The Story of Labor Day


Jonah Walters writes.

American workers did contribute at least one lasting legacy to the international movement for working-class liberation — a workers’ holiday, celebrating the ideal of international solidarity, and eagerly anticipating the day when workers might rise together to take control of their own lives and provide for their own well-being.

That holiday is May Day, not Labor Day.

Read More: Labor Day is May 1st | Jacobin

Joe Hill Road Show Chicago Performance

Here’s the full video of the first night of the Joe Hill Roadshow, from the Hideout in Chicago, featuring Bucky Halker, Anne Feeney, Jan Hammarlund, JP Wright and Alexis Buss with emcee Paul Durica. This program was recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Chicago May Day 2015


May Day Celebration – Noon to 1: 30 PM Haymarket Memorial, Corner of DesPlaines & Randolph

May Day 2015 March, Rally, and Noise Demonstration – 2:30 PM Union Park

Illinois Labor History Society Annual Membership Meeting – 5 to 7 PM Chicago Federation of Musicians, 656 Randolph Street, Haymarket Square

The Joe Hill Roadshow – 9 PM Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia Avenue, Chicago

Remembering the Martyrs: A Social and Picnic

Date: May 4, 2014

Time: 10:30am-3:45pm

Location: Forest Home Cemetery, Haymarket Martyr’s Monument

Join the IWW and many other radical, anti-capitalist, and labor organizations at Forest Home Cemetery to eat, drink, talk, and make new friends and connections. This will be a pot-luck style event so please bring food to share. This event is open to all who are interested and is family friendly.

Learn More: May Day Events 2014

May Day Joint Statement

The first of May is a moment for us to remember the Chicago Haymarket Martyrs of 127 years ago. These Chicago anarchists helped to lead the major battle of the day, not only for the 8 Hour Day, but also for social liberation.

Chicago’s Four Star Anarchists and several other allied groups have issued a joint statement titled Remembering the Past, Fighting for Tomorrow. It includes a short history of May Day, an examination of present conditions, a positive vision for our world and a call to action.

I commend it to you as appropriate for this May Day, 2013. Click here to read it.



What is May Day?

On May Day 2012, I’ll be joining in solidarity with workers around the world for “A Day Without the 99%.” My plans are simple: to spend the day in reflection, and perhaps share some appropriate music and movies with my children. I hope that next year I’ll be able to be in the company of Fellow Workers in Chicago for the day, but that’s simply not possible this year.

If, like me, you grew up without knowing the significance of May 1st to the working class, you might find some of these articles of interest as we prepare to celebrate International Workers’ Day 2012.

What is May Day and why is it called International Workers’ Day? [] – May 1st, International Worker’s Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States and Canada. This is despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880’s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day led by immigrant workers.

Building on May Day traditions today. [] – On May 1, workers across the globe will demonstrate, attend meetings and go on strike in celebration of International Workers Day, a working-class holiday with origins in the U.S. more than a century ago. With class inequality reaching new heights and shaping politics in the U.S. and internationally, a new generation is discovering the importance of May Day and embracing its message of militant working-class struggle and international solidarity.

A Short History of International Workers’ Day. [Holt Labor Library] – May 1, 1886, became historic. On that day thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike.

The Haymarket Affair. [Illinois Labor History Society] – No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair.

The McCormick Strike and the Haymarket Tragedy. [The Autobiography of Mother Jones |] – “The police without warning charged down upon the workers, shooting into their midst, clubbing right and left. Many were trampled under horses’ feet. Numbers were shot dead. Skulls were broken. Young men and young girls were clubbed to death.”

Addressing Objections to Occupy May 1st. [] – There have been a number of objections or concerns raised about the May 1st, 2012 general strike. Juan Conantz attempts to briefly address some of the most common ones.