You won't hear anything about it in the corporate media, but today is International Workers Day. It is a legal holiday in more than eighty countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, where workers celebrate the day by going to mass demonstrations.
TODAY IS MAY DAY. International Workers Day. A day to uphold workers' struggles all around the world. It is a day to remember and reaffirm the radical and revolutionary tradition which we have inherited from those who went before us.
Our values are set against the prevailing values of those who seek to rule us. The values that they tell us we must obey. Our values of freedom, equality and democracy stand resolutely opposed against those of bourgeois culture; the worship and unthinking obedience to authority and the elevation of personal privilege above the common good.
The oppressive ideology of neoliberalism, the creature of a failed capitalism, has swept over the land.
Traditional organisations that claimed to represent us have failed to put up any resistance. Both the Labour Party and the leadership of the trade union movement have embraced neoliberalism and sought to accommodate themselves to it. Is it little wonder that they both choose to ignore May Day and have done so for many years?
Although there will be some who will seek to deny our history, May Day remains as relevant today as it did over a century ago.
Indeed it has inspired other events such as the Portuguese Revolution of 1974 and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
May Day was founded in the United States as a result of the great struggle and sacrifice of life that resulted from the general strike that began on May 1 1886 and the movement for the eight hour work day.
The heroic Haymarket Martyrs of Chicago led strikes and militant protests against the big industrial bosses and bankers. They were united in their understanding that the working class is the basis of social change, the only revolutionary class. It is in the struggles of ordinary people that lies the promise of a new world, free from capitalist domination.
In 1889 the founding congress of the Second International named that day, May Day.
When we fight...we win!
In 1894 a young Polish socialist revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg, wrote:
“The first of May demanded the introduction of the eight-hour day. But even after this goal was reached, May Day was not given up. As long as the struggle of the workers against the bourgeoisie and the ruling class continues, as long as all demands are not met, May Day will be the yearly expression of these demands. And, when better days dawn, when the working class of the world has won its deliverance then too humanity will probably celebrate May Day in honour of the bitter struggles and the many sufferings of the past.”