Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) May Day Statement

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syndicalist
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May 1 2018 14:11
Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) May Day Statement

May Day has its origin in the ancient pagan commemoration of the start of spring, the season in which we reap the bounty of the Earth through cultivation of the soil, and rejoice in fertility and the beauty of life born anew after winters onerous cold.

Today on International Worker's Day we circle the streets in lieu of the Maypole, celebrating the martyrs of Haymarket Square and all that have fallen and sacrificed their freedom to create a society based on free, non-hierarchical structures. Today we struggle to hasten the end of a system that is wreaking havoc upon our planet, and in the ruthless pursuit of profit is depriving us of our sacred birthright as human beings to manage the fruits of the commons in a just and sustainable way.

The demonstrators in Haymarket Square in 1886 were struggling for the 8 hour workday, something many people take entirely for granted, and the repressive acts that followed catalyzed an international struggle, nurtured solidarity, and shaped the revolutionary consciousness of countless workers the world over. Prominent 20th century anarchist Emma Goldman called the reaction that followed, "The events that had inspired my spiritual birth and growth." For fifty years after the Haymarket Affair, state violence directed at the labor movement alongside an extravagant propaganda campaign to demonize those who identified with the ideas of anarchism and revolutionary unionism was incredibly effective.

The often times spontaneous, and in many instances radical unionism and organizing during the Depression scared the owners and state managers, there was palpable fear that the capitalist system itself would collapse. The New Deal Coalition recognition of labor unions and the National Labor Relations board to settle disputes "would channel the workers' insurrectionary energy into contracts, negotiations, union meetings, and try to minimize strikes, in order to build large, influential, even respectable organizations" as Howard Zinn wrote. This led the co-opting and blunting of the radical energy that won the major labor struggles of the early 1900's, and consequently to the paralysis, bureaucratization, and class collaborationism we see in mainstream American labor now.

Starting in the mid-20th century and continuing into this day, there has been increasing state repression and surveillance at home, continuous war abroad enriching the military industrial complex, and the deregulation and internationalization of capital, pitting a disorganized American working class against an incredibly organized ruling class intent on maintaining its privilege.

The dominant systems of the twentieth century, corporate capitalism and state socialism, have both proven wasteful, unsustainable, and hostile to human dignity. Now is the time for the working people of the world to figure out what kind of world we want to live in, dismantle the primitive edifice of domination and authority, and reap the shared harvest of our planet and our labor in peace.

For a world without bosses, bureaucrats and states!
Workers Solidarity Alliance
workersolidarity.org

https://www.facebook.com/workersolidarityalliance/photos/a.1855598081488...

syndicalist
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May 1 2018 14:14

text of the NY/NJ leaflet being distributed at the Union Square, Manhattan May Day rally

Why May Day?

For several years now immigrants’ rights, labor and progressive activists have been gathering on May 1 to call for solidarity, for workers and immigrant rights and against repression and exploitation. But why May Day?

May Day’s origin was a commemoration of the start of spring, the season in which we reap the bounty of the Earth through cultivation of the soil. But in Chicago in 130 years ago it became a new celebration, a celebration of the struggle of working people for the right to decent lives, including an 8-hour workday. In 1886 it turned to tragedy with the unleashing of police violence at a place call Haymarket. Ever since then it has been both a day to celebrate and a day to mourn and remember all those who have fallen fighting for the rights of working people.

Sadly, some years ago workers in the U.S. got separated from workers in other countries when union bureaucrats and politicians collaborated to create a separate American Labor Day in September. Those who did so were clear that they did it to break up international solidarity and to suppress radical ideas among American workers. Many folks in the labor movement and on the left worked to continue the tradition of May Day, but in fact it had all but vanished until recently a new generation of activists have worked not just to bring it back but also to make it relevant to today’s struggles.

