MAY DAY – May 1st – has been celebrated as International Worker’s Day since 1890. The date was chosen by members of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket Affair which occurred in Chicago, United States in 1886: On May 1st 1886 American unions held a nationwide general strike. An estimated 400,000 workers went on strike in Chicago. In the days following the strike, seven anarchists were framed and sentenced to death after a bomb was thrown at the police during a rally called on May 4th in response to an act of police violence following the strike outside the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company on May 3rd that left six workers dead.
For a full history of the Haymarket Affair, the Haymarket Martyrs and the origins of May Day please watch this talk by Bristol Radical History Group from 2012 at Hydra Books.
Across the world yesterday workers took to the streets to celebrate International Worker’s Day (1st May)! We have complied below a incomplete list of actions from around the globe. With this list we hope to showcase the sheer size and diversity of the modern worker’s movements:
K: “Guess what? The south west TUC are actually organising a big event for Mayday this year.”
K: “I bet you can’t guess exactly what that are going to do?”
B: “Oh a challenge huh? Well, they will not do it on May day, it will be on the following Saturday. There will be an A to B march from City Hall at …11.00 am?! It will finish in Castle Park for a Rally at the band stand.”
K: “Ha, yes, exactly that! Also I’ve managed to find out where the next organising meeting for the march is. They’ve invited a few groups along, maybe our invite got lost in the post, lucky we found out about it huh?”
So we decided to pop along to the meeting to see if we could have some say on the plans for May Day. Last year we were involved in a group organising (and encouraging others to organise) a week of action based around Mayday including a march and rally hosted by BADACA. We thought we would see how plans were panning out for this years May Day celebrations, expecting a large public meeting (last year had 30+ people at the ‘first of may group’ meetings) we instead found ourselves in some sort of steering committee, Continue reading