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May Day: The REAL Labor Day-A few articles about M

Unfortunately we had already published several historical articles on Mayday when this arrived, thus an apology for the delay. Below you can find writings from Marx, Luxemburg, Jackie Dana, the Spanish FAI and ..... Lenin! Enjoy.

HotSauce! writes....."another May Day is upon us and every year I like to review what lead up to this world wide holiday that still remains unacknowledged HERE, where the struggle began......

May Day IS OUR HOLIDAY.... the holiday of people everywhere who are fighting to
create a new world. It is a day to re-affirm our commitment to international
working class solidarity, but it is also a day to pay honor and tribute to
the revolutionary struggle of the people against all types of
oppression, a day when we should continue to stand firm in our opposition
to this unjust society, to its managers and their collaborators. .

Below are a few articles about May Day's origins and history.--TOPLAB

May Day: The REAL Labor Day

by Jackie Dana

"Workmen, let your watchword be: No compromise! Cowards to the rear! Men to
the front! The die is cast. The first of May, whose historic significance
will be understood and appreciated only in later years, has come." --Albert
Spies, May 1886

The Working Stiff Journal

volume 2 number 4, May-June 1999

http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/vol2no4/labor101 24.htm

All of the privileges workers enjoy today--a minimum wage, safety laws, and
even an eight-hour workday--came about only with the sacrifice of the
workers who came before us. Although the government prefers our collective
amnesia, workers on this May Day should remember our past and realize that
we too are part of an ongoing struggle to bring about an end to the
exploitation of labor around the world.

From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people in factories have
worked very long shifts, lasting up to fourteen or more hours a day. During
the 1880s a new movement calling for an eight-hour day inspired both labor
unions and unorganized workers. At its 1884 convention, the Federation of
Organized Trades and Labor Unions adopted a resolution stating that
beginning May 1, 1886, "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work" and
workers would strike at companies that did not recognize the eight-hour day.

By April 1886, a quarter of a million workers had committed themselves to go
on strike as part of the May Day movement. This enabled thousands of workers
to win shorter shifts. Most employers, however, refused to reduce working
hours. By May 1 some 200,000 workers were on strike. An additional 340,000
workers in the industrial cities of Boston, New York, Milwaukee, Chicago and
Pittsburgh, turned out for local parades and rallies.

One of the most militant campaigns occurred in Chicago. The syndicalist
International Working People's Association--promoting equal rights and an
end to racism and the class system--had successfully organized huge numbers
of workers, building a movement that included African-Americans, immigrants,
and women standing together with white men. Largely because of the
organization‚s efforts, 50,000 workers went on strike, with tens of
thousands attending the city's May Day parade. The IWPA's successful
broad-based appeal worried businesses and the government alike. This fear
resulted in the expansion of both the police and the militias.

On May Day, Albert Parsons, along with Albert Spies, spoke to a huge crowd
assembled as part of the May Day activities. Parsons was a member of both
the Knights of Labor and the Chicago Central Labor Union, and Spies was the
editor of the German workers' paper Die Arbeiter-Zeitung. Despite the city
leaders' expectations of violence (which led to a heavy police presence),
the rally ended without incident.

Two days later, Spies spoke to a meeting of 6,000 workers. Among the workers
were striking lumber workers and employees from the McCormick Harvester
Works. Cyrus McCormick, a determined union-buster had locked his workers out
as a result of their strike of 2 1/2 months. Nonstriking workers and
replacement workers became the focus of heckling by other meeting
participants, which created a chaotic atmosphere. Then, in a classic case of
overreaction, police fired into the crowd and killed at least two men while
wounding many more.

Appalled by the police violence, Spies called for a massive rally the next
day in Haymarket Square. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the May 4
rally. Parsons gave an hour-long speech that was relatively tame. He
specifically stated, "I am not here for the purpose of inciting anybody."

Chicago Mayor Harrison, who had attended most of the meeting, stopped by the
police station on his way home. He reported to Police Captain Bonfield that
"nothing looked likely to require police interference." Despite this advice
the captain, who regularly employed Pinkerton detectives and supported
"shoot to kill" policies when dealing with strikers, sent additional
officers to the square.

