Mayday!! MayDay!!
May 1, 2005 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Happy May Day one and all. It's a holiday that's largely ignored here in the USA except in Minneapolis This event is massive with puppets, Music , and zaniness . The parade is simular to the Fremont Soltice Parade with more of a story and less nudity. If you are in the Twin Cities, get out and see it. More here. Happy May Day!!
posted by wheelieman (24 comments total)
(if I am not supposed to link to monkeyfilter, sorry)
posted by wheelieman at 6:21 AM on May 1, 2005

Lots of folks have much more fun with May Day than we do.
posted by jfuller at 6:37 AM on May 1, 2005

Sorry to inject a boring note into the celebrations, but today, here in the USA, it is officially National Law Day.

Me, I'll still be humming "Joe Hill" as I go about my business today.
posted by kozad at 6:55 AM on May 1, 2005

I'd be much more interested in going out to the Park today if it wasn't 35 degrees and SNOWING. Ah Minnesota!
posted by omnidrew at 7:06 AM on May 1, 2005

Let the workers unite.
posted by caddis at 7:12 AM on May 1, 2005



I love May Day. Last night I had a kick-ass gospel choir gig, and today I will be attending the May Day party at the Commie Store!
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:13 AM on May 1, 2005

Just what constitutes a holiday anyway? ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:25 AM on May 1, 2005

Aka Beltane for you pagan types.
posted by postmodernmillie at 7:46 AM on May 1, 2005

I'll certainly be there. I now live right near powderhorn park, which is very cool. Definitely one of my favorite things about minneapolis.
posted by jnthnjng at 8:57 AM on May 1, 2005

In Spokane, at least this year, it's Bloomsday. As I type this, the first of (about) 40,000 runners are crossing the finish line.
posted by faceonmars at 9:29 AM on May 1, 2005

Good post. Over breakfast my wife and I were trying to figure out what, other than May 1st, May Day was all about. Didn't even have to resort to a web search.

Seems like a Holiday worth recognizing/celebrating -- never hear anything about it, though.
posted by ThePrawn at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2005

Arise, ye pris'ners of starvation, arise ye workers of the world!
posted by orthogonality at 10:49 AM on May 1, 2005

I'll take less story and more nudity, thank you...!
posted by black8 at 11:14 AM on May 1, 2005

Lest we forget May Day! of 1971: The largest and most audacious civil disobedience action in American history is also the least remembered, a protest that has slipped into almost complete historical obscurity, considered by many to be the tactical tpeak of the U.S Antiwar movement.

A retired police officer who was on duty that day recalls:

They looked at all of the major access routes coming into the District from Maryland and Virginia, and they made assignments to demonstrators where they could go to block the streets. They were going to come out in waves, so that when the first wave got arrested, the second wave would fill the streets and then a third wave and so on. They had done a pretty good job.

The Washington DC police set a record for the largest number of people arrested in a single US city in a single day. They did it by arresting people based soley on their appearance, in response to the order to "Clean the street! Someone ought to write a book based on interviews of the participants, as it was an interesting event, in many respects.
posted by swlabr at 1:00 PM on May 1, 2005

Indeed, the a Quaker site refers to MayDay! 1971 as some of the most militant and disruptive nonviolent actions yet seen in the antiwar movement.
posted by swlabr at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2005

You had my interest right up to the "less nudity" part.
posted by tommasz at 2:17 PM on May 1, 2005

Well it snowed, it was sunny, but cold. then snowed again but it Turned out pretty decent. We laid in the street playing You are my Sunshine like always and it was fun. Saw a lot of cool people there and old friends. Wonderful day.
posted by wheelieman at 5:18 PM on May 1, 2005

Catallarchy has a collection of essays regarding the tyranny of central planning.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:22 PM on May 1, 2005

Mayday is also very big in my home state of Hawaii.
posted by rooftop secrets at 6:06 PM on May 1, 2005

Dude, it's not May Day anymore.

It's Loyalty Day.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 7:58 PM on May 1, 2005

The Beltane Fire Festival looks like fun.
posted by homunculus at 8:05 PM on May 1, 2005

Weird, I didn't realize Minneapolis was a rarity in this. I thought everyone celebrated May Day that way.

I had gone to see it when I was a little kid -- I went to the school right next to the park, and they encouraged us to go -- but hadn't seen it in about 25 years. It was really cool (it both senses of the word).

There were two memorable moments. One, when the Sun came out from the island, the wind resistance was so high that they briefly started going backwards. The crowd chanted even louder and cheered uproariously when they finally got to shore.

The other moment was when, just as the Tree of Life turned to face the crowd, the sun (the real one) peeked out of the clouds. It was really glorious.

Then I went and had a little picnic with MnStf folks. I'm really glad I went.
posted by jiawen at 1:12 AM on May 2, 2005

Standard Uncertainty 0.000 000 027 x 10^-3

May Day also results in the annual, baffling paid advertisment that appears in the pages of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Well, this time it appeared on April 29th, but it's hardly The Orphanage's fault that this college newspaper doesn't publish on weekends. mef'd previously here
posted by kowalski at 9:26 AM on May 2, 2005

The holiday was born of a labor dispute in Chicago 1886. Workers went on strike beginning on May 1 to demand an 8-hour workday. The industrial revolution had brought with it unrest for the working classes and socialists and anarchists such as August Spies and Albert Parsons were giving convincing arguments to an unhappy labor force. From The Dramas of Haymarket, an online project produced by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University:
From the point of view of labor, the May 1 labor demonstration was a great success, as hundreds of thousands of workers across trades nationally, and tens of thousands in Chicago, lay down their tools. Among many demonstrations in the city was a parade along Michigan Avenue, with Albert Parsons as one of its leaders. These demonstrations took place without serious incident. But such events would make the anarchist leaders marked men when violence did break out three days later in the Haymarket. The Chicago Mail of May 1 told its readers that any turmoil that lay ahead should be attributed to Parsons and Spies.

“Mark them for today,” an editorial warned. “Hold them responsible for any trouble that occurs. Make an example of them if trouble does occur.”
A dispute between union and non-union workers on May 3
ended when police arrived. They were taunted and rocks were thrown, and when police fought back two workers were killed. Spies was infuriated.
The sounds of this battle drew others from the Lumber Shovers' meeting, including Spies, to the scene. What he saw appalled him. “Well, as a matter of course,” Spies recalled at the trial, “my blood was boiling, and I think in that moment I could have done almost anything, seeing men, women and children fired upon, people who were not armed fired upon by policemen.” He hastily returned to his office in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building, where he poured his outrage into a deliberately inflammatory bilingual broadside exhorting laborers to stand up like men to their murderous oppressors. He titled this broadside “Workingmen to Arms!”, but the person who set the text in type had, without asking Spies, added the heading, in full capitals, “REVENGE.”
Though the large retaliatory demonstrations started out peaceful, as they dwindled they grew more intense. A bomb went off and gunfire erupted, killing several policemen. Anarchist organizers were blamed and indicted for the incident. “The Chicago Seven,” as they came to be called, were eventually convicted and executed. However, they were later exonerated from the crime posthumously. It is largely these events that led to the creation of an 8-hour workday, solidifying the significance of the day for workers everywhere.
posted by ScottMorris at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2005

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