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    Happy International Workers’ Day!

    In the pictures above, workers are celebrating/protesting in the UK, US, Italy, Japan and Cuba. And for those who want a chronological brief history of the holiday, read this great little piece by Richard Seymour (with archive pictures):

    May Day is international workers day. As such, it is – in the words of Eric Hobsbawm – “the only unquestionable dent made by a secular movement in the Christian or any other official calendar”. And its past is more rowdy than is suggested by the imagery of Morris dancers serenely waving hankies and bells around …

    Facts:

    • The origin of our present holiday lies in the fight for an eight-hour working day

    • Fascist Italy abolished May Day during WW2

    • General Franco, in Spain, later outlawed the holiday

    • May Day protests played a significant role in the Portuguese revolution of 1974, as well as in the uprisings against apartheid in the 1980s

    • The UK Tories were reported last year to be considering scrapping May Day (but quickly gave up)

    Also, read: Why US unions need to Occupy May Day, by Moira Herbst

    Photographs - John Stillwell; David McNew/Getty; Giuseppe Cacace/AFP; Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty; Javier Galeano/AP

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