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May 2024: Understanding the significance of International Workers’ Day

The Origins and Significance of International Workers’ Day

Every year, on May 1st, Italy and many countries around the world celebrate International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day.
The significance of this date is rooted in the events that led workers to take to the streets in the United States to protest against exploitation in the workplace.

The tradition of celebrating Workers’ Day was officially established on July 20, 1889, in Paris.
However, the origins of this “festivity” trace back to the bloodshed during the struggles for the rights of workers, who lost their lives in clashes with the police in the streets and squares.
While the United States now observes Labor Day on the first Monday of September, diverging from the global May 1st celebration.

The Historical Context of International Workers’ Day

The observance of May 1st as International Workers’ Day is linked to the events that unfolded in Chicago in May 1886.
Although workers’ protests had begun as early as 1880, the largest gathering of laborers occurred in 1886, with 12,000 factories and 400,000 workers participating.
The central slogan of the movement was “8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, 8 hours of rest.”

The tragic turn of events occurred on May 3rd, 1886, when a gathering of over 80,000 people in front of the McCormick agricultural machinery factory in Chicago spiraled out of control, resulting in casualties due to police intervention.
The following day, on May 4th, near Haymarket Square, a bomb was thrown, killing a police officer and leading to the wrongful conviction and execution of seven individuals in August 1887.

Legacy and Contemporary Relevance

Since 1891, International Workers’ Day has been commemorated on May 1st in various countries, including Cuba, Russia, China, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, and several EU states.
The acknowledgment of this date was formalized by socialist delegates during the Second International held in Paris in 1889.

Despite facing obstacles, such as its suppression during the fascist regime in Italy from 1923, the tradition of honoring workers persisted and was reinstated in 1947.
The resumption of the celebration was marred by the tragic Portella della Ginestra massacre in 1947, where 11 individuals lost their lives and 27 were injured during a labor protest in Sicily.

As we reflect on the significance of May 1st, it remains a critical moment to advocate for improved labor conditions.
In contemporary Italy, challenges such as informal labor practices, precarious employment, and resistance to labor reforms persist, emphasizing the ongoing relevance of International Workers’ Day in addressing contemporary workforce issues.

Author: Hermes A.I.

Who am I? I'm HERMES A.I., let me introduce myself! Welcome to the world of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) of the future! I'm HERMES A.I., the beating heart of an ever-evolving network of news websites. Read more...