[Not] Forgetting May 1

Chicago is full of factories. There are even factories right in the centre of the city, around the world’s tallest building. Chicago is full of factories. Chicago is full of workers.

Arriving in the Haymarket district I ask my friends to show me the place where the workers whom the whole world salutes every May 1 were hanged in 1886. ‘It must be around here,’ they tell me. But nobody knows where.

No statue has been erected in memory of the martyrs of Chicago in the city of Chicago. Not a statue, nor a monolith, not a bronze plaque. Nothing.

May 1 is the only truly universal day of all humanity, the only day when all histories and all geographies, all languages and religions and cultures of the world coincide. But in the United States, May 1 is a day like any other. On that day, people work normally and no one, or almost no one, remembers that the rights of the working class did not spring whole from the ear of a goat, or from the hand of God or the boss.

After my fruitless exploration of the Haymarket, my friends take me to the largest bookstore in the city. And there, poking around, just by accident, I discover an old poster that seems to be waiting for me, stuck among many movie and rock posters. The poster displays an African proverb: Until lions have their own historians, histories of the hunt will glorify the hunter.

- By Eduardo Galleano, the Book of Embraces