May I is international Workers Day. And the struggle continues.

MAY 1. MAY DAY. International Workers Day. In many countries there will be rallies and demonstrations to mark working class struggles and working class solidarity around the world. In some countries events will take place against a background of government intimidation and harassment.

Yet in New Zealand the day will again, as usual, go largely unnoticed and uncommented on. It will be missing from the news bulletins and no parliamentary politician will make reference to it. Given that the political process has been thoroughly coopted by vested corporate interests and the political parties have become merely conveyor belts for neoliberal policy, we could expect little less.

its hardly surprising that no politician will want to associate themselves with this important day for the socialist movement - even the so-called 'progressive ones'.

Rosa Luxemburg
Any celebration of the day will be left to a scattering of individual groups.

The Polish socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg wrote two articles on May Day. The first, written by a 23 year old Rosa and published in 1894, charts the origins of May Day as worker's holiday and it's main goal: the introduction of the eight-hour day. But she concludes:

"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.”

It is an implicitly optimistic view that the working class will eventually prevail. But, right now, there is still a world to win. And with the planet hurtling toward environmental catastrophe, the task to win that world has become ever more urgent.


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