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May Day - A Celebration of Our Strength

Written By Ronnie Free

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Every year on May 1st the world’s workers celebrate Labor Day or International Worker’s day. Large marches and festivals take place on every continent to celebrate our strength and potential to create a world without bosses or exploitation. 

The origins of May Day stem from the May 1st, 1886 strike of over 200,000 workers in the US. The Haymarket Affair, a large demonstration in Chicago on May 4th protesting for an 8 hour work day as opposed to 12 or 14 hour days that were common and enforced in the factories and warehouses of North America. This demonstration was the latest of a surge of militant labor organizing led by communists and anarchists all over the world that threatened the capitalists nearly complete stranglehold on the entire waking hours of the propertyless class. The police attacked these strike lines and demonstrations viciously and in Chicago the workers fought back. A bomb came out of the crowd and exploded among the police killing seven of the capitalist’s private army. Eight anarchist organizers were charged and convicted despite very little evidence of being present and no evidence at who had thrown the bomb. Seven were sentenced to death and one to 15 years. Four were executed, two commuted to life in prison, and one defendant took his life before the state could. We remember and honor them as the Haymarket Martyrs. 

Soon after May 1st was chosen internationally as a day of strikes, demonstrations, sabotages, and other events to remember the sacrifices that won our scarce concessions and our ability to fight the bosses until we secure victory. There are celebrations in most cities across all the continents from South America to Eastern Europe. In the US the holiday called Labor Day was moved to September to deliberately sever the labor movement from its radical roots, but this has not prevented actions and celebrations taking place in May all over the US. 

The Haymarket Martyrs were murdered by the state and we honor them for their sacrifice. But we must never forget their lessons from when they were alive; they were but a few vocal organizers putting a voice to the struggle of millions who were losing theirs lives in the factories and organized together to make a better world for all of us. That is the tradition of May Day we must expand upon every day until victory. 


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