May Day

As I have stated with this post before, I am going to celebrate this day with yet a 6th reading of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. This might be the day American businesses stop exploiting the labor of Mexican Americans — legal or not. I guess I can use this day to protest the state of Arizona. Oh, I am already doing that. Hey, labor is labor, as long as you are not asking this student [here]. I am really spending today in Atlanta, Georgia working with the European History committee. So, I might read the short excerpt on the manifesto I ask my AP European History students to read.

According to Democratic Socialist of America (DSA):

May, 1886: several hundred thousand American workers of the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and socialist and anarchist groups all demonstrated for the Eight Hour Day. It was the center of a world-wide movement for shorter working hours. Even the song lyrics of the American movement, “Eight hours for work/eight hours for sleep/eight hours for what we will,” argued for a “natural” pace of life in tune with the seasons, rather than the long hours and miserable conditions imposed by the capitalists.

The catastrophe of the day, a police riot in Chicago against anarchists and a subsequent murderous frame-up of their leaders for bomb-throwing, could not entirely overshadow the excitement of the moment. Working people had spoken. For many anarchists but not only for them, the day also retained the special significance of martyrdom, the occasion to mourn the great heroes of Haymarket who had died from the hangman, unrepentant in their revolutionary fervor. This is a major topic I teach in my U.S. History course.


One thought on “May Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s