“Long live May 1st!”

May 1st was a date when the rapidly declining position of Yugoslav blue-collar workers throughout the 1980s crystallised. The notion that directors were abusing the symbolic capital of blue-collar workers featured prominently. On the May 1988 front page of outspoken Beogradski radnik, a trade union publication produced jointly by editorial staff and workers of a number of Belgrade industrial heavyweights, this dynamic was expressed in lurid detail. Depoliticised Labour Day festivities are taking place with the typical trappings of the holiday – spit-roast ox, alcohol and accordion music performed to the merriment of suited older men (presumably directors and politicians) – under the banner ‘long live May 1st’. The festivities however are disturbing, perhaps even endangering, the work of a despondent miner underground who knocks the handle of his hammer up at them to no avail.

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