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From: Michael getorganized@igc.org
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2005
CFL Reclaims May Day
A Labor Activism Alert from the Cultural Workers Consort...

I received this alert from the SPUSA list, however it originates 
with the  Chicago Federation of Labor. It is no surprise that 
the SP, or any other left group, would celebrate May Day, however 
it is greatly exciting when any AFL-CIO state federation does so. 
Many of us have made valiant attempts to have city, state or area 
Labor Feds engage in an official  May Day rally, march or event 
of any kind, but they generally will not agree. Happily, Chicago's 
Lab Fed is reclaiming May Day and celebrating it in its actual 
birthplace. Haymarket Square will once again be the site of a May 
Day action. Just as UNITE! has for many years acknowledged the 
site of the Triangle Factory Fire on that tragedy's aniversary, 
the Haymarket Martyrs will be now be officially acknowledged. But 
it appears that this May Day celebration will go well beyond a 
retrospective; with the right nurturing, it may become the 
standard celebration of workers. Labor Feds all over, and the 
AFL-CIO itself, should take note. The original May Day was the 
culmination of the fight for the 8-hour workday, as well as the 
struggle for decent pay and working conditions. No battle could 
have more justification.
Surely, there will be other May Day events going on this year, 
whether or not they be organized by such "official" groups. As 
one who has organized a number of May Day concerts/rallies over 
the last few years, I am in total support of such independent 
ventures. Further, an argument can be made that once the "official" 
acknowledgement of May Day is made, much of the radical edge will 
be worn off. But it is also vitally important to consider that May 
Day is the real Labor Day---in most countries it is the only one. 
Yet, here, where May Day was birthed (or, perhaps, where it first 
exploded upon the people), it has been demonized. Worse, its been 
erased from the general memory. May Day rallies and parades 
occured all over the US for decades but they came to a dead stop 
during the Red scare of the 1950s. So, those who died during the 
3-day riot that surrounded the first May Day in 1886 became 
marginalized as dissidents, conspirators and terrorists. But we 
never forgot them. And, it is with this in mind that I am happy 
to commend Chicago's Labor Fed, as well as the other sponsoring 
organizations, for an important first step in bringing justice 
to the memory of May Day.
I have also been made aware of a wonderful 3-day event in Albany 
NY and, of course, the large-scale rally which will occur in 
Central Park in NYC this year. In the case of the latter, it taps 
most generously into the radical heart of May Day and it becomes 
a vehicle for anti-war activists, alongside we in the Labor movement.
Happy May Day sisters and brothers!
In Solidarity,
 John Pietaro
Attention Working Families!
 Celebrate the Great May Day Celebration
 Reclaiming The Original Labor Day in Chicago!
Sunday, May 1st at 2:00 PM
 at the site of the NEW HAYMARKET MEMORIAL 
Des Plaines Ave. between Randolph and Lake Street
Workers all over the world recognize May 1st (May Day) as Labor
 Day because of the tragic events that occurred right here in
 Chicago at Haymarket Square in 1886 that have come to symbolize
 our nation's struggle to uphold workers' rights to organize and
 to exercise their constitutional right to free speech and

Now 119 years later, the Chicago labor community is gathering
 for the first time on May Day to honor its past, pay tribute to
 its fallen heroes, and continue to promote and fight for many of
 the same workplace issues that the Haymarket Martyrs defended
 with their own lives. 

Join your fellow workers at this event, which will include
 speeches by a distingui! shed group of union leaders, religious
 clergy and labor historians. Union musicians will provide
 entertainment as well. And a delegation of Colombian trade
 unionists will be on hand to install the first international
 plaque on the new Haymarket Memorial.
This event is being called by the Illinois Labor History
 Society, the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the Illinois
 AFL-CIO, Jobs with Justice and the Chicago Religious Leadership
 Network on Latin America.

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