Πέμπτη, 30 Απριλίου 2009

MAY 1886 Haymarket. "Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force"

Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force

MAY DAY
In October 1884, a convention held by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions unanimously set May 1, 1886, as the date by which the eight-hour work day would become standard. When May 1, 1886 approached, American labor unions prepared for a general strike in support of the eight-hour day. On Saturday, May 1, rallies were held throughout the United States. There were an estimated 10,000 demonstrators in New York and 11,000 in Detroit. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin some 10,000 workers turned out. The movement's center was in Chicago, where an estimated 40,000 workers went on strike. Albert Parsons was an anarchist and founder of the International Working People's Association (IWPA). Parsons, with his wife Lucy and their children, led a march of 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue.[ Another 10,000 men employed in the lumber yards held a separate march in Chicago. Estimates of the total number of striking American workers range from 300,000 to half a million. The revised flier for the rally. The words Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force! have been removed. On May 3, striking workers in Chicago met near the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant. Union molders at the plant had been locked out since early February and the predominantly Irish-American workers at McCormick had come under attack from Pinkerton guards during an earlier strike action in 1885. This event, along with the eight-hour militancy of McCormick workers, had gained the strikers some respect and notoriety around the city. By the time of the 1886 general strike, strikebreakers entering the McCormick plant were under protection from a garrison of 400 police officers. Although half of the replacement workers defected to the general strike on May 1, McCormick workers continued to harass "scabs" who crossed the picket lines. Speaking to a rally outside the plant on May 3, August Spies advised the striking workers to "hold together, to stand by their union, or they would not succeed. Well-planned and coordinated, the general strike to this point had remained largely nonviolent. When the end-of-the-workday bell sounded, however, a group of workers surged to the gates to confront the strikebreakers. Despite calls by Spies for the workers to remain calm, gunfire erupted as police fired on the crowd. In the end, two McCormick workers were killed (although some newspaper accounts said there were six fatalities). Spies would later testify, "I was very indignant. I knew from experience of the past that this butchering of people was done for the express purpose of defeating the eight-hour movement." Outraged by this act of police violence, local anarchists quickly printed and distributed fliers calling for a rally the following day at Haymarket Square (also called the Haymarket), which at the time was a bustling commercial center near the corner of Randolph Street and Des Plaines Street. These fliers, which were printed in both German and English, alleged police had murdered the strikers on behalf of business interests and urged workers to seek justice. The first batch of fliers contain the words Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force! When Spies saw the line, he said he wouldn't speak at the rally unless the words were removed from the flier. All but a few hundred of the fliers were destroyed, and new fliers were printed without the offending words. More than 20,000 copies of the revised flier were distributed

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια: