“Political freedom without economic equality

is a pretence, a fraud, a lie; and the workers

want no lying.”

–Mikhail Bakunin

The Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions at its national convention, held in 1884, declared that eight hours workday would be observed from and after May1, 1886. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers (40,000 in Chicago alone) from 13,000 businesses walked out of their jobs across the country. In the following days, more workers joined. Overall, the protests were peaceful, but that all changed on May 3 where Chicago police and workers clashed at the McCormick Reaper Works. The next day a rally was planned at Haymarket Square to protest the killing and wounding of several workers by the police.

Many governments worldwide, not just those with socialist or communist influences, eventually embraced the workers’ history of May 1. Today, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but ironically it is rarely recognized in the country where it began, the United States of America.

Moreover, with the triumph of capitalism in the last decade of 20th century, manufacturing firms have been violating workers’ rights repeatedly through one or other mean.