Reports (with Pictures and Videos) from members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 6 May 2019, www.thecommunists.net
In this article we summarize several reports which we have received from comrades who participated in the in the May Day demonstrations in various countries. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has used the opportunity of May Day to spread the message of organizing for the socialist revolution in numerous countries. We have initiated a joint May Day 2019 statement which has been translated into and published in eleven languages. (1)
Below you find reports with pictures from several countries. We also publish a video statement with May Day greetings of Michael Pröbsting, the RCIT’s International Secretary.
Comrades from the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (Nigerian Section of the RCIT) participated in the 2019 May Day alongside with the Sowore-led TakeitBack movement. We mobilized several scores of community based organization to seize the workers day opportunity to make the following demands;
1. No to estimated and crazy electrical bills
2. Nationalization of the power sector
3. Nationalization of the oil and gas sector
4. Free Housing
5. Free education and health
6. A permanent end to police brutality and general reform of the police
At the venue of the May Day, we stood our ground at the centre stage and didn't leave until we had the full audience of the state government.
Furthermore, comrades faced a severe attack by the police. When they were converging police, dressed almost in a war like regalia, went ahead harassing market women. Comrade Ayowole Sanyaolu, a leader of the section, stepped in to challenge their insanity. As a result, the police brutally attacked him (see the video below). They briefly arrested him and put him into a police van. After people intervened for him the police had to release him after a few minutes. All this demonstrates once more the reactionary character of the bourgeois repression apparatus!
Marking World May Day 2019, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) held commemorative events in 13 regions across the country, including the Seoul metropolitan area. A total of 57,000 people gathered across the country and about 27,000 people gathered in Seoul. (Pictures below are from a rally in Seoul.)
The participants denounced the government for its drive for labor "reform", demanding ratification of the ILO's core agreement, basic labor rights, abolish of informal labor conditions, reform of Chaebol and peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
The leadership of the KCTU made the following statement in opening speech: "Embracing the spirit of May Day's struggle, let's show a united struggle of 1 million under the flag of a general strike to prevent the reform of the flexible work system and minimum wage system, carry out the ratification of the ILO Core Convention and stop the anti-union law altogether."
Thousands of workers from different regions and sectors of México participated in the May Day demonstrations in the center of Mexico City. These demonstrations were called by the CNTE and SITUAM which are currently organizing strikes and other forms of mobilization against the labor and educative neoliberal reforms and in defense of their labor and social rights.
In the north of our country, close to the border between Mexico and the United States, the workers from the Maquila sectors, staged a massive demonstration in demand of reinstatement of the fired workers, a solution of the labor disputes and for independence and democracy inside their union organizations.
These protests took place against the background of the recent discussion and adoption of constitutional laws by the congress, like the creation of a National Guard (a new military unity) and neoliberal reforms that undermine the social conquests and rights of the public teachers and the majority of the Mexican workers (e.g. labor conditions, pensions, the right of strike and to organize in independent trade union).
As ALS, we posted in the past days numerous posters along the route of the May Day demonstration (see picture below). On May Day we participated in the demonstrations and marched with the teachers dissident current of CNTE. We distributed many leaflets which contained slogans like:
*¡Down with the structural reforms!
*¡For a general increase of workers’ wages!
*¡Abrogation of Laboral and Educative Reforms!
*¡For free and democratic Union Trades!
*¡Down with the National Guard!
*¡Cancelation of the imperialist T-MEC!
*¡For the national and international unity of the proletarian movement!
*¡Internationalist solidarity with the revolutionary processes in Middle East and the workers fights all around the World!
*¡For a Revolutionary Workers Party as part of a World Socialist and Revolutionary Party!
This years’ May Day in Sao Paulo saw a massive demonstration of 100.000 people. For the first time since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985 all the 14 union federations united in a joint demonstration. The main banners were "Against the Pension Reform"; "In Defense of the Brothers and Sisters Working Class Rights", and "For more Jobs and Living Wages".
In the whole country, more than one million workers marched on May Day. The demonstrations were announced as the beginning of mobilizations to prepare for a general strike against the ultra-liberal economic reforms of President Bolsonaro. This general strike shall take place on June 14.
Comrades from the Bazilian section of the RCIT attended in the mobilization and distributed our international statement on May first, added with some local demands.
"May day, may day, may day" This is a recognized universal distress call issued out by aeroplane pilots and Captains of ships when in danger at sea or up in the sky. Its a call to action. A call for rescue operation or else those onboard will perish.
This captures the situation of the Zimbabwean worker thrown at the deep end of the pool that is not only fraternized but captured by sea robbers and musketeers commonly known as neoliberals and capitalists who front the ruling cabal and elites.
Working people of the world gained their voice and independence in 1886 after the Chicago uprising where workers demanded for an 8 hour working day, a decent living wage and humane treatment.
However the workers of Zimbabwe find themselves under the same conditions that existed in pre-colonial times. 1886 is known historically as the year when Bismarck and other European powers agreed on the partition of Africa.
132 years latter, and 39 years after gaining political independence workers gathered at Mutare , Moffat Hall under the banner of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Participants were unanimous in not just identifying the enemy of workers but they also had a solution. The solution lies in workers retracing their history to 1886 and embrace socialism as the only sure way of regaining their stolen dignity.
A decade ago, workers day commemorations were held in a football stadium and would be full to capacity with workers. Yet this year, the event was held in a community hall with about 1000 workers only. This is because government has mismanaged the economy through the implementation of half thought and imprudent structural economic adjustment programs (SAPS) that started in 1989 under Mugabe caused massive deindustrialization and closure of companies. Unemployment statistics are gory as they stand at 90%.
