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Indymedia Presents: The Road To Haymarket, May Day, And Its Relevance Today

Mon 2 May 2011 // 20:00

(Mon 2nd / 7:30 pm for 8 pm start / £4/3 but no one turned away through lack of funds)

Bristol Indymedia and the Anarchist Bookfair Collective present on the 125th anniversary of the Haymarket Affair an evening of films and discussion looking at the origins of International Workers Day and the relevance of labour movement struggles and trade unions today.

The struggle for a 40 hour week and the murder by cops of striking workers in Chicago in May 1886 led directly to the events of 4 May in Haymarket, of more deaths and the conviction of 8 mainly anarchist workers who became known as the Haymarket Martyrs. May Day became International Workers Day in 1889 in commemoration of the murder of 4 of them by the state, and of the struggles of workers internationally.

Tonight's first film is a US Labor Beat 1986 documentary 'The Road to Haymarket' (28mins). It traces the varied struggles of American and migrant workers in the years before 1886, includes archive images, and re-enacts key moments and speeches from the Haymarket events.

The second film is a cut-up of 'Trainwreck of the Ideologies 1 & 2' (20 minutes approx), also by Labor Beat. This looks at the conflicts which arose at the unveiling of 2 memorials in 1998 and 2004 to the Haymarket Affair. Whilst no anarchists were allowed to speak at these events, speakers included a catholic priest, government reps, and a police spokesman, as once again our radical past was airbrushed away.

An open discussion will follow on the importance of our histories of struggle, and the relevance of May Day and trade unions to struggles today. All welcome.