May becomes the dualist month

Ph.D. | 5/2/2012, 5 p.m.

April showers, May flowers.

That was certainly the case in this part of California. Elsewhere had even more bizarre weather highlights and lowlights. Chronic rain in Southern California in April! Who woulda thunk it?

Now, May is the Janus-faced month, as said in this column before. [Janus was the double-faced god of Roman mythology, each face looking in a different direction--at both the future and the past.] On the one hand, it is clearly a festive, love-laden period, intertwined with May Day (May 1), as originally celebrated by the Romans, Greeks and Celts (under various other names) as a huge party and love potion to the new springtime blossoms, warm weather and freedom.

However, socialists everywhere, and other labor activists speaking many different languages, annually thrust their fists in the air, sing militant songs of struggle and triumph, and march through streets, villages, shopping centers and universities in honor of working people everywhere. May Day is their Labor Day holiday.

May 25 is ALD Day (African Liberation Day) for African Americans and other members of the African Diaspora. We celebrate it with speakers, panel discussions, teach-ins, old school video-watching parties, and serious discussions about how we are still committed to radical social-political change in the hostile circumstances of being Black and devalued in America and the world.

It is also All Africa Day, the only current African continent-wide (and even worldwide) holiday for all African people.

In 1963, the newly formed Organization of African Unity established May 25 as African Freedom Day, to celebrate the recent independence of 32 former colonies. In the early 1970s that formal name was changed by community activists to African Liberation Day, and is now celebrated globally under that title.

All Africa Day (aka, Africa Day), also on May 25, is the African Union's new official holiday (the AU is the organization that replaced the OAU in 2001) to help to convince the African continent to become one federated country--the United States of Africa or Union of African States.

The old official name--African Freedom Day--has just evolved to the new formal name, All Africa Day, as designated by Africa's singular official body. ALD remains the informal, unofficial acronym for All Africa Day.

This year, as a special feature on May 25, the Global African Diaspora Summit Day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, to further anoint the idea of the African Diaspora becoming a voting participant in the African Union.

May brings us Memorial Day, May 31, (originally Decoration Day)--the preeminent celebration of loyalty and courage in America's Civil War. In between May Day and Memorial Day, there is also Cinco de Mayo and the always beloved Mother's Day. May hosts more than 25 distinctive political observances, including the annual Malcolm X birthday gala and festival--there's also another Malcolm X festival held annually in April--held in most major urban areas in America.

"For the sporting set, there are the annual professional hockey playoffs, the real step-off of major league baseball (sure, it starts in April, but really only gets going in May), the roundball playoffs (this year both the Lakers and Clippers are still in it, and showing some real heart), etc.