Because May 1st is Labor Day

Because May 1st is Labor Day

The roots of the party go back to the end of the nineteenth century but the theme of labor rights is definitely topical

(photo: Pavlofox / Pixabay) May 1st is Labor Day, an important date whose origins are valid always worth returning. In fact, May 1st is celebrated to remember the struggles of the past, and the goals achieved by the workers' movement, but also to continue talking about rights and perspectives, in a spirit of transnational solidarity. A world holiday, even if in the United States and Canada Labor Day falls in September, on the first Monday of the month.

Those who wonder why the date of May 1st must go back to 1889, the year in to which the Second International, gathered in congress in Paris, decided to promote a demonstration all over the world, and simultaneously, to allow workers to affirm the demand for more fairness, starting from the number of working hours. A decision that comes at the end of a longer process of maturation on issues and aims of the struggle in the international labor movement.

The choice fell on May 1st, not lacking important precedents: the demonstrations held in the USA in this date in 1886 but also the events of May 4, 1886, in Chicago where, following a violent repression, the clash between police, workers and anarchists culminated in the episode known as Haymarket Riot. Deaths and convictions, connected to those facts, marked a more overall turning point for the issue of labor rights in the United States.

A tradition, that of May 1st which, between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, also reflected the changing struggles and that was able to engage with the political and social demands of the moment, not necessarily linked only to work. The Italian case also shows that not even the holidays, and their meaning, are guaranteed forever: in the twenty years of Fascism, the first of May was not celebrated. It resumes after the liberation, and comes to the present day: the question about the meaning and relevance of the party sometimes returns, in a scenario where there is no lack of new challenges, demonstrating that the theme is alive and deserving of further study and enhancement.

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