May 1st is International Workers’ Day around the world, known as May Day in many countries, arguably one of the first international holidays/days of demonstration produced by disadvantaged non-state actors. You can read more about the origins of May Day from the Industrial Workers of the World.
On this May Day we are subject to what we are told is the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Bankers are being bailed out, bonuses being paid, while workers lose jobs or are asked to cut back on wages and hard won benefits. We have witnessed a massive transfer of wealth from workers and from peripheral economies over the last three decades of neoliberal dominance. We are witnessing it again, as the agents of neoliberalism are being shored up with the privatization of social wealth, and the socialization of the losses of the private sector.
In Montreal, today, Friday May 1st, starting at 5:30pm, there will be a Demonstration Against Capitalism, starting at Parc Cabot (corner Atwater and Ste-Catherine – métro Atwater). The demonstration will march to the main offices of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in the heart of the business district (1000, place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, in Vieux-Montréal).
May Day 2009 in Montreal also begins this city’s Festival of Anarchy, which runs for the entire month.
The following series of videos comprise a documentary on one of the incidents that gave rise to International Workers Day, the Haymarket Square massacre in Chicago in 1886.