Right-Wing Media Ignore the American Origins of May Day
The Fox show America Live introduced an April 30 segment on May Day protests planned by Occupy Wall Street by playing black-and-white newsreel footage of a military parade in Moscow in the days of the Soviet Union in celebration of the holiday. Subtle.
America Live host Megyn Kelly continued this narrative, saying: "Six decades ago, the first of May was best known as a day of celebration in Moscow and Havana, as workers in the Communist Party marked what they called their accomplishments."
Fox contributor Charles Payne echoed this red-baiting smear later that day on Your World, said that May Day "dovetails into a big, giant communist holiday":
But Fox is obscuring the origin of this holiday, which began in 19th-century America.
According to the Chicago Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Chicago, the origins of May Day date back to a weeklong strike in Chicago that began on May 1, 1867, after a state law limiting the work day to eight hours was ignored. Two decades later, Chicago's labor movement organized another campaign for an eight-hour workday on May 1, 1886. Several episodes of violence erupted between police and strikers and other supporters of the movement that week, and the movement was suppressed.
Although communist nations adopted the holiday in the 20th century, the origin of May Day is undeniably American. Instead of celebrating the American ideal of an eight-hour workday, a 40-hour workweek, and weekends off, the virulently anti-union Fox News is painting the struggle for these standards of American labor as something foreign and to be feared.