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May Day! May Day! A little help here. . .

 

Today is May First, or May Day.  It's the day when workers around the world traditionally rally to show solidarity and support for one another.  It's the real Labor Day. While our own Labor Day has become a holiday, a day of picnics and celebration, May Day is and always will be an international day of protest--a reminder of worker rights and worker dignity in a world gone mad with greed.

Labor in America is under siege, like nothing we've seen in this country since the 1930s.  Whatever wage scales and rights and protections had been fought for and won over the years have slowly eroded away in this new bizarre and reckless version of take-over capitalism. 

This year, here in America, planners have been at it for months, organizing what they're hoping will be a May Day to remember.  There is talk of a general strike, but whether the grass-roots activists are able to get it up and running is still to be seen.  Media for the 99 percent is planning to live-stream events across the country.  You can watch it here:  (No sign of James Dobson or the Liberty Council this year, by the way.  They will be missed.)


Two years ago, I wrote a piece that included the origins of May Day. In case you missed it, here it is again.  Note there is no mention of the Occupy movements.  That's because they barely existed then. Now Occupy Wall Street and the spin-offs are forces to be reckoned with, just the tonic to wake up the sleeping giant known as labor. We'll see what happens today.  The OWS website is going to livestream events around the world today.  I hope you're out there, and I hope it's big.
 

May Day: Workers of the World, Hang in There

 

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         


Okay, so that's the kind of thing that gave Socialists a bad name.  In the name of civility and good manners we've moved on to less violent (but probably less effective) ways of getting our message across.  The larger point here, though, is that since the 19th century, workers of the world have embraced May Day as the 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. . .

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.


Ramona

There is strong rain this morning in NYC which should put a damper on this:

Protesters Plan May Day Rallies, Disruptions Across City
By: NY1 News

but there is supposed to be sun in the afternoon.

I looked at the OWS site a couple days ago to check out their plans and I do gotta say that some of them did not look promising as far as getting the other 98% of NYC denizens to sympathize with the cause. Most working class and middle class New Yorkers already have enough "disruptions" to handle in their daily routine (it's not as easy getting to work and getting daily errands done and needs attended to as it is in suburbia, not a simple matter of heavy traffic to handle) and tend to get angry at, rather than sympathize with, those who make their daily routine even harder.

May Day must be a relic from those old Norse adventurers. :-D

 

Death to luxurious idleness?  Luxurious idleness should be a universal ideal!

Fun to read the original two years ago (might as well be two months ago in my temporal consciousness!)

At first I thought from your title, this blog was a call to me since I was born in May and well...my last name and all. ha

As Feb 2nd is between the first day of Winter and the first day of Spring; May Day is between the first day of Spring and the first day of Summer!

The English had all these feast days--as well as fast days of course since the better folks knew how not to get fat and yet enjoy the feast.

There is a delightful Middle English poem circa 1000 AD that is the first (that we have) mention of Maid Marian where one cannot find anything approaching Robin Hoode or Hode until a hundred years later (in felony records of course).

And in this poem Maid Marian dances with other young virgins around the May Pole (Freud would sneer at the metaphor of course) that was struck in the green and flowered meadow whilst young men cheered and everyone sang.

Morris dancers with maypole and pipe and taborer, Chambers Book of Days

http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/May-Day-Celebrations/

There is a wonderful scene in either Shakespeare in Love or Excalibur where the maidens perform this wonderful rite. I just cannot find it right now.

In the last link the essay notes that May Day celebrations were suspended for awhile due to riots of the peasants during the pageantries. The peasants were revolting!

Your history grabs us all of course since the Worker's May Day celebration appears to have originated here!

Wiki gives us a taste of the Old World May Day spring celebrations in this country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day#Pacific_.28USA.29

I have to look for a link I read just last week discussing a May Day labor day celebration (rebellion) as early as 1851--which really grabbed me!

When I was growing up under the tutelage of our public school propaganda system (no Texas is inventing nothing new here) May Day was when the Ruskies paraded their tanks and such.

Why am I doing this?

Sorry, I have always been intrigued by this pagan ritual and its intersection with the commies.

the end

 

 

 

Check out

Folklore: Prepare for May Morning celebrations @

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=129009

Scroll down on that page to a discussion, including on the co-option of the day by the labor movement and, as you can see at top, links to song lyrics & related discussion threads

Oh this link is delightful!

I says, "My pretty fair maid shall I tarry with you
In this meadow this morning so gay?"
This maid she replied, "Are you so innocent
For fear you might lead me astray?"

 

I shall spend more time on this  wonder!

Thank you!

Then I guess she had to say
innocence might lead me astray
She said, gay boy, take a walk on the wild side
I said, hey maid, take a walk on the wild side

and the coloured girls say
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

A link to a blog that may be of interest to you, Ramona.

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