May Day

17th Baisakh 1426

1st May 2019 - Wednesday

Voltaire said, " Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose except your chains but a big world to win." These words were not to show pity to the working class but to remind them that they are being denied of their basic rights. The working class finally revolted & it paid off. May 1 become a day recognized around the world as a working class holiday, a day of solidarity between workers of all nationalities.

May Day was born from the struggle for the eight-hour day. In early 1810, utopian socialist Robert Owen of England had raised the demand for a ten-hour day, and instituted it in his socialist enterprise at New Lanark. For the rest of the English workers, progress was slower. Women and children were granted the ten-hour day in 1847. French workers won the 12-hour day after the February revolution of 1848. In the United States, where May Day was born, Philadelphia carpenters struck in 1791 for the ten-hour day. By the 1830s, this had become a general demand. In 1835, workers in Philadelphia organized a general strike, led by Irish coal heavers. Their banners read, "From 6 to 6, ten hours work and two hours for meals. Already in this period, the demand for an eight-hour day was being raised. In 1836, after winning the ten-hour day in Philadelphia, the National Laborer declared: "We have no desire to perpetuate the ten-hour system, for we believe that eight hours' daily would suffice".