International MayDay, One Class! One Fight! Occupy, it’s our right!
On this day ever since the hanging of four workers in Chicago in 1886, arising out of a strike for the 8 hour day, workers around the world have come together in marches, rallies and strikes, to celebrate their common membership of an international working class that continues to struggle against all its class enemies for its emancipation from the chains of capitalism.
The struggle continues because international capitalism cannot survive without a constant increase in the exploitation and oppression of every worker who produces its profits. In the process it destroys resources, steals land, closes factories and expels workers from production. Most destructive of all, it recruits jobless workers to go to war and invade countries like Afghanistan and Iraq to seize their scarce resources.
When workers resist and try to reclaim their countries, their resources, schools and factories, they are asserting their right to own and control the means of production necessary for life. Here we can see the common factor behind all of these struggles; it is the spontaneous struggle of all those excluded from production or trapped in wage slavery, to assert their class independence and take control of the means of production to meet their basic survival needs.
Mayday 2006 Unite all the struggles around the world
Today many such struggles are taking place around the world. Peasants are fighting to retain or get land; factory workers are fighting to survive closures; women workers are fighting to keep their families together and against violence; young workers are fighting for an education, and decent jobs, a living wage and social rights. Unemployed recruited into imperialist armies or warlords militias are refusing to follow orders. Iraqis, Afghans, Africans, Melanesians, Colombians, etc. are resisting imperialist occupations and fighting for their national independence.
Peasants and agricultural workers in the Solomon Islands, in Bolivia and Brazil, India and China, Nigeria and South Africa, resist the removal of their land for capitalist agriculture, or extraction of oil, gas, timber or minerals etc. by the giant multinationals based in the imperialists countries. Many of these peasants are indigenous peoples who retain their own social structures and cultures. Their universal response to these attacks is to occupy the land.
Take the land, but join forces with workers and also take the trucks, the ports and the banks!
Industrial workers, whose wages and conditions deteriorate under the increasing exploitation forced on them by the IMF, World Bank and WTO, resist in many countries. In Latin America, around a third of the work-age population is without work, and another third lives in the ‘black’ economy of undocumented, super-exploited, dangerous, virtual slave labor. Where workers are cast out of production, their instinct is to occupy and continue production.
Turn the occupations into expropriations!
In the United States the 12 million undocumented ‘illegals’ have poured into the country from the South, West and East, and perform the most menial, dangerous and servile work. They are under immediate threat of being criminalised, arrested, deported, or turned into ‘guest’ workers regulated and repressed by Bush’s Department of Homeland Security. Wherever ‘illegals’ stand up and fightback, as they are doing today in the US, they are criminalized, deported or locked up in the Guantanamos of this world.
Long live the ‘illegal’ worker! We are all ‘illegals’!
Close down the Guantanamos!
Women workers continue to bear the brunt of the worst exploitation and oppression. On top of the burden of child care and support, women still do the low-paid, menial, insecure work. As the capitalist crisis of the 80s and 90s has shifted much industry from core capitalist states to the ‘third’ world, women have filled many such jobs in the maquiladores of Latin America, the shantytowns of Africa, and factory dormitories of China and India, and borne the brunt of family breakdown, rape and murder. Because of this women take the lead in struggles for land rights, indigenous rights, factory occupations, and human rights. They are asserting their right to break out of domestic slavery and to take ownership and control of the means of production.
Forward the woman worker!
Abolish domestic slavery!
Young workers are also among the most vulnerable, facing, unemployment, discrimination and ‘precarite’ - lack of job security. In December of last year the unemployed youth of the migrant communities in France rebelled against the police as the agents of capitalist repression. In March of this year university students, high school students and workers in auto, rail, and the state sector took to the streets to stop the latest reactionary labor law giving bosses’ freedom to hire and fire young workers. They occupied universities, schools, and blocked railways and roads to prove that they too can take over and control, if only symbolically for now, the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Occupy the schools and universities under student/worker control !
For free education to all!
Soldiers are workers or peasants in uniform, drafted to fight the wars of their bosses by killing and looting the peoples of the colonies and semi-colonies. They are mainly poor, unemployed youth drawn from peasant, migrant, or stateless families. If these troops refused orders the capitalist military machine would disintegrate. In Bolivia, Venezuela and Iraq some ordinary ranks have mutinied against their officers and sided with the masses under attack.
For rank-and-file control of the military! For the formation of rank and file councils!
For workers' and peasants' militias!
Socialism is the only way out
Global capitalism in the 21st century is in a crisis in which the forces of production are being destroyed so that capitalists can continue to profit. Marx long ago predicted that capitalism would ultimately dig its own grave by creating a working class that would overthrow the private owners to claim social ownership of the forces of production.
This is where we are today. Peasants, factory workers, women workers, youth, conscripts; the majority are being cast out of production. This is what Marx and Engels meant in the Communist Manifesto when they raised the slogan: “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains”! Despite all those doomsayers who claim that socialism is dead, or those wheeler-dealers who claim that capitalism can be reformed by ‘democratic’ , ‘humane’ politicians, the system has them all in its grip. The producing classes cannot survive by placing any hopes in reforming the system. This can only lead to further social destruction, climactic disaster and fascist barbarism.
The only solution for the worlds’ workers is to expropriate the means of production from the private owners for our own use. When we are excluded from production, or forced into slave labor, we must occupy and put the means of production under our own control. Where workers have done this as in Argentina and Venezuela, they have proved that bosses are superfluous.
We are one class; the working class, and one fight; the fight for socialism
Standing between workers and socialism are all the enemies of their class. They are those who seek to contain and divert the workers struggle to expropriate the capitalists into compromises, deals, and sellouts to save the bosses skins. These are the false friends of workers – the union officials who are paid by the bosses state to prevent workers from running unions democratically; the political parties funded by the bosses state with false names like ‘labor’ , ‘socialist’, ‘worker’ or 'communist', that promise workers, land, jobs, health and education, but instead cut jobs, wages and benefits to guarantee bosses good profits.
Today the most dangerous class enemies of all the peasant, wage slaves, women, youth, and conscripts, who are struggling to take control of the means of production, distribution and exchange, are those false ‘socialists’ who tell the workers to put their faith in strong leaders who can bring about socialism from ‘above’; in particular, those in the World Social Forum who look to Castro, Chavez and even Lula, to solve their problems for them.
No! To defeat the class collaborationist World Social Forum we must build a new revolutionary communist international. The only guarantee of socialism is the independent, armed organisation of our One Class! Peasants, factory workers, women, and youth workers, united in workers councils everywhere; and our One Fight! Turn occupations all into expropriations as the basis of a socialist planned world economy!
Communist Worker Group (NZ) Member of the Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction
From Class Struggle 66 April/May 2006