Remembering The Origins Of May Day

USA Today gives a polite hint to the ideological origins of the protests sweeping the nation today by pointing out that May Day originated as International Worker’s Day:

May Day — also known as International Worker’s Day — has spawned protests around the globe in past years highlighting workers’ rights. But on Monday, the impetus for the U.S. marches span from immigrants’ rights to LGBT awareness to police misconduct.

What they do not tell you is that “International Worker’s Day” is in fact a Communist holiday. But we have to peel another couple layers from the onion. First, we see what the International Workers of the World have to say:

As early as the 1860’s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880’s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services…Tens of thousands of socialists broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were “taken over” by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.

…At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.”

If you believe this narrative, the Americans came up with May Day on their own. However, if we dig a little bit deeper, we can see what the Marxists have to say, which is that its origins were in Europe in what would become the Communist movement:

The decision for the 8-hour day was made by the National Labor Union in August, 1866. In September of the same year the Geneva Congress of the First International went on record for the same demand in the following words:

The legal limitation of the working day is a preliminary condition without which all further attempts at improvements and emancipation of the working class must prove abortive….The Congress proposes 8 hours as the legal limit of the working day.

In the chapter on “The Working Day” in the first volume of Capital, published in 1867, Marx calls attention to the inauguration of the 8-hour movement by the National Labor Union. In the passage, famous especially because it contains Marx’s telling reference to the solidarity of class interests between the Negro and white workers, he wrote:

In the United States of America, any sort of independent labor movement was paralyzed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the republic. Labor with a white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor with a black skin is branded. But out of the death of slavery a new vigorous life sprang. The first fruit of the Civil War was an agitation for the 8-hour day – a movement which ran with express speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California.

And so what was this “First International”? Fellow travelers of the Communists give us the Communist history of this worker’s movement:

Yet remarkably it was Karl Marx, a marginal German émigré, who was at the time deeply engaged with serious research for what would become the first volume of his magnum opus, Capital, who would become the guiding spirit of this new organisation. At the IWMA launch it was decided to elect a 34-strong provisional organising committee, later known as the general council, and Marx became a representative of Germany.

There is a still popular myth that Marx was primarily simply a great thinker and philosopher who wrote great analytical works such as Capital without ever leaving archives and libraries. Yet as his lifelong collaborator Engels noted, Marx was “before all else a revolutionist” who had in the past like Engels been a leading member of the Communist League during the 1848-50 revolution in Germany.

From the start, we see the Communists agitating. The Napoleonic Wars ended in the revolutions across Europe that Marx and others hoped to shift from Equality 1.0 (political and social equality) to Equality 2.0 (the subsidy state). And forty years before the Americans designated the holiday of May Day, the Communists made it a cornerstone of their agenda.

In addition, we see the classic combination of political values designed to support the notion of class warfare. The Left supports diversity, so that it has a weapon against the ruling caste and the culture — something that emerges from heritage — supporting it. Fair treatment of workers, based on criticism of a few exceptional wrongs which were at least partially rooted in the inconsistency of labor itself, i.e. the flakiness of people that we all know as normal for humanity, became tied (magically!) to socialism and from that, to the establishment of a super-powerful State to administer it.

Anarchists, in theory opposed to such things, justified them as necessary and joined the group, such that unionists, Communists, anarchists, Socialists, liberals and Leftists marched together for the same thing. This always happens; the difference between French Revolutionaries and Communists is a matter of degree, much as this last election has revealed that the difference between a Democrat and a Communist is that a Communist is an emboldened Democrat with college debt.

What is most interesting about this whole scenario is that May Day was originally a pagan fertility rite, and the Communists wanted to re-style it as a Leftist holiday. While the Christians are often criticized for having replaced pagan holy days with their own, it is more likely that the real erasure was by those who wished to destroy culture, and the Christians did their best to maintain it nonetheless.

USA Today gave us the start of the thread of understanding what May Day is in actuality, but would not go to the full extreme and tell us its Communist origins. The very fact that such things are kept hush-hush tells us exactly who is in charge of the American government — Leftists — and why we must overthrow them if we want sanity to return.

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