The government stands accused of allowing slave labour conditions to prevail which has led to the casualisation of labour. Legislation such as the Special Economic Zones will allow some employers to hire and fire at will without recourse to the labour relations act. Under the current government, workers representatives are under attack and up to eighty labour activists were arrested in January and charged with attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government just because they called for stayaway on the 14th of January.
Workers and citizens in general have lost spending power as government skewed fiscal and monetary policies have caused inflation as the pseudo-currency known as the RTGS dollar has lost value to other currencies. Basically this government is running a casino economy and workers have borne the brunt of an out of sorts government.
Thousands of workers across the country have gone for years without being paid and any attempts by workers to organize and fight for their dues is met by military force. Parastals such as National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and local authorities like the city of Mutare have wage backlogs going back to 2017. Even the diamond and gold mining entities such as Mbada Diamonds and Redwing gold mine have huge outstanding salaries owed to workers and have gained impunity due to corruption and connivance that exist.
Solidarity speeches were drawn from affiliate unions of the ZCTU, fraternal organizations such students, women and revolutionary organizations such as the RCIT. Our speech was well received and a clarion call was made to the workers that socialism is there only source of deliverance and hope from the neoliberal and capitalist cabal. The time for action is now or never. Workers must organize for victory.
Even the International Labour Organisation (ILO) denounced Zimbabwe’s austerity measures as they hurt the workers and the poor. Hopolang Phororo, ILO Zimbabwe country director, said that austerity measures have poor results everywhere they were implemented: "The evidence is clear that austerity hurts the workers and the poor. Cutting back on workers’ rights and protectionism does not stimulate economic growth.”
She also observed that the Zimbabwean situation had deteriorated since last year. The ILO boss said that working conditions continue to deteriorate whilst workers’ salaries remain stagnant.
The struggle continues
Viva Solidarity, viva
Viva RCIT , viva
About 1800 participated in the May Day demonstration in Kassel organized by the trade union federation DGB.
Unfortunately the trade union bureaucracy succeeded in putting its mark on the demonstration. At the top of the march was a banner "Europe - now do it the right way". (See picture below) In its May Day call, the DGB explained that this slogan “means that we need an ambitious program for investing in the future of Europe that secures and promotes growth, jobs, education, infrastructure and prosperity for all. People need to see the EU improve their lives in a sustainable and concrete way. The EU must become a model for fair globalization - international standards for workers' rights, social affairs, environmental and consumer protection must determine what happens on the markets, not the other way round.” And how should these demands be enforced? The answer came from the platform via one of the DGB speakers: "Vote for the right people" (i.e. for the social democratic party).
Even worse, the bureaucratic leadership of the DGB youth demonstrated its support for Zionism and its hatred for the pro-Palestinian solidarity movement. Its truck on the demonstration carried a banner "Against BDS and Israelhass" and “Solidarity with the Histadrut" (the racist Israeli “trade union”). (See picture below) Many trade unionists were outraged by such slogans, which, however, have been officially approved by the DGB leadership.
As every year, the Mayor of Kassel was booed by young people during his speech.
Altogether more than 300,000 people participated in May Day rallies in Germany. In Erfurt and Plauen the extremely right-wing AfD as well as the Third Way, a neo-Nazi organization, tried to hold their own May Day rallies. However they had only moderate success in mobilizing their sympathizers and had to be protected by the police against antifascist counter-demonstrations.
Supporters of the RCIT Germany sold a number of their papers and journals and were able to use the opportunity to discuss our ideas with people interested in revolutionary policy.
In Austria the May Day march organized by the social democratic party was, as usual, by far the largest one. Officially about 120,000 people participated.
A remarkable contingent was a group of about 200 workers from the healthcare sector who demanded a more militant trade union policy.
Part of this demonstration was, as it has been also the case in the past years, a contingent of several hundred supporters of the PKK Öcalan supporters which operates in Syria as foot soldiers of US imperialism.
The official speakers of the social democratic party limited themselves to some meaningless denunciations of the neoliberal policy of the right-wing government. They focused on beating the big drum for their candidates for the European elections which will take place in three weeks.
This was followed by two small demonstrations. One by the official Communist Party (which is part of the Party of the European Left dominated by the German LINKE and the Greek SYRIZA). The other demonstration was dominated by orthodox Stalinists and Maoists. Both demonstrations had several hundred participants.
Supporters of the Austrian section of the RCIT had a large book stall and sold many publications. Some pro-Zionist “Anti-Deutsche” tried to disrupt our activities but without success.
(1) English: https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/may-day-2019-statement/
Spanish / Español https://www.thecommunists.net/home/espa%C3%B1ol/primero-de-mayo-2019-manifiesto/
Arabic / العربية https://www.thecommunists.net/home/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9/may-day-2019-statement/
French / Français https://www.thecommunists.net/home/fran%C3%A7ais/1er-mai-2019-declaration/
Russian / русский https://www.thecommunists.net/home/%D1%80%D1%83%D1%81%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9/%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%B9-2019-%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B0-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%8F%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5/
Portuguese / Português: https://www.thecommunists.net/home/portugu%C3%AAs/primeiro-de-maio-de-2019-declaracao/
Turkish / Türk https://www.thecommunists.net/home/t%C3%BCrk/1-may%C4%B1s-2019-bildirisi/
German / Deutsch https://www.thecommunists.net/home/deutsch/1-mai-2019-statement/
Polish / Polski https://www.thecommunists.net/home/polski/1-maja-2019-komunikat/
May Day 2019: International Solidarity in the Struggle for Socialism! Video Statement of Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the RCIT