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May Day, The Haymarket Riots & International Labor's Chicago Roots


With Chicago sitting in the heart the nation, and literally being the den of the progressive movement, is it any wonder that it is also known as the birthplace of the international labor and worker’s rights movement? If you were not aware of this, don’t worry, neither were we. And neither are most Chicagoans. But the truth is, the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago is credited as the place where it all began.

To most, May Day represents the victorious struggle for the eight hour work day. However, there is a deeper history to the international holiday. Striking workers marched all across the country on May 1st, 1886, and it was declared as the eight hour work day by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions. But in Chicago protests escalated on May 3rd, at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant, as workers rushed the gates to confront strikebreakers. This lead to a police shooting of two protesters. At another protest the following day at the Haymarket Square, May 4th, 1886, an “unknown” suspect threw a pipe bomb at the police, resulting in an explosion, chaos and gunfire. Eight police officers were killed, sixty were injured and at least four workers were killed, and a number of other civilians were injured.

Albert Parsons, an anarchist and militant activist who lead an 80,000 person march down Michigan Ave. with his wife Lucy, was one of eight anarchists who were all directly or indirectly connected to the bombing, and tried and convicted in the incident. Seven of the men were sentenced to death, which sparked an international outcry, and movement declaring these men as martyrs to the workers of the world’s “never ending struggle.”

This past May Day marks the 125th anniversary of the “Haymarket Affair,” which was celebrated in downtown Chicago, on April 30th, with a full scale reenactment, where the riot actually took place in 1886. Labor leaders and anti-capitalist activists were also on hand for some disturbing speeches prior the reenactment. We would also like to point out, that we did not see any American flags at the event.

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On Sunday May 1st, May Day was celebrated at the historic Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, IL just west of the city. More than a thousand people were in attendance for the unveiling of the newly restored Haymarket Martyr’s Monument. National and international labor leaders were on hand here as well. Watch our coverage and see if you find the labor movement’s message as disturbing and alarming as we do. We should note that we did see one American flag here, but it was not flown as high as the Soviet/Che flag by the Communist Party U.S.A. members that were in attendance.

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With the recurring theme of every left wing, and labor union protest we have been to this year, being “We Are One,” it is becoming clear, labor unions have made no effort to distance themselves from extreme left wing organizations such as the CPUSA, the IWW, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and many others who want to destroy the United State of America. We therefore believe it is now undeniable that they welcome those same anti-Capitalist, anti-American views, of those that they claim to be “one” with.

Cross Posted at: Rebel Pundit

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