Study: weather, not climate, is a political force in May Day

Ow, my brain. Below is the actual title of a publication referenced by Springerlink. While the title seems ridiculous, there is a valid point. The paper says it is from:

The Centre for Voting and Parties (Center for Valg og Partier, CVAP) is a research centreattached to the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen.

For those who don’t know:

International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, is a celebration of the international labour movement. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries and celebrated unofficially in many other countries. May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist and anarchist groups commemorating the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago.

Of course, May Day goes back much further than that, and is a traditional ‘Spring Holiday’ in many countries. Some claim the earliest May Day celebrations appeared before the time of Christ. Here is the title:

It’s the weather, stupid! Individual participation in collective May Day demonstrations

Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard


We investigate the possible explanations for variations in aggregate levels of participation in large-scale political demonstrations. A simple public choice inspired model is applied to data derived from the annual May Day demonstrations of the Danish labor movement and socialist parties taking place in Copenhagen in the period 1980–2011. The most important explanatory variables are variations in the weather conditions and consumer confidence, while political and socio-economic conditions exhibit no robust effects. As such accidental or non-political factors may be much more important for collective political action than usually acknowledged and possibly make changes in aggregate levels of political support seem erratic and unpredictable.




The number of participants taking part in political demonstrations is usually seen as an indication of the extent of popular support for the cause addressed by the demonstration. If there are many, ―the people‖ supports it, and if there are few they do not; if there are more than last time a comparable demonstration took place, popular support is on the rise, and if there are fewer it is waning.

Or so the popular logic would seem to go. However, demonstrations are instances of large -scale collective action where the participation of the average supporter will make no difference for the outcome, and where the benefits produced by the demonstration itself constitute a ―public good which will be shared by all sympathizers, irrespective of whether they themselves take part or not.

In contrast, the costs of participating in the demonstration will be concentrated and private. So, why should rational individuals demonstrate, when they know that there at least some personal costs involved and when their own participation will have no discernible net-effect on the outcome? Public choice theorists have been asking such questions for more than five decades…

In the present study we shall try to tackle this in a new way and with a novel type of data, namely by looking at May Day demonstrations such as those organized by labour unions and socialist parties in many countries each year on May 1st since the late 19th century.

These share the rather unique feature that they have been taking place regularly, over long time periods, organized by groups with basically very similar ideological beliefs, under the same set of symbols, at the exact same time of the year, and often at the same locations. What vary then are the socio-economic and political contexts, as well as the more accidental circumstances that may affect individual participation.

The conclusion says:

The most important factors for the explanation of turn-out seems to be whether the weather is sufficiently pleasant for people to fight for what they believe is a better and more just society.

h/t to Dr. Richard Tol.

The paper is here:

Weather has been a political force for years. It affects election turnout, wars (Battle of Leningrad and Invasion of Normandy for example) and many other variables. So, weather may very well affect weather you get turned onto being a socialist at a May Day celebration.



52 thoughts on “Study: weather, not climate, is a political force in May Day

  1. True. When it’s below freezing, the AGW rallies seem to be poorly represented.

  2. The weather? Nonsense, it’s money. Quite a few protesters at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were paid a pretty decent sum of money to be there.
    One other thing. It could also be a party atmosphere. It’s not unusual for young men to take part in these things because, well, the young women.
    Now, it’s not like I would know that because I ever took part in such a protest pretty much only for that reason. Ok, I have. In the early 90s I took part in a massive protest (one of the protesters claimed there were a million participants but I’m suspicious as to whether she counted them). Anyway, the protest involved a woman’s rights issue (and you’re not going to pry out of me what it was). Anyway, it was somewhat stunning how many of the young women were itching to get arrested. And it was strictly for bragging rights. Let’s party!

  3. When global warming got outed by data manipulator whistleblowers, they rebranded to climate change and extreme weather (courtesy geoengineering) is their new proof.

  4. Dunno about politics, but here in Britain the morris dancers turn out, rain or shine and usually at dawn. And that’s certainly way older than any international workers’ day.

