Is May Day a Communist Holiday?
May Day is an international workers’ holiday celebrated on the first day of May each year. It is a day that is dedicated to the achievements of workers and an occasion for them to protest against injustice in the workplace and in society as a whole.
Originally established to mark Chicago’s Haymarket protests in 1886, the holiday has since become a global symbol of solidarity and the fight for workers’ rights. Various socialist, communist and anarchist groups hold demonstrations on May Day to highlight their causes and the progress that they have made in working class movements.
The holiday has been a major focus of political action in many countries, including Germany, China, Laos, Cuba and North Korea. It is also one of the most important holidays in former Soviet countries, where workers often participate in parades and other celebrations to honor their accomplishments.
While some people still associate May Day with the violent anti-union riots in Cleveland, Ohio, that took place on May 1919, the holiday has become an important part of the lives of many workers across the globe. The day marks the start of spring and is a time to celebrate the progress made by previous labor movements while looking forward to better times ahead.
Communists adapted the observance of May Day into a national and international communist movement, with the goal of uniting the world’s workers through international syndicalism and revolution. The International, led by Marx and Engels and later by Lenin, decided to internationalise the observance of May Day as a reassertion and declaration of the line of the revolutionary movement and an opportunity for the working class to review its work in bringing about social transformations.
By following these principles, the communists managed to rouse the workers of all countries into a single army and wage a successful revolution in Russia and other parts of Europe. But soon after the internationalisation of May Day, the workers’ movement became divided into two trends – a revolutionary trend and a reformist tendency.
The latter was influenced by the tradition of the Second International, the heritage given by Marx and Engels. But soon after the inter-nationalisation, the International and its weakening parties sunk into opportunism and lost their revolutionary spirit. The reformists, on the other hand, were unable to achieve a significant social change and acted only as a kind of opposition within the capitalist system.
During the Stalinist period, communists tried to make May Day into a national and international public holiday by introducing special festivities and by encouraging trade unions and organizations to take advantage of the opportunity to increase the number of their members. In addition, agitation workers visited homes and explained the importance of the holiday to their fellow residents.
However, these activities disrupted the traditional way of life in rural areas. Moreover, the massification of these celebrations interfered with the development of local community activities. In addition, they contributed to the deterioration of rural social relations and the breakup of village communities.