International Workers Day is a National Holiday in 80 Nations, but not here, even though the event that inspired the holiday happened right here in these United States.
I mean, were YOU ever taught about May 1, International Workers Day in your schooling? I learned ALL about the Maypole by age 4, but I am just learning, now, about what International Workers Day is all about. Grover Cleveland moved it to September, and named it “Labor Day”.
Cleveland did not want the citizens commemorating, glorifying or even REMEMBERING the events of May Day, 1886, when a Labor Group (striking for an 8-hour work day) at the Haymarket Square in Chicago led to a bomb being thrown at and killing a police officer. Then, the police fired into the crowd, killing 4 citizens, and seven police officers! Eight anarchists were convicted of “conspiracy” - seven were sentenced to death, and one to 15 years in prison. The death sentences of two of the defendants were commuted by Illinois governor Richard J. Oglesby to terms of life in prison, and another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887. In 1893, Illinois’ new governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining defendants and criticized the trial.
But, today, even in Jon Stewart’s monologue, there was no mention of this holiday, nor of the many pro-Labor events that took place today throughout our nation and THE WORLD…instead we got to hear all about Bin Laden, alleged master-mind of 9-11, and how our President bravely took him out.
…to voice what we’ve all been thinking of for a long time.
The system does not work for us. The system works against us. The politicians who we’ve elected are not looking out for our best interests.
And we’re here to tell them that we’re no longer going to put up with that. We’re here to put FEAR in them! They’re running scared right now. They are trying to divide us, they’re trying to denigrate the movement.
We’re not going to allow that to happen. We’re going to stand together. We’re going to stand United, and we’re going to show them what it looks like when millions of people take to the streets, demanding their rights.”
Gulf War Vet, Brian Smith at OccupyLouisville
This is just a One-Day Strike. There is no contract to negotiate right now. What we are saying is that the working class is about to…get more organized.”
~ Boots Riley, Hip Hop Artist on Democracy Now, 11/2/11
I also, earlier in the year, visited Syntagma Square in Athens and Barcelona, where a lot of this gets its inspiration from, and I visited OccupyOakland a couple of times …We performed for them.
When they were evicted, I got involved in helping put out the word for people to show up at 4 o’clock for the march to take back the plaza, and somebody handed me a bullhorn (laughs), and while we were marching, and it just, you know (shrugs)…I’m here…I’ve been involved since then.”
~ Boots Riley, Hip Hop Artist speaking to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, 11/2/11
It’s not only that We Are the 99%”, and that they are the 1%. It’s that the 1% gets all of their wealth by exploiting the 99%, and we want to show people that they can take it back if they want to.”
~ Boots Riley, Hip Hop Artist