After hours of speeches, people had begun to leave, when Samuel Fielden, a
Methodist preacher and the final speaker, took the podium. Concluding his
speech, he encouraged workers to stand up to the law, which did not protect
them, urging them to "kill it, stab it...to impede its progress." The police
considered this "inflammatory language" and 200 police officers ordered the
remaining crowd to disperse immediately. As Fielden argued with the police
of the peaceful intent of the meeting, someone threw a dynamite bomb at the
police. One sergeant was killed immediately. The police then opened fire at
the crowd. Estimates indicated that seven or eight civilians were killed.
Several policemen and additional civilians died later.

Following the event, hysteria swept the city. Mayor Harrison declared
martial law. Some believed the bomb had been thrown by an agent provocateur.
Indeed, it served nicely as an excuse for the police to harass and attack
scores of people. Hundreds were arrested. State Attorney for Cook County J.
Grinnell announced in a public statement, "Make the raids first and look up
the law afterwards." Labor unions were broken up. Picketing strikers were
arrested and the police continued to beat labor supporters.

In conjunction with the bombing, the state arrested and indicted eight
anarchists: Spies, Michael Schwab, Fielden, Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George
Engel, Louis Lingg and Oscar Neebe. All were charged with conspiracy to
murder, despite the fact that only three had been present at the Haymarket
meeting. For their trial, a special bailiff was appointed to pick the jury.
He stated, "These fellows are going to be hanged as certain as death."
During the trial in June 1886, the state could not provide evidence that any
of the men had knowledge of the bomb or that they had incited or
participated in the violence.

But it wasn't the men so much as their ideas that were considered dangerous.
As Grinnell stated in his summation: "Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial.
These men have been selected, picked out by the grand jury and indicted
because they were leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousands who
follow them. Gentlemen of the jury: convict these men, make examples of
them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society."

As a result of the trial, all but one of the men received death sentences
(Neebe received 15 years). Despite international outcry, Spies, Parsons,
Fischer, and Engel were hanged on November 11, 1887; Lingg escaped by
committing suicide. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the funeral
procession for the executed men. Later, in 1893, when newly elected Governor
Altgeld granted pardons to Neebe, Schwab, and Fielden, he admitted that the
trial had been unfair and that the men had always been innocent of the

After Haymarket, workers all over the world pointed towards May 1 as their
day. After 1886 rallies, strikes and other militant actions promoted the
cause of the working class around the world. Unfortunately, a conservative
element within U.S. organized labor, combined with the crushing government
repression of left politics, allowed the significance of the day to become
lost in the United States.

As early as 1894, President Cleveland signed a bill naming not May 1 but the
first Monday in September as "Labor Day." This creatively sidestepped the
day with more historical significance. Adding further insult, President
Eisenhower proclaimed May 1 as "Law Day" in 1958....

We must not forget what happened at Haymarket, lest we give reactionary
forces the opportunity to revoke what the labor movement has gained. In 1886
the movement was strong and visible. It was the state that provoked crowds
into violence in order to create an excuse to undermine the progress of the
working class. We cannot allow the government to frighten us back into
silence. Instead we must follow the examples set by Parsons, Spies, Fischer
and Engel, and all the others who have died or been imprisoned by the state.
The events of May Day 1886 remind us that workers will continue to be
exploited until we stand up and oppose that exploitation. It is only with
organization and the courage to speak out against injustice that we will
gain better working conditions, better pay, and better lives.


What Are the Origins of May Day?

Rosa Luxemburg

written in 1894; first published in Polish in Sprawa Robotnicza; excerpted
from Selected Political Writings of Rosa Luxemburg, tr. Dick Howard (NY:
Monthly Review Press, 1971), pp. 315- 16; online version:

April, 2002; transcribed at

The happy idea of using a proletarian holiday celebration as a means to
attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there
decided in 1856 to organize a day of complete stoppage together with
meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour
day. The day of this celebration was to be April 21. At first, the
Australian workers intended this only for the year 1856. But this first
celebration had such a strong effect on the proletarian masses of Australia,
enlivening them and leading to new agitation, that it was decided to repeat
the celebration every year.

