Today is, of course, May Day, whose origins go back to pre-Christian European cultures, but for much of the world it’s also International Workers’ Day and, in some countries, Labor Day. Ironically, for a date chosen to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, May 1 is not the official labor holiday in the United States. America celebrates Labor Day, albeit very reluctantly, on the first Monday in September, a date that probably predates Haymarket in its origins but was selected for the federal holiday in part because May 1 is too workery and internationalist and socialist for American politicians to countenance.
But even in countries that don’t formally recognize May 1 as a day for recognizing organized labor and workers’ rights, the day still carries that connotation for some people. And that means demonstrations, rallies, and celebrations. These sorts of things can sometimes turn violent, particularly when governments, backed by super-national military institutions and the spy agencies of global superpowers, deliberately turn them violent. Speaking of which, let’s consider the 1977 May Day rally in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.