May Day – protests
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It’s May Day. Here’s what that means

Lots of men dancing around wearing silly clothes, a day off on Monday, and a day of strikes and protests

It's the first of May. Birds are singing, flowers blooming, there's a bank holiday ahead.

What it means: People have celebrated the 1st of May pretty much forever. It has its roots in pagan festivals, which is why it often features men dressed up in funny clothes, dancing around a stick.

But May Day also coincides with International Workers' Day, which is tied up in the history of unions, and of the fight for the improvement of workers' rights.

A potted history: In 1886 (on May 1st) a group of workers took part in a general strike in Chicago to campaign for an eight hour working day, the protests got violent, and police officers fired into the crowd. In commemoration, groups around the world which supported the strikers (coming under the banner of international 'socialist' groups and  ) declared 1 May a day of commemoration, with demonstrations planned around the world.

Since that point, May Day has become a focus for protests – A march in London today, for example, will call for improved rights for unions and union members. Many countries around the world officially recognise 'Labour Day' as a national holiday (in the US it's celebrated in September instead). In the UK, confusingly, there is a Bank Holiday for May Day, but it's not officially linked to Labour Day, it's about the dancing around the maypole stuff

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?