As the Co-op closes on May 1 for International Workers’ Day, we invite you to learn about and celebrate the working class roots of this holiday. What started as a three-day general strike in support of the eight-hour workday on May 1, 1886, eventually led to the police opening fire on the striking workers on May 3. The firing and resulting death of up to eight workers led to another rally on May 4. A bomb was thrown in this rally, and eight anarchists were eventually imprisoned in retribution. The protesters were tried and convicted for murder although the prosecution conceded that none of the eight threw the bomb. It became apparent that the anarchists were incarcerated for their ideas and for being militant labor organizers. Two received life in prison, one received 15 years behind bars, four were executed, and one killed himself in the days leading up to his execution.
While this day reminds us of the continuous struggles working class people and families face around the world against capitalism, it also reminds us these struggles intersect with the ongoing struggles for the liberation of people oppressed based on race, sex, gender identity, ability, age, immigration status, sexual preference, ethnicity and religion.
Below are resources we would like to share for this May Day.