PL’ers a rallied before the May Day March of over 1,000 workers here. Old and new friends sought out our contingent as they identified with our emphasis on the international working class, armed revolution and on our open advocacy of communism. Our enthusiasm came from confidence in the working class worldwide because we knew that our comrades were marching around the world for communism.
Our banner read, “Workers, Soldiers and Students, Fight for Communism!” as we led chants in the March and distributed CHALLENGE and leaflets. The literature focused on how capitalism attacks all workers; whether they be immigrants, public workers, or workers in other countries. We addressed the local battles of SF MUNI (public transit) drivers, the growth of racism with the jailing of millions of black and Latino youth, anti-immigrant attacks and U.S. Imperialism. One unifying demand was “Smash All Borders!” We chanted with many: “Workers’ Struggles have no Borders, Fight for Communism!” One immigrant worker asked to carry our red flag and spoke at length with a PL’er about why we need a party.
The March itself was organized by a Coalition Immigrants Rights group and others opposing imperialist war. Immigrant rights issues such as amnesty, ending the federal Secure Communities program, fighting low wages and exploitation of immigrant workers related to the needs of many workers who watched the march.
Although the San Francisco Central Labor Council did endorse the March, and both the Teachers Union and ILWU Local 10 had speakers at the rallies, the unions did not mobilize their members. This is one more sign that the leadership of the labor movement leaves its members defenseless in the face of divisive racist, anti-immigrant attacks.
At the final rally, we confronted the MinuteMen who had police protection and a “legal” permit to broadcast their racist program of attacks on immigrant workers. While the March organizers advocated ignoring the fascists, we were able to attract support from some of the marchers as we chanted:” Death, Death, Death to the Fascists; Power, Power, and Power to the Workers.”
A week earlier, PLP held a May Day event. We worked collectively to honor the Haymarket martyrs who gave birth to May Day and 120 years of May Days around the world, including the Marches organized by PLP before the immigrant rights’ movement was mainstreamed.
Members presented speeches on the devastating state of capitalism, on the varied forms of resistance occurring worldwide and on what kind of party the PLP represents to the international working class. There was traditional music from the Andes and poetry and songs in English and Spanish, which struggled with the contradictions that impact workers’ minds.
“It’s not enough to pray, much more is needed…”; “When people rise up and real change is made
You will say, along with me, it was not enough to pray.”
The hall was decorated with a poster exhibit illustrating the internationalism of May Day. It honored the working class around the world,depicted women workers in armed resistance, emphasized armed struggle, and graphically presented the unity of the working class across all lines of heritage, tradition or ethnic identity