Labour day celebrated
The world celebrates May 1st as the international labour’s day commemorating the struggle and role of the workers in the previous centuries. The history of May dates back to the events that unfolded in the late 19th century that led the socialists and pro-labour organisations to declare May day as the international labour’s day. May 1 has the oldest connection with the country which is identified as the most potent symbol of capitalism- the United States.
- In 1886, a peaceful rally of workers demanding better working conditions and opposing exploitation led to violent clashes between police and the labourers in Chicago city.
- The clashes resulted in the death of four civilians and seven police officials. Thousands of labourers who were part of the rally were given harsh sentences including death and long imprisonment sentences.
- From there on, the labourers who got killed in the clashes and punished by the government were hailed as the “Haymarket Martyrs”. The Haymarket incident is considered to have given a big impetus to the labour movement across the world.
- In 1889, The Second International, a motley socialist organisation created by the Socialist and labor parties, celebrated May 1st as the international labour’s day for the first time.
- The labour movement steadily progressed towards demanding eight working hours a day in all countries across the world and better working conditions for the workers.
- In 1904, the International Socialist Congress exhorted all the workers of the world to demand eight working hours a day through a statute and asked the labourers to stop all their work on May 1 in support of their demands.
- After the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 and the establishment of the United Soviet Socialist Regime (USSR), the labour’s day started getting celebrated in many East European and Asian countries.
- In India, the first concrete memory of the celebration of labour’s day goes back to May 1, 1923 when Comrade Singaravelar, who was one of the important leaders of the Self Respect movement in the southern state of Madras helmed the celebrations.
- A resolution was also passed on the day demanding the British government a national holiday on May 1.