Sunday, April 30, 2006

Marxists/Anarchists Pay Tribute to the Chicago Martyrs

It fascinates me that supporters of the 'immigrant cause' have selected Monday, May 1, to try to get America to stand up and notice them. It demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of American culture, a tribute to Marxism, and a tin ear as to how to appeal to a majority of Americans.

What is the significance of May 1? Why is that date International Workers' Day, as apart from any other day on the calendar? Because May 1 marks the day in 1886 when Chicago labor leaders organized a strike against the McCormick reaper plant. On May 3, two strikers were killed by police during a fight on the picket lines, and the next day anarchists organized a rally at Haymarket Square, where eight police officers were killed when a fused bomb exploded among them. Police opened fire and four protesters were killed. The Haymarket Riot was born.

Ultimately 8 leaders of Chicago's anarchist movement were arrested and convicted for the crime. All but one were of german ethnicity. They had all advocated violence to overthrow the current system. Four were hanged. These 8 anarchists became martyrs to leftists around the world, and May 1 became the day to celebrate their 'sacrifice.'

May 1 soon became 'May Day,' a time of celebration for anarchists and marxists,' and a symbol of the struggle of labor against capital. It is celebrated around the world, as the official commemmoration of the importance of labor.

I don't recall learning about the Haymarket Riot in school - though I imagine that in Chicago it's probably part of the standard history curriculum. The first I heard of it was in Mexico, where Mexican friends were stunned to learn that I knew nothing about it. They were able to recount details about the event, the 'martyrs,' and their significance in world history. I imagine that others who have lived outside the US have similar experiences, as International Workers' Day is celebrated in most other countries.

But if May Day was 'born' in the United States, why does the United States not commemorate it? You might as well ask why we don't 'celebrate' Pearl Harbor, or the Kent State riots. May Day is at best a sad and tragic day in US history. Further, the United States rejects the marxist/anarchist trappings that are now permanently associated with the day. Why does the United States celebrate Labor Day in September, and not on May 1? Because the United States and the US labor movement wanted to make clear their rejection of May Day's association with socialism, communism, and anarchism.

In considering the May Day protests about to get underway across the country - supposedly on behalf of immigrants - think about who else will be celebrating that day. A look at the Wikipedia page on the Haymarket riot prominently features links to a host of items on anarchism and socialism. A quick internet search turns up lots and lots of interesting sites.

Why is the Haymarket Riot ignored in the US, while it is celebrated around the globe? Because the event and the commemmoration stand for the victory of labor over capital and management - the victory of socialism (or anarchy, depending on your point of view). This is all antithetical to what the US stands for. So when the organizers and the marchers at today's protests tell you that they're just standing up for basic American values, ask them which ones.

Update: Check out Michelle's latest on May Day here.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I so wish I had seen this this morning, I wouldn't be calling today's protesters "hippies". Though calling anyone a "hippie" is fun.