The first day of May is the International Worker’s Day, May Day, or Labor Day, a day promoted by socialists, communists, anarchists, and the labor movement. Even though it is presented on quick search on the web as “an ancient European spring festival,” the date was chosen by the Second International, an organization founded by socialist and communist parties to celebrate the Haymarket event which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, when marchers threw a bomb at police and policemen responded by shooting into the crowd, killing four people.
In 1904 the International Socialist Conference in Amsterdam, the sixth conference of the Second International, “called on all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour work day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”
Around the world, May Day is an opportunity for various socialist, communist, and anarchist groups to demonstrate against their governments. In the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, and other similar governments, May Day is a huge workforce parade with soldiers and military equipment while the dear leader salutes and inspects them proudly. Nobody is present there by their own choice.
Even the Catholic Church celebrates May Day since 1955, by dedicating it to Saint Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers and craftsmen.
During the Cold War, large military parades were assembled in USSR’s Red Square. The Politburo and other top leaders of the Kremlin were standing on specially built stages by Lenin’s tomb.
May Day for me was a day when everybody was forced from their workplace and schools to demonstrate in front of the dear leader or the communist party leadership in each person’s hometown. The parades were elaborate, we had to wear our best communist uniforms, washed, starched and pressed, with berets, red scarves, and all the insignia given to us by the Communist Party. We had to stand in long lines all day, waiting our turn to parade in front of the elaborately built stages, adorned with red flags with the hammer and sickle, the symbols of the industrial worker and the peasant, thousands of fresh flowers, and portraits of the dear leader and his most prominent and trusted communist advisors.
I was a drummer, I am not sure who picked me since I have no musical talent to speak of, but you could not say no to the all-ruling Communist Party. Other marchers had to sing, carry heavy flags all day, or wave smaller flags in a certain pattern, in unison with their cadenced march.
There was a sense of relief that they all escaped their dirty factories for the day and the drudgery of toiling for small wages, while the students rejoiced in escaping the daily indoctrination, homework, tests, and bad grades.
My daddy was luckier, if you consider forced confinement lucky. Because he was such a big mouth opponent of the communist party and of the dictator Ceausescu in particular, daddy was always locked up at his workplace in lieu of attending these forced marches.
At the end of the day, we were all exhausted, having demonstrated in support of the communist party, a party that did not care for the proletariat, a party that used the proletariat to exploit their labor under the guise of taking care of them and their meager needs. Without the obedient and unarmed proletariat who worked for peanuts, these communist leeches could not have existed.
If you are marching on this May Day, in the freest and most prosperous country in the world and protesting imagined and manufactured oppression, you do not really know your history, you are asking for totalitarian communism, not for freedom.
Copyright: Ileana Johnson 2017