Comrade workers! May Day is coming, the day when the workers of all lands celebrate Their awakening to a class- conscious life, their solidarity in the struggle against all coercion and oppression of man by man, the struggle to free the toiling millions from hunger, poverty, and humiliation.
Two worlds stand facing each other in this great struggle: the world of capital and the world of labour, the world of exploitation and slavery and the world of brotherhood and freedom.
On one side stand the handful of rich blood-suckers. They have seized the factories and mills, the tools and machinery, have turned millions of acres of land and mountains of money into their private property. They have made the government and the army their servants, faithful watchdogs of the wealth they have amassed.
Written: 1894. First published in Polish in Sprawa Robotnicza. Published: From Selected Political Writings of Rosa Luxemburg, tr. Dick Howard, Monthly Review Press, 1971, pp. 315-16. Online Version: marxists.org April, 2002. Transcribed: http://www.ultrared.org/lm_mayday.html. Proofed: by Matthew Grant.
The happy idea of using a proletarian holiday celebration as a means to attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there decided in 1856 to organize a day of complete stoppage together with meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour day. The day of this celebration was to be April 21. At first, the Australian workers intended this only for the year 1856. But this first celebration had such a strong effect on the proletarian masses of Australia, enlivening them and leading to new agitation, that it was decided to repeat the celebration every year.
In fact, what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own strength than a mass work stoppage which they had decided themselves? What could give more courage to the eternal slaves of the factories and the workshops than the mustering of their own troops? Thus, the idea of a proletarian celebration was quickly accepted and, from Australia, began to spread to other countries until finally it had conquered the whole proletarian world.
The World Trade Union Federation, on the occasion of May Day 2022, salutes workers on all continents – all those whose work continues to drive the gears of life even in difficult conditions and who continue to produce all essential goods.
The migrant workers in Chicago, who fought and sacrificed their lives in May 1886 for the establishment of the 8-hour day, paved the way for the international working class to continue to demand its rights.
The international class-oriented labor movement, through the ranks of the WFTU, honors the legacy of their struggle and continues under all circumstances, despite the difficulties, to fight for the fulfillment of the contemporary needs of workers and the abolition of exploitation, for the emancipation of the working class and its liberation from the capitalist barbarity.
It’s workers’ day, working people’s day, working people’s international solidarity day. All divisive, sectarian, supremacist ideology and politics is opposed by the working people all around the world. On this day, this position is reiterated by the working people.
Today, this task – oppose divisive, sectarian, supremacist politics – is much urgent, much immediate, as imperialism is making onslaught in many forms, in direct and indirect ways, in concealed methods and forms, in lands after lands. Imperialism is today pushing one part of the people to oppose other parts. Imperialism is carrying out its nefarious act with nice slogans telling about its freedom and its democracy, slogans that hide class struggle, the struggle between the exploited and the exploiters. Imperialism is doing this dirty work by hiding the struggle between labor and capital.
But, the working people can’t be hoodwinked, can’t be confused, can’t be made pawn to capital; the working people can’t be pulled to the camp of capital; and today, imperialism, as the highest form, the most dangerous form of capital, can’t be ally of the working classes in no country. With long experience, expertise, enormous resources, command over natural and social sciences and over technology, owning the most powerful political-military-diplomatic-propaganda machine, having worldwide networks in many forms, imperialism today stands as the most dangerous class-force against all the peoples, all the working people of the world.
After two years of isolation to avoid Covid-19 infections, Cuba celebrates this May 1st with a massive day of mobilization.
With the presence of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, historic leader of the Revolution, and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the historic parade to celebrate International Workers’ Day began in Havana’s Revolution Square, after two years of pandemic realated restrictions.
A delegation of the Venezuelan Committee of International Solidarity and Struggle for Peace (COSI) will participate in the events for International Workers’ Day in Havana, Cuba, its president Gabriel Aguirre informed on Friday, 29 April.
According to Prensa Latina, the head of COSI said that this organization will ratify its support to the working class of the island in the face of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government and intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a stalemate between the people of Sri Lanka and the government, the health sector stands on the threshold of collapse as the country runs out of essential medicines.
The health crisis in Sri Lanka reached alarming levels this month due to an acute shortage of medicines and medical equipment in hospitals. Hospitals, doctors and unions have been putting out calls for donations on social media requesting help for essential medicines, without which several health services have already come to a halt.
Due to a shortage of anesthetic drugs, the Director-General of Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardena announced that all except emergency surgeries have been suspended. As of mid-April, nearly 124 medical items were out of stock, reported The Sunday Morning.
The shortage of medicines has led to hospitals being forced to re-use equipment or substitute drugs. Concerned doctors, medical officers and unions have been holding protests to demand action from the government.
Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’. What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders. In 2000, the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalisation: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge. All these components apparently took off from the early 1980s as part of the ‘neoliberal’ reversal of previous national macro-management policies adopted by governments in the environment of the Bretton Woods world economic order (ie US hegemony). Then the call was to break down tariff barriers, quotas and other trade restrictions and allow the multi-nationals to trade ‘freely’ and to switch their investments abroad to cheap labour areas to boost profitability. This would lead to global expansion and harmonious development of the productive forces and resources of the world, it was claimed.
This year May Day is being observed at a time of increasing need for wider unity by workers in the wake of adverse government policies leading to increasing burden of unemployment and inflation at the same time. Policies relating to demonetization, poorly conceived tax reform in the form of GST, privatization, excessively stringent and poorly planned lock-downs have led to massive job losses and reduced income across vast areas of economic activity, while policies which favor big business interests contribute at least partly to rise of price of several essential commodities.
At a time of adverse external factor including the Ukraine war policy distortions have made the situation for workers much more difficult than would have been the case of more protective policies had been followed. Workers employed in smaller units of unorganized sector and women workers have faced excessive burden and loss from policy distortions. Hence the need for increasing unity of workers in increasingly felt.
This story was updated April 28, 2022 to correct conversion of US dollar to Indian rupees.
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was pushed off global front pages last fortnight by food inflation. Food prices have leaped 75 per cent since mid-2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assessed.
In India, rural consumer food price has doubled in the year through March 2022, according to the All India Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the National Statistical Office (released April 12). At 13 per cent, the country’s annual wholesale inflation was at the highest in a decade. Food and fuel prices played a major role.