May Day celebrations

Richard Falbr

Although we're not going to look at the life of a particular person in today's programme, we'll plunge into quite remote history - the end of the 19th century, because it's the time when workers began to stand up and defend their rights, and it's also at this time, when the tradition of May Day celebrations was founded.

The decision to celebrate the 1st of May as the workers' holiday was made in 1889, at the constituent congress of the 2nd International in Paris. The date was chosen to recall a demonstration of Chicago workers in 1886, which resulted in show trials in which several protest organizers were sentenced to death.

I spoke with senator Richard Falbr, the former chairman of the Czech-Moravian TU confederation, who explained how the workers' movement started in what is now the Czech Republic - back then a part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy: