Labor Day: why it is commemorated and since when it has been a holiday – Notes – Viva la Radio

Labor Day: why it is commemorated and since when it has been a holiday – Notes – Viva la Radio
Labor Day: why it is commemorated and since when it has been a holiday – Notes – Viva la Radio

Every May 1, International Workers’ Day is celebrated, which has antecedents in Argentina dating back to 1890 by anarchist and leftist groups, but only in the middle of the 20th century was the date established as a national holiday.

In 1886, the American city of Chicago was the epicenter of dozens of protests by workers demanding improvements in working conditions, with eight-hour days, and modifications to their contracts.

By the end of April, the slogan: “Eight hours for work, eight for sleep and eight for home” began to become popular, in a new claim by the group known as Noble Order of the Knights of Labor (Noble Order of the Knights of Labor).

Within the framework of the demands, a strike began on May 1, and for four days, around half a million people protested in more than 5,000 strike points. The closing of the demonstrations was on May 4, when there was savage repression by the Police: that was the Haymarket Revolt.

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Three years later, at a Congress in Paris where the Second International was held – a workers’ organization made up of socialist and labor parties – the May 1st like International Worker’s Day.

In 1890, a year after that decision of the Second International, the first activities were carried out in Argentina to remember and honor the martyrs of Chicago.

The initiative was carried out by sectors of the left and anarchism, so they were days of strong protests against the capitalist system that usually ended with incidents with the Security Forces.

In 1925, during the Presidency of the radical Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, the Government declared by decree “holiday” to Workers’ Day, as an administrative act that granted leave only to state workers.

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Only 19 years later, during the administration of Edelmiro Farrell and with Juan Domingo Perón as Secretary of Labor and Social Security, the date was renamed “Labor Day” and adopted official holiday character.

The establishment of May 1 as a holiday was a “symbol of the just aspirations of the worker and a fervent tribute to the noble dignity of all human labor,” in the words of Perón in his message to the workers.

From that year on, the date was used by the labor movement to make demands or defend gains, just as the union sectors aligned with the left maintained their combative essence.

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