Those who lived back in Soviet times remember the International Day of Workers' Solidarity as a great official celebration, in which almost all enterprises, organizations and schools took part. Bravura music sounded, optimistic slogans were flying out of the loudspeakers glorifying the Communist Party, under whose leadership the Soviet people were confidently moving towards communism … The USSR is long gone, but the tradition of celebrating this date has remained.
Workers' Solidarity Day is celebrated today in dozens of countries around the world. This tradition goes back to the 19th century. As you know, the accumulation of capital in those years was accompanied by the merciless exploitation of workers. None of the owners of factories and factories were interested in the rights of workers. The working day often lasted up to 12-15 hours a day, and this applied to almost all European countries and the United States. The workers did not tolerate such arbitrariness without a murmur. Protests and riots often broke out, although for the time being they were spontaneous and weak. But soon there was a turning point in consciousness, the reason for which was the Chicago events.
On May 1, 1886, about 80,000 workers went on a demonstration in Chicago, demanding an eight-hour day. The next day, workers from other cities in the United States went on strike. More than a thousand factories have stopped. And on May 4, several thousand workers again gathered for a rally in Chicago. But the police were already waiting for them. The head of the police department called on the workers to disperse, and suddenly a bomb exploded in the square. The police opened fire, killing both their own and others. According to some reports, about two hundred people were injured. The culprit in the explosions was never found, but several workers - anarchists and communists - were tried. Four of them, as it turned out later, were innocent, were executed.
This event received a worldwide public response, and in 1889 the Paris Congress of the Second International adopted a decision in memory of the struggle of the Chicago workers to consider May 1 as the day of solidarity of the proletarians of all countries. This was no holiday. It was assumed that on this day, workers from different countries would go on demonstrations and strike to remind the capitalists of their rights. The initiative of the Congress was supported by workers from different countries. In Russia, May Day events already in 1897 acquired a political character and were accompanied by calls for the overthrow of the autocracy and the establishment of a republic. Demonstrations often ended in clashes with police and troops.
After the February Revolution, May Day was celebrated openly for the first time. The most popular slogans at that time were anti-war and calling for the transfer of power to the Soviets.
After the October Revolution, the International Day of Workers' Solidarity acquired an official status. On May 1, workers and soldiers were taken out to demonstrations and parades, already in an organized manner. It is not surprising that soon May 2 became even more popular - a day of rest, when mass celebrations were held in nature.
In the 60s and 70s. XX century this day acquired a different meaning. It became a celebration of the glorification of the Soviet system and a day of struggle for peace and solidarity with the working people of the capitalist countries. It was always celebrated grandiosely: with thousands of columns of demonstrators and broadcast on television.
The last time was officially celebrated on May 1 in 1990, then in Moscow the Federation of Trade Unions and the Association of Free Trade Unions organized a rally against price increases. And on the podium of the Mausoleum was the Soviet leadership, headed by M. Gorbachev.
In 1992 this holiday was renamed. Now the former Soviet people were supposed to celebrate the "Holiday of Spring and Labor."
Currently, this date is used for their own purposes by various political parties - from communists and anarchists to ultra-right and pro-government forces. But this holiday no longer has the same scope and meaning. Most people celebrate May 1 by inertia, happily spending an extra day off on their backyards, in nature and traveling. Perhaps, in this case, the origin of the word "holiday" - from the concept of "idle" is fully justified.