From It's Going Down
May Day is an anarchist holiday against capitalism. Following demonstrations in the wake of strikers being killed by the police in Chicago in 1886, which left scores of workers killed as well as several police, the state rounded up several anarchist organizers and militants, Samuel Fielden, Albert Parsons, Louis Lingg, George Engel, Adolf Fischer, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, and August Spies, and sentenced them to death despite any evidence connecting them to the violence. In the wake of the execution of the “HayMarket Martyrs, ” militant working-class formations began to mark May Day as a holiday to remember the slain anarchists as well as to honor their fight for a world free of capitalism. Meanwhile, many others were radicalized by the events in Chicago and became anarchists in the process of supporting those executed by the State. Others such as Lucy Parsons, a former slave who was married to a former Confederate soldier, Albert Parsons, who was executed, went on to play a huge role in the anarchist and wider labor movement. By honoring May Day, and moreover, by connecting it to struggles happening now, we build a link to the past; to others who fought and died to make these ideas a living, breathing reality.