“They talk about the failure of socialism but

where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia

and Latin America?”

— Fidel Castro

First of May is celebrated as international workers day. The origin of the May Day lies in the 19th century. During those days, the working class was in a constant struggle to gain the 8-hour workday. At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor) proclaimed, “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.”

On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of U.S. industrial workers participated in a nationwide strike to demand an eight-hour workday. The protests in Chicago lasted for several days, and on May 3, a strike at McCormick Reaper Works ended in a brawl with police officers. Several strikers were wounded or killed.

The next night, the violence became even worse. When the police came to break up a crowd of protestors gathered in Haymarket Square, a bomb went off in the police ranks. The bomb killed seven policemen and wounded 60 more. Police then opened fire on the crowd, killing several men and wounding 200. In commemoration of these events, now known as the Haymarket Affair, the International Socialist Conference declared May 1 as an international holiday for labour.

Today, May Day is an official holiday in many countries, but ironically it is rarely recognised in the country where it began, the United States of America.