International Workers Day, also known as Labour Day or May Day, is an annual commemoration of the historic struggles and victories of workers and the labour movement promoted by the International Labour Movement. It is held in many nations on May 1st.
While it may be associated with spring festivities, the Marxist International Socialist Congress, which met in Paris in 1889 and created the Second International as a successor to the previous International Workingmen’s Association, chose the date for political reasons. They passed a resolution calling for a “massive international demonstration” in favour of workers’ demands for an eight-hour workday. The day had been picked by the American Federation of Labor to continue an earlier campaign in the United States for an eight-hour day, which had sparked a national strike on May 1, 1886, and culminated in the Haymarket affair four days later in Chicago. May Day became an annual celebration after it. The Sixth Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was held in 1904.
In many nations around the world, the first of May is a national or public holiday, known as “International Workers’ Day” or something similar. Labor Day is observed in certain nations on dates that are significant to them, such as in the United States and Canada, where it is observed on the first Monday in September.
As part of the eight-hour workday movement, Australian stonemasons in Victoria staged a major strike on April 21, 1856. It became a yearly event, prompting American workers to strike for the first time. To commemorate the 1886 Haymarket riots in Chicago, the 1st of May was designated as International Workers’ Day. A general strike for the eight-hour workday began on May 1st of that year. When an unidentified person tossed a bomb during a public rally in support of the strike on May 4, the police intervened to disperse the crowd. The police retaliated by shooting the workers.Seven police officers and at least four civilians were killed in the incident, and sixty police officers and one hundred and fifteen people were injured. After a trial that was widely seen as a miscarriage of justice, hundreds of labour leaders and sympathisers were apprehended, and four were hanged. On the 5th of May, the state militia opened fire on a crowd of strikers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing seven people, including a child and a father feeding chickens in his yard.
The first congress of the Second International met in Paris in 1889, after Raymond Lavigne’s demand for international demonstrations on the anniversary of the Chicago protests in 1890. May Day demonstrations were held in the United States and most European countries on May 1, 1890, as a result of the appeal. Demonstrations took place in Chile and Peru as well. At the International’s second convention in 1891, May Day was formally acknowledged as an annual occasion. The May Day riots of 1894 happened as a result.”All Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace,” declared the International Socialist Congress in Amsterdam in 1904. The congress declared it “necessary upon all proletarian organisations of all countries to cease work on May 1st, wherever possible without causing injury to workers.”
Labor Day, also known as Labor Day in the United States and Canada, was initially established in the 1880s. While working as secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York in 1882, machinist Matthew Maguire advocated a Labor Day holiday on the first Monday in September. Others claim it was first conceived in May 1882 by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor after witnessing the annual labour celebration in Toronto, Canada. Oregon was the first state in the United States to declare it a national holiday in 1887. Thirty US states celebrated Labor Day by the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894. As a result, by 1887, Labour Day had become a national holiday throughout North America.Thirty US states celebrated Labor Day by the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894. By 1887, Labour Day had become an established, official holiday in North America, but it was celebrated in September rather than May 1.
In 1967, a rally was held in Bucharest on May 1st.
Since the Second International, May Day has been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist, and anarchist organisations. In communist countries like China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union, May Day is one of the most important festivals. These countries’ May Day festivities usually include grandiose worker parades with military gear and soldiers on display.
The Catholic Church designated May 1 as “Saint Joseph the Worker” in 1955. Saint Joseph, among other things, is the patron saint of artisans and craftsmen.
Today, on May 1st, the majority of countries around the world commemorate Workers’ Day.