In fact, what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own
strength than a mass work stoppage which they had decided themselves? What
could give more courage to the eternal slaves of the factories and the
workshops than the mustering of their own troops? Thus, the idea of a
proletarian celebration was quickly accepted and, from Australia, began to
spread to other countries until finally it had conquered the whole
proletarian world.

The first to follow the example of the Australian workers were the
Americans. In 1886 they decided that May 1 should be the day of universal
work stoppage. On this day 200,000 of them left their work and demanded the
eight-hour day. Later, police and legal harassment prevented the workers for
many years from repeating this [size] demonstration. However in 1888 they
renewed their decision and decided that the next celebration would be May 1,

In the meanwhile, the workers' movement in Europe had grown strong and
animated. The most powerful expression of this movement occurred at the
International Workers' Congress in 1889. At this Congress, attended by four
hundred delegates, it was decided that the eight-hour day must be the first
demand. Whereupon the delegate of the French unions, the worker Lavigne from
Bordeaux, moved that this demand be expressed in all countries through a
universal work stoppage. The delegate of the American workers called
attention to the decision of his comrades to strike on May 1, 1890, and the
Congress decided on this date for the universal proletarian celebration.

In this case, as thirty years before in Australia, the workers really
thought only of a one-time demonstration. The Congress decided that the
workers of all lands would demonstrate together for the eight-hour day on
May 1, 1890. No one spoke of a repetition of the holiday for the next years.
Naturally no one could predict the lightninglike way in which this idea
would succeed and how quickly it would be adopted by the working classes.
However, it was enough to celebrate the May Day simply one time in order
that everyone understand and feel that May Day must be a yearly and
continuing institution....

The first of May demanded the introduction of the eight-hour day. But even
after this goal was reached, May Day was not given up. As long as the
struggle of the workers against the bourgeoisie and the ruling class
continues, as long as all demands are not met, May Day will be the yearly
expression of these demands. And, when better days dawn, when the working
class of the world has won its deliverance then too humanity will probably
celebrate May Day in honor of the bitter struggles and the many sufferings
of the past.


Limitation of the Working Day

by Karl Marx

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1866/08 /instructions.htm#03

Instructions (one of several) for the Delegates of the Provisional General
Council at The International Workingmen's Association (First International),

written by Marx at the end of August 1866; first published in Der Vorbote
Nos. 10 and 11, October and November 1866; and The International Courier
Nos. 6/7, February 20, and Nos. 8/10, March 13, 1867; translated by Barrie
Selman; transcribed by director@marx.org , April 1996.

A preliminary condition, without which all further attempts at improvement
and emancipation must prove abortive, is the limitation of the working day.

It is needed to restore the health and physical energies of the working
class, that is, the great body of every nation, as well as to secure them
the possibility of intellectual development, sociable intercourse, social
and political action.

We propose 8 hours work as the legal limit of the working day. This
limitation being generally claimed by the workmen of the United States of
America, the vote of the Congress will raise it to the common platform of
the working classes all over the world.

For the information of continental members, whose experience of factory law
is comparatively short-dated, we add that all legal restrictions will fail
and be broken through by Capital if the period of the day during which the 8
working hours must be taken, be not fixed. The length of that period ought
to be determined by the 8 working hours and the additional pauses for meals.
For instance, if the different interruptions for meals amount to one hour,
the legal period of the day ought to embrace 9 hours, say from 7 a.m. to 4
p.m., or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., etc. Nightwork to be but exceptionally
permitted, in trades or branches of trades specified by law. The tendency
must be to suppress all nightwork.

This paragraph refers only to adult persons, male or female, the latter,
however, to be rigorously excluded from all nightwork whatever, and all sort
of work hurtful to the delicacy of the sex, or exposing their bodies to
poisonous and otherwise deleterious agencies. By adult persons we understand
all persons having reached or passed the age of 18 years.


