Rooted in struggles against work conditions, May Day memorializes the government murder of five anarchists who were arrested in May 1886 after a labor demonstration protesting the police murder of strikers. The arrested were charged with hurling a bomb at police, despite prosecutor’s admission that they were not even present.
The Haymarket martyrs — as they have come to be known — were immigrants, workers, and organizers who refused to accept their role in the capitalist economy, to be treated like objects while others profited from their labor. They were targeted for their political speech, their organizing, and the threat to state and capital that their ideas represented.
May Day has been celebrated throughout the world as a day of remembrance of all who have been killed by state violence, and a celebration of all who resist it. Recently, May Day demonstrations have been re-popularized by immigrant youth-led walk-outs from school and work in opposition to racist immigration policing and laws. Last year saw one of the largest May Days in recent US history, with walkouts, occupations, attacks on corporate and government property, and large unpermitted demonstrations across the country.
Today, the US government—like all governments–continues to target radical thinkers and organizers, communities of color and immigrant communities, women and gender non-conforming people because we threaten their power. Their biggest weapon is instilling a culture of fear and isolation. We come together today to show that we are not alone and we are not afraid. The Haymarket martyrs advocated for their communities to build power through collective organization and fighting back. Let’s do the same!
for a world in which the streets are safe for everyone
for a world without bosses or bureaucrats
for a world without police and the violence they inflict