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
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!
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