May Day, the Historic Struggle of the Intern’l Working Class

On this May Day, the international working class is under sharpening fascist attack while the drums of inter-imperialist rivalry beat louder and millions are slaughtered in widening war. World capitalism is pushing its economic crisis onto workers’ backs with mass racist unemployment and wage-cuts, and throwing hundreds of thousands of workers out of their homes.

We can’t be misled by Obama’s promise that the stimulus package will help workers survive this crisis. Capitalism doesn’t work for the working class and cannot be reformed to change that. Masses of workers are fighting back around the world. From general strikes and militancy against the bosses across Europe to strikes in Guadaloupe and Martinique to the fight against budget cuts in Los Angeles and the ongoing 9-month-long Stella D’Oro workers’ strike in the Bronx, workers are saying “make the bosses take the losses.”

May Day (May 1) is the working-class’ international holiday. This year, millions of workers around the world will march to commemorate this important day. It is the day when the world’s working class “holds a review of its forces, mobilized for the first time as One army, [under] One flag…[to] make the capitalists and landowners of all lands realize that today the proletarians of all lands are, in very truth, united.”

May Day was born in the heroic struggle for the 8-hour day when 350,000 Chicago workers went out on a general strike on May 1, 1886 and shut down the city. On May 3 the cops murdered six McCormick Reaper Works strikers. The next day thousands of workers marched in protest into Chicago’s Haymarket Square. A bomb was thrown by a police agent, killing four workers and seven cops, and wounding 200 workers in what became known as the Haymarket Massacre. Nine demonstration leaders were framed for “instigating a riot.” Four were hanged. In 1891, the then Illinois Governor freed those still imprisoned, declaring they had been convicted unjustly.

At the 1889 meeting of the Second International -— a working-class organization patterned after the First International led by Karl Marx — the world’s workers decided to honor the Chicago strikers and martyrs by mobilizing as “one army, with one flag.” May Day had begun. Ever since, with communist leadership, it has symbolized workers’ demands and class interests, united in the fight against capitalism.

Capitalism creates a world in which workers and youth, infants and the elderly, are dying in unprecedented numbers from hunger, poverty, curable disease, war, death squads, police terror and a poisoned environment. Poverty, racism and war do not spontaneously lead workers to communist revolution, or the red flag would fly over most of the world. Communist revolution can only come about when millions of workers are politically conscious of how the world works and how to change it. This can only be accomplished by the efforts of a mass, international, and revolutionary communist party.

In 1971, the Progressive Labor Party picked up the red banners of May Day in the U.S. It has organized May Day marches and activities in many countries for 39 years, to unite workers around their universal demands, regardless of capitalist-created borders. These include opposing imperialist war, racism, the special oppression of women, wage slavery and fascist police terror, while championing unity of all workers — immigrant and citizen, Asian, Latin, black and white.

This May Day we must stand as one class, with one interest: to destroy the capitalist murderers with communist revolution and build a world based on production to fulfill the needs of our class. On this May Day, international workers’ solidarity must meet the bosses’ assault head-on. With PLP building international unity and a base for rebellion and revolutionary communism among industrial workers, soldiers, and students we can fight the bosses’ racism, nationalism and patriotism, and unite the world’s workers to destroy the scourge of capitalism forever. PLP is marching to win workers, soldiers and youth to realize our great potential to overthrow the war-makers and build a communist world based on serving the needs of the international working class! Join the march and join PLP! J Assemble with

PLP: NY- May 2, 11 am, Linden Blvd. & Flatbush Ave.

LA- May 1, 11 am, Olympic & Broadway

Seattle- May 1, 3:30 pm, Judkin Playground

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