AUSTIN, Texas — Workers, students and their families assembled on May 1 here to celebrate working-class solidarity and rejuvenate themselves for the ongoing struggle for social justice. The event was sponsored by the Industrial Workers of the World and the Monkeywrench Books collective, and featured talks on the history of May Day, songs, children and workers’ theater.

Festive banners of red and yellow marked the site. Beneath oak trees festooned with ribbons and streamers, union activists set up tables while musicians and artists performed.

Passers-by and curious souls, who read about the gathering in a local newspaper, soon began to filter into the garden. Angela Aguayo, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “You know, there aren’t a lot of moments when you can celebrate and there is always a lot of talk about what divides people — so this is a cool event. I like that it’s a family event, an educational experience.”

Participants gathered on a hillside to hear union organizers speak about ongoing struggles for social justice and progress. Ryan Hastings, a member of Austin’s Industrial Union 660, gave a riveting speech. “Those workers 100 years ago didn’t want to live in a world based on greed and competition,” said Hastings. “We’re here today to remember that we don’t get what we need without a fight.”

The Monkeywrench Books collective and children from the audience then put on a puppet play. The children, playing the role of organized workers resisting the schemes of a greedy boss, cheerfully took up colorful papier-mache tools of industry and sent the “boss” packing.

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