Posts Tagged ‘may day’

The attack on May day is an act of cultural and class vandalism

05/03/2011, 07:56:45 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

The Labour movement has many factions – but it also has many common themes which unite it. The parties widespread fidelity to its cultural traditions often bring the left and the right of the party together. It is not uncommon to see comrades, who I regard as being on the right-wing, defending the link between Labour and the trade unions, for example. It gives you that warm feeling inside which says “I belong to something that is both political and bigger than politics.” Hopefully comrades from all wings of the Labour family and beyond will come together to defend May day.

The celebration of May day as a public holiday pre-dates the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886, and it was incorporated into the labour movement’s calendar by the Second International as a day of protest. As well as its links with labour and the working class movement it incorporates other traditional threads. There are rural celebrations marking the arrival of Spring and Christian celebrations for the Feast of St Philip & St James (who just happen to be the patron saints of workers).

What is most worrying about the Tory-led government’s proposals to move May day is the sheer pettiness and pointlessness of it all. I can’t think of any other motivation than childish, class-driven, spite. TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, nailed the government’s motivation when he said it’s:

“all about satisfying Tory backwoodsmen who have a bee in their bonnet because of May day’s association with international labour day”.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon