Celebrate May Day: International Workers’ Day

by Freedom Road Socialist Organization-Minnesota/Madison |
April 2, 1999

During the first week of May, hundreds of millions of working people around the world will celebrate May Day – the international holiday of the working class. It is a day for working people to say Enough is Enough!

On the streets Western Europe, tens of millions will march for economic justice and against government cut backs. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, millions more will send the message – capitalism is a disaster that has brought nothing but hunger and homelessness. In villages from the Philippines to Colombia, workers and farmers will demand an end to the foreign domination of their countries.

Here in the Midwest of the U.S., plans are being made for May Day events in Minnesota, Chicago, and Madison. Like our sisters and brothers around the world, we hold that the rich are nothing but parasites – who live off the hard work of others.

The wealthy class of billionaires who run this country are attacking our unions and trying to make us work harder for less. They promote a system of discrimination, inequality, and national oppression. Not content with the profits they get from exploiting people in this country, the rich are waging wars from Iraq to Yugoslavia, to rip off the land, labor and natural resources of others.

Be it in the White House, the State Capitols, or the City Halls, the rich man’s bought-and-paid-for politicians have a program to cut services, slash the social safety net, and to reduce public assistance, while increasing corporate welfare. This is a plan for more poverty and less opportunity, more cops and bigger jails.

It is entirely fitting that revolutionaries, progressives, and working people in the Midwest would organize celebrations of May Day, for it is here that May Day was born. In the 1880s, the workers movement centered in Chicago demanded that employers and government implement an 8 hour day. To that end, workers launched a massive strike movement on May 1, 1886. Chicago police responded by shooting strikers while the state government arrested and executed some of the movement’s leaders.

Even in the face of this repression, the incredible power and courage of that movement served as an inspiration to working people around the world, and the tradition of celebrating the first of May as International Workers’ Day began. At May Day celebrations this year we will draw on our proud past, as we look forward to a bright future.

May Day is a day to celebrate our struggles against a common enemy. It is a day to proclaim that we can do better, that we don’t have to live this way. A society that serves the profits of a few, cries our for a revolutionary re-organization, where everything is done in the interests of the many. One class, the working class makes this society run, and has every right to run all of society. In short, we look forward to the day when capitalism is eliminated, and all political and economic power is placed in the hands of working people, by socialism.