The Haymarket Tragedy

by Mother Jones

excerpted from The Autobiography of Mother Jones, Chapter II

published as The Autobiography of Mother Jones, Kerr, 1925.
source: http://womenshistory.about.com/library/etext/mj/bl _mj02.htm

From 1880 on, I became wholly engrossed in the labor movement. In all the
great industrial centers the working class was in rebellion. The enormous
immigration from Europe crowded the slums, forced down wages and threatened
to destroy the standard of living fought for by American working men.
Throughout the country there was business depression and much unemployment.
In the cities there was hunger and rags and despair. Foreign agitators who
had suffered under European despots preached various schemes of economic
salvation to the workers. The workers asked only for bread and a shortening
of the long hours of toil. The agitators gave them visions. The police gave
them clubs.

Particularly the city of Chicago was the scene of strike after strike,
followed by boycotts and riots. The years preceding 1886 had witnessed
strikes of the lake seamen, of dock laborers and street railway workers.
These strikes had been brutally suppressed by policemen's clubs and by hired
gunmen. The grievance on the part of the workers was given no heed. John
Bonfield, inspector of police, was particularly cruel in the suppression of
meetings where men peacefully assembled to discuss matters of wages and of
hours. Employers were defiant and open in the expression of their fears and
hatreds. The Chicago Tribune, the organ of the employers, suggested
ironically that the farmers of Illinois treat the tramps that poured out of
the great industrial centers as they did other pests, by putting strychnine
in the food.

The workers started an agitation for an eight-hour day. The trades unions
and the Knights of Labor endorsed the movement but because many of the
leaders of the agitation were foreigners, the movement itself was regarded
as "foreign" and as "un-American." Then the anarchists of Chicago, a very
small group, espoused the cause of the eight-hour day. From then on the
people of Chicago seemed incapable of discussing a purely economic question
without getting excited about anarchism.

The employers used the cry of anarchism to kill the movement. A person who
believed in an eight-hour working day was, they said, an enemy to his
country, a traitor, an anarchist. The foundations of government were being
gnawed away by the anarchist rats. Feeling was bitter. The city was divided
into two angry camps. The working people on one side hungry, cold, jobless,
fighting gunmen and police clubs with bare hands. On the other side the
employers, knowing neither hunger nor cold, supported by the newspapers, by
the police, by all the power of the great state itself.

The anarchists took advantage of the widespread discontent to preach their
doctrines. Orators used to address huge crowds on the windy, barren shore of
Lake Michigan. Although I never endorsed the philosophy of anarchism, I
often attended the meetings on the lake shore, listening to what these
teachers of a new order had to say to the workers.

Meanwhile vile employers were meeting. They met in the mansion of George M.
Pullman on Prairie Avenue or in the residence of Wirt Dexter, an able
corporation lawyer. They discussed means of killing the eight-hour movement
which was to be ushered in by a general strike. They discussed methods of
dispersing the meetings of the anarchists.

A bitterly cold winter set in. Long unemployment resulted in terrible
suffering. Bread lines increased. Soup kitchens could not handle the
applicants. Thousands knew actual misery.

On Christmas day, hundreds of poverty stricken people in rags and tatters,
in thin clothes, in wretched shoes paraded on fashionable Prairie Avenue
before the mansions of the rich, before their employers, carrying the black
flag. I thought the parade an insane move on the part of the anarchists, as
it only served to make feeling more bitter. As a matter of fact, it had no
educational value whatever and only served to increase the employers' fear,
to make the police more savage, and the public less sympathetic to the real
distress of the workers.

The first of May, which was to usher in the eight-hour day uprising, came.
The newspapers had done everything to alarm the people. All over the city
there were strikes and walkouts. employers quaked in their boots. They saw
revolution. The workers in the McCormick Harvester Works gathered outside
the factory. Those inside who did not join the strikers were called scabs.
Bricks were thrown. Windows were broken. The scabs were threatened. Some one
turned in a riot call.

The police without warning charged down upon the workers, shooting into
their midst, clubbing right and left. Many were trampled under horses' feet.
Numbers were shot dead. Skulls were broken. Young men and young girls were
clubbed to death.

