Today's May Day demonstrations around the country will seek to revive the traditional radical socialist agenda of earler 20th century workers' solidarity movements.
Here's how the San Francisco Bay Area Independent describes things:
Organizers in cities and towns around the U.S. are hoping to bring back the historical significance of May 1st in international labor and workers' struggles, and to reignite the labor movement by integrating recent undocumented workers' struggle for amnesty. Marches, rallies, and other gatherings on that date will focus on issues such as federal agencies and ending harassment by local police, raids, and the separation of families in immigrant communities; stopping the use of "no-match" letters to intimidate worker organizing efforts; holding elected officials accountable to supporting immigrant rights; funding human needs and services instead of militarism and war; and amnesty for those who do not have current documents.
Under the broad theme of Workers Uniting Without Borders –Amnesty for All, protesters will gather in San Francisco on Thursday, May 1st for a 2:00pm rally in Dolores Park, a 3:30pm march to Civic Center, and a 5:00pm rally and musical performance. The final planning meeting will take place on April 24th at 7pm at 522 Valencia St., near 16th St. BART. In Santa Cruz, march participants will wear green in solidarity with campus workers. There will be a 12pm rally in Quarry Plaza, followed by a march to a 4pm celebration in San Lorenzo Park. A march, rally, outdoor film screening, and other activities will take place in Watsonville starting at 4pm in the Plaza. An Immigrant Rights May Day March in Oakland will gather at 3 pm at Fruitvale BART Plaza for a march down International Blvd. to a 6pm rally at Oakland City Hall (14th & Broadway). In San Jose, an Immigrants Being Active Participants in Change march will gather at 4pm in the Mi Pueblo Foods parking lot (Story and King Roads) and will head down King Road and Santa Clara Street to San José City Hall (Santa Clara and 5th Streets). In Fresno, a March for Immigrant Rights will gather at 3pm in the Fulton Mall Free Speech Area, with plans for a 5pm march... In San Diego, the community will gather at City College, march down Broadway to Pantoja Park, and then the day's events will continue with a public assembly at Memorial Park at Oceanview and 30th.
Notice the references to "solidarity?"
That's the language of the left's goal for workers of the world to unite. Here's Wikipedia's mention of "May Day."
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with May Day) is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labour movement. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations by millions of working people and their labour unions throughout Europe and most of the rest of the world — though, as noted below, rarely in the United States and Canada. Communist and anarchist organizations and their affiliated unions universally conduct street marches on this day.
International Workers' Day is the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886; in 1889, the first congress of the Second International, meeting in Paris for the centennial of the French Revolution and the Exposition Universelle (1889), following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. These were so successful that May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891. The May Day Riots of 1894 and May Day Riots of 1919 occurred subsequently. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." As the most effective way of demonstrating was by striking, the congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."
May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist, and anarchist groups. In some circles, bonfires are lit in commemoration of the Haymarket martyrs, usually right as the first day of May begins. It has also seen right-wing massacres of participants as in the Taksim Square massacre of 1977 in Turkey.
Due to its status as a celebration of the efforts of workers and the socialist movement, May Day is an important official holiday in Communist countries such as the People's Republic of China, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union. May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries.
For more information, check the webpage of the Industrial Workers of the World, "The Brief Origins of May Day."
Here's a list of demands coming out of today's protests.
May Day's never been big in the U.S. because we're not a Communist country, or even a social market economy on par with the European continental democracies.
That may change if the Democrats come to power this November.
As I noted previously, a clear majority favors redistributing wealth from the top to the bottom, and economic circumstance today are creating the conditions for a far reaching political realignment in the country (and the radical left netroots are clearly demanding change of revolutionary proportions).
See also Gallup's poll this morning, "Economic Issues Reaching “Crisis” Level for Many Americans."