•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle


May Day & unity

Published Apr 24, 2011 10:29 PM

Workers World Party applauds recent developments that heighten unity of the working class in the struggle for immigrant and worker rights.

May Day originates in the U.S. It came out of the struggle of immigrants and other workers who fought and died in 1886 for the eight-hour workday. For 125 years, workers around the world have honored International Workers’ Day on May 1 each year by marching to demand their rights. However, U.S. business and government forces colluded to eclipse this day of international workers’ solidarity by creating a Labor Day holiday in September.

May Day, the workers’ holiday created by workers, was revived in the U.S. in 2005 with a march in New York City organized by the Million Worker March Movement. Just one year later — as repression of immigrants reached a fever pitch — millions poured into the streets throughout the U.S. on May 1 to demand legalization and rights for all workers.

This year, increased attacks on both immigrant and non-immigrant workers show the need for the most united, militant action possible on May Day in the U.S. Attempts to copycat union-busting legislation in Wisconsin and anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona are already taking place in cities and states across the country. (See this week’s article on Georgia’s copycat legislation, which even outdoes Arizona’s SB 1070 in racist profiling and repression.) As jobs dry up and austerity budgets are passed that slash social services — during an economic “recovery” for the bosses — the only choice workers have is to fight. And to be successful, they must be united in their struggles.

A momentous step in the right direction is the decision to hold a united May Day rally in New York City. Last year two rallies were held — a large, multinational rally at Union Square, organized by the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, that includes immigrants, trade unionists, youth and students, community members and more; and a separate, trade-union-focused rally in a separate location. Facing the urgency and necessity for unity, this year the trade union forces have agreed to hold a joint closing rally on May 1.

The unity being forged in New York will help remind all workers that, as the old labor slogan goes, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” Attacks on immigrants (like attacks on women, African Americans, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, and disabled people) are attacks on the working class as a whole. Attacks on unions are attacks on immigrants. Wars abroad heighten the war against workers at home, and vice versa. Solidarity is the key to fighting the bosses and to victory.

Long live International Workers’ Day!