But, if like those who fought and sacrificed in Chicago in 1886 and ever since then, then we should be looking at the underlying causes of the oppression and exploitation of today and how we can go beyond demanding better conditions and more freedom within the existing system. We need to start thinking about why there is a class society based on power, profit and privilege and what a world without that would look like. The existing system is wreaking havoc upon our planet, and in the ruthless pursuit of profit is depriving us as human beings to of the ability to manage the resources of society in a just and sustainable way.

What maybe we need to be thinking about and talking over and working to build is a new type of labor movement, that isn’t run by salaried officials but by the workers themselves, that doesn’t stop with making immediate demands but looks to a vision for a new world where folks don’t have to beg for crumbs or even fight for demands but work together to make the decisions that affect all of us in a free and democratic way, without bosses, bureaucrats or politicians calling the shots. Maybe we need to figure out how we link that movement with the movements of all the other people in struggle around racial and gender justice, who are fighting to make their communities better and fairer places to live and to make their voices heard.

We’re folks just like you, but who have organized ourselves to put forward our ideas within the labor movement and other social movements, and to have honest and open discussion on those ideas, as well as to help out and support people in struggle and to figure better ways to organize ourselves in our workplaces and communities. We’d be glad to be in touch with you to share ideas, experiences, answer questions and find ways to work together to free the world of all the bad things that those in power have foisted on us. If you’re interested, please get in touch.

Workers Solidarity Alliance—NY/NJ Area Group
May 1, 2018
wsany[AT}hotmail.com

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
May 1 2018 14:14

text of the NY/NJ leaflet being distributed at the Union Square, Manhattan May Day rally

Why May Day?

For several years now immigrants’ rights, labor and progressive activists have been gathering on May 1 to call for solidarity, for workers and immigrant rights and against repression and exploitation. But why May Day?

May Day’s origin was a commemoration of the start of spring, the season in which we reap the bounty of the Earth through cultivation of the soil. But in Chicago in 130 years ago it became a new celebration, a celebration of the struggle of working people for the right to decent lives, including an 8-hour workday. In 1886 it turned to tragedy with the unleashing of police violence at a place call Haymarket. Ever since then it has been both a day to celebrate and a day to mourn and remember all those who have fallen fighting for the rights of working people.

Sadly, some years ago workers in the U.S. got separated from workers in other countries when union bureaucrats and politicians collaborated to create a separate American Labor Day in September. Those who did so were clear that they did it to break up international solidarity and to suppress radical ideas among American workers. Many folks in the labor movement and on the left worked to continue the tradition of May Day, but in fact it had all but vanished until recently a new generation of activists have worked not just to bring it back but also to make it relevant to today’s struggles.

But, if like those who fought and sacrificed in Chicago in 1886 and ever since then, then we should be looking at the underlying causes of the oppression and exploitation of today and how we can go beyond demanding better conditions and more freedom within the existing system. We need to start thinking about why there is a class society based on power, profit and privilege and what a world without that would look like. The existing system is wreaking havoc upon our planet, and in the ruthless pursuit of profit is depriving us as human beings to of the ability to manage the resources of society in a just and sustainable way.

What maybe we need to be thinking about and talking over and working to build is a new type of labor movement, that isn’t run by salaried officials but by the workers themselves, that doesn’t stop with making immediate demands but looks to a vision for a new world where folks don’t have to beg for crumbs or even fight for demands but work together to make the decisions that affect all of us in a free and democratic way, without bosses, bureaucrats or politicians calling the shots. Maybe we need to figure out how we link that movement with the movements of all the other people in struggle around racial and gender justice, who are fighting to make their communities better and fairer places to live and to make their voices heard.

We’re folks just like you, but who have organized ourselves to put forward our ideas within the labor movement and other social movements, and to have honest and open discussion on those ideas, as well as to help out and support people in struggle and to figure better ways to organize ourselves in our workplaces and communities. We’d be glad to be in touch with you to share ideas, experiences, answer questions and find ways to work together to free the world of all the bad things that those in power have foisted on us. If you’re interested, please get in touch.

Workers Solidarity Alliance—NY/NJ Area Group
May 1, 2018
wsany[AT}hotmail.com