By Paul Street
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
May Day, or May 1, has many meanings, in my experience. When I was a grade-schooler in Chicago, it was the day on which the officially Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union paraded its military might in Moscow’s Red Square. It was a reminder that there was another military superpower on the planet besides the United States.
The Workers Day: Red and Black
Only later did I learn that May Day’s real left origins were in the older revolutionary socialist- and anarchist-led struggle of the U.S. working class for an eight-hour day. Targeting May 1 as the day for the introduction of shorter hours, activists brought the issue to a boiling point in Chicago in the spring of 1886. The fight culminated in the fateful tossing of the Haymarket bomb, the savage execution of four of the city’s great radical leaders—“the Haymarket Martyrs”—and a great wave of anti-union and anti-left repression across the nation.
May 1 became an international day of working-class and left protest in subsequent years. Well into the 20th century, leftist May Day speakers and…