Most people living in America know little about the International Workers’ Day or “May Day”. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that “May Day” has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie. “May Day” stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.” Every spring season brings opportunities to observe the rebirth of many living plants and animals.
Today we see tens of thousands of activists unconsciously embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs (Forest Park Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois) and those who established “May Day” (May First) as an International Workers’ Day. Ironically, “May Day” is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this (American Democratic) country where it began.
Over one hundred years have passed since that first “May Day”. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from public memory by establishing “Law and Order Day” on May 1. Many parallels exist between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still have the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.
“Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the (Chicago’s) Haymarket Monument:
THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.
Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the (5-day 8-hour work week); if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old (child labor) victims of i ndustrial a ccidents w ho marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by police and company (mercenary) thugs, (do) we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted – people fought for the rights, (respect) and dignities we enjoy today. There is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many martyred people can not be forgotten or we’ll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we (should and must) celebrate “May Day” (on May 1, 2017).” (Source: The Brief Origins of “May Day” By Eric Chase)
Presently the working class needs this perspective to fully understand what certain billionaires’ oligarchy plans may be. It was my daughter, Mary M. Rustia, a teaches of general science and technology, who informed me that CTA (California Teachers Association), as a professional union, had designated May 1, 2017 as a DAY OF ACTION—MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Again, I highly recommend googling the CTA website to learn about the many issues being advocated on behalf of CA Public School systems. Listen especially to the presentation of CA’s Senate President pro tempore KEVIN DE LEON’S SPEECH which succinctly describes that CA, as the 6th largest global economy, owes its current standing upon its ‘public schools’ which develop the informed educated residents having critical thinking skills. These residents are the most diverse population in America; the most creative and innovative. CA has the best public school system in this nation, if not the world. It’s centers of achievement and excellence at Hollywood and Silicon Valley thrive using these skilled ‘knowledge workers’ trained by CA’s public schools.
Student’s parents, as legal guardians of their kids, must support local school district by participating; by providing their constructive feedback commentary; by being active and committed supportive members of their local PTA (Parent=Teacher Association). At PTA meetings, involved and committed parents may learn about matters such as The Common Core Curriculum; College entrance requirements; testing schedules (SAT’s), College admission application deadlines; etc. All these issues are essential to the guidance of their kids as students who learn their ethical, religious, and moral values at home from their parent’s example and instruction.
The resolution of many economic and social disparities require educated, informed residents. This Trump Administration must not be allowed to short-change the future of our children, especially those who are disadvantaged and marginalized.
Celebrate May 1, 2017 as “May Day” with the recollection of the many issues resolved in the past by the working class. They established many of those humane job site working standards. Today the main issue to be addressed by working class folks is that of the inequity of wealth distribution. A living wage needs to be established which is based upon Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Our earth contains all the resources which could enable diverse peoples to live together in peace and harmony… if we can redirect greed, control, power, and influence towards the acceptance and practice of ‘societal stewardship’ which focuses upon taking care of the needs of “We, The People” who must begin to speak up…to insist on receiving a fair share. That is what “May Day” is all about.
Now is the time to begin your informed interest and participation coupled with renewed appreciation for past achievements taken for granted today. Resolve to celebrate on “May Day” to honor by remembering all those martyrs who struggled for the civil rights, justice, respect and dignity enjoyed by the working class today.