May Day 2017 in Seattle.
Monday May 1 is May Day. To mark International Workers’ Day the Council of Trade Unions will be doing as it always does – absolutely nothing.

THIS MONDAY, May 1, is International Workers’ Day. To mark this very important day the Council of Trade Unions will be doing nothing. As usual. It’ll be joined in doing nothing by what we like to call the New Zealand left.

It sums up the crisis of the New Zealand left that it can’t even find it within itself to mark this most significant day for working class and progressive movements throughout the world.

In the age of Trump and a resurgent right wing populism you might think it is more important than ever to remember and celebrate our working class history and traditions. Indeed, as I noted last year, May Day “…has grown beyond just a day to mark the 'simple' defence of workers' rights but now encompasses wider struggles for economic and social justice.”

As I also said last year:

"The political establishment and its media allies prefer that May 1 be emptied of any political importance for ordinary people. They fear that with a wide recognition of May 1 as International Workers' Day, many people would connect the past with the present, and draw strength and inspiration from that understanding. Indeed people would realise that, even in little old New Zealand, we are engaged - or should be engaged -in the kind of common struggles that are being fought elsewhere in the world. It is these struggles that allow our movement to grow, that shape our political tradition."

What is ironic is that while the CTU Is happy enough to mark International Workers Memorial Day on Friday April 28, it remains silent about International Workers’ Day.

International Workers’ Memorial Day remembers workers who died on the job, or from work-related diseases and illnesses. Rightly so. But why can’t the CTU mark the struggle of workers right now, right here?

So while there will be marches and rallies throughout the world on May 1, New Zealand will be silent. What an appalling state of affairs.

The conclusion that I arrived at last year applies equally well in 2017:

 “But , seriously, there's nothing funny about organisations that claim to be on the side of ordinary people, especially at election time, but yet don't even have the political conviction or will to mark International Workers' Day. It kind of sums up the appalling state of so-called 'left wing' politics in this country. “


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