- Category: History
- Created on Friday, 29 April 2011 08:38
- Written by Mike Ely
Haymarket 1886 & that “Troublesome Element”
By Mike Ely
During 1885 a circular passed hand to hand through the ranks of the proletariat in the United States. With the following words it called for class-wide action on May 1, 1886:
“One day of revolt – not rest! A day not ordained by the bragging spokesmen of institutions holding the world of labor in bondage. A day on which labor makes its own laws and has the power to execute them! All without the consent or approval of those who oppress and rule. A day on which in tremendous force the unity of the army of toilers is arrayed against the powers that today hold sway over the destinies of the people of all nations. A day of protest against oppression and tyranny, against ignorance and war of any kind. A day on which to begin to enjoy ‘eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will.’”
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A century ago, on May 1, 1886, a general strike broke across the United States. Within days it would culminate in the events forever associated with the nameHaymarket. In 1889 the founding congress of a new, second, Marxist International named that day, May Day, for worldwide actions of the proletariat.
Through all the twists and explosions of these past hundred years, the tradition of May Day has developed and spread: as a day when class-conscious proletarians of all countries take stock of their situation, make their plans for the year ahead, celebrate proletarian internationalism, and declare their determination to carry their struggle through to the final goal of communism throughout the world.
In many countries, battles rage to proclaim May Day as a day of revolutionary struggle after years where it has been suppressed or gutted by revisionists.
in 1984 the newly formed Revolutionary Internationalist Movement issued its Declaration on May First and since then has called for celebrations and struggle on May First in countries across the planet under unified revolutionary slogans. Today, just as throughout the past century, May Day concentrates in embryo the leaps and prospects of the world revolution.
In light of this May Day tradition, we offer a look at the Haymarket events.