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Lessons of May Day

01 May 2022
Lessons of May Day


Shofiqur Rahman Chowdhury :
The  observance of the May Day on the first day of the month of May every year is an international event.
During the 18th and 19th Centuries there were no fixed working hours for the workers in industry. The workers were forced to work from morning to evening, sometimes even more. Work environment was highly inhuman and totally unhygienic. There were no set laws to govern service conditions, to guarantee social security of the workers and their health and safety. Everything depended on the employers, In such whims and irrational  background, workers had to work in order to earn their bread and butter.
In 1884, an association of the workers known as 'Knights of Labour' its annual meeting decided that 8-hour work a day had to be established from the 15th of May 1886. This  'Knights of Labour' organisation preceded the American Federation of Labour (AFL). To prepare workers for greater movement 'Eight-hour our work society' was formed in different of America. Strikes were observed in many places on the first day of May. The employers were puzzled and became restless. They conspired to make the workers movement a failure. The governments, in those days, were the helping agencies of the employers and hostile towards workers.
In 1886, demand of the American workers was one 8 hour work a day, but to the , employers the demand was not acceptable. They used to consider workers as commodity. The workers were never recognised by the employers as human beings. On the other hand, the workers were adamant. As a result Maccarmik Harvesting Machine Company was closed down  lay-off continued for two months.
It was on the 3rd May 1886, that the workers started gathering at the Hay Market the main Business Centre of Chicago. The workers leaders namely Augustus Spice, Albert Parson, Samuel Fielden, Michael Swab, Adolf Fisher, Oscar Nib, Geoge Aggie and Louis Ling all assembled together and started demonstration making fiery speeches. But there was a special instruction to keep a watchful eye specially on Albert Parson and Augustus Spice. Of course, special permission was taken from the competent authority to hold the meeting. The Mayor of Chicago at the time was Carter Harrison. The meeting progressed well. There were about 3000 workers present in the meeting. It was evening still the meeting. continued. Rain started pouring in. The Mayor left, who himself was present.
All on a sudden there was a bomb explosion aimed at workers rally. But blasted near the Police escort resulting the death of a few policemen. The other outstanding leaders like Samuel Fielden and Bonfield were present. After the bomb blast police started indiscriminate firing killing at least six workers and injuring about 200. The fact is evident from the writings in a journal published by History Association of Illiniois. This incident of Hay Market on 3rd May, 1886 ultimately gave recognition of May Day. The fact has been further elaborated in a book entitled "Hay Market Heritage" by An; Ripon published on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the day in 1986.
The Hay Market incident occurred due to strike on 15th May 1886 by 380,000 workers with the demand for 8-hour work a day. This barbarous act was condemned by many distinguished lawyers of America, Leonard Sweat-an associate of Abraham Lincoln Irish Writer George Bernard Shaw and a few members of French Parliament. In 1889, in Paris Conference of International Labour, it was unanimously declared that the 15th May would be observed by the working class of the world as 'Workers Solidarity Day' Since than May Day is being observed.
Employers, governments and workers - these three categories must work in unison exclusively dissuaded from doing any such thing that disturbs the tranquility of industrial atmosphere. All of them should be equally imblbed with the consciousness of the need of creating the much-sought-for environment conducive to the smooth functioning of the industries. May Day imparts this lesson to all of us.
Not a series study but a cursory glance will reveal that the rapid growth of China and India is due mainly to the fact that the workers there are propelled by a sincere devotion to their work, which is properly rewarded by adequate emoluments and benefits. Their working environment is conditioned by the existence of such circumstances as to induce them to thinking that the ups and downs of their lives are in conformity with those of the industries.
The May Day teaches us to learn from the Chinese experience of relationship of the three categories of pupils of production that demonstrates that the fate of each of them is linked
up with another. This is another name for national unity and harmony in lieu of dissension and disunity. At this moment, we can't avoid that we are developing fastly with the blessings of digital Bangladesh concept. This is after the heart's desire of our nation.
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