May Day has been a spring holiday in the Northern Hemisphere for hundreds of years. Beltane, dance around the Maypole, Queen of the May, all embedded in our cultural memories. At least those of us who grew up in any European-based tradition.
Then in the past century or so, another movement – worker solidarity and unionization – adopted May Day as its own. Sadly, for Americans, this took a nasty turn especially after World War II when it seemed to some a nefarious plot to undermine innocent celebrations of a pleasant season with Communism. Despite building some rather impressive socialist infrastructure from the 1930’s until about 1980, we became trained that the Commies were our deadly foes. Socialism became completely conflated with Stalinism, and hopeful movements like the Sanders campaign are hobbled by the misconceptions to this day.
Because it’s just so destructive, it grieves me to see this kind of think sparked up again and carried on. The entire GOP presidential campaign – all of them, not just Trump – is one example. But also something like this:
The VFW, okay, it’s not exactly the most progressive organization. I never heard of this until this year, though they claim 95 years of “celebrating” it. Of course, the only thing it’s celebrating is hatred of Commies that don’t even exist any more. And a promotion of a brand of authoritarianism that has this country on the precipice of a fascist dictatorship.
Very sad, very sad indeed.