Why is Labor Day celebrated

May 1st: What are we celebrating
that day actually?

May 1st, Labor Day, was celebrated in Austria for the first time in 1890. What is the story behind this day and when it became a national holiday.

How it all started ...

It all started on May 1, 1886 in Chicago. At that time, union-led workers in the United States went on strike to introduce the 8-hour workday instead of 12. The protest in Chicago ended bloody, however, several people died, among other things, because a bomb was thrown into the crowd in Haymarket Square. Numerous other people were injured. As a result, eight organizers of the strike were charged and found guilty in a contentious process. Four death sentences were carried out.

The demands of the workers did not fall silent: in 1889 an international workers' congress in Paris called for an annual "working class day" to be celebrated. And a year later, in 1890, workers drew attention to their concerns for the first time with worldwide mass demonstrations under the motto "Out on May 1st" - people in Austria also took to the streets.

From the protests to the holiday

The Brussels Congress of the Second International of 1891 then decided to celebrate May 1st every year from now on - as "the feast day of the workers of all countries, on which the workers should express the commonality of their demands and their solidarity". Today "Labor Day" is a public holiday in many countries, including Austria.

May 1st became the official feast day in Austria only after the end of the monarchy. In 1919 the National Assembly decided to make May 1st a "general day of rest and feast". The "Rebel Sunday" of yore had become a national holiday. Years later, however, the Dollfuss government banned all street demonstrations and in 1933 took away the traditional content of the May celebrations. Under the Nazi regime, the day was celebrated as "National (or German) Labor Day".

The central demands of that time

Austria occupies a leading position in the history of May 1st: The founder of the Austrian social democracy, Victor Adler, had approved the idea in principle at the conference in Paris in 1889, but at the time saw its practical realization in "poor Austria" with skepticism. He should be wrong. Friedrich Engels later stated that "enemy and friend agree that on the whole of mainland Austria and in Austria Vienna celebrated the feast day of the proletariat in the most brilliant and worthy manner."

In the early years, the central demands of Austrian workers were the introduction of universal suffrage as well as old-age, disability, widow and orphan benefits.

This is how we celebrate today

In Austria after 1945 the celebrations on May 1st - now "Labor Day" again - gradually took on the shape we are familiar with today. May 1, 1955 was dominated by the successful Moscow State Treaty negotiations on Austrian independence and the prospect of a free, neutral and independent Austria.

1981 May 1st was overshadowed by the murder of the socialist city councilor Heinz Nittel. The Vienna City Councilor for Transport and President of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Society was shot dead by Palestinian terrorists from the Abu Nidal group.

The book "A Strange Hero - The Grandiose, Unknown Victor Adler" can be found here. *

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Comments

Fronzreport replies

And worth news; If you are already spending a 1 year old article, you should also delete the comments from that time - thank you

steff39report replies

you are absolutely right: to let go of stupid sayings to distract from your own inability! Big sayings, zero performance! Typically Rigi9

Rigi9Report

Today it only serves to scold the government and let go of stupid sayings to distract from your own ineptitude! Big sayings, zero performance! Typical politicians (with very few exceptions!)

FronzReport

Could you please name a few exceptions?