Protesters march through Seattle during anti-capitalist protests following May Day marches [File: David Ryder/Reuters]
Protesters march through Seattle during anti-capitalist protests following May Day marches [File: David Ryder/Reuters]

Each year on May 1, people across the globe take to the streets to commemorate International Workers’ Day, or May Day. In dozens of countries, May Day is an official holiday, and for workers’ rights campaigners it is particularly important.

In the late-19th century, socialists, communists, and trade unionists chose May 1 to become International Workers’ Day. The date was symbolic, commemorating the Haymarket affair, which took place in Chicago, in the United States, in 1886.

The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on “all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the eight-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”

The first of May is a national, public holiday in many countries across the world, in most cases as “International Workers’ Day” or a similar name. Some countries celebrate a Workers’ Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States and Canada, which celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

While in many countries workers are still demanding basic laws for their work status and environment, in some other countries workers protest and demonstrate for equality, equity, justice, peace, and human rights. Workers often plan for anti-capitalist protests and show their fight for anarchism, liberty, and socialism.

Workers understand how capitalism is a war against workers class. They understand the modern slavery we are in. Workers understand this new slavery is not based on skin color or race, but based on class, imposed by bourgeoisie to the proletariat.

May Day has been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist, and anarchist groups since the Second International. May Day is one of the most important holidays in socialist countries such as Cuba.

Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!