By Constance van Niekerk, Vereeniging SA
“We celebrate today the first of May, the International Workers’ Day; but the real workers’ day is the one on which all workers of the world are liberated from slavery and when they become partners instead of wage workers…
This should be the Workers’ International Day of Liberation throughout the world which deserves the true celebration.”
Former Libyan leader Colonel Mu’ammar Al-Qaddafi, 1 May 1978.
May Day or Labour Day or Workers’ Day has it’s origins in the 19th century. On the 4th of May 1886 there was a bombing in Chicago that killed seven police officers and four civilians, commonly known as the Haymarket Massacre. It was a response to the killings of peaceful demonstrators of workers striking for an eight-hour working day by police the day before. Three years later, a French socialist party created an international day to honour the labour movement and marked May 1 in commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre. Thus the birth of May Day/ Labour Day/ Workers’ Day, although some countries celebrate it on other days such as the United States which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September. For all the other countries celebrating today, HAPPY WORKERS’ Day.