Why May Day and What is it?


When we talk about May Day we don’t mean the spring festival that features a maypole. We are talking about International Workers Day. Ironically many people in the US don’t know May Day as this, even though Workers Day was first celebrated here in the US. It first was created after the US state framed eight labor organizers, which led to their execution. The US state did this on the basis of the Haymarket affair after an explosive was thrown into a crowd that resulted in the death of workers and Chicago police who were attacking the peaceful workers as they went on strike for the eight-hour work day.

Ever since this event in 1886 the workers of the world have been celebrating, marching, and striking across the globe in solidarity for working class power and in honor of working class peoples who’ve sacrificed for the final victory of abolishing the wage system.

Some people might be wondering that “if this version of May Day has been celebrated for so long around the world why am I just now hearing about it?” This is a complicated issue, the US state hasn’t exactly been friendly to the working class as we fight for power.  We all know that the US state is in service of the US ruling class, and because of this all the various institutions under the state carry out the interest of the ruling class, including public school administration. We do not learn about our history of working class struggle against oppression by those in power, such as the Coal Wars, which had and continue to have a strong impact on the Appalachian working class. Those in power want to detach us from our history of resistance, rebellion, and liberation.

They have been very effective for decades controlling and manipulating Appalachian workers, from the decline and corruption of the unions meant to fight for workers to the automation of the coal industry and depletion of local natural resources, have all had devastating effects on Appalachian communities that have left our region no living wage jobs, and which suffer some of the highest drug addiction and overdose levels in the country. This is a war of the rich waged upon us and we have been losing for some time.

These are the reasons we call for a REDNECK SPRING! By reclaiming May Day we begin reclaiming our heritage of resistance, rebellion, and liberation for the working class. We all come in many shapes and sizes, Black, Latino, Native, Melungeon, White, gay, straight, women, men, transgender, or two-spirit, we all have a place in our collective struggle for liberation in Appalachia and throughout the world. We are friends as workers first and foremost, our allegiance isn’t to the elites who rule over us, even if they are Americans. Our enemies are not those in foreign lands who face the same or even worse living conditions than us, we are united internationally as workers and must fight our common enemy, the international ruling class.



2 thoughts on “Why May Day and What is it?

  1. Fighting for ‘workers power’. You all can do what you want. But I was raised to believe the worker doesn’t have the ‘power’. The employer is the one who has all their money invested, and assumes all the risk of the company not doing well. It’s in their best interest to do well, thereby keeping people employed. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. I was raised to believe the boss is called the boss for a reason. Workers are to do what the boss tells them, and earn what they agreed to upon hire. By living this philosophy, I have not only moved up in companies for being someone a boss can expect to get the job done; but, I can go back to any job I’ve had in the past, as long as their are openings. Those who argue against those who are good enough to pay them, will be put on the ‘not eligible for rehire’ list. As the phrase went at places I’ve worked…. It’s their sandbox, we are just paid to play in it.


    • Jeff, Thanks for sharing your thoughts, but the reality is workers only ever got a better living when they organized together to protect themselves and each other from being ripped off by the bosses, who make their living off the labor of workers. The WVA Coal Mine Wars speaks to this reality. The entire 20th century of labor history is full of so many fights between the bosses and the politicians they finance against the working class. If workers do nothing to protect their legal rights then there is nothing to prevent them from being taken advantage of. Can we really expect someone else, like a boss, to look out for the workers’ interest? Isn’t that the job of the workers themselves?


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