Did you know that today is a holiday?
Welcome to May 1st, better known outside of the United Sates as, International Working Day, although its origin does indeed lie here in the US.
In the late 19th century, the working class decided that they had enough of being a product of capitalism, being treated as if they were machines, and not human men. They worked within unsafe conditions, under 10-16 hour working days, which was common at that time. Workers decided to demand for an 8-hour day, meaning an end to the 10-16 working days, and they demanded there to be drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism. Both anarchists and regular employees came together & organized a plan to achieve the change they wanted.
One of those who was pro for the demand, a publisher, developed a mission statement, which some called a plea, to all working people.
This is what it included:
• Workingmen to Arms!
• War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
• The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
• One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
• MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.
On May 1st, 1886, there were more than 300,000 workers across the United States who walked out of their jobs, affecting 13,000 business, which became the first May Day celebration in history. The police gunned down hundreds of workers who were on strike, but those on strike were prepared to die for what they believed in. The protesters threw rocks back at the police who engaged them, and the police responded with gunfire, killing many who were innocent. Homes were burned down, places were bombed, women & children died.
A war was fought & Sacrifices were made, in order for justice within the working system to be lived in the future. The innocent and the soldiers were the civilians who organized together to unite for a lawful change. The criminals and the thugs were the police and companies across the US.
This post is not only meant to honor and pay respects to those who united and died for the current working conditions we all endure now which most take for granted, but to state a point.
For years, there has been unlawful crimes against black Americans from both the police & government in control. Recently, there have been a consistency of events regarding young black males being either gunned down or choked out by so called “law officials”. We’ve demanded a change, we’ve demanded justice by screaming and shouting, hoping our voices will be heard yet, more young black males are silenced by arms, and further are we away from receiving proper justice.
I say that we learn from those of this historical day, May Day, as we begin this new month following the most recent death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Yes, there were riots and business were attacked, but those from May 1st, 1886, did not just strike against and attack anything. They attacked their oppressors. They were organized, they had a plan that called for all those who were oppressed to unite into one army, fighting for the same cause, and going after the direct source. They knew how to hurt their oppressor, and they were willing to die rather than to continue to live as slaves. Fear was not in the hearts, and fear cannot be in our hearts today.
The people of Baltimore, and all black citizens across the US, must step back and organize a proper plan for solution, and call together all those who are tired. Black America must figure out how they can affect their oppressors, so that they’re no longer heard as only loud & crying voices, but so that they may be taken seriously as voices of demand.
New conversations need to be held within the black communities, and new demands need to be stated. Conversations need to start shifting towards us having our own land, infrastructure, and our own nationhood. We simply need to make a call to have OUR OWN! The problem is that we don’t own anything and we are dependents, none of us are independents! Unless you are growing your own food, your own water, have your own land, and can provide for your community. As long as we have nothing of our own, we cannot continue to throw anger towards a government that is not ours.
Change can be made, together. But separately, this history will never be history, it will always remain yours, and your children’s, present.
These words are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:
The day will come when
Our silence will be more Powerful
Than the Voices
You are Throttling today.