During the 1800’s the most important demand of the Working Class was to cut their 14-16 hour working day to 8 hours, this campaign idea began in Australia. Stone & building workers in Melbourne organised a demo for an 8 hour working day on May 1st and continued it every year.
The 1st International League called upon the world’s working class to struggle for an 8 hour working day worldwide.
The response was mostly felt across the USA where strikes, protests & demo’s were organised on May 1st 1886. The Establishment clamped down on this uprising. They sabotaged a demo in Chicago by planting a bomb and the Police gunning down workers in Haymarket Square. 8 worker organisers were condemned to death on trumped-up charges and despite mass protests at this travesty of justice, 4 were hanged the following year, during which thousands were fired and hundreds placed on Blacklists, unable then to work.
The 2nd International League, at its 1st Congress of workers in Paris in 1889, accepted May 1st as an INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UNITY, STRUGGLE AND SOLIDARITY with those American workers and this has continued ever since, with it declared as a Public Holiday – Labour Day in many nation states.