International Workers' Day Playlist

Happy International Workers’ Day!

Monday, May 1st was May Day. When I was a kid, we knew May Day as the day you put together cute little flower baskets to leave on neighbors’ doorsteps. But when I got older, I learned the day had a deeper meaning: International Workers’ Day. This holiday was established in 1889 to commemorate what came to be known as the Haymarket Affair, the day in 1886 on which Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada decided to begin a workers’ strike demanding an eight-hour workday. After three peaceful days, protests in Chicago’s Haymarket Square devolved into violence, as fighting broke out between police and strikebreakers on one side, and anarchists on the other. From 1889 onward, May Day served as a day of protest in the continued fight for the eight-hour workday (one that wasn’t won until 1916). Since 1916, the day has played host to yearly strikes, protests, and celebrations, and has particular meaning for labor unions, as well as Socialist, Communist, and Anarchist groups. Source: Al Jazeera

This May 1st in the US, the activist group Cosecha organized a strike called “A Day Without Immigrants” to highlight the contributions of immigrant workers in the face of the Trump administration’s harsh rhetoric and policies against them. Thousands of immigrants marched in cities across the country, and a number of businesses closed their doors in a show of solidarity. In addition to this strike, around the world in cities from Paris to Istanbul to Moscow to Havana, many other May Day marches and celebrations were held in support of workers everywhere.