The 1st of May marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organisation stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the "Haymarket Massacre" of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a police crackdown followed by a period of anti-labor hysteria.
In 1890, the first internationally co-ordinated demonstration for an 8-hour day was held, in commemoration of those killed in the massacre, and those eight anarchists executed on trumped-up charges after the event.
Here, Verso staff present "A Reading List for May Day", looking at the radical history of the festival in the European and North American labor movements, and how that spirit lives on in grassroots workplace struggles.
Dissent magazine featured an op-ed about the Wiscosin voter recall written by Paul & Mari Jo Buhle, editors of It Started in Wisconsin, an anthology of first-hand accounts of the largest pro-labor mass mobilization in modern American history.
The scene on January 17 in Monona Terrace—a community center realized on Frank Lloyd Wright’s blueprint—was not quite pandemonium. Actually, the several thousand Wisconsonites representing all seventy-two counties in the state, coming to Madison on a snowy day to deliver their boxes of petitions, were orderly, considering the occasion. They were celebrating the impressively successful outcome of a campaign to recall the state’s GOP governor, Scott Walker, which resulted in more than one million signatures. The crowd occasionally booed the governor, who was in New York City raising money at an event hosted by the former CEO of AIG for the campaign now forced on him. Mostly, they cheered one another and the speakers on stage.
Read the full article here.