May

1st May 1886 May Day! May Day!

Protesting for the 8-hour work day

Today, May Day, marks the international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. Except in the United States. Yet it is from the New World that May Day received its inspiration. One hundred and twenty-seven years … Continue reading

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2nd May 1919 the Death of Gustav Landauer

Gustav Landauer

Today we are remembering one of the great lost thinkers of the twentieth century – Gustav Landauer – German Jewish anarchist, philosopher and “prophet of community” who, on this day in 1919, was brutally murdered by counter-revolutionary soldiers who overthrew the … Continue reading

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3rd May 1915 “In Flanders Fields”

flanders_field

Days ahead of his departure for the Great War, Doctor John McCrae wrote to his mother a sentiment likely shared by every soldier going his way: “I am really rather afraid, but more afraid to stay at home with my … Continue reading

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4th May 1886 the Haymarket Affair

The Haymarket Martyrs

Today we recall the Haymarket Affair – the most sensational American labour incident of the 19th century, whose legacy even today continues to surreptitiously reverberate. What began as a nationwide movement for the 8-hour work day on 1st May ignited just a few … Continue reading

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5th May 2011 the Death of WWI’s Final Warrior

Claude Stanley Choules

Early in the morning of 5th May 2011, the last living soldier and genuine veteran of World War One quit this planet at the inspiring age of 110. Claude Stanley Choules signed up to the Royal Navy in 1915 when … Continue reading

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6th May 1862 the Death of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau: A Hero for All Seasons

Today we pay tribute to author, naturalist, abolitionist, poet, prophet and unrepentant individual – Henry David Thoreau. When he died on this day in 1862 from tuberculosis aged 44, this giant in the American pantheon was still virtually unknown. Indeed, … Continue reading

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7th May 1763 Pontiac’s Rebellion

Chief Pontiac

Two hundred and fifty years ago today, one of the most significant Indian rebellions in the history of Colonial America began when a confederacy of tribes under the leadership of Chief Pontiac attacked British forces at Fort Detroit. Pontiac’s war … Continue reading

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8th May 1903 the Death of Paul Gauguin

Paul Guaguin self-portrait

“In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of ‘revolutionary’; and it is they alone who are masters.” – Paul Gauguin When artist Paul Gauguin’s 54-year-old dead body was lowered swiftly into his grave … Continue reading

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9th May 1976 the Revolutionary Suicide of Ulrike Meinhof

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“How can stupidity invade intelligence?” asked Ulrike Meinhof of post-war West Germany’s increasingly capitalistic policies of betrayal. Since her death in 1976 on this day at the age of forty-one, we’ve been asking that very question of her own dilemmatic … Continue reading

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9th May 1960  The Pill is Approved

"Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man’s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation." - Margaret Sanger

“No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother” - Margaret Sanger The most revolutionary and liberating act for women is surely the availability of The Contraceptive Pill. Before The Pill … Continue reading

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10th May 1857 the Great Indian Rebellion

The Great Indian Rebellion of 1857

One hundred and fifty-six years ago today in Meerut, three infantry regiments of Indian Sepoys turned their guns on their commanding British officers. Shouting ‘Maro phirangi ko’ (death to foreigners), they killed any European in sight, burnt the officers’ quarters, … Continue reading

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11th May 1846 the Commencement of Manifest Destiny

John Gast's interpretation of Manifest Destiny, with Columbia – the personification of the United States – guiding and protecting western settlers whist driving Native Americans and bison into obscurity

  On 11th May 1846, the 11th president of the United States, James Polk, asked Congress to recognise the existence of a war with Mexico triggered by America’s annexation of Texas. Two days later, war was officially declared and thus … Continue reading

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12th May 1916 the Execution of James Connolly

James Connolly

It was a bright morning in Dublin on May 12th 1916, and a great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham Jail. As spring was turning to summer, a city still coming to terms with the death and destruction of the … Continue reading

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13th May 1968 Paris Revolts

One million march against French authoritarianism: Paris, May 1968

No other city is more synonymous with revolution than Paris; its citizens turned the world upside down in 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1871. And on this day in May 1968, one million Parisians once again took to the streets in … Continue reading

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14th May 1940 the Death of Emma Goldman

The one and only Emma Goldman

Today we celebrate the extraordinary life of an extraordinary woman – orator, writer, agitator, firebrand and revolutionary anarchist – Emma Goldman. Known as “Red Emma,” “the mother of anarchy in America” and “the most dangerous woman in the world,” she … Continue reading

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15th May 1940 the First McDonald’s

Unknown

Today we recall with epic sadness that dreadful disastrous day seventy-three years ago when the first McDonald’s hamburger restaurant opened for service in San Bernadino, California. The extraordinary trajectory of McDonald’s flight to world infamy these past seven decades embodies … Continue reading

