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May Day 2005 in Santa Cruz and a Look Back to 1886

May 1 is Mayday, the anarchist day of remembrance and rage in spirit of the activists who were framed and murdered by the government of Chicago on May 1, 1886. It is the tragedy of the Haymarket Martyrs that reminds us all of the very real threat of police and government violence towards outspoken individuals. Working people who demand their rights have always felt the fear of retribution: many activists for human rights ironically live with the knowledge that they could be imprisoned or killed for standing up and speaking out. Refusal to bow down to these pressures is the driving force behind Mayday actions, strikes, and rallies all over the world. [see Supersphere.com]

In Santa Cruz, May Day 2005 will include an International Workers Day Parade organized with the support of the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival, Art & Revolution and the newly formed Santa Cruz General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW will gather at the Tom Scribner statue at 11:30am and then march to the Town Clock. At 12:00pm, labor organizer Fred Hirsh will speak at the Town Clock rally about struggles faced by local workers. People will then march to the Poet & Patriot (320 Cedar St) for a 1:00pm screening of "The Wobblies." Following the film, there will be a discussion about the future of the labor movement.

At 6:00pm at the Portuguese Hall (216 Evergreen St), the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council is sponsoring a film screening, International Workers Day Dinner and a discussion with California State Treasurer Phil Angelides and Deborah Burger, President of the California Nurses Association. "Wal-Mart's War On The Workers" is a short film made by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and details the anti-union tactics of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, which has proposed to open a store in Pajaro.

See also: IWW 100th Anniversary May Day Celebration and Santa Cruz Branch Formation || Industrial Workers of the World || May Day and the Haymarket Martyrs || Lumberjack - By Tom Scribner || About Tom Scribner
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A Brief History of May Day

The very first "May Day" occurred in Chicago on May 1, 1886. On that date, thousands marched peacefully in Chicago for the 8-hour workday.

Later that day, in a strike at the McCormick Harvester plant, six workers fighting scabs on a picket line were killed. The next day, a protest was held at Chicago's Haymarket Square, where a bomb exploded, killing eight police officers.

Eight anarchists were tried for the bombing and sentenced to death despite a lack of evidence or witnesses - and a worldwide movement which rose up to oppose their conviction. Four were hung, one committed suicide and the remaining three were released.

Those events in history led to the observance of May Day as an international workers holiday outside the U.S. But here in America, May Day has been marginalized by corporations and their political allies as a "foreign" holiday. "Labor Day" was placed on the calendar in September and May Day became "Law Day."

-- adapted from the writings of Richard Gibson and Eric Chase
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Tom Scribner Still Celebrates May Day in Santa Cruz

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Tom Scribner Still Celebrates May Day in Santa Cruz
 

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