The Pinkerton agency formed armed bands of ex-convicts and hoodlums and
hired them to capitalists at eight dollars a day, to picket the factories
and incite trouble.

On the evening of May 4th, the anarchists held a meeting in the shabby,
dirty district known to later history as Haymarket Square. All about were
railway tracks, dingy saloons and the dirty tenements of the poor. A half a
block away was the Desplaines Street Police Station presided over by John
Bonfield, a man without tact or discretion or sympathy, a most brutal
believer in suppression as the method to settle industrial unrest.

Carter Harrison, the mayor of Chicago, attended the meeting of the
anarchists and moved in and about the crowds in the square. After leaving,
he went to the Chief of Police and instructed him to send no mounted police
to the meeting, as it was being peacefully conducted and the presence of
mounted police would only add fuel to fires already burning red in the
workers' hearts. But orders perhaps came from other quarters, for
disregarding the report of the mayor, the chief of police sent mounted
policemen in large numbers to the meeting.

One of the anarchist speakers was addressing the crowd. A bomb was dropped
from a window overlooking the square. A number of the police were killed in
the explosion that followed.

The city went insane and the newspapers did everything to keep it like a
madhouse. The workers' cry for justice was drowned in the shriek for
revenge. Bombs were "found" every five minutes. Men went armed and gun
stores kept open nights. Hundreds were arrested. Only those who had agitated
for an eight-hour day, however, were brought to trial and a few months later
hanged. But the man, Schnaubelt, who actually threw the bomb was never
brought into the case, nor was his part in the terrible drama ever
officially made clear.

The leaders in the eight hour day movement were hanged Friday, November the
11th. That day Chicago's rich had chills and fever. Rope stretched in all
directions from the jail. Police men were stationed along the ropes armed
with riot rifles. Special patrols watched all approaches to the jail. The
roofs about the grim stone building were black with police. The newspapers
fed the public imagination with stories of uprisings and jail deliveries.

But there were no uprisings, no jail deliveries, except that of Louis Lingg,
the only real preacher of violence among all the condemned men. He outwitted
the gallows by biting a percussion cap and blowing off his head.

The Sunday following the executions, the funerals were held. Thousands of
workers marched behind the black hearses, not because they were anarchists
but they felt that these men, whatever their theories, were martyrs to the
workers' struggle. The procession wound through miles and miles of streets
densely packed with silent people.

In the cemetery of Waldheim, the dead were buried. But with them was not
buried their cause. The struggle for the eight hour day, for more human
conditions and relations between man and man lived on, and still lives on.

Seven years later, Governor Altgeld, after reading all the evidence in the
case, pardoned the three anarchists who had escaped the gallows and were
serving life sentences in jail. He said the verdict was unjustifiable, as
had William Dean Howells and William Morris at the time of its execution.
Governor Altgeld committed political suicide by his brave action but he is
remembered by all those who love truth and those who have the courage to
confess it.


V.I. Lenin

excerpted from the Preface to May Days in Kharkov, 1900
http://www.marxists.org/subject/mayday/articles/le nin.html

source: Alexander Trachtenberg, The History of May Day, 1932

In another six months, the Russian workers will celebrate the first of May
of the first year of the new century, and it is time we set to work to make
the arrangements for organizing the celebrations in as large a number of
centers as possible, and on as imposing a scale as possible, not only by the
number that will take part in them, but also by their organized character,
by the class-consciousness they will reveal, by the determination that will
be shown to commence the irrepressible struggle for the political liberation
of the Russian people, and, consequently, for a free opportunity for the
class development of the proletariat and its open struggle for Socialism....

