It’s not just a holiday

Let’s face it, if there’s a fight between the monarchy and the workers, you want our side to come out on top right? In a time when unions and our collective ability to defend our living standards is increasingly under attack, it was good to see the QLD Labor government ditch the LNP’s ideological bastard-act of moving ‘Labour Day’ to October.

To his credit, the QLD Treasurer, Tim Nicholls, said:

“We will also be supporting plans for next year to mark the 125th anniversary of the first Labour Day in May in Queensland, held in 1891.”

So in QLD, unlike most of Australia, May Day is again a holiday in May 2016 and the Queen’s birthday holiday gets moved from June to October. Huzzah!

May 1 was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago that occurred on May 4, 1886. Unlike ‘celebrating’ the birthday of an anachronistic parasite, May Day actually means something.

Of course, the LNP isn’t the first to stick it to May Day – rulers the world over have sought to dilute the meaning, most obviously by moving the public holiday away from May. Check out this interactive page showing how the day in Australia started pretty uniformly as 1 May and now is all over the shop – except for QLD.

With most of our meaningful cultural traditions now commodified and mediated by the market, it’s important that we at least take the time to recognise a meaningful date that is celebrated the world over.

Workers of the world unite!