International Workers’ Day – Labour Day – The history of International Workers’ Day

May 1 is the day of establishing the rights of working people. In 1886, the workers of O Market in Chicago, USA gave their lives to establish their rights. The day is being celebrated all over the world as International Workers’ Day in remembrance of that life-giving event.

In the movement for the establishment of workers’ rights, the workers of undivided Bengal were ahead of the workers in the market. The world’s first workers’ strike took place in undivided Bengal in May 1862, demanding eight hours of work daily. That is 24 years before the Chicago incident. The strike was called by the railway workers. President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to free slaves in 1861-1865 created a tidal wave in the labor movement in America. The movement demanding eight hours of work intensified at this time. In the 18th century, 1868 the US Legislature passed a law limiting the working hours of government workers to eight hours, but the fate of private workers did not change.

Labour Day

Robert Owen, an English sociologist and social reformer, was the first to introduce the theory of eight hours of labor, eight hours of recreation and eight hours of rest to the workers in the early eighteenth century. This theory caused a stir among the workers. They became vocal in this demand. But for greater profits, the industrialists were reluctant to tie up any time for labor. At that time workers were forced to work 10 to 16 hours daily six days a week. So the labor organizations formed a movement across Europe demanding a maximum of eight hours of labor.

Socialists or socialists encourage this movement in many ways. The movement gained momentum on April 1886 in the industrial city of Chicago, USA. It may be recalled that in October 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States had set a deadline of May 1, 1886 to consider eight hours of labor as the norm. But when the employers were reluctant to meet the demands of the workers, strikes and demonstrations were called across the United States on May 1, 1886. Rallies and demonstrations were held for three consecutive days.

The heartbreaking chapter happened on May 4th. The agitating workers took out the procession ignoring the light rain that evening. Then the lecture session started in O Market Square. The last speaker at that time was Labor leader Samuel Finden. After his speech at 10:30 pm, the police ordered everyone to leave the meeting place. A home-made bomb exploded as police were approaching. A policeman was killed on the spot. 66 more injured; Of which six policemen later died.

According to police, the exchange of fire between the two sides began after the bombing. But the whole thing was sorted. According to historians, the police fired on the workers. At that moment, the market square became empty. Workers’ bodies are lying on the road. Although it is said that four workers were killed and 60 injured, the real truth is hidden. Hundreds of protesting workers were arrested after the bloody O Market incident. Then began the farce in the name of justice. At the end of the trial, the jury ruled in favor of the death sentence for eight protesters, but sentenced seven to death and one to 15 years in prison. The High Court upheld the same verdict. Richard James, the governor of the US state of Illinois, commuted the death sentences of Labor leaders Finden and Schroeder and sentenced them to life in prison on November 10, 1887. Then began the countdown to the death of the other five. But another sad incident happened on this day. Linz, a convicted revolutionary worker, collected a special type of hand-made bomb that looked like a thick cigarette for the purpose of voluntary death rather than the death penalty. He set fire to his face and caused an explosion. He died six hours after being seriously injured in the incident.

The next day, November 11,1887 the remaining four revolutionary workers, Angel, Fisher, Parsons and Spice, were taken to the gallows. On the way to the gallows, they sang mass songs and revolutionary songs about workers’ rights. On the eve of the hanging, Spice said, “The day will come when our death will be stronger than the voice you want to silence.” Labour leader Spice’s bold utterance was not in vain. The demand for eight hours of labor has been established in the world today. May 1, the country remembers those workers who are the heroes of the market. May 1 is a public holiday in 80 countries around the world on the occasion of International Workers’ Day. In most of the countries of the world including these 80 countries, various programs are taken on this day to establish the rights and interests of the workers. Those who think about the workers on this day, remember the tragic story that happened in the American O market in 1886. May 1 the holy month be immortal.

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