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MayDay and Anarchism

Remembrance and Resistance from Haymarket to Now

Anna Key


Mayday means more than maypoles and pagan love rites. It's a remembrance of class struggle and resistance. It commemorates the Haymarket Martyrs of Chicago who were framed – and executed – for their anarchist ideas and fighting for the eight hour day. Since the 1890s, workers have marked Mayday all across the world.

Anarchists have always insisted on its revolutionary meaning – in essence that we will get nothing without fighting for it. Politicians (of one sort or another) have always tried to co-opt or sanitise it: “Follow your leaders!” “That was then, this is now.”

The world has changed since the 1880s – but the more things change, the more they stay the same. We still live in a world where exploitation rules, and where the police and media are tools in the hands of the rich and powerful.

This pamphlet shows the history of Mayday, and the differing ways in which Anarchists have responded to its call. It includes pieces on:

  • The Haymarket affair and its aftermath;
  • The idea of Mayday in the 1890s;
  • Responses and appeals from America, Italy and Spain;
  • Mayday and Latin American Anarchism;
  • Reclaiming Mayday in recent times

Publisher: Kate Sharpley Library
Number of pages: 79
ISBN: 9781873605530
Format: booklet
Printer: Black Cat Press

SKU: TCI-097 Category:

Additional information

Weight 55 g
Dimensions 21.6 x 145 x 20 cm

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