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INTERNATIONAL LABOURS' DAY


~ Anubhooti Shaw



INTRODUCTION

May Day, also known as Workers' Day or International Workers' Day, is a day observed in many countries on May 1 to commemorate the historic struggles and victories of workers and the labour movement.

While each country's past is unique, the main explanation for this day is the same: unequal treatment of the working class. There were several protests against this in various parts of the world. As a result, a special day is set aside to honour the working class and recognise their contributions to society.





UNITED STATES

Labour unions in the United States went on strike on May 1, 1886, asking that employees not be forced to work more than 8 hours a day. A bomb exploded in Chicago's Haymarket Square just three days after the strike began, killing several people. The International Socialist Conference proclaimed May 1 as Labour Day to commemorate those who died in the explosion. The commemorative day was founded in 1889 at a meeting and has since spread to other parts of the globe. After years of demonstrations and uprisings, the United States first recognised eight-hour workdays in 1916.


The International Socialist Congress in Amsterdam in 1904 called on “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace,” and made it “mandatory upon the proletarian organisations of all countries to stop work on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace,”




INDIA

The first Labour Day was observed in India on May 1, 1923, in what is now Chennai. Hindustan's Labour Kisan Party commemorated the day. For the first time in India, the red flag, which represents Labour Day, was flown. MalayapuramSingaraveluChettiar, a prominent communist leader, raised the flag and organised celebrations. Chettiar passed a resolution requesting that the government declare May Day as a national holiday in India, and the country has celebrated May Day ever since. International Workers' Day has always been marked by celebrations, marches, and strikes around the world, according to an article in Al Jazeera. In 2016, a variety of demonstrations and marches took place around the world on May Day, including in Istanbul, Moscow, and Taipei, where workers commemorated the holiday or called on governments to cut working hours and raise salaries.


The 1st of May is also known as Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day in India. They became a state on this day in 1960, after Bombay (now Mumbai) was divided along linguistic lines.





EUROPE

The original sense of May 1 in Europe was synonymous with rural pagan festivals (see May Day), but this was eventually replaced by the new connection with the labour movement. In the Soviet Union, leaders welcomed the new holiday, hoping it would inspire workers in Europe and the United States to unite against capitalism. The day became a major holiday in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc nations, with high-profile parades honouring the worker and highlighting Soviet military might, including one in Moscow's Red Square presided over by top government and Communist Party functionaries. After the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, Labour Day became an official holiday in 1933. Germany, ironically, abolished free unions the day after the holiday was created, effectively dismantling the German labour movement.


The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communist governments in eastern Europe in the late twentieth century diminished the importance of large-scale May Day celebrations in that area. May Day, on the other hand, has been declared a public holiday in hundreds of countries around the world, and it is also commemorated with picnics and celebrations, as well as marches and protests in support of jobs.

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