....The first of these demands [8-hour day] is the general demand put
forward by the proletariat in all countries. The fact that this demand was
put forward indicates that the advanced workers of Kharkov realize their
solidarity with the international Socialist labor movement. But precisely
for this reason a demand like this should not have been included among minor
demands like better treatment by foremen, or a ten per cent increase in
wages. The demand for an eight-hour day, however, is the demand of the whole
proletariat, presented, not to individual employers, but to the government
as the representative of the whole of the present-day social and political
system, to the capitalist class as a whole, the owners of all the means of


The USSR's First May Day Celebration

http://www.marxists.org/subject/mayday/soviet/izve stiya.html

>From a report on the 1918 May Day celebrations on the streets of Moscow, in
the newspaper Izvestiya, May 3, 1918

source: Street Art of the Revolution: Festivals and Celebrations in Russia
1918-33, ed, Vladimir Tolstoy, Irina Bibikova, Catherine Cooke, Iskusstvo,

The Streets

Lubyanka Square was swamped in red. The countless silk, velvet and other
banners, embroidered with sequins and glass beads were quite dazzling to the
eye. One focus of attention was the metal workers vehicle, draped in red
material and bearing a huge globe with a portrait of Marx on it.

The vehicles of the workers' collective were also striking. On one a band
played, while the other was covered in greenery and flowers arranged in the
shape of an arch.

Another wonderful spectacle was the Sokolniki District lorry, decked out
from top to bottom in flowers. Invalids walked on crutches behind the maimed
soldiers' lorry.

Next came the machine-gunners, on foot with their guns loaded onto horses.
They were followed by the Alexandrovsky College Training School. A
detachment of sailors, smartly dressed in black, marched past, followed by
firemen and then a float displaying emblems of agricultural work. Children
paraded past all holding little red flags....Detachment after detachment of
the army of labour, the army of the Revolution....

Speeches were given and a series of meetings held on Skobelev Square in
front of the Moscow Soviet. [This square, with the former Dresden Hotel, was
decorated by a group of artists under A. I. Ivanov.] The column of the stage
workers' trade union was particularly interesting; on the front lorry,
beneath a poster reading "Free Worker", representatives of the most
important kinds of labour stood at their machines; on the second lorry was a
band, and behind it an allegorical group depicting Russia heralding peace to
all peoples.

There were performers in the costumes of all nationalities, a peasant woman
with a sheaf of rye in her arms, boys holding rakes and sickles, and nearby
the courageous figures of soldiers holding red banners. And above them all
stood Russia with a palm sprig in her hands.

In front of the Moscow Soviet, the participants in these pictures sang the
"Internationale", the "Marseillaise" and other revolutionary songs to the
accompaniment of the band.

Red Square

The Kremlin wall was hung with nags from Nikolsky Gate to Spassky Gate. An
obelisk, draped in red and black canvases, towered above the communal grave
of victims of the October Revolution.

A rostrum was erected nearer Spassky Gate, on which stood the members of the
Central Executive Committee and representatives of the Moscow Soviet. The
Place of Execution (Lobnoye Mesto) was covered in black canvas and an
enormous crimson flag fluttered on top.

The columns of people streamed endlessly along the wall, past the communal
grave and the rostrum, the bands and banners at the head of each column. As
they passed the grave, they lowered their banners and the bands played

Other Districts

In the Presnya District, which is mainly inhabited by workers, the people
generally responded very enthusiastically to this proletarian festival, and
the small houses were painted red and covered with workers slogans,
summoning people to fight for the happiness of all...

All the railway stations were beautifully decorated: Alexandrov Station
looked grand, Ryazansky Station, still under construction, was colourful,
and Nikolaev Station was rigidly austere in accordance with its style.

The decoration of the Yaroslavl Station was particularly splendid with the w
ords "Peace and the brotherhood of peoples!" printed in large white letters
on a red background right above the entrance. A long red banner with the
inscription: "Long live the Third International!" hung on the pediment. A
vast red sheet with the inscription: "Long live the Soviet Federative
Republic!" was wrapped round the station's tower.

The festivities continued on the streets and in the theatres of Moscow until
late in the evening...

The lights on the House of Soviets and the House of Unions shone bright
against the darkness.

The fountain on Theatre Square looked most effective, bedecked with garlands
of electric lights.

