8 hours 8 HourS 8 HOuRs

Property. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it. The wild days of May. Is today’s May Day violence a simple mimicry of revolution, colorful pageants of class warfare, or are they forces lurking that question Western liberal rationalism?….

There was a time, less than a hundred years ago, when May day was viewed as a dress rehearsal for an imminent Red revolution. The hyperbole and anti-socialist rhetoric led to exaggerated calls to curb Bolshevism and greater law and order. Indeed stirred and almost hypnotized by the red threat which May day portended to reveal, most public opinion through the press expressed belief that the time for tolerance was past, yet evidenced by their own narrow and short-sighted attitude, tolerance in fact, was an illusion. In any event, Socialism was seen as opportune pretext to regard free-speech and individual rights as an unrestricted menace to be curbed, hopefully by violence as the safety valve for masses. But that was America.  But earlier in Europe….

---It think it is useful for us to have such an approach, which takes account of the specific analysis of each period, while integrating it into a history which remains that of capitalism, its contradictions, and its possible revolutions. That may seem banal, but it is necessary to remember it in a situation characterized by the absence of revolutions in capitalist Europe over a long period: 23 years separate the revolutionary rise of 1944-45 from that of May ‘68; and there have already been almost 38 years between May ‘68 and 2006. Such periods of time explain why the thread of a strategic discussion on the revolution gets lost. It is also useful to reconsider these problems of periodisation. The "periods of social revolution" result, therefore, above all "from a time marked by the fundamental contradictions of capital". Our perspectives of revolutionary transformation come back to these fundamental contradictions.---Read More:http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1289 image:http://amazingdata.com/remarkable-images-of-activism-from-the-last-fifty-years/

V.I. Lenin:The Paris proletariat was still immersed in the deep-rooted traditions of Petty-bourgeois–democratic to Utopianism–which corresponded Utopianism added to the predominance of small artisan industry–and in the patriotic illusions inherited from the great bourgeois revolution of the Jacobin dictatorship. The experiences of the( Paris ) Commune and of the bloody “witches’ sabbath” of the May days were necessary in order to clear the minds of the French working class of these obsolete ideas. Thus, the Commune stopped half-way in its course and fell victim to its unavoidable fate. On May 28 the last Barricades went down under the fire of the Versailles cannon and the first revolutionary workers’ government was drowned in the blood of more than twenty-five thousand men, women and children, the boldest and the most heroic fighters of the Paris proletariat. Read More:http://www.newyouth.com/archives/classics/lenin/paris_commune.html a

---Every year Berlin observes its own very peculiar tradition. On May 1 -- International Workers Day -- its citizens brace themselves for a day of rioting and mayhem. And this year was no different. Many Berliners had been hoping that this year's May Day would pass off peacefully, that the idea of a ritual riot had become just a little old hat. And for most of the day it seemed it might actually happen: there were family-friendly street parties and peaceful left-wing demonstrations. But once night fell, the revolutionary habit was back: gangs of rioters threw stones and bottles at the police and garbage bins were set alight. Several people, including police officers, were injured and there were 115 arrests. ---Read More:http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,480491,00.html image:http://www.welt.de/english-news/article3658928/Walpurgis-night-protests-erupt-in-Germany.html

By the end of the nineteenth-century, May 1, had regularly filled a part of the European bourgeoisie with dread. Naturally what was a day of dread and loathing for the privileged classes had quite a different meaning for the exploited masses. For them it was a day not merely for hoping but for forcing hope. It was a day for demanding instead of humbly asking; a day of just and brotherly wrath; a day of risk and sacrifice and struggle. In certain countries like France, striking on May 1 was likely to cost the striker his job, and singing the Internationale as he marched behind a red flag was even likelier to cost him a cracked head.

