Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1 - International Workers' Day

For those, like me, who grew up on the Left – today is the big one – May 1 - International Workers' Day. Of course the holiday in its leftist incarnation arose after the first nationwide General Strike in America in 1886 for the 8-hour day, which was then officially commemorated in 1889 as the first International Labor Day. 340,000 workers in Chicago, Milwaukee & other cities struck and the state fought back - four demonstrators were killed & over 200 wounded when police attack the Chicago rally in what became known as the Haymarket Riot. America, fearing world solidarity, moved its Labor Day holiday to the first Monday in September.

As far as I’m concerned the best known image for May Day is Walter Crane’s poster – left. Born in Liverpool, Crane was part of the socialist inclined Arts and Crafts movement led by William Morris. He produced paintings, illustrations, children's books, ceramic tiles and other decorative arts.

I’m glad to see that other authors and artists keep the tradition of political posters alive still. I particularly like (and it’s relevant to this blog I guess) the poster by Micah Wright – left - a clever parody of an old WW2 propaganda poster.


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