Note: This article was first published on Popular Resistance on April 30, 2014.
The most widely celebrated holiday in the world, was born in the USA
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” George Orwell
Many of us never learned in school that May Day, the most widely celebrated holiday in the world, was born in the USA.
On May 1, 1886, Americans across the land left their jobs to go on strike for the eight-hour day. At the centre of this upsurge were the workers of Chicago who fought and died for that eight-hour day. The leaders and some who were not leaders were rounded up and put to death.
It was too late for the capitalist bosses, however, because news of the heroic uprising of the workers spread like wildfire around the world and May Day, all over this planet, became the day for the working class to both stand up to those who exploit it and to celebrate what has become a parade of working class victories.
Since its birth, there have been many attempts to make us forget the meaning of May Day. They’ve tried everything and anything, from turning it into a day for picnics on the nearest Sunday, to turning it into a “holy day,” (Feast of St. Joseph the Worker), to substituting a ‘September Labour Day’ instead, to eliminating it altogether.
Although most of these attempts to crush the movements celebrated by May Day, have failed, nevertheless the usurping of workers’ rights has continued unabated.
The international corporations and trade organizations are united and it looks like we’re heading towards a new feudal system. The working class needs to be organized around the world too. Commodities cross national lines but we need one party for the workers that espouses what workers everywhere really want. We need to take back May Day for the workers, as a celebration of the strength of the international working class as an independent social and political force.”
We are supposed to be a democratic country and the force should not belong to the corporations, nor to the politicians and the media. It should belong to the people.
People are waking up to the fact that “austerity” is a scam, and is class war against working people. It damages the economy, at the same time hurting the non-wealthy. Any politician that speaks glowingly of austerity (or the other 1% scam: privatization) is an enemy of the people, and should be voted out of office at the first opportunity!
The workers don’t want to hear words like “precarious employment” and “austerity”. Neither do they want the charity of social services. They want productive work! A decent job to earn a living for their families! We don’t want, on the excuse of curbing foreign workers, to force the unemployed tp perform demoralising work, as such programmes seek to humiliate, harass and coerce them into low paid jobs.
In response to US critics who labelled him a Marxist, Pope Francis replied: “My critique of capitalism is not because I’m a Marxist (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — it’s because I’m a Christian. I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended. Pope Francis went on to say; “There is nothing in this exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church.” So he realized that to be a good pastor meant to care for both the spiritual and the physical well being of his congregation. Justice and equality for all is a prerequisite for peace and progress. These socialist ideals must be glorified!
“Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice,” Pope Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square.
It is definitely time to recover the heritage of May Day as an international workers holiday, and to forge links between workers, youth and students world-wide.”
The bottom-line here is that while outsourcing and privatizing public functions and services may look good on the fiscal balance sheet, it’s bad news for workers, local communities and society as a whole.
In a globalized economy workers are pitted against each other to fight over the same job. A profit-based system can’t defend jobs; we have to accept ever lower and lower wages. You cannot fight against the capitalists and their war against the workers with national entities like the unions. Uniting internationally is the only way to stop inequality and distribute the wealth to everyone.
They tell us wars are for ‘freedom. That’s a big lie. If you look at history, when wars are fought it is the working class that suffers. It’s capitalism and the fight over profits and raw materials that cause war. That’s imperialism. Instead of fighting for ‘our’ country, workers internationally have to fight for a better world. The answer is global socialism, where the goal is not profit-based but meeting everyone’s needs.
No to imperialist wars!
Reclaim the revolutionary traditions of May Day!
..Let the winds lift your banners from far lands
With a message of strife and of hope:
Raise the Maypole aloft with its garlands
That gathers your cause in its scope…. .
…Stand fast, then, Oh Workers, your ground,
Together pull, strong and united:
Link your hands like a chain the world round,
If you will that your hopes be requited.
When the World’s Workers, sisters and brothers,
Shall build, in the new coming years,
A lair house of life—not for others,
For the earth and its fulness is theirs.
Walter Crane, The Workers’ Maypole, 1894
“I will not sleep until the whole world is awake.”