As the quarantine in Michigan continues through May 15, tensions are rising among the public with May Day strikes around the globe. Curtailed by the quarantine, the strikes took on different forms from honking horns in cars to singing on the balconies.
This time the protestors are on both sides of the COVID-19 quarantine issue. One wave of protestors is comprised of health care and essential workers fearing for their safety, the other wave fears for their economic well-being.
In Michigan, protesters were early as they swarmed the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday scaring the legislators with their rifles and signs.
“Today was scary, I won’t mince words. But the signs the protestors carried reeked of misogyny, racism and anti-semitism. I cannot imagine what it was like to walk into the Capitol today as a female person of color.”
— State Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), tweeting Thursday night about the loud, heavily armed conservative protest at the state Capitol that spilled into the building.
Millions of others defying the stay-at-home orders, opened their doors to business on this first day of May in a hurting economy.
May Day Kaleidoscope
May Day aka former International Workers Day was also a national holiday in socialist Czechoslovakia.
For me, May Day remains a day of observance–a kaleidoscope of colorful bits and pieces encompassing the past and the present. It’s sort of like bringing a bouquet of fragrant lilacs to a monument; the lilacs have the same smell, but the monuments keep changing.
Just the words May Day still bring a smile to my face; even after more than 30 years of celebrating it on the Revolutionary Boulevard in then Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. We marched down the boulevard waving small flags and patriotic pompoms in the mandatory socialist parades.
If I close my eyes, I can still feel into the atmosphere of the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic anthems were blasting from the loudspeakers including the Soviet anthem “Coyuz Nerusimij.”
We all had to Partake in the May Day parade. Those who didn’t participate got later into trouble at work or in school like our English teacher who crumpled up a patriotic pompom. She got written up.
And I write about all this in my upcoming new book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” Here is an excerpt:
Parades known as March of Thieves
During national holidays, the workers would steal anything and take it through the gates without being checked because there were so many of them leaving at once for the parades. So, the parades were known as the “March of Thieves.” Some parades actually started inside the factory. On the matter of overtime, one individual was selected to punch for all those, who waited somewhere outside the factory behind the gates.