Unless you make money off other people’s hard work, 1st May each year is YOUR day! Yes, it is a day to celebrate YOU, and all YOUR struggles against the profit system! It also helps us remember our predecessors, many of whom died so that we could live better lives.
International Workers’ Day has been celebrated for over one hundred years. It was set on May 1st to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs, who were murdered in Chicago for demanding not only an eight hour working day (something which would be a step forward for many of us in the UK today) but the destruction of the capitalist system, which demands ever greater attacks on working class people in the name of profit.
You might ask what this has to do with you, in Liverpool, in 2007. But take a look around!
- Luxury flats are being built around the city, by people who could never afford to live in them, while the city’s housing list has over 20,000 names on it!
- People in some of the city’s poorer areas are being forced out of their homes by compulsory purchase orders.
- The Garden Festival site is being ravaged, evicting many of our feathered friends and ruining a relaxing place for the rest of us.
- Much of the city centre is now owned by one extremely wealthy man, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
- The Capital of Culture bash looks like it’s going to be more about capital than culture.
- Young working class scousers are being sent to die in Iraq and elsewhere, so that George Bush’s oil buddies can control the world’s oil supply.
- The NHS is under attack from corporate profiteers.
- If you are fortunate enough to have a job, every day the boss tightens the screw a little more.
- In all the desperation, In all the desperation, prozac and smack are everywhere, while the fascist BNP seek to exploit these problems with their prescription of race hate.
Sometimes it all gets a bit too much, and even the most committed activists feel disheartened. We didn’t choose this fight, it chose us because of our class position. But together we are strong! Mayday is the time when we look back at the example of those who struggled before us, and forward to struggles in our near future. As one of the martyrs shouted at his execution: “The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.”
In Liverpool this week, there are quite a few events as part of the Mayday festivities. The fun begins on Friday, 27th April, when the Liverpool Social Forum launch LARF (Liverpool Alternative Radical Film collective), with a three day festival of fascinating, thought-provoking, and inspiring films. On 1st May itself, Merseyside TUC have organised a march and rally for all those who want ‘Save our public services’ and ‘Say no to racism’! Then in the evening, the action shifts to The Bumper on Hardman Street, where Liverpool Social Forum’s gig will raise funds for Iraqi trade unionists and the Liverpool Social Centre.
Mayday is YOUR day! Make the most of it!