In tens, in hundreds, in thousands, in hundreds of thousands or in millions, working people on all the continents marched on May Day – a day celebrated/commemorated world-wide as the symbol of struggle against capitalist exploitation, oppression, and wage slavery.
The day is recognized as international workers’ day all over the world. May Day’s origins are in the United States, as the day is considered a commemorative holiday for the Haymarket Massacre.
On all continents, in big cities and small ones, in villages and smaller communities, people took their struggle for another world to the streets. Some explicitly commemorating May Day, others not, but all of them explicitly struggling for social justice.
Reasserting the origins of the May Day – denied by capitalist exploiters – working people in the United States joined the world-wide demonstrations and protests and took it to the streets from the East coast to the West, demanding an end of the injustices endured by workers.
2 million undocumented workers have been deported by the Obama administration, families have been torn apart. At least, 1 million prisoner-workers are put to labor behind bars for less than 2 dollars an hour.
In Chicago, the SEIU and ICIRR used their “march marshall” cronies to help police arrest radical activists, on their own holiday no less! The Chicago IWW reports that “Jose “Ze” Garcia and Anne Wooton were singled out, surrounded, and restrained by SEIU and ICIRR to be arrested by Chicago Police Department.” Other than this incident, many radical participants reported a successful May Day in Chicago.
Hundreds joined the May Day rally in Portland: “Now it’s May Day and it’s workers’ rights, migrants’ rights, women’s rights,” Liliana Luna said. “It’s all coming together.” Steve Perkins came from McMinnville: “To march in the streets and to try and bring awareness is the option we have right now,” he said. “I came out here to support the homeless and the sweeps that are happening by the police force here in Portland,” Perkins said. Then, there’s Garrett Smith. He rode with the rally in support of increasing the minimum wage. “Protesting is only something that works if you actually make people listen,” Smith said. “If they can just delete what you say, it doesn’t matter.” Many, like Luna, rallied for immigration reform and workers’ rights. “We’re not going to wait any longer for congressmen to tell us when we’re going to reunite with our families,” she said. “A strong message that we’re sending today is stop deportation and create a strong path for fair immigration reform.” They were just a few of many with a message. Jobs with justice, local unions, anarchist groups, healthcare reform supporters and others all joined as police shut down roads for the permitted event.
— Pedro de Matos (@VarelaMatos) May 4, 2014
The United States are incarcerating the greatest number of workers on the globe (most of them blacks and latinos). It’s the most brutal expression of the class war: workers are put to labor without rights, without any defence for the profits of prisons’ contractors. 1 in 5 are caged because of non-violent crimes, like stealing a jacket or smoking pot – some 3,000 are buried by the state alive in prisons for the rest of their life. Workers in Alabama are advocating a strike “against the slavery empire,” and they are facing reprisals and repression.
Anonymous – Final Resistance 2014: Rocky&Bullwinkle (@RockyjSquirrel2) #MayDay #MayDay2014 #NOKXL
Adding more insults to the memory of the crimes committed by capitalists against workers in the United States, Obama declared the day ”National Loyalty Day.”
From A Citizen (@CuestionMarque): “When