May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries. This was largely the result of the 1904 International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam which called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers.”
In the Philippines, we remember May 1 as Labor Day, a day celebrating the cause of the workers who does not only make up majority of the population but also are the many who give more and yet get paid so little and are exposed daily to the hazards of being exposed to a host toxic chemicals in the facilities, plants and factories that they work on.
This reminds us of the need to affirm the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. Moreover it signifies the need to show our power, solidarity, and discipline as a people, celebrating the strength of workers, dreamers, and oppressed peoples everywhere. May we always be reminded that the quest for a green and peaceful future entails the common pursuit of workers and environmental activists for social justice and environmental sustainability.