Long before the advent of socialism and communism in a world rapidly evolutionised by industrialisation, workers had to work for more than 16 hours a day. For the capitalists, ensuring maximum output from their worker was the prime objective, regardless of how it affected the individual in question.

May Day, or 1st May, is commemorated all around the world as International Labour Day or International Workers’ Day. To understand why it is celebrated through protests and through marches, one has to look at how the proletariat were first coerced to work under inhuman conditions. The 8-hour work shift that we see today didn’t happen through sheer circumstance, it was demanded… people fought for it.

May Day commemorates the Haymarket affair which took place in Chicago, US in 1886. In October 1884, the Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada decided that May 1, 1886 would become the first day when workers will be granted an 8-hour work shift.

Celebrating the victory of the working class, the socialists and communists chose May 1 as International Labour Day.

Due to the imbalance still present due to globalisation, intense protests are witnessed on May 1 around the globe. Although week-long projects and long working hours are still a cause of concern for those fighting for labour rights, the area for exploitation have expanded and so has the anger of the labourer.

First Published | 1 May 2017 1:34 PM
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