Quotable: Eduardo Galeano on May Day

“Chicago, 1886. May 1. When the general strike paralyzed Chicago and other cities, the Philadelphia Tribune diagnosed: The labor element has been bitten by a universal species of tarantula, and has gone stark raving mad. Stark raving mad for fighting for an eight-hour workday and for the right to organize unions.

“The next year, four labor leaders, accused of murder, were sentenced without proof in a kangaroo court. Georg Engel, Adolf Fischer, Albert Parsons and Auguste Spies marched to the gallows. The fifth condemned, Louis Lingg, blew his brains out in his cell.

“Every May 1, the entire world remembers them. With the passage of time, international conventions, constitutions and laws have proven them right. However, the most successful businesses still refuse to recognize them. They prohibit unions and measure the workday by the same molten clocks once painted by Salvador Dalí.”

–Eduardo Galeano, “The Universal Tarantula”. Translation mine.

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5 Responses to Quotable: Eduardo Galeano on May Day

  1. Dr.Dawg says:

    My favourite author now living. I’m working my way with reverence through a copy of Mirrors that he kindly signed for me.

  2. He’s one of my faves, too–although I’ve never met him in person. But I see him from time to time on Democracy Now, and also on VTV.

  3. Richard says:

    Ahem…. Galeano is a necessary writer, and tells the May Day story well… but wish he’d said more about Lucy Gonzales Parsons — Albert Parsons’ widow, who became one of the great figures in U.S. labor history (and civil rights history) in her own right.

  4. He probably does, in another of his vignettes. I haven’t read the book that one came from, but I’m gonna look her up…

  5. Manaat says:

    Boston has/had an anarchist bookstore called the “Lucy Parsons Center”.

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