The history of May Day

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By Erin

  • In 1866, the Geneva Congress of the First International adopted the eight-hour day stating “As this limitation represents the general demand of the workers of the North-American United States, the Congress transforms this demand into the general platform of the workers of the whole world.”
  • Cities all over the world began planning for demonstrations during the week of May 1, 1886. In Chicago, police killed several workers demonstrating at a rally. On May 4, in Chicago’s Haymarket, anarchists planned a rally in response to the killings. At the rally a bomb killed several demonstrators and police; The anarchists were blamed for the bombing.
  • In 1889, the Second International set aside May 1 as a day to commemorate the Haymarket Bombing, and for workers to organize and fight for the eight-hour day.
  • In 2006, immigrants from Mexico and Latin America revived May Day strikes in the U.S.

This May, workers are calling for another global strike to oppose ICE raids on undocumented migrant workers.


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