Well, it looks like the Day Without a Mexican marches were a huge success. Someone thoughtfully sent me a link to an excellent retrospective on what May Day celebrations have meant in the past.
Because today’s marches are on a workday, they recall the mass strikes and marches that turned workers out of factories that convulsed America in the decades after the great railway strike of 1877, the first national work stoppage in the United States. Asserting their citizenship against the autocracy embodied by the big railroad corporations, the Irish and Germans of Baltimore and Pittsburgh burned roundhouses and fought off state militia in a revolt that frightened both the rail barons and the federal government. Hence the 19th-century construction of all those center-city National Guard armories, with rifle slits designed to target unruly crowds. The protesters wanted not only higher pay and a recognized trade union but a new birth of egalitarian freedom. Indeed, May Day itself, as an international workers holiday, arose out of a May 1, 1886, Chicago strike for the eight-hour workday. The fight for leisure—clearly lost today—was a great unifying aspiration of the immigrant workers movement a century ago with its slogan, “eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for what we will.”
Of course, red-baiting and a pro-big business lapdog government have made sure that May Day got turned into Law Day, and don’t you commies even THINK about it…
My own experience yesterday was pleasant enough. I didn’t go downtown to Atlanta for the big march there, though I probably should have. I focused on working in my garden, got a haircut, did a little business for my band. As I was kneeling down to pull some weeds around my collard greens, eponymous called to tell me that there was a demonstration brewing right in downtown Athens. If I hadn’t been working in the garden, I would have been right there.
As it was, I took a day off from my job as a Macintosh computer consultant at my university job to show solidarity and to have my own private May Day celebration… so, it was A Day Without a Mac-sican where I work…. (ba-dump bump, pish!)