May Day, Part 2 of 3:
Protest Without Borders
In the second installment of our three-part series on May Day, Seven Oaks will address the international significance of the workers' holiday. Born out of events in the United States, but enshrined by the International Working People's Association, May Day has been a symbol of an International working class consciousness since the late 19th century. Author Dale McCartney considers the extent to which May Day has served to unite local and international resistance, and the possibility that it supplies a ready tool to social movements working to unite working class resistance with resistance working on other axes of oppression.
From its inception, May Day was an international phenomenon. In arguing for its international recognition, American radicals made a presentation to a French meeting of the Second International, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. Just as the Haymarket massacre represented the culmination of a variety of radical currents in American society, coupled with several serious demands made by American labour, so was May Day formed to represent the confluence of a variety of international types of resistance. By the next year it was being celebrated all over Europe, North America and Australia. During the twentieth century, its prominence has only increased the world over as a workers' holiday. For radicals hunting for a global symbol to rally resistance to capitalism, and for trade unionists concerned with making connections with other unionists in other countries, May Day is a celebration with considerable pedigree throughout the world.