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Saturday, February 16, 2019
HomeUncategorizedA celebration of work

A celebration of work

In ancient times, which would be in the 1960s, children would celebrate May Day by dancing around a maypole. This was a metal pole, often a tetherball pole, wrapped in ribbons. Parents seemed to enjoy watching this vaguely pagan ritual. It was a time when children played outside.

Today, May Day seems to be taken over by the workers, because although they have Labor Day in September, May Day is a relic of the communist failed experiment that has made its way to the American experience.

May 1 marks the 130th anniversary of the Chicago Haymarket protest/riot/insurrection. Workers in the infamous Haymarket riot — 35,000 of them — walked off their factory floors, which is how we have come to see the 8-hour work day as a right. Unless we work for the State of Alaska, where a 7.5-hour work day is standard.

The labor movement leaped across the Atlantic to England France, Germany, and beyond and now May 1 is known as International Worker’s Day.

This year, with an election cycle, it will be a day of political protests, festivals, and — if you are in Seattle, stop by Westlake Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to hear the bands Smashie Smashie and istabcapitalists.

Or don’t. Often the May Day festivities in Seattle get violent. Airborne rocks can go astray, and we’re speaking from experience.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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