by Mohawk Valley Freedom School
“If you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement—the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery—the wage slaves—except salvation—if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here we will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. you cannot put it out.”
—Albert Spies, Haymarket martyr, anarchist revolutionary and organizer of the 8-hour day
There will be a Mohawk Valley Freedom School class titled “Subterranean Fire: The Chicago Anarchists and the Making of May Day” on Wednesday, April 29 from 7pm – 8:30pm at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY.
The first of May is celebrated all over the world as May Day, or International Workers’ Day. Although its roots are in the US, few people in the U.S. know about the origins of May Day. MVCC Adjunct Professor of History Brendan M. Dunn will give a lecture on the origins of May Day and the mass movement of Chicago anarchists in the 1880s who fought, bled and died for the eight hour work day. He will go into detail about the ideology and activism of the movement, the Black International, the Knights of Labor, immigrant communities in Chicago, the Haymarket Riot and the repression and martyrdom that followed this affair. Special attention will be given to the narratives of such notable anarchist revolutionaries as Albert Parsons, a former Confederate officer who became a martyr and Lucy Gonzalez Parsons, a former slave turned revolutionary anarchist. Connections will be made between the Haymarket anarchists of yesterday and the immigrant rights movement today as well as the current uprising in Baltimore. An open discussion around these movements as well as the Fight for Fifteen campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage that is currently sweeping the nation will follow the lecture.