the Soviet Union military on parade in Red Square. Since 199...
For some of us May Day (May 1) brings images of young girls dancing around the maypole, or may baskets left on doorsteps.
For history and political enthusiasts, May 1 conjures images of the Soviet Union military on parade in Red Square.
Since 1999 groups protesting globalization and unchecked capitalism have staged demonstrations on May 1 in cities around the world. There immigration labor strikes and protests this past May Day.
In 1889 at a meeting of socialists in Paris (the Second International), an international workers day was first called for. May 1 was chosen to honor the people who were killed, the striking workers, and the anarchists who were sentenced to death for their part in the Haymarket Riots in Chicago in 1886.
In 1919 a series of violent demonstrations occurred throughout Cleveland on May 1. A May Day protest parade of local unionists, socialists, communists, and anarchists had been organized. Parade leaders were each holding a red socialist flag and an American flag. A riot broke out when marchers were challenged to put down their flags. Order was finally restored by mounted police, army trucks, and tanks. Casualties amounted to two people killed, forty injured, and 116 arrested. The city government immediately passed laws to restrict parades and the display of red flags.
Although the connection with May 1 and the labor movement was first made in the United States, other parts of the world recognize May Day as significant day to honor workers. Canada and the United States recognize Labor Day in September.
In this country, the soft side of May Day with maypoles and dancers and baskets filled with flowers and candy continue to be more popular than military parades and protest marches.