Celebrate Labor

On May 1, 1886, unionized workers striking for an eight-hour work day assembled outside Chicago’s McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. As the so-called “scabs” who’d taken the workers’ places on the assembly line departed the plant for the day, the strikers confronted them, and a police garrison assigned to protect the scabs began firing at the protesters. Two men died. Three days later, another protest at Chicago’s Haymarket Square began peaceably, but ended in terror and confusion when an advancing police line attempted to disperse the rally, and was attacked with a home-made dynamite bomb. To this day it’s unclear who threw it, and it’s safe to assume the police had no idea at the time, though they began firing indiscriminately at the retreating workers anyway. Such are the historical origins of May Day, the international workers’ holiday to celebrate the achievements of labor. Why not celebrate two weeks later, on the anniversary of the Matewan Massacre? Or on the anniversary of the lynching of WWI vet and Wobblie leader Wesley Everest? Maybe you'll learn at MayDay at the UU Church in Fort Lauderdale, where Occupy Fort Lauderdale’s hosting an edu-tational sort of celebration, featuring presentations (on foreclosures, on homelessness, the current state of labor, and the Occupieds), and music. The afternoon program runs 12:50 to 2:30; write bob@benderworld.com for further deets.
Sun., April 29, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 2012
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Brandon K. Thorp