Oscar Wilde:Of course, it might be said that the Individualism generated under conditions of private property is not always, or even as a rule of a fine or wonderful type, and that the poor, if they have not culture and charm, have still many virtues. Both these statements would be quite true. The possession of private property is very often extremely demoralising, and that is, of course, one of the reasons why Socialism wants to get rid of the institution. In fact, property is really a nuisance. Some years ago people went about the country saying that property has duties. They said it so often and so tediously that, at last, the Church has begun to say it. One hears it now from every pulpit. It is perfectly true. Property not merely has duties, but has so many duties that its possession to any large extent is a bore. It involves endless claims upon one, endless attention to business, endless bother....Read More:http://struggle.ws/hist_texts/wilde_soul.html image:http://politicstheoryphotography.blogspot.com/2010/05/may-day-right-not-to-work.html

Thus, May Day was above all the worker’s celebration of his recovered manhood: a day for throwing back his shoulders and looking his own fear; of the police, of his bosses, of hunger- in the eye.

But May Day was traditionally and Indo-European festival of spring whose basic character seems to have changed little in the past few thousand years. At the conscious level it is true, folklore played no part in establishing the modern revolutionary May Day. The idea of promoting national campaigns for an eight-hour working day by concerted international action on a fixed date seems to have originated in France. The date was agreed on at a congress of socialists held in Paris in 1889. As far as is known, the choice was inspired by a message from Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, who announced strikes, parades, and other demonstrations by American workers in support of the eight-hour day for May 1,1890.

Oscar Wilde:If property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it. The virtues of the poor may be readily admitted, and are much to be regretted. We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannise over their private lives. Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table? They should be seated at the board, and are beginning to know it. As for being discontented, a man who would not be discontented with such surroundings and such a low mode of life would be a perfect brute. Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. Read More:http://struggle.ws/hist_texts/wilde_soul.html image:http://www.studenthandouts.com/01-Web-Pages/01-Picture-Pages/10.07-Industrial-Revolution/1-1909-Labor-Day-Parade-New-York-City-Jewish-Garment-Industry-End-Child-Slavery.htm

There may have been practical reasons for May 1, but a history of struggle, heroism and tragedy already underscored the date. A similar day of national agitation on May,1, 1886, had won important victories in the fight for shorter working hours. But in Chicago it also helped detonate an explosion of mob violence, police vs. worker, th

ulminated in the Haymarket riot on May 4: six policemen killed outright by a bomb, allegedly thrown by an anarchist. A number of men and women were also shot down by police fire; four necks later broken by the hangman’s noose. The worldwide horror and indignation aroused by the affair further influenced the Paris congress to pattern the proposed international program of agitation upon that of the AFL.

Julian Barnes:Félix Fénéon on trial In 1894, he was arrested in a sweep of anarchists. Part of the evidence against him was that a police search of his office had turned up a vial of mercury and a matchbox containing 11 detonators. Fénéon added to the history of implausible excuses by claiming that his father, who had recently died and was therefore unavailable to corroborate his evidence, had found them in the street. When the presiding judge put it to him that he had been spotted talking to a known anarchist behind a lamp post, he replied coolly: ‘Can you tell me, Monsieur le Président, which side of a lamp post is its back?’ Read More:http://the-purest-of-treats.blogspot.com/2009/05/felix-feneon-on-trial.html image:http://www.ac-grenoble.fr/lycee/diois/Latin/archives/Francais/Image/Iconographie/dessin%20de%20presse%201886-1986%20-%20Web/original/1906%201er%20mai%20L-Assiette%20au%20Beurre%20Grandjouan%208%20heures%20de%20travail,%208%20heures%20de%20loisir,%208%20heures%20de%20sommeil.html




Fernand Leger. 1920. The Mechanic. ---In France, unions joined forces for the first time since the Second World War, but turnout was not as high as a protest day in March in which up to three million attended 300 rallies against President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic recovery plan. Some politicians have warned of the threat of "revolution", following radical action such as "boss-napping" factory executives and an ongoing strike that has crippled dozens of French universities. They are wary of the growing power of leftist radicals linked to the New Anti-Capitalist Party of Olivier Besancenot, a Trotskyist postman.---Read More:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/5258634/Riots-across-Europe-fuelled-by-economic-crisis.html image:http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/rousseau/artisticcircle/leger.shtm

Read More:http://libcom.org/history/socialism-avant-garde-1880-1814-eric-hobsbawm

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