Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day!

Workers of the World March Today, 2013

The majority of people in the world now are in the working class. We are the majority.  The majority should call the shots, if this is a democratic world - which it is not.  Workers marched in more than 90 countries across the globe today - Lebanon, South Korea, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Venezuela were all 'in the house."

May 1 dawned first in Asia this morning with hundreds of thousands of protesting workers literally shutting down the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. They condemned the government for hiking fuel prices and eroding recent meager increases in the minimum wage.

In Manilla, the capital of the Philippines, meanwhile, thousands of exploited 'precariat' contract workers marched through the streets demanding the right to unionize.

In Cambodia, 5,000 garment workers marched for better conditions, higher wages and unions.

In Bangladesh, tens of thousands shut down parts of Dhaka over the criminal policies of the garment manufacturers and their government, asking for death to the landlord of the building which collapsed.  

In Istanbul, Turkey, police locked down the center of the city to keep out thousands of May Day protesters. The history of police violence against workers did nothing to deter the demonstrators, still mindful of the 1977 protests when police shot dozens of Istanbul workers to death during May Day demonstrations. "There are scuffles everywhere in the streets leading up to central Istanbul," said Hashim Jahelbarra, in his post on the Al Jazeera website.

The Iraqi Communist Party marched in huge May Day protests in Baghdad.

Meanwhile millions in Europe joined the global actions.

According to the U.S. Communist Party, more than 1.5 million turned out at 16 demonstrations and rallies in Moscow and around Russia.  Of course, some of the demonstrations were by Putin's own party and Russian far-rightists, but then you can't expect the CP to explain that.

In Greece, the country ground to a halt as almost everyone joined in a 24-hour general strike against austerity. Trains and ferries were stalled at their moorings as seamen walked off the job.
"Our message today is very clear. Enough with these policies which hurt people and make the poor poorer," said Ilios Iliopoulos, general secretary of Greece's public sector unions.

In Spain, where official unemployment stands at 27 percent of the workforce, unions called at least 80 major demonstrations with millions turning out. "Never has there been a May 1 with more reason than this one to take to the streets," declared Candido Mendez, head of the nation's trade union federation.

In Cuba and Nicaragua, tens of thousands marched, many celebrating the life of Hugo Chavez.  

In Chicago, U.S., the home of May Day, only 1,000 marchers showed up, according to Al Jazeera, mostly immigrant rights marchers. So the question is, did the AFL-CIO actually try to organize a May Day march there, as asserted by some?  In the past, the only unions that march in Minneapolis do so, but NOT under the banner of the AFL-CIO, but only as locals.  Which shows you the real backwardness of the U.S. labor movement.  Right now, a few activists in a few locals are our real leaders.

The revolution will not start in the U.S.... but we hope to finish it.

Red Frog
May 1, 2013

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