International Workers’ Day

in Daily Programme, Radio Riel Main, Zeeber Gold

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 1 May, 2013

Today is May 1st — May Day — which in addition to marking the Celtic festival of Beltane, is 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. May 1 is 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 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.

Zeeber Gold: Utah Phillips

428px-Utah_Phillips_death_noteThen join us at 11am or 7pm Pacific Time, 19:00 or 03:00 in the UK, for the latest in our series of interviews with the movers and shakers of the 1960s and 1970s, recorded at the time, courtesy of our friends at ZBS Foundation.

Appropriately enough this week we present an interview with Utah Phillips (1935–2008), labour organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and the “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”. He described the struggles of labour unions and the power of direct action, and often promoted the Industrial Workers of the World in his music, actions, and words. In this interview from over 40 years ago, Utah talks about trains, how to hop them, where to go to get on, what to watch out for. He tells of his own experiences riding the rails. And he sings some great railroad songs.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to the programme in‐world now at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:


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