  5. The San Francisco Chronicle has this nonsense today.
    Make a comment if you like. Crazy folks in S.F. love their Mayday propaganda. The need some education.

  6. Do you remember?….. I remember when I was a little girl… . We made May Day “baskets” out of paper at school. We took them home. On May 1st, we carefully picked a small bouquet and placed it in our basket. Then, we furtively hurried to our grandma’s front door. We hung the basket on the door knob, knocked with gusto ……. and ran away — fast!
    Flowers. THAT is what May Day is about.
    {knock – knock – knock} HAPPY MAY DAY, EVERYONE!

    by katkapruskova on YouTube
    Those dratted Envirostalinists…. even trying to take over May Day….. . They’d take over the world, if you let them…. (but — we — won’t).

  7. Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
    May 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Nonsense. Climate change will turn y’all into socialists.

    Look, I can accept that climate change will turn me into a hobbit. I call dibs on the One Ring. I can see how AGW is swelling the ranks of working girls in various places. Heck, I’m even looking forward to the advent of small, cat eyed, climate optimized uberMann. But socialists?
    That’s a bridge too far Dr. Tol.

  8. Richie P. at 10:34am — Thanks for sharing that. LOL, you English are a lot of fun.

  9. @ Mark Bofill — Great post (10:51am) — neat summary. And love the bottom line — yes!

  10. American socialists take May Day for a Communist holiday much more seriously than most Europeans do from what I’ve seen. 1982, what seems like another life time. I was an SF soldier on a team working a joint UW exercise with our Italian counterparts in the Apennine mountains NE of Pisa.
    We had traversed over hill and dale being chased by Italian mountain troops. Having finally shaken them we entered a small Italian alpine village where we were to set up a base of operations.
    Sweaty, stinking, carrying heavy rucksacks and weapons the citizens of the village poured out of their cantina and embraced us Americans like we were long lost relatives. They did their best to drag us into the bar for drinks but we just couldn’t.
    We were there for 10 days hiding out a warehouse used to store the locally produced Chianti during the season and running training and training operations from that village. They never divulged our location to the Caribanari (Italian national police) or any other authorities that were looking for us as part of the exercise. They treated us very well and even hosted an 8 course Italian meal for us the day before we exfiltrated once our notional war was over. Only at that dinner did I learn that the whole village was communist. I also learned that we were the first American soldiers to have entered that village since WW II.
    For anyone ever planning to visit Europe or anywhere else. See the high points but leave plenty of time to get off the beaten path because that is where the real treasures are found.

  11. Socialists of the World: Read-it-and-weep:
    Capitalism is alive and well.
    “The luxury category has posted 10 consecutive months of sales increases compared with the year earlier, … .
    BMW this week said it more than doubled its quarterly profit from a year ago as sales rose 16.5 percent; Porsche said its first-half profit rose 59 percent; and Mercedes-Benz said July sales of its high-end S-Class sedans — some of which cost more than $200,000 — jumped nearly 14 percent in the United States.”
    Bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaa!
    The “poor” of free market societies do not remain in that classification.
    They move up.
    Socialists keep them there for the rest of their lives.

  12. @ RAH — So glad to see you post! Ever since you told us about the horrendous, icy, scary, drive that lay ahead of you a couple months ago, I’ve hoped you made it okay. ((iprayedforyoutoo -you’re included in my regular “professional drivers” prayer, too)
    Apparently, you did! Nice post, too. DEFINITELY the way to truly “see the world.”

  13. ” higher than at any time in human history – and higher than it has been in hundreds of thousands of years.” – SF Chron
    How do they know? Oh wait, it’s the MESSAGE, not the facts…it’s OK to lie so that the proles do the right thing (i.e. that which we want them to do….).
    CO2 has been wayyy higher before – haven’t there been articles on here showing we’re almost at the MINIMUM for plant (and other) life? (/rant)
    Have a happy May 1st everyone…here it’s a holiday, and most folks take tomorrow off too, so it’s a welcome four-day weekend….

