May 1st — May Day — is just two days away. In addition to marking the Celtic festival of Beltane, it’s also known as International Workers’ Day, a celebration of the international labour movement. May Day is often marked by organized street
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International Workers’ Day

in Daily Programme, Radio Riel Main

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 29 April, 2017

International Workers’ Day

May 1st — May Day — is just two days away. In addition to marking the Celtic festival of Beltane, it’s also known as International Workers’ Day, a celebration of the international labour movement.

May Day is often marked by organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions throughout much of the world. It’s a national holiday in more than 80 countries, and is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries. Today’s programme celebrates the working people of the world with a collection of folk songs from the labour movement, work songs and songs of protest, particularly from Britain and the United States.

Walter Crane’s illustration shown above, from 1895, celebrates both the traditional May Day and the labour movement. International Workers’ Day itself is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago, which occurred after an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday. In response, the Chicago police fired on the workers killing dozens of demonstrators and several of their own officers.

For more about International Workers’ Day, see this Wikipedia article.


Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. If you are in the United States, please click here to launch the Stream Licensing player. 

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