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May Day 2019

Adamarys and Rich Monje  |  Issue: May | June 2019

Americans’ growing awareness that immigrants belong here

May Day has been celebrated since it’s start in 1886 but the attention this holiday receives varies every year. In 1886, workers were protesting exploitation and demanded an 8-hour workday. Today, workers continue to protest exploitation but in other areas.

Over the years, May Day has grown to become deeply connected with the immigrant-rights movement. Despite its origins in the United States, May Day was not truly acknowledged by the public until after the the 2006 immigrant marches.

After the 2016 election, the connection between immigrants and the working class was once again seen throughout the nation.

After 2016, there was an increase in demonstrators after the Trump administration threatened the undocumented community.

Undocumented workers remain among the most exploited in the nation for their labor and are constantly threatened with deportation. Trump’s xenophobic and racist remarks were heard around the world but the working class in America showed up for May Day to demonstrate just how wrong he was.

The rising number of young, undocumented activists in the country further brought May Day to the spotlight once again. Undocumented youth are not only fighting for DACA, but they continue to fight for citizenship for all, including their working-class parents.

The fight for a nationwide higher minimum wage also plays a role in the rising momentum surrounding May Day. The working class continues to be exploited, especially when the Trump administration continues to favor powerful corporations. In Chicago, the fight for $15 is one of the main focuses of May Day.

May Day started with workers demanding fair working conditions and has evolved to represent so much more. The political and economic climate has been changing the world over for decades.

Driven partly by technological changes the forecast is for continued agricultural consolidation through the mechanization of work. This trend is spreading to other sectors of the economy.

Job losses in transportation, food service and hospitality will dramatically increase as it has in manufacturing and many other sectors.

The working class is already stirring with strikes and rebellions, migration spreading all over the globe based in the economic needs of working families and whom they serve such as teachers.

Over the next few years, repression and rebellion will spread. A vision and organization will increase in significance as it does.

People in all areas of activism continue to call on elected officials and employers to meet their needs driving the need for a political program detailing the steps to achieve our demands.

The nationwide demonstrations have also become a day where older generations can show the youth the history and impact of May 1st. May Day has become a day where workers, immigrants, students, and activists can all come together to acknowledge the actions and goals of the activists before them and recognize the impact of May 1st, 1886.

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