  14. “David Chappell says:
    May 1, 2014 at 11:57 am”
    Reminds me of a WVU joke:
    The W.V.U. football team was placed in a remedial English class.
    The professor asked the class, “Does anyone know what comes after a sentence?”
    All of the players raised their hands. “The appeal,”
    they shouted with Mountaineer pride.
    Q: How do you get a W.V.U. graduate off your porch?
    A: Pay him for the pizza.
    (sorry…I have relatives and (probably former) friends there…)

  15. Weather or not Anthony meant to say whether, I think weather was appropriate. Appropriate regardless of the whether. I’m pretty sure he did that deliberately in that sentace.

  16. Few labor unions in the US attribute any significance to May 1. Labor Day is the first Monday in September, so the only folks that tend take May 1 at all seriously in the US are Socialists and Communists. I knew plenty of union members, my dad was one, who were staunch Republicans on most things, NRA members, and at the same time were quite serious about not letting “management” take advantage of them (even Union management). I think many would have registered as political Independents given their druthers. As an historical note, the date of Labour day was advocated by both American labor organizations and the President of the US.

  17. Jeff says:
    May 1, 2014 at 11:42 am …

    Yep, and the planet is also the coldest it has been in about half-a-billion years.

  18. And Earth Day – April 22 – also is Lenin’s birthday. Oklahoma City, Waco, Boston, and various other atrocities seem to happen more frequently this time of year. Like sap rising in trees, craziness blossoms.

  19. Another group in the US that notes Labor Day are the BBQ’ers, as that’s the unofficial end of the
    Barbeque season (ironically, over here it’s the start (May1)).
    With the occupy movement and its ilk, May1 (and the other Green Holy Day, April 22) will probably get more notice…
    Only thing I remember about Labor Day in the US was that I usually had to work 🙁
    Hmmm,that’s why it’s called labor day…

  20. “Gary says:
    May 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm”
    May 1 is also “Walpurgisnacht” (sp?), lots of vandalism occurs over here…never could understand why some folks think the only way to make a point is by break/damaging/burning/etc. something….
    Probably ties into the “trick” part of trick-or-treat that involves egging cars, etc.
    Then again, maybe the Greens/CAGW crowd are yelling Mayday, Mayday as their ship of climate catastrophe fools heads into the beach of reality (sorry, there’s got to be a better metaphor out there somewhere….Mawson’s revenge or some such)…

  21. Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:

    May 1, 2014 at 10:57 am
    @Mark B
    You’re just a socialist-in-denial. As the weather warms, you will recall the lyrics of The Internationale.

    Wait, shh. Hear that? Sounds like freedom and prosperity to me brother.
    Now, that’s what I’d call a sky dragon. I’d prefer to be known as a socialist-sky-dragon BTW.

  22. Anth0ny:
    So, the study ‘discovered’ that the weather affects attendance at an annual event held for the same purpose in the same place on the same day each year.
    Who financed this piece of ‘research’ and why?

  23. @ Bofill — lol, you and I must be about the same age — Go, Judas Priest, yeah!
    “Out there is a fortune waiting to be had.
    You think I’ll let it go? You’re mad!
    You got another thing comin’. … ”
    “Mayday, Mayday… .” (Jeff) — LOL.

  24. Janice Moore says:
    May 1, 2014 at 11:42 am
    “@ RAH — So glad to see you post! Ever since you told us about the horrendous, icy, scary, drive that lay ahead of you a couple months ago, I’ve hoped you made it okay. ((iprayedforyoutoo -you’re included in my regular “professional drivers” prayer, too)
    Apparently, you did! Nice post, too. DEFINITELY the way to truly “see the world.””
    Thank you for your concern. It was a rough winter but made it through without hitting anything or even getting stuck. That is except for a hunk of frozen slush which came off a trailer in front of me early last month up on the 401 in Ontario and shattered the plastic air dam on the tractor. Now things are settling down and it is a much slower and less stressful time for this on call driver. Freight has slowed and with the weather good there are far fewer steering wheel holders calling off runs. When I parked it yesterday I had put 349, 040 miles on that 2012 Volvo tractor without a major failure. So I have no complaints.

