This May Day, we call on all workers to remember the original purpose and spirit of the labour movement and of unions themselves, and the repression the movement has faced.

In these islands, the start of May holds an ancient history of resistance and rebellion against the oppressive forces of empire and capital going as far back to the suppression of Celtic festivals, such as Beltane. Today, May Day commemorates the Haymarket Affair of 1886, where eight anarchists involved in the labour movement were executed or imprisoned for a bomb thrown during a demonstration that almost certainly none of them had any involvement with. The police response was to shoot indiscriminately into the crowd (and at each other). This demonstration was part of the bitter struggle in the US for the 8 hour work day. The labour movement won the 8 hour day around the world through direct action such as massive strikes.

The transformation of the Haymaket Affair and the Haymarket martyrs into the international day of action for all workers, was only possible with the power of an international struggle. Workers around the world condemned the murders and coordinated more actions to demand justice. This is how International Workers Day began, and it is how we will defend it. Today, May Day marches around the UK state will connect the labour movement and the Palestinian liberation movement, which is proving effective in gradually cutting off the material support that the Israeli state and military to maintain their occupation of Palestine. We’ve seen the lists of companies that are making Israel’s weapons of mass murder; their factories and offices are scattered all over this country. This lays bare the connections between us, and so the power we have here to support our comrades around the world. The same capitalist system that carries out genocide of the people in Gaza, and maintains the occupation, is the same system responsible for our skyrocketing cost of living, bloated rents, disintegrating access to healthcare, and the increasingly uncertain future of the habitality of our islands as ecological destruction and drastic climate changes make harvests more and more unstable.

The urgency of the situation in Gaza has demanded militancy and power, a demand the Palestinian liberation movement rises to meet. Their strength is our strength, undermining Israel means undermining and dismantling the capitalist system that oppresses all workers. But the genocide continues. As the labour movement, as the movement that builds power for the workers within our workplaces, we can show our solidarity to all struggles, connecting our actions to theirs so we can attack the system together. In the UK state now, all of our biggest unions are only prepared for limited days of strike action. Examples of more effective actions are inspiring but fall short, such as the United Auto Workers union in the USA state who have called for a general strike, but in 2028. Decolonial struggles and the trade union movement show us that militancy and power will only come from below, by organising wherever we are at and knowing our history so that we learn from those who came before us. We must continue organising in our workplaces, uniting with our fellow workers to demand more, and sharing our successes to find opportunities where we can support each other. Although we still benefit from many of the things won by the labour movement such as the 8 hour day, the weekend, child labour laws, and health and safety protection, these will be eroded unless we take stronger actions to defend them. We must remember the urgency of the future that we face over the coming decades, and for that purpose remember our history.

In remembering and celebrating our past we once again attest to our determination to meet these challenges head on and to fight for a better world. When we come together in solidarity and in bravery we build that new world, free of war and genocide, free of oppression, free of exploitation. A free world where each individual can develop to their full potential, a spring time for the flowering of humanity