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May Day

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It’s been decades, maybe even generations, since the U.S. has seen so much political activism on May 1st, International Workers Day. The SF Chronicle ran an article about the many Bay Area events; organizers of educational seminars in New York spoke on Democracy Now this morning. Organized Labor has always honored this date, but this year’s burst of events is testimony to the Occupy movement and the increased political activity of the past year.

When I was younger May Day confused me, and I’ll bet it still confuses some people, what with so many disparate occasions marking the date for so many wildly different reasons. I had a vague sense it was something political, but then I’d see things like the English royalty in the movie Camelot cavorting in fields of flowers—a far cry from those newsreels of Communist displays of power, or even of American workers marching through Cooper Square in New York City. According to an article on Information Please

May Day just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of political protests. It’s a neopagan festival, a saint’s feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday.”

In any case, today, May 1, 2012, offers people everywhere the opportunity to become educated, or to protest income inequality; to observe the Celtic ushering in of summer, or to honor the goddesses of fertility—to name just a few of today’s holidays. So go out and DO IT!

Actually you don’t have to go out: if you’re a couch potato like me, you can even stay home and learn about May Day. For starters check out the Industrial Workers of the World website, which includes a list of events around the country, or the Marxist Internet Archive. Finally, the online CNN Report is collecting stories and photos of events, so if you do get out there, be sure to send your info to them.

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