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International Workers Day is celebrated on May 1. Around the world, workers have accomplished many great things over the past year that we can be proud of. The ruling class, made up of monopoly capitalists, have tried their best to keep profits high at the expense of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’ve seen time and time again that the people can rise above the obstacles created by the 1% and bring about real change. On May Day 2021, it is important to reflect on the past year. We must also renew our efforts to end the rule of the monopoly capitalists and replace their broken, failed system with a system that benefits not the few but the majority of people – socialism.
May Day began as a celebration of the working class and its heroic struggle after Haymarket in Chicago in 1886. Workers at Haymarket fought against terrible working conditions and for an eight-hour workday. The greedy bosses and their servants, the police, tried to brutally repress the workers and their movement. The police attacked, injured and killed striking workers, most of them immigrants, leading up to the Haymarket massacre. Then the state of Illinois held a trial and hung four labor leaders, the Haymarket Martyrs. Still, the spirit of that first May Day lives on and is celebrated by workers around the world each year.
In the United States, the monopoly capitalists and their politicians tried to replace the globally celebrated International Workers Day with ‘Labor Day’ in September. It wasn’t until the massive marches for immigrant rights of 2006 that the celebration of May Day became once again widespread in the U.S.
Workers around the world continue to struggle in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling class has made it clear over the past year that they value making profits much more than they value the lives of the working class. This is especially true as we see African American, Latino/Chicano, and Native American communities continuing to suffer the worst effects of the pandemic, even as many people begin to have access to vaccinations. Asian Americans are being hit by a wave of racist violence, as both the Trump and Biden administrations have ramped up tensions with China The situation in the U.S. lies in stark contrast to the measures being taken in other countries like Cuba, where the socialist government is actively helping their people against the pandemic.
A few stimulus checks over the past 12 months is nowhere near enough financial help for families struggling in the U.S. Teachers continue to struggle with administrators and politicians over safety in our schools. College students are fighting back against administrations that have treated many young adults unfairly. Many people who should have been among the first to receive vaccinations are having to wait because capitalism is a failed system that doesn’t serve our best interests.
May Day is a time to plan for the battles to come as we analyze and reflect on the current situation. Justice must be won by any means necessary for George Floyd and all victims of police crimes. We must fight for an end to the cruel treatment of immigrants and refugees at the U.S. border, and we need to shut down all the detention centers where terrible abuses are taking place. We must support sectors of the working class that are organizing for better conditions, including the workers at Amazon in Alabama currently seeing massive repression from the boss and from the state throughout their union election. For each and every cause, we must double down on our organizing efforts and continue fighting for a people’s agenda that puts the needs of the many first.
Capitalism is on its last legs, and the weakness of that system shows more and more as time goes on. The attempts of the ruling class become more desperate as each crack in their system brings forth increased resistance to their outdated and rotten way of doing things. This is evident all over the world, as workers continue their fight along many fronts. Over this past year, after the murder of George Floyd, we have witnessed a great rebellion that has drawn millions into motion. This country is at a turning point. History is on the side of the working class and oppressed people all over the world. Only once economic and political power is in the hands of the working class can the people’s needs truly begin to be met. Seize the time – let us renew our efforts to win a better world for all and smash the system that’s holding us back.