I really found it interesting to think about May Day today. I don’t think I have remembered it for years but with the help of the news and Occupy it came back to my mind.
Here on the back street I had a gathering of friends..some old..some new..and one had a birthday today!
I commented that most people don’t really know what May Day represents. Many think it is was a festival with May Poles and May Queens. Of course in the ancient times it was a pagan holiday that actually marked the first day of summer, it was the day half way between seasons…November the other.
For some of us when we were kids all we can picture was the Cold War and Moscow’s May Day parades with tanks and missiles and such.
The history of May Day here in the USA during 1886 was a day for workers to hold gatherings and marches in an attempt to shorten the hours worked to only 8 hours a day but with 10 hours pay. The marches were supported by labor groups across the United States with all the major cities holding meeting and marches. This year of 1886, bought 10,000 people and up together for such marches across the nation... many leaving their jobs to attend.
Though most demonstrations were peaceful, one erupted in violence and became known as the Haymarket Massacre. A peaceful demonstration was infiltrated by a few bent on violence. The anarchists hurled a bomb at the police killing one, police started firing and many policemen were shot...most likely by other policemen. The cause of the violence was a strike earlier that week that had become unruly where police had killed 2 workers….so this bombing was called revenge.
This organized marching and violence started a trend to force business to modify hours and served as a warning to factories that labor wanted change……
Now let’s play it forward 100 years or so …. the reality is…TODAY workers need to band together to force business to give workers 8 hour days 5 day a week jobs....in other words full time jobs!!!
Businesses are hiring part time employees only…this to save on having to provide benefits!!!! Isn’t that really why many costs are going up…people having to work more than one job to make ends meet and yet they have no retirement benefits or healthcare???? Are we kidding ourselves into thinking that people are living off of the system because they are trying to collect some help paying their bills at retirement...if they can retire at all????
Isn’t life funny? Everything seems to go around in a circle…like the Maypole Dance...the only thing that doesn’t go in a circle is the cost of living…that just goes up in a straight line!
Are today’s demonstrations a “mayday” call for help! Oh well...
Happy May Day!