May Day, the International Workers’ Day, is for working class celebration and solidarity with our fellow workers throughout the world.
May Day began in 1886 following the brutal execution of four anarchists in Chicago for organising in the fight for the eight-hour day; it commemorates the organised working class using direct action in the struggle for a better world. Today, it’s an opportunity for us to remember struggles fought and victories won; the perfect reminder that an injury to one is an injury to all.
The global pandemic has illustrated the greatness within humanity: acts of kindness, solidarity and mutual aid. Scenes of class solidarity, horizontal forms of organising within our communities, our streets and our homes have demonstrated that a better way is not only possible but essential. Self-organised working class co-operation must not be forgotten amidst the attacks now unfolding as capital regroups to protect its profits in its own selfish interests. As revolutionary syndicalists we must commit ourselves to the class war as the bosses’ recession deepens; the battle is already raging with growing strikes and lengthening picket lines. The bosses have unleashed a further scramble for profits; price increases are forcing working class communities to choose between heating and eating as food bank demand spirals and political parties compete for poverty packages.
The wars currently raging both East and West have stoked the fires of imperialist agendas, demanding us to take sides in yet another war in which only workers fill the graves whilst the masters shelter in their estates, mansions and parliaments. The IWW maintains our opposition to all imperialist wars, demanding only that the guns be turned upon our real enemies. As a union created by and for workers, we must engage with all assemblies in opposition to the war in Ukraine; there is no validity in supporting Putin or NATO. Both imperialist forces are locked in their games to deflect from the real issues of concern as workers struggle for better wages, health care, the right to a home and enough food just to survive. Migrant workers and refugees are segregated into priorities only by the colour of their skin or ethnic origin as well as being used as a source of cheap labour. As revolutionary syndicalists, it is our belief that there should be no other war but class war!
The evidence of climate change is all around us, the increasing destruction of our planet is impacting directly on the daily lives of our whole class. The unwillingness of governments to face head on this crisis of looming global disaster just proves that their only concern is profit, to perpetuate their greedy, illogical system.
Capitalism is ruining the planet, our livelihoods, threatening our very existence. The neoliberal idea of a Green New Deal of ‘alternative ecologic transition’ ignores the reality that the planet’s resources are finite. Instead, it attempts to greenwash a system that’s killing us all.
The climate emergency requires workers to organise globally and fight class war against the very interests that are causing it, the same interests responsible for the poverty and systemic racism suffered by those most socially and economically disadvantaged, with the least access to resources: communities of colour, immigrants, and low-income workers.
Grassroots and revolutionary unions are instrumental in organising a workers’ based strategy to reduce the negative impact of industries that disproportionately affect working class communities, whom they defend and represent.
As we mark the 136th anniversary of the first May Day, it is vital that we continue that same struggle, to spread the ideas that first inspired those workers to found it, both inside and outside the workplace, in the communities we come from. The power of labour must be in the hands of the workers themselves, never diminished by reformist business unions, run by self-serving officials and the political fronts that control them.
Let’s reclaim the spirit of May Day. Make every day an International Day of Solidarity and direct action!
Statement by IWW-WISE-RA Wildcat Newsletter Committee.