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Rage One (blog)

jueves, abril 20, 2006

The Relevance of May 1st

1 comentario

May 1st is celebrated throughout the world as International Workers Day, except in the U.S. Thats probably because the string of events that led to the declaration of May 1st occurred in the U.S., in Chicago to be specific. Little mention of May 1st may also have to do with the fact the day was so honored because of the labor of one particular person that happened to be woman of mixed Mexican, Native American and African American ancestry: Lucia Gonzalez Parsons.

On May 1st through May 4th of 1886 a coalition of unions demonstrated for the 8hr day. In 1886, most of the work force calling and demonstrating for the 8 hour day were immigrants. Two of the main organizers of that particular demonstration and movement were Albert Parsons and Lucia Gonzalez Parsons. Different accounts state that a police provocateur threw a dynamite bomb into the crowd which killed one policeman and the police responded with firepower that killed several of the demonstrators. Much of the evidence point to a set up by the state to implicate Albert Parsons and four other key male organizers for this disruption and murder. Most accounts state that all 5 of the organizers accused were not even present at the riot.

Lucia immediately went on tour trying to drum up support for her husband and the other four organizers. During that year she traveled through 16 states and talked to at least 200,000 people. Regardless of the broad sympathy and support for the Chicago 5, the state of Illinois hung all 5 of the innocent organizers in November of 1887. On the day before the public terror Lucia and her two children were arrested, ostensibly because they feared that she would mobilize people to stop the execution.

In July of 1889, at an International Workers Congress in France, Union representatives from the US addressed the convention and asked that it be dedicated to the 5 martyrs. The workers' congress not only honored the 5 martyrs but declared May 1st International Workers' Day. Maybe this is why they don't teach this to high school students and maybe this is why May 1st is celebrated througout the world except in the U.S.

May 1st, is an important day to boycott this system based on exploitation. It continues the legacy of organizing for immigrant rights; it celebrates the unity between Blacks, Chican@s and Native Americans. It brings out the leadership of a Black Mexicana Indigena Woman. May 1st is also a day for international unity of not just the working class as part of the economic struggle but for all the grassroots efforts to the right of those at the bottom left to create another world; one that is just and where many worlds fit.




elvira dijo...

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