131 Years of May Day

By the Editorial Board

International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, was borne out of the fight waged between the exploited working class and the exploiting factory-owning class. Workers of the world organized against the long grueling hours enforced by capitalist exploitation, demanding an 8-hour workday.

International Workers Day, observed on May 1, commemorates the conquest of the 8-hour workday around the world seized through the use of revolutionary violence in ardent battles against reactionary violence. International Workers Day is celebrated as a reminder of the battles fought for better working conditions and the battles to be waged in order to end the exploitation of workers once and for all!

The commemoration of May 1 as International Workers’ Day is closely linked to the workers’ movement in the United States. Labor unions in the US organized workers to strike on May 1, 1886 for the 8-hour workday. Preparations for the May 1 strike began in 1884 and the class consciousness of workers was forged through strikes and rebellions. The year leading up to the first May Day was a combative one and saw 700 strikes and more than 250,000 workers participate across the US.

Throughout the US, hundreds of thousands of workers unified under the banner of the 8-hour workday and staged walkouts and strikes on May 1, 1886. In Chicago, the center of the labor movement, tens of thousands of workers staged strikes and marched in demand for the shorter work day. Half of all workers who went on strike victoriously conquered the 8-hour workday, and other workers were also granted shorter workdays as result of the actions.

Following the strikes of May 1, a confrontation between striking McCormick Reaper workers in Chicago and police broke out on May 3. Chicago police, at the behest of the ruling class, brutally killed six workers in the confrontation.

In response to the police repression, a rally was convened for May 4, at Haymarket Square. At the rally another confrontation broke out and police killed four more workers. Workers responded by throwing a bomb at the police which killed seven officers, including one sergeant. Labor movement leaders were heavily repressed and targeted for the confrontation at Haymarket Square. State repression failed to quell the clamor of the workers for revolution, and the ardent battles of the US labor movement spread internationally.

In 1889, the Second International, led by Friedrich Engels, was influenced by the US labor movement and recognized May 1 as the International Day of the Proletariat. The following year, the first international May Day was commemorated and the red flag was unfurled and brandished, expressing the clamor of the masses for revolution and the march towards the construction of a new world through the destruction of the old society. In 1891, the Second International would expand the fight for the 8-hour work day to include the struggle for better working conditions as a whole.

In the 1930’s, the Trade Union Unity League, under the leadership of the Communist Party of the USA, would take on workers’ struggles and fight for the integration of unions and the demands of both Black and white workers, while other labor unions ignored the struggles of Black workers and kept unions segregated.

Since 1944, the US has been without a Communist Party to lead workers in their fight against exploitation. The lack of a Communist Party hasn’t stopped workers and revolutionaries in the US from commemorating May Day and raising the flag for the reconstitution of the Communist Party of the USA. This year will mark the 7th consecutive year of the commemoration of a red and revolutionary May Day in the US.

The exploitation of workers is far from over and the hard-fought gains of workers are constantly under attack. Revolutionaries and workers have the task of continuing to fight and organize under a new face at the head of US imperialism, in the midst of an economic depression that has slashed wages and prolonged work days and a health pandemic that’s killing the working class for the sake of profit.

Workers rise to the task this May Day and unfurl the red flag in the name of making a casket for the old society and building a new one—a society without rich or poor, of eternal harmony. This will be accomplished through upholding, defending, and applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism, in order to reconstitute the Communist Party of the USA, which will lead to the initiation of People’s War as part of the world proletarian revolution which will usher in luminous communism throughout the world, which all must enter or none will.

Imperialism Marches Steadily Into Its Grave, The Proletarian Revolution Advances!

Long Live May First, International Workers’ Day!

Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!

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