Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day

Labor Day. International Workers Day.

And where else will I be than slaving at the beach front. The irony.

Some interesting facts about May Day.

I remember when I was a kid, the 1st of May was always an event. It was a day off school, and house fronts were decorated with the GDR flags, and there were demonstrations and parades. Which had, funny enough, less to do with worker solidarity than with the celebration of the government.

In kindergarten, we crafted those paper teddy bears and glued them to a stick so we could (ideally, in the mind of the commie headmonkeys) join our parents in the parade and wave at Honecker, who would stand on a pedestal together with his minions of destruction and wave mechanically back at his people marching by and do his permanent semi-neurotic blinking behind his eye glasses which never ceased to fascinate me or extract a few giggles.

There would be banners with a raised fist and some worker slogan, kids on the shoulders of their dads, red carnations, most of them those plastic ones everyone had, with a wire for a stem so you could attach them to your lapel (if you had one). It's really funny, I love carnations, but to this day they are commie flowers to me. I can't get the association out of my head.

There is an interesting story to this:
May Day was first established in 1899 in France as the day of proletarian solidarity, fighting for better work conditions. The first German May demonstration was to be a year later, but in Germany demonstrations were still forbidden. So people went on "May outings", and as they were not allowed any flags and banners, they wore the socialist color red.
The red carnation became big in the GDR because it was the only flower that was always available (which was a big deal back then, hehehehe. "No Milk Today" was kinda the hymn of village shops). And then above fake plastic carnations were produced because the weather was always shite on that day, and you can't really hail your government with some sad sodden flowers, eh?

Heh. I have to see whether I can get some today. Just for a laugh.

Incoherent post. Sorry. Gotta get dressed, finish my now cold coffee and go undermine the workers' movement. Sadly, raised fists don't pay the rent.

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