The First May Day
May Day is International Workers’ Day. This is the day we celebrate the existence and strength of the labour movement and all the issues of the labour movement, big and small, worldwide, can be linked up with each other with the ultimate goal of abolishing capitalism. May Day began in 1886 in the United States, when Anarchist unions in Chicago called a general strike on 1 May to win the 8 hour day. At a protest a few days later, a bomb killed 7 police and 4 others. Eight Anarchist union organisers were arrested and convicted in a farcical trial. Four were executed. The protests for the exoneration of the Haymarket Martyrs spread around the world and a movement was born.
The Crisis that Won’t Go Away
The Global Financial Crisis lingers in many places and, in Europe, continues to intensify. Highly indebted governments in Ireland and Southern Europe have used drastic austerity measures, to no avail. Instead of improving public finances, austerity has undermined them further by depressing economic activity and thus the governments’ tax base. Britain and France are now joining in with austerity measures, which will only aggravate problems. Meanwhile, public debt in both the US and Japan continues to grow unsustainably. And here in Australia, austerity is being practiced by many State governments and threatened post-election at the Federal level.
Fighting Back Worldwide
In Europe, there have been massive mobilisations of the working class against austerity. Spain, Portugal, Italy and especially Greece have seen massive general strikes and demonstrations. There was a partially successful general strike across Southern Europe on 14 November last year. Meanwhile, the working class of Asia is on the march. Workers in China are breaking new records in strike statistics every year and the so-called “Communist” Party there has given up trying to suppress them all. In Indonesia, workers have been staging massive strikes since late last year and winning big gains, including a 40% rise in the minimum wage. And in India, workers have staged general strikes in February and September 2012 and February 2013. This is an unprecedented level of struggle.
As long as capitalism endures, the world will be wracked by economic crisis and war, but there is a solution. We can unite across national borders with a global movement against capitalism and all its ills. We can build our movement with federalism and direct democracy rather than authoritarianism and hierarchy. And we can make a revolution, forging a classless global society of libertarian communism, where a free federation of workplaces and communities replaces capitalism and the State. We can establish, at last, a world of liberty, equality and solidarity and it will be done by practicing the values of the society we wish to create.
WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
1 May 2013
PO Box 2120 Lygon St North
East Brunswick 3057
macg1984 (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) au