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Realizing that the first day of the month of May has had significance all the way back to pagan times, let's consider just the past century or so.
My childhood education was all about capitalism, communism and fascism. Note that I did not say 'democracy.' In the early years after the Second World War, democracy was taken for granted by the new generation, unaware of how close we came to actually losing the war.
At the time, capitalism made a better contrasting comparison to communism. It was simply accepted that democratic societies are necessarily capitalistic. And, propaganda aside, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Cuba had societal models that seemed to work as well as ours. At least, that was the perception. That the USSR used May 1st to honour its workers seemed very respectful. I mean, we had Labour Day on September 1st which at least nominally honoured workers by giving them the day off. So what, if we didn't have huge military parades.
But that further defined the differences between a communist and capitalist. Their might was in their military. Our might was in money.
Despite military might, governments like the USSR proved vulnerable to the power of the people and when communism started to fall in 1989, all Lenin's horses and all Lenin's men couldn't put his dream back together again. Many in the west considered communism a flawed model and figured they got what they deserved.
Well, just under 20 years later, another global battle was underway and this time it would be capitalism under threat, forcing us to wonder if it was a flawed model. Again, the power of the people forced change as new financial regulations were assembled, some implemented.
It is interesting that as world economies try to heal, labourers and the unemployed around the world unite in using the first day of May to express solidarity and demand accountability of the people who rule their lives.