May Day Parade 1934
The original caption for this news photo reads as follows:
The Red Flag of Socialism
A general view of the parade of the Socialists up Madison Avenue in New York May 1. A group of women Socialists carried red flags and sang and shouted as they marched. Parades were held throughout the city by various groups but there was no disorder of any kind. (Associated Press Photo 5-1-34)
In the first half of the 20th century, every May Day in New York would bring thousands of activists out into the streets to march and promulgate their ideas . Many were just plain old Socialists, however there would be smaller parades of Communists, anarchists, Industrial Workers of the World, or other labor groups who had a concern or cause.
In 1932, the Socialist party presidential candidate Norman Thomas received 884,895 votes, a little more than 2% of all ballots cast.
Mostly the May Day marches in New York were peaceful and attracted a civil crowd with interested observers along the streets.
Today any day can be a May Day as there is always a cause of the moment for those who feel the need to protest and peaceably assemble or march.
Sometimes it has been about perceived inequality (Occupy Wall Street). Other times the motivation has been about pay (minimum wage laws) or immigration policies. Most recently we have seen angry marches about how the police deal with suspects and criminals. Many recent demonstrations have devolved into violence and looting (see Baltimore and Ferguson, MO) from thugs looking for an excuse to steal and wreak havoc upon society. Those who partake in the marauding should be dealt with harshly.