May 1st empowering the People

It’s hard not to talk politics at the 1st of May and then in a wider sense of the word. I was in Oslo to get an idea of the atmosphere today, with my Nokia mobile phone on hand of course. I’ll gladly share my experience with you. Let’s dig into the importance and impact of the day as I show you ‘Youngstorget’ (The Labour Square):

People gathering for the demonstration.
Click to enlarge the pics!

May Day refers to various socialist and labour movement celebrations conducted on May 1, unrelated to the traditional celebrations to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs of 1886 and the international socialist movement generally. Some of my American readers might now that May Day in the United States is commonly regarded — at least by certain groups — as a commemoration of the execution of the Haymarket martyrs who were arrested after the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Illinois, which occurred on May 4, but was the culmination of labour unrest which began on May 1. The date consequently became established as an anarchist and socialist holiday during the 20th century, and in these circles it is often known as International Workers’ Day or Labour Day. In this form, May Day has become an international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the working class and labour movement.

Throughout Norway on the 1st of May there are parades or to be more accurate: demonstrations – but friendly and calm ones! Let me give you some examples and try to translate their message or slogan:

Yes to ethnical diversity — Norway be responsible…
Fight racism! – – … reduce harmful gas pollution!

What makes me so enthusiastic about this is that people and organisations with different points of view and slogans walk together in perfect harmony. They might sing or shout out their message, but without interfering or abusing others. In fact I saw no police around as the demonstration parade, about 5 km long, walked around in perfect harmony. Let me give you some international examples:

Fair treatment in Kurdistan — Stop mistreating muckrakers! (whistleblowers)

An important part of the demonstration is the Norwegian marching band. I could not resist taking pics of this one with the cutest girls holding the tassels of the banner so proudly:

I can’t think of a better way to end this post than a quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in her 1906 book ‘The Friends of Voltaire’: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” To me democracy is much more than giving power to more or less responsible politicians – its about empowering the people!

I made a post about it last year too, when some of my blog friends even suggested that I run for Norwegian Prime Minister!. Like I said then: I was born ultra conservative, love to live in a social democracy and probably will die as a communist:-)

So then I challenge all my blogger friends and new readers as well of course: How was your 1st of May this year?