In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:
•Workingmen to Arms!
•War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
•The wage system is the only cause of the World's misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
•One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
•MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner. IWW, The Brief Origins of May Day
day to honor the sacrifices of the laboring classes.
In 1958, despite Joe McCarthy's earlier best efforts, the Cold War Commies and Socialists were still purportedly climbing out from under every rock in every little burg in the US. The VFW saw trouble in those May Day celebrations and foiled those plotters by renaming it "Loyalty Day". Congress made it official and Ike actually signed it into law, but now, apart from a few VFW chapters and a few small towns, Loyalty Day is pretty much forgotten. (Not that loyalty isn't important, mind you. It is. My loyalty to labor knows no bounds.)
But despite their best efforts, May Day demonstrations in America are still going strong. Much of it centers on the controversial Arizona "Show your Papers" law today, as hundreds of thousands in cities and towns all across the country are scheduled to march in solidarity against immigration and worker abuses.
But even as I write this James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family, is leading May Day, a Cry to God for a Nation in Distress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Dobson and others, including Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, are calling it a "day of repentance and remembrance", addressing "The greatest moral crisis since the Civil War", which seems to include abortion, Obamacare, Obama in general, and the scary notion that there are more "Socialists" than Republicans running Congress these days.
The Liberty Council will be there, as well. They wouldn't want to pass up a chance to sell their membership cards:
Oy. . .
May Day means different things to different people. On the islands of Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day, a refreshingly apolitical approach to that first day in May. Here's a little respite from the cares of the day:
So. May our efforts this May Day and every day forward bring peace and equity to those who break their backs struggling to build this nation. Solidarity until the sun ceases to shine or until worker equity is a reality. Whichever comes first.