I am a worker, have been a worker since the age of 13, and now a business owner/capitalist and worker combo sort of person. I have always been at loggerheads to understand the true meaning of this Workers Day celebration and often just saw it as another manipulated “holiday” in our somewhat cluttered holiday calendar. Once you become a business owner, you somehow end up on the other side of the fence, and are constantly wary of workers taking advantage of your good nature! It’s a smug approach to entitlement, but it exists and is easy to justify. Only by reading up on the various versions of history of the worker movement did I truly get to understand the depth of the struggle, a struggle that by no means is yet over.
In our modern societies today we can take so much for granted, then we witness the abuses to workers, some children, some mere slaves, which are still happening in our own emerging economies and even in some so-called developed economies.
When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labour only to be beaten down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current situation cannot be taken for granted – people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people cannot be forgotten, or we will end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.
Maybe it’s not just another holiday after all, and like all such recognition, I hope our so-called civilisation actually takes the time to understand its relevance and not just jump on the populace bandwagon and use these days for popular political gain.
Viva la revolution!!!!