Minneapolis, MN – More than fifty poor and working people came together to celebrate May Day, international workers day, May 6. The event, organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization stressed the victories won by the peoples struggle in the past year, the fights that lie ahead, and the need for unity between employed and unemployed workers. Half the people attending the event were from the low income community and engaged the fight against welfare cuts.
Speakers included union leaders, leaders of the poor peoples movements in the Twin Cities and Duluth, the Anti-War Committee of CISPES, the Emergency Committee Against U.S. Intervention In Yugoslavia, and the Progressive Student Organization.
Mick Kelly, an event organizer noted that the tradition of celebrating May Day as a workers holiday grew our the struggle of Chicago workers and that it is now celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The following speech was given by Steff Yorek, the national Political Secretary of FRSO:
Everyone in this country and everyone in this room who fights for a better life have a lot in common – besides our courage and commitment, we all have a common enemy. This country is run by a small group of people who hoard all the wealth and power for themselves. They have working for them a group of bought and paid for politicians who do their bidding in government.
The economic system we live under, call it capitalism or call it the free enterprise system, exists to serve this rich elite. In this society you don’t get rich by working hard- you get rich by having others work hard for you. Malcolm X said, “Show me a capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” He was completely right. We are up against a class of people who are parasites and they suck our blood and sweat for their own gain.
The class that’s in charge doesn’t have a God given right to rule, but they certainly would like us to believe that they do. No ruling class in human history has ever give up its wealth and privilege voluntarily.
We in Freedom Road have come to the conclusion that we need to build a revolutionary organization. What do communists or revolutionaries or socialists advocate that causes so much alarm?
In the context of the U. S today we think everyone has the right to a living wage job. Those of us who are not working have a right to public assistance. Even before “welfare reform” benefits were too low and eligibility requirements too tight.
We think the systematic discrimination against African American, Chicano-Latino, Asian and Native peoples must end. American capitalism is built on the super exploitation of Black and other oppressed peoples. This system that tramples on the basic human rights of some, while others have privileges, must be torn down.
Furthermore, we think that policies such as affirmative action that go a little way towards addressing the racist discrimination that is taking place today should be expanded. We also think that oppressed peoples within the borders of our country have the right to determine their own destiny – the right to self determination.We demand the end to inequality and support the liberation of women. We call for the full equality of immigrants whether documented or undocumented. We are against any actions or policies that discriminate against anyone because of sexual orientation. We are against wars that suck our resources and send us and our children to fight for the interests of the rich and powerful against people just like us in other countries.
We believe that the only way to achieve those goals is to end the rule of the rich, of the capitalists and build a socialist system where all political and economic power is in the hands of the people.
This is no dream. In some places, Cuba for example, they have already done this. Cuba is no rich country; but medical care is free and government policy aims at the elimination, not the creation, of poverty
Is it any wonder that the rich would violently oppose such demands? They have built a heaven on earth for themselves. We intend to storm that heaven and raise all kinds of hell. We don’t imagine for a second that these kind of changes will happen tomorrow, but we do think that they will happen
In this city, state, country and planet working people are the majority. We have every right to reorganize society in a way that serves our interests. Provided that we have the organization, determination and understanding necessary the future is ours and the future is bright!