  25. RichardCourtney,
    I hope you do not take offense at my silly banter with Dr. Tol. I should have put a /silly tag on each one, but so much of what I write here is meant to be taken lightly that I generally forget to. I deplore the left / right arguments that crop up here possibly as much as you do.
    Best regards as always sir.

  26. ,b>David Chappell says:
    May 1, 2014 at 11:57 am
    D J Hawkins @ 10:29
    Pedant’s Law strikes – sentance…

    *sigh* It never fails. “It’s such a short sentence, no need to spell check.”

  27. So people are less likely to go to a demo or rally if it’s cold or wet. Imagine that.

  28. Not sure if it still applies, but I remember a general election the UK once where the rain was predicted to keep away Labour supporters and give the Conservatives a couple of % points advantage. Can’t remember what the rationale was, but no-one seemed to be arguing against this at the time.

  29. May Day — Let’s all celebrate a belief system that has caused more death and destruction than any other cause in history!

  30. Who will speak for the 120 million people killed various forms of socialism during the 20th century?

  31. Dear RAH (re: 1:39pm) — Thanks for coming back, there, long-haul. Glad all’s well up there. Take care. J.
    Mark Bofill! lol, those are most certainly YOUR words, not mine.
    Socialism is ev1l.
    Anyone who supports it, whether from good-intentioned naivete and ignorance
    or from raw greed and power-hungry cynicism,
    is promoting serfdom for the majority of the citizens of any country in which the forces of liberty have become too weak to hold back the dictatorship of the elite to any significant degree.
    Thank you very much for opening the door to that little clarification!
    I wasn’t going to whisper another word about it…..
    Yours very sincerely (with a wry smile),
    P.S. Thanks for reminding me of how most of what I write is viewed on WUWT. Truth is good for the soul. Sigh. Kind of hard to swallow, but, good!

  32. Janice,
    I had always believed that to be the case. However, I find it contradictory that a man of Richard Courtney’s obvious intelligence and character would subscribe to socialism as I understand it. I therefore suspend my judgement under the possibility that what Richard means by the word is not what I understand the term to mean. To put it plainly, Richard strikes me as neither naive nor a greedy power hungry cynic, as far as I can see.
    At any rate and setting such questions aside, I don’t look to pick fights with my comrades in arms over non essentials. Certainly not here at WUWT. Come the day the CAGW hype ends, if fortune smiles maybe I’ll find the time and means to visit in Europe and Richard can discuss his views with me over a pint someday. I expect there’s a lot I could learn from him, regardless of politics.
    I value that you speak your mind honestly. 🙂 Hang on to that.

  33. Dear Mark,
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I did not fully describe all the potential socialists. There is a third category, which from his characterizing himself as a “Christian socialist” is the one he is in: religious. He sees it as pleasing God and doing “justice,” etc… to take from those who earn money and give it to those who do not. I believe this is in direct contradiction to the clear teaching of Scripture which, inter alia: 1) clearly supports liberty of contract and private property rights; and 2) condemns coerced charity.
    I only share that insight with you to give you another bit of data to think about. I left out that third category above on purpose — I really do not want to discuss this topic with Mr. C — at all — as Christians, we two agree on the essentials and the rest is not something for a brother and sister to harangue about — though I will state my position on it and firmly when the need arises as I feel it did, here.
    I think you and Mr. C. SHOULD, by all means, get together! Save up your pennies and go! He lives in a very beautiful part of England. He was very gracious to another poster in offering to host him for a visit. Given your gracious, open, attitude about socialism-as-defined-by-Mr. C., I think I am not likely to be wrong in assuming that he would welcome your visiting him.
    Thank you for the encouragement to speak my mind!
    You do the same. And stay safe on those long drives you make every so often down there.
    Good to “talk” with you, O Ally for Truth in Science (and economics!).

  34. Springer Link would like to sell me “It’s the weather, stupid! Individual participation in collective May Day demonstrations” for the low, low, price of $39.95 (or €34.95 / £29.95 plus VAT).
    What do they think I am, stupid?

  35. Walpurgisnacht is the night of April 30. May Day as an international socialist holiday is generally considered to have originated in the demonstrations in Haymarket Square, Chicago, which ended in the bombing of Tuesday, May 4, 1886, thereafter referred to as the Haymarket Riots or Massacre.