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16th May 1918 The Sedition Act

SeditionAct-Snake

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” states the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Except when it suits Congress. And ninety-five years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson pushed through the Sedition Act of 1918 – a blatant … Continue reading

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17th May 1978 the Death of Armin T Wegner

Armin T. Wegner

This date is reserved for German humanitarian hero Armin T. Wegner, whose courageous actions on penalty of death bore undeniable photographic evidence of the systematic genocide of over one million Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. … Continue reading

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18th May 1955 the Death of Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune

In that grim 100-year period between the end of the American Civil War and the onset of the Civil Rights movement, the only thing more challenging than being an African American was the double whammy of being both black and … Continue reading

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19th May 1536  the Beheading of Anne Boleyn

Anne in the Tower, awaiting her fate

Four-hundred and seventy-five years ago today, Anne Boleyn knelt upright on a scaffold in the Tower of London on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII (1491 – 1547). Looming over her was expert swordsman Jean Rombaud who had … Continue reading

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20th May

Another available date for future revolutionaries to take note of. If you reason instead of repeating what is taught you; if you analyze the law and strip off those cloudy fictions with which it has been draped in order to … Continue reading

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21st May 1927 Charles Lindbergh’s Solo Atlantic Flight

Charles Lindbergh arriving in Paris

Today we celebrate, rejoicing with arms outstretched at the audacious and heroic actions of America’s Charles Lindbergh, whose 30-hour flight from America’s east coast to Paris eighty-five years ago in a single-engine monoplane even shorter than a Spitfire turned him … Continue reading

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22nd May 1885 the Death of Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo

Today we pay our respects to that towering giant of French letters, visionary poet, epic novelist, revolutionary playwright, Romantic, mystic and political activist – Victor Hugo. An unqualified hero to his countrymen, when he died on this day in 1885 … Continue reading

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23rd May 2008 the Death of Utah Phillips

Utah Phillips

Today we raise a fist in tribute to folk singer, anarchist, activist, historian and storyteller extraordinaire, Utah Phillips, who died five years ago on this day aged seventy-three. A Mark Twain-meets-Howard Zinn with a guitar, Phillips dedicated himself to unearthing … Continue reading

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24th May 1856  the Commencement of John Brown’s Holy War

John Brown and the clash of forces at Pottawatomie: the first battle of his Holy War

One hundred and fifty-seven years ago in Kansas, on the night of 24th May 1856, a gang of seven abolitionists paid an unexpected visit to the home of militant pro-slavery advocate James Doyle. Doyle and two of his sons were … Continue reading

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25th May 2000  Lebanon Liberation Day

Peace in Lebanon

On the morning of May 22nd 2000, Israeli armed forces began to pull out of Southern Lebanon, signalling the end of a military occupation that had lasted more than two decades. Within three days the withdrawal was complete and by … Continue reading

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26th May 1830 the Indian Removal Act

1830 Indian Removal Map

Today we lament the passage of President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act – paving the way for White America’s long-wished for heave-ho of all Indians to lands west of the Mississippi river. “What good man would prefer a country covered … Continue reading

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27th May 1980 the Kwangju Massacre

The rounding-up of Kwangju dissidents

Today we lament the brutal suppression of the Kwangju Democratisation Movement. Ten days earlier, the citizens of the liberal South Korean city of Kwangju joined a student-led uprising in opposition to the illegitimate authoritarian rule of General Chun Doo-hwan. In response, … Continue reading

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28th May 1871  Defeat of the Paris Commune

Paris ablaze during La Semaine Sanglante (The Bloody Week), the final days of the Paris Commune, 21–28 May 1871

Today we lament the unfathomably brutal suppression of the first proletarian revolution in history, the Paris Commune. Just three months earlier, on 18th March 1871, the workers of Paris rose up, seized power from the new provisional French government, declared … Continue reading

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29th May 1851 ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’

The impeccably (self-) named Sojourner Truth

Today we recall that extraordinary, incendiary moment when former slave, itinerant preacher, abolitionist and firebrand Sojourner Truth took to the podium at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, raised herself to her full height of over six feet, … Continue reading

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30th May 1431  the Burning of Joan of Arc

Hermann Stilke's 1843 painting of the death of Joan of Arc

“Whatever thing men call great, look for it in Joan of Arc, and there you will find it.” – Mark Twain On this day in 1431, the English tied a 19-year-old French peasant girl to a pillar in the square in Rouen … Continue reading

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31st May 1996 the Death of Timothy Leary

The one and only Dr. Timothy Leary

At 12:44am on the 31st of May 1996, Dr. Timothy Leary sat bolt upright in bed startling the small group of friends and family who had gathered to keep him company during his final days. He had been diagnosed with … Continue reading

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