Labour day – for real

One of the things that has always annoyed me in Australia is the celebration of Labour day. Or the lack hereof. Labour day is 1. May. The whole world celebrates it on 1. May and when I say celebrate I mean for real. In Australia, Labour day is moved to the first  Monday in May and thus becomes a long weekend; most Australians I know interpret this as an obligations to chuck some prawns on the barbie.

But that is not Labour day. Labour day is the day where we come together to show our support and solidarity for the working families around the country. And those who do not have a job. It is a day where we discuss what kind of society we want, what kind of economy we want, how we want to work, how much and what to get paid. This year the overarching theme in Copenhagen was “job and education for everybody”.

Despite what many Australians think, it is not the select few who come out for Labour day. It is a massive get-together. This year more than a quarter of a million people gathered in Copenhagen central park – fælledparken. It is impossible to take pictures of a quarter of a million people. I have instead tried to capture some of the feeling of the day.

The blue slogan below reads: When injustice turns to justice, resistance becomes a duty.
This is an old slogan created during the second world war. It was later picked up by the antifascist movement, where it is still live and well today. It pretty much describes everything that motivates me.

Lots of people in Denmark do not agree with or celebrate Labour day. As the pictures show, the majority of participants are from the left side of the political spectre. But no one can deny that it is because of the labour movement, that Danish workers have some of the best working rights anywhere in the world. Conservative forces will say that this is prohibitive to the Danish economy, but economists have proved time and time again, that this is simply not true. We have a strong working force in Denmark and are some of the most productive people in the western world. Rights included.

All said and done, 1 May in Denmark this year was a beautiful spring day. It feels good to be here.


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