  36. Mark Bofill said:
    May 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm
    I had always believed that to be the case. However, I find it contradictory that a man of Richard Courtney’s obvious intelligence and character would subscribe to socialism as I understand it.

    Why Socialism? — by Albert Einstein
    Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.
    The legislation banning CFCs was written for DuPont. Indeed, “Capitalism is alive and well.”

  37. Re: “The legislation banning CFCs was written for DuPont. Indeed, ‘Capitalism is alive and well.’”
    Under socialism:
    — DuPont would have been nationalized, mismanaged, and, within 40 years, no longer exist to any useful degree.
    — So would all the other manufacturers.
    Result: The U.S. serfs would be standing in line for a new rice cooker and, if they don’t run out, two bags of beans. With no prophylactic dental care. With shoddy medicine. Working 15 hours a day just to own (and put super-expensive gas into) a tiny, unreliable, car. Dying of alcoholism because life is just too hard to face without vodka.
    I’ll take capitalism, with all its faults, ANY day over socialism’s (as amply demonstrated from real world experiments) universal misery.
    Albert Einstein would have been wise to have listened to his contemporary, Friedrich Hayek, an economist. You are looking to a theoretical physicist for your economic theory?!

  38. And another thing…
    Albert Einstein wrote those words in 1949. He was a super-conscientious scientist. Today, after all the data which has come in from the Russian, East German, Cuban, and Chinese, and Zimbabwean (and others, just naming some famous ones) experiments, I think it highly likely that he would change his mind… . He most certainly would not pretend the data did not exist.

  39. Janice Moore:
    At May 1, 2014 at 5:18 pm you provide ignorant and offensive falsehoods when you write

    Socialism is ev1l.
    Anyone who supports it, whether from good-intentioned naivete and ignorance or from raw greed and power-hungry cynicism, is promoting serfdom for the majority of the citizens of any country in which the forces of liberty have become too weak to hold back the dictatorship of the elite to any significant degree.

    In the unlikely event that you are interested in the truth of my “naivete and ignorance” or “raw greed and power-hungry cynicism” please read the discussion which begins here.
    And that is all I intend to say on this matter except to remind you that you claim to adhere to a religion which condemns the bearing of false witness.

  40. “Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones”
    Very sad. Concentration of wealth and power in a small group has zero to do with any ism, and everything to do with human nature. (Something the founding Fathers of the US understood and wrote about brilliantly.) As for technology, well this has been disproven countless times. Yes, as one door closes, many more open up. The desires of humans are endless, as such the opportunity of free enterprise in society were investments are properly allowed ad encouraged by non interference, is likewise endless. Technology just makes new opportunities viable.

  41. As someone more sagacious than I once said ” Democracy is the worst form of government apart from all the rest.” Analysed over time, individual freedom seems to give the best outcome even for the lowest of serfs, socialism allows the scum to rise to the top. This is the fate suffered by all those promoting marxist ideas if they get their way, eventually they get the government they deserve and many perish. Real socialism is nothing like the mayday unionist crap that has been a blight on humanity, it is a voluntary thing doing stuff in your community and helping out your neighbour.
    The first social organisation was probably the christians but that seems to have been usurped by authority and turned into a dictatorship. The loss of power of the church over the masses saw the rise of materialist communism, a dictatorship with no ethics. Dancing around the Maypole was in vogue long before the socialistic mayday celebration,and had nothing to do with labour or socialism.
    More about fecundity than labour, unless it is the labour of childbirth, it is celebration of life not of socialism for it precedes them by thousands of years.

  42. You remember how our local BOM was cooking up some new stats to come up with the hottest summer on record for Adelaide? Well you guessed right it’s May and they’re all tucked up in the Bureau with a mug of hot cocoa-
    Bearing in mind Adelaide has one one of the longest pitifully short thermometer records on record anywhere-
    If at first global warming doesn’t succeed then try extreme weather eh guys?

  43. US Military, Police, Fire & Rescue Dept., Courts of Law, etc… all are operated on a socialized basis.

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