Button Up! #10 – May Day


May Day is a holiday born in the struggle of the US working class, 129 years ago this year. It became a Red holiday in the years after the Russian Revolution, and is observed globally.

In the United States the anti-communism of the McCarthy era and the revisionism of the tattered remnants of the once-proud CPUSA meant that the holiday faded from the calendar of the left by the 1960s. It fell to the New Communist Movement of the 1970s to spearhead a revival, admittedly a limited one. On a few early occasions in ’70s May Days could be united front efforts but as the movement spiraled into what the Proletarian Unity League rightly derided as “Two, Three, Many Parties of a New Type,” they tended to be small and sectarian. This pin was made in 1976 by the newly formed Revolutionary Communist Party (USA).

Still the revival took roots and reds, social democrats, left labor activists kept it going in one way or another into the new century. In 2006, association with the great levantamiento of immigrant workers gave the holiday a new, more international and more deeply working class character which it maintains to the present day. But that’s a story for another button.

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