As we head into the worldwide celebration of International Worker’s Day, I can’t help but think…
There are too many nonsense holidays now. Consider World Toilet Day, observed on Nov. 2019, preceded by the International Day for Tolerance (Nov. 16) and right before the World Television Day (Nov. 21).
Don’t get me wrong, toilets have brought effective relief to our living conditions (and bowels), but honoring it for a national holiday?
Now Tolerance Day I support. Having a holiday devoted to showing more acceptance to people from other walks of life, sure, no hay problema. But shouldn’t it be every day?
Now toilets day…
How about World Poop Day, or International Tooth Cavity Day, or World Kasa De Franko Day? At least the last one is a cause that people can rally behind, know, and love.
Here’s what I think we should do: On Feb 22, which is World Thinking Day, we should all do an online poll and decide what holidays to keep and which ones to get rid of.
International Awesome Worker’s Day
Now that you know my stance on fluff holidays let’s focus on one that is celebrated May 1st, as the Spring begins to burst onto the scene (hopefully) showing some sunshine and warmth. It is the International Workers’ Day.
Internet-folks will be buzzing like bees trapped behind a giant glass windowpane, who somehow got in but can’t get out, and in the real world, people will be celebrating, having parades, and getting hammered.
As some of the most memorable holidays (Easter, Christmas, Memorial Day), International Worker’s Day began due to death and people killing other people. Says a lot about humanity doesn’t it?
For a brief recap on WHY the day is celebrated, other than a day off from work, we must go back to the Haymarket affair, a nicer historical nametag than “massacre,” where on May 4th, 1886 a peaceful rally to support workers on strike for an eight-hour workday turned bloody. Dynamite was hurled into the crowd by an unknown person, and police broke in attempting to disperse the crowd, gunshots blasted, and seven police officers died, at least four civilians, and dozens were wounded. Later some anarchists convicted of conspiracy were hanged, seven sent to death, and this is the origin story of your day off.
After this incident, May 1st was chosen to be International Worker’s Days to honor and commemorate the 1886 bloodshed and the support for fair working conditions.
While many democratic countries simply enjoy a day off with some minor recognition, many communist and socialist countries (Cuba, North Korea) have elaborate parades, including military displays.
Why America is Different
If you live in the U.S. and are wondering why you still have to go into work on May 1, then Google “Law Day” or “Loyalty Day,” “Dwight D Eisenhower,” and “Grover Cleveland.” Basically, as the world was coming together to join in a communal worldwide celebration, Grover Cleveland (22nd, 24th President) was like, “nah.” At the time, political leaders were a bit worried about political threats from socialists and anarchists; but mostly socialists. As May 1st (Mayday) represented radical labor unions and socialist groups ramping up the pro-populace rhetoric while protesting for their rights, America thought it wiser to change pace with the rest of the world. Either that or America just wanted to be different than everyone else because it’s cool to be unique; have its own metric system that the rest of the world doesn’t follow, spray cheese, and advertising for prescription drugs. Or we just really hate Socialism.
So, what does it mean for You?
When you think about all the great reasons to celebrate is work one of them? I would argue that it is the backbone of who we are and what we do. The opportunity to support ourselves, make a living, and if we have good paying jobs, become gluttons, eating lots of steak and drinking lots of tequila.
Party on dudes.
I think International Worker’s Day is worth keeping because we don’t want to return to 14-hour days with ridiculous wages. We must stand up for our rights, for our protection, and spend the day how we see fit.
What a better way to begin the new season than to get a day off for all that blood, sweat, and tears.
I encourage you on this day to take it easy, get a load of laundry done, or brush up on your Spanish—how about sign up for an incredible Spanish program at Kasa De Franko, the go-to Spanish school for the Bay Area and beyond!
I can assure you; I will honor your day off and not make you conjugate tricky verbs without your consent.
Enjoy the holiday!
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