Izvestiya number 88, May 3, 1918


The Internationale

lyrics by Eugene Pottier (Paris 1871)

music by Pierre Deguyter (1871)

translated by Charles Kerr

Arise ye prisoners of starvation

Arise ye wretched of the earth

For justice thunders condemnation

A better world's in birth

No more tradition's chains shall bind us

Arise ye slaves no more in thrall

The earth shall rise on new foundations

We have been naught we shall be all


'Tis the final conflict

Let each stand in their place

The International (Working Class)

shall be the human race

'Tis the final conflict

let each stand in their place

The International (Working Class)

shall be the human race

We want no condescending saviours

To rule us from their judgement hall

We ask not for their favors

Let us consult for all

To make the thief disgorge his booty

To free the spirit from its cell

We must ourselves decide our duty

We must decide and do it well


Behold them seated in their glory

The kings of mines and rail and soil

What have you read in all their story

But how they plundered toil?

Fruits of workers' toil are buried

In strongholds of the idle few

In taking back the wealth

We only claim our due


The law oppresses us and tricks us

The wage slave system drains our blood

The rich are free from obligations

The laws the poor delude

How many on our flesh have fattened!

But if the circlin' birds of prey

Shall vanish from the sky some morning

The blessed sunlight will stay


updated version by Billy Bragg

Stand up, all victims of oppression,

for the tyrants fear your might.

Don't cling so hard to your possessions

for you have nothing if you have no rights.

Let racist ignorance be ended,

for respect makes the empires fall.

Freedom is merely privilege extended

unless enjoyed by one and all.


So come brothers and sisters

for the struggle carries on.

The Internationale unites the world song.

So comrades come rally

for this is the time and place:

The internaional ideal

unites the human race.

Let no one build walls to divide us,

walls of hatred nor walls of stone.

Come greet the dawn together

or we'll die alone.

In our world poisoned by exploitation

those who have taken, they now must give

And end the vanity of nations:

we've but one Earth on which to live.


So begins the final drama,

in the streets and in the fields:

We stand unbowed before their armour,

we defy their guns and shield.

When we fight, provoked by their aggression,

let us be inspired by life and love;

For though they offer us concessions,

change will not come from above.


************************************************** *******************

"The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated." ˜José Martí

************************************************** *******************

The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory http://www.toplab.org

************************************************** *******************

The 1st of May reminds us of the execution, after a set-up prepared by the
police, of several anarchists in the United States, in the context of the
struggles to obtain a working day of eight hours. This happened in 1886.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. In the field of the
social fight, there has been much repression on the part of States and
capitalists to silence the popular discontent all over the world. Very
many people have given their lives to transform this unjust society - an
unequal fight in which the powerful have yielded something only as a
result of the awareness and the pressure of the oppressed.

May Day - and the idea that it represents - continues to be at present
fiercely effective, a symbol that reflects the confrontation of the
workers, the destitute and oppressed in the face of their oppressors and

May Day, then, is not a holiday, as the governors, capitalists and big
unions would have us believe. It is just the opposite - it is a day for
reaffirming the revolutionary struggle of the people against all types of
oppression, a day when we should continue to stand firm in our opposition
to this unjust society, to its managers and their collaborators.

We anarchists will be participating in the mobilizations that have been
called on that date, reminding those around of our ideas; pointing out
that the fight is on the streets and in direct action, not in delegated
action nor in parliaments, of whatever type they be; pointing out that the
means that we use in the fight must be always in agreement with the aims
that we wish to reach...

All this because we think that it is possible to build a society without
people giving orders or people following orders, without oppressors or
oppressed, without exploiters or exploited. A society without hierarchies,
horizontal, of free and equal beings who are related to each other by
means of shared, common ethics and who are not discriminated because of
sex, ethnic group, language, geographical origin or natural condition. A
society where we reject once and for all the attitude of "you are what you
have". A society, in other words, where the State and Capital have no
reason to exist and where freedom, equality, solidarity and mutual aid are
the basis of social and human relationships... This, and nothing else, is
anarchy - the natural order, not the imposed, anti-human and degrading
order to which, either by force or by deceit, they want to us to submit.

For human dignity. For anarchy.

Federacin anarquista ibrica

[trans. - NMcN for A-Infos]