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Monday, April 29, 2013

May 1st—International Labor Day celebrated in Wichita

“Demand A Living Wage”—will be the theme of this year’s May Day theme, at the Peace and Social Justice Center, here in Wichita. May 1st is known throughout the world as an international workers holiday.
In Wichita, members of the Peace and Social Justice Center and the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America are sponsoring this event, a pot luck at the center, which is being held at 1407 N. Topeka, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm.
May Day started in Chicago IL, here in the USA. We used to see big parades in the Soviet Union on May Day and many people thought the day had something to do with the Russian Revolution.
But it is actually a day celebrating the winning of an eight hour day, from 10 hours. For those of us in the US it is a great time to honor our own labor heroes such as August Spies, one of the four men hanged for giving speeches during the Haymarket rally and riot. Anarchist groups were involved in the early union struggles so it is a holiday for the entire left.
On May 1, 1886, Chicago unionists, reformers, socialists, anarchists, and ordinary workers combined to make the city the center of the national movement for an eight-hour day, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Between April 25 and May 4, workers held meetings and paraded all through the city. On Saturday, May 1st, 35,000 workers walked off their jobs. Eventually police clashed with strikers at least a dozen times over those days. There were at least three shootings.
The date, May 1, was originally chosen as a Labor Day celebration for the hard earn rights labor unions had won. The US government declared a different Labor Day celebration, which today is first Monday in September. To add insult to injury, May Day was declared “Law Day.”
Each year the Wichita Peace and Justice Center and the Democratic Socialist of America celebrate May 1 as international workers day.

The Haymarket Martyrs

MAYDAY — the first of May — is recognized around the world as a day to celebrate international workers’ solidarity. It is often forgotten that this day of commemoration of working class revolutionary awareness originated with the movement for the eight-hour day and the other basic rights of labor that are taken for granted by American workers today — the movement that was centered in Chicago and that reached its peak in 1886.

Anarchists were a major force in this movement, and much of what has been gained by workers worldwide is owed to their struggles and their sacrifices — although their contribution has been all but obliterated from the history books.

For more click here.

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