1886, MAY 1: DEMAND: 8 HOURS WORK PER DAY.
2014:UFBU DEMANDS: REGULATED WORKINGHOURS.
Unite and fight – the onlyway.
Struggles never take rest!!
Let us know History of May Day!
(Selected portion of an article:Read with Patience/Passion)
The history of the world holiday on the 1st May - May Day, or International Workers Day, held in commemoration of four anarchists executed for struggling for an 8-hour day.
Originally a pagan holiday, the roots of the modern May Day bank holiday are in the fight for the eight-hour working day in Chicago in 1886, and the subsequent execution of innocent anarchist workers.
In 1887, four Chicago anarchists were executed; a fifth cheated the hangman by killing himself in prison. Three more were to spend 6 years in prison until pardoned by Governor Altgeld who said the trial that convicted them was characterised by "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge". The state had, in the words of the prosecution put "Anarchy is on trial" and hoped their deaths would also be the death of the anarchist idea.
The anarchists were trade union organisers and May Day became an international workers day to remember their sacrifice. They were framed on false charges of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a demonstration in Chicago. This was part of a strike demanding an 8 hour day involving 400,000 workers in Chicago that started May 1st 1886 .
It began over a century ago when the American Federation of Labour adopted an historic resolution which asserted that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labour from and after May 1st, 1886".
In the months prior to this date workers in their thousands were drawn into the struggle for the shorter day. Skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native and immigrant were all becoming involved.
In Chicago alone 400,000 were out on strike. A newspaper of that city reported that "no smoke curled up from the tall chimneys of the factories and mills, and things had assumed a Sabbath-like appearance". This was the main centre of the agitation, and here the anarchists were in the forefront of the labour movement. It was to no small extent due to their activities that Chicago became an outstanding trade union centre and made the biggest contribution to the eight-hour movement.
Eventually eight men stood trial for being "accessories to murder". They were Spies, Fielden, Parsons, and five other anarchists who were influential in the labour movement, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Michael Schwab, Louis Lingg and Oscar Neebe.
The trial opened on June 21st 1886 in the criminal court of Cooke County. The candidates for the jury were not chosen in the usual manner of drawing names from a box. In this case a special bailiff, nominated by state's attorney Grinnell, was appointed by the court to select the candidates. The defence was not allowed to present evidence that the special bailiff had publicly claimed "I am managing this case and I know what I am about. These fellows are going to be hanged as certain as death".
That the eight were on trial for their anarchist beliefs and trade union activities was made clear from the outset. The trial closed as it had opened, as was witnessed by the final words of Attorney Grinnell's summation speech to the jury. "Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial. These men have been selected, picked out by the Grand Jury, and indicted because they were leaders. There are no more guilty than the thousands who follow them. Gentlemen of the jury; convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society."
On August 19th seven of the defendants were sentenced to death, and Neebe to 15 years in prison.
600,000 working people turned out for their funeral. The campaign to free Neebe, Schwab and Fielden continued.
On June 26th 1893 Governor Altgeld set them free. He made it clear he was not granting the pardon because he thought the men had suffered enough, but because they were innocent of the crime for which they had been tried. They and the hanged men had ben the victims of "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge".
When Spies addressed the court after he had been sentenced to die, he was confident that this conspiracy would not succeed
"If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement... the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil in misery and want, expect salvation - if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread on a spark, but there and there, behind you - and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out".
What are the conditions today?
(Selected portion from AIBEA circular)
Profit before people – the wrong way:
Uncontrolled greed for profit and wealth has landed them in the present crisis. They decried that Government’s intervention in business is a crime but now the very same advocates of free-market are crying to the Governments to bail them out. When they were making billions of profit, it went into their personal assets but when they are in difficulties, they want the Governments and the common man to bear their burden. High-tower priests who were propagating the supremacy of neo-liberal policies are today making confessional statements that all their policies went wrong.
Globalisation only to pauperise the poor:
The medicines prescribed by IMF & World Bank have not worked, rather the disease has been further aggravated. Global poverty has increased. Developing countries are suffering from huge external debts. Globalisation policies have only helped in transfer of wealth from poor nations to rich nations and from poor masses to the wallets of the billionaires. Multinational and trans-national corporations have become the factories for this process and Governments have become the perpetrators, and willing colluders.
Why rob Peter to pay Paul:
We also find that the entire burden of the crisis is being passed onto the shoulders of the workers and masses who are the victims of the crisis – who are losing their jobs, whose jobs are under threat, whose living conditions have been affected, whose wages are under stress.
That is why in this year’s MAY DAY, it is necessary for us to take a pledge to defeat these policies of neo-liberal globalisation and demand:
Reversal of imperialist globalisation policies.
Implementation of pro-people, pro-worker policies.
To save the nation and safeguard the people and workers.
OUR DEMAND IS: People’s money for people’s welfare – not for private profiteering and corporate loot.