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(en) France, UCL AL #345 - Culture, Reading Martin Cennevitz, Haymarket. Story of the origins of May 1st (ca, de, fr, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 8 Feb 2024 08:14:35 +0200

Chicago, a bomb explodes, seven police officers dead, people hanged, a suicide... a dream thriller for Darmanin. Audience in perspective! Oh no! It is May 1886. Eight men are in the dock. It is the story of these men that Martin Cennevitz, historian, has chosen to tell us. ---- This sinister adventure will be at the origin of a holiday celebrated almost everywhere in the world with the exception of die-hard Anglo-Saxon capitalists who prefer Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
In 1889, the Second International made May 1 Workers' Day. She wanted to commemorate these events that occurred in Chicago, this strike with its fatal outcome. The American president at the time did not intend to give in, fearing to promote strikes and reveal the injustices that had marked the labor movement in his country.

So that this date does not sink into the memory gaps so desired by certain revisiters of history, Martin Cennevitz invites us to relive this time of Haymarket. He invites us on an imaginary memorial journey alongside the accused and their families, to share their doubts, their anxieties and their certainties.

On May 1, 1886, a massive strike broke out in Chicago to defend the eight-hour workday. On the 4th, a rally was organized in Haymarket Square, but things got out of hand. A bomb explodes, killing seven police officers. The police fired into the crowd.

The authorities want to put an end to it. Eight men are arrested and wrongly accused of being behind the attack. All are fighting for workers' rights, perfect scapegoats for the police unable to identify the author of the attack. Four of them are hanged, one commits suicide in prison.

Two others will have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The last was to remain behind bars for fifteen years; he was pardoned in 1893.

Martin Cennevitz chose to bring to life the survival of these eight people as closely as possible, by entering their cells, imagining their thoughts and all the courage they showed.

Dominique Sureau (UCL Angers)

Martin Cennevitz, Haymarket. Story of the origins of May 1st, Lux editions, 216 pages, 12 euros.

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