Chinese Wobblies

May 1 has evoked a mixed bag of emotions in our house for the longest time. Its a palimpsest; a layer cake. Yes, on the one hand there are all the celebrations embedded into the day. The pagan May Day celebrations (dating back to medieval European maypoles and the first day of summer) for one thing. And grafted onto that, the socialist International Workers of the World Day celebrations that began in Chicago (circa 1905) by the Wobblies, as they are affectionately known. And indeed, taking the two together, that is a lot to celebrate – Flower Power! The Power of Flowers! Flora, first day of summer, labor rights, the struggle for the 8-hour work day, industrial unions for the world, the Wobblies. What’s not to like about any of those? Who doesn’t love flowers? (and now that I study flora and botanical gardens, how can I stay away?). Who doesn’t love the Wobblies? Not to say anything about their strikingly beautiful (pun intended) Soviet-style poster iconography. Continue reading