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Sunday, May 1, 2011

International Workers' Day

International Workers' Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labour movement and left-wing movements. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions throughout most of the world. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries.

In Argentina, Workers' Day is an official holiday. Even when it is associated with labor unions, almost all workers tend to respect it.
In Brazil, Workers' Day is an official holiday, and unions commemorate it with day-long public events. It is also when salaries for most professional categories and the minimum wage are traditionally readjusted.
Although celebrations by socialist, anarchist and anti-globalization activists occur on May 1 in Canada, the government of Prime Minister John Sparrow David Thompson declared in 1894 the first Monday in September as Canada's official Labour Day. May Day, however, remains an important day of trade-union and community group protest in the province of Quebec. Celebration of the International Labour Day (or Workers' Day, fête des travailleurs) in Montreal goes back to 1906, organised by the Mutual Aid circle. The tradition had a renaissance at the time of a mass strike of 1972. On the 1973 May Day, the first contemporary demonstration was organised by the major trade union confederations. Over 30,000 trade unionists took part in this demonstration.
United States
In the United States, efforts to officially switch Labor Day to the international date of May 1 have failed. In 1921, following the Russian Revolution of 1917, May 1 was promoted as "Americanization Day" by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other groups as a counter to communists. It became an annual event, sometimes featuring large rallies. In 1949, Americanization Day was renamed to Loyalty Day. In 1958, Congress declared Loyalty Day a national holiday; that same year, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1 Law Day as well.
Some unions and union locals in the United States — especially in urban areas with strong support for organized labor — have attempted to maintain a connection with more radical labor traditions through their own unofficial observances on May 1. Some of the largest examples of this occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when thousands of workers marched in May Day parades in New York's Union Square. Smaller far left groups have also tried to keep the May Day tradition alive with more radical demonstrations in such cities as New York and Seattle, without major union backing.

In Bangladesh, it is observed on May 1st and is a Government holiday.
In the People's Republic of China, May 1 marked the start of one of the country's three "Golden Weeks". Three days off work were given, and one of the surrounding weekends was, for no more than 3 days. From 2008, only one day would still be given, with the other two days being rescheduled on Qingming in early April and Duanwu in early June, respectively.
International Labor Day is a day observed as all over the world in Pakistan on May 1 to commemorate the social and economic achievements of workers. Notable events are organized in various cities under the banner of 'Pakistani Trade Union Defense Campaign', a popular front of Marxist revolutionary organization The Struggle.
The first May Day celebration in India was organised in Madras by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane beach. The Hindu newspaper, published from Madras reported,
The Labour Kisan party has introduced May Day celebrations in Chennai. Comrade Singaravelar presided over the meeting. A resolution was passed stating that the government should declare May Day as a holiday. The president of the party explained the non-violent principles of the party. There was a request for financial aid. It was emphasized that workers of the world must unite to achieve independence.
May Day is not officially designated by the Japanese government as a national holiday. But because it lies between other national holidays, it is a day off work for the vast majority of Japanese workers. Many employers give it as a day off by, and otherwise workers take it as "paid leave". May 1 is occurs in the "Golden Week" of holidays, together with April 29 ("Shōwa Day", birthday of former Emperor Hirohito), May 3 ("Constitution Memorial Day"), May 4 ("Greenery Day") and May 5 ("Children's Day"). Workers generally take May 1 off work not so much to join street rallies or labor union gatherings, but rather to take a few days of vacation in an uninterrupted string. In the Japanese corporate culture, taking weekdays off for personal pleasure is widely frowned upon.
The 1st of May is known as Labor Day and is considered a public holiday.
The 1st of May is known as the Workers Day and is considered a public holiday. From the 1960's through the 1990's, left wing parties and worker's unions organized major marches on this day. Recently only symbolic marches take place on this day.
Malaysia began observing the holiday in 1972 following an announcement by the late Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Ismail Abdul Rahman.
Maldives first started observing the holiday in 2011, after a declaration by the president, Mohamed Nasheed. He noted that this move highlighted the government’s commitment as well as efforts of private parties to protect and promote workers’ rights in the Maldives.
May Day has been celebrated in Nepal since 1963. The day became a public holiday in 2007.
In Singapore, it is known as Labor day and it is a public holiday
In Vietnam, it is known as International Labor Day and is a public holiday.
The 1st of May is known as Labor Day and is considered a public holiday.
In Bahrain, the 1st of May is known as Labor Day and is considered a public holiday. khalids birthday
Eastern bloc under Communist governments
Eastern Bloc countries such as the Soviet Union and most countries of central and eastern Europe that were under the rule of Communist governments held official May Day celebrations in every town and city, during which party leaders greeted the crowds. Workers carried banners with political slogans and many companies decorated their company cars. The biggest celebration of May 1 usually occurred in the capital of a particular communist country and usually included a military display and the presence of the president and the secretary general of the Party. In Poland, since 1982, party leaders led the official parades, and in 1990, May 1 was renamed "State Holiday." In Hungary, May Day was officially celebrated under the Communist regime, and remains a public holiday. Traditionally, the day was marked by dancing around designated "May trees.
In April 1933, the recently installed Nazi government declared May 1 the "Day of National Work," an official state holiday, and announced that all celebrations were to be organized by the government. Any separate celebrations by communists, social democrats or labour unions were banned. After the World War II, May 1 remained a state holiday in both East and West Germany. In communist East Germany, workers were de facto required to participate in large state-organized parades on Mayday. Today in Germany it is simply called the "Day of Labour" ("Tag der Arbeit"), and there are numerous demonstrations and celebrations by independent workers' organizations. Today, Berlin witnesses yearly demonstrations on May Day, the largest organized by labour unions, political parties and others by the far left and Autonomen.
The 1st of May has been an important part of Swedish 19th century history. The day was made public holiday in 1938 but had been celebrated by the Swedish Social Democratic Party since 1890. The first May day celebration gathered more than 50.000 people in central Stockholm. The crowd went to hear speeches held by the leading characters of the Swedish labour movement, Hjalmar Branting (later prime minister), August Palm and Hinke Bergegren. During World War I the demonstrations mainly had a peace message and the Liberal Party also joined the demonstrations. The 8-hour working day and women's suffrage were the main messages during the troubled times after World War I. When the Social Democratic Party won the election in 1932 they started an era of social democratic rule that wasn't broken until the election in 1976, when the centre-right parties won after nearly 50 years in opposition. During the long social democratic rule the May Day demonstrations continued and grew even stronger, in despite that the party de facto now was demonstrating against itself.
In Portugal, the 1st of May celebration was harshly repressed during the fascist dictatorship regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, although, since the Carnation Revolution in the 25th of April of 1974, it's now celebrated by the several leftist political parties with parades and demonstrations. It was an opportunity for the several precarious workers groups to show their discontent for existing working conditions, in a parade called Primeiro de Maio (1st of May), although in the present the Worker's Day in Portugal is a holiday for parents to spend some time with their children. The 1st of May also represents the unionized workers that try to improve the working conditions of emmigrant workers abroad.
In Spain, the 1st of May celebration was established after the end of Franco's dictatorship in 1975; before that, it had been celebrated during the Spanish Second Republic period (1931–1939), but it was banned afterwards by the fascist Franco regime. The first time it was celebrated was in 1977, when the Communist Party of Spain was legalized. Since then, it has become an official holiday that has been traditionally used by trade unions and leftist parties for social and labour vindications. Commonly, pacific demonstrations and parades are made in most big cities.
In Serbia, the 1st of May is a day off work and a day out of school. People celebrate all over the country, usually having barbecues outside. In Belgrade, the capital, most people go to Avala or Košutnjak, which is a park located in Rakovica and Čukarica. Many manifestations are organized and held all over town.
In Greece, May 1 celebrations are characterized by demonstrations. All major political parties participate. On May Day 2010 there were major protests all over Greece, most notably Athens and Thessaloniki, by many left, anarchist and communist supporters and some violent clashes by riot police who were sent out to contain the protesters. They demanded economic reform, an end to job losses and wage cuts in the face of the government's proposals of massive public spending cuts. These cuts are to fall in line with the EU-IMF loan proposals which demand that Greece liberalize its economy, cut its public spending and open it up further to the EU and world markets, which many believe will decrease living standards.
The first May day celebration in Italy took place in 1890. It started initially as an attempt to celebrate workers' achievements in their struggle for their rights and for better social and economic conditions. It was abolished under the Fascist Regime and immediately restored after the Second World War. (During the fascist period, a "Holiday of the Italian labour" (Festa del lavoro italiano) was celebrated on the 21st of April, the date of Natale di Roma, when ancient Rome was allegedly founded.) Now, May Day is an important celebration in Italy. Very popular is the Concerto del Primo Maggio ("1 May's Concert"), organized by Italian Labour Unions in Rome in Piazza San Giovanni. It is attended by more than 300,000 people every year, and involves participation of many famous bands and songwriters. The concert is usually broadcasted live by Rai Tre.
May Day was celebrated illegally in Russia until the February Revolution enabled the first legal celebration in 1917. The following year, after the Bolshevik seizure of power, the May Day celebrations were boycotted by Mensheviks, Left Socialist Revolutionaries and anarchists. It became an important official holiday of the Soviet Union, celebrated with elaborate popular parade in the centre of the major cities. The biggest celebration was traditionally organized on the Red Square, where the General Secretary of the CPSU and other party and government leaders stood atop Lenin's Mausoleum and waved to the crowds. Since 1992, May Day is officially called "The Day of Spring and Labour", and remains a major holiday in the present-day Russia.
United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom in recent years, the anti-capitalist movement has organised a number of large protests in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Doncaster. In London, these have resulted in clashes with the police. In 2000, the clashes ended with a branch of McDonalds being smashed and a statue of Winston Churchill being given a grass Mohawk hairstyle. The Cenotaph was also defaced with graffiti.In the last few years, demonstrations have been more peaceful, with marches and gatherings, particularly in central London. The current Conservative-led coalition government in March 2011 announced plans to move the May Day bank holiday to October in order to lengthen the tourist season.A London rally on May Day is organised by the London May Day Organising Committee (LMDOC).
May 1 is an official holiday celebrated in Turkey. It was a holiday until 1981 when it was cancelled after 1980 coup-d'état. In 2010, Turkish government restored the holiday. Taksim Square is the center of the celebrations due to Bloody May 1st happened in Taksim in 1977.

The 1st of May is known as Labor Day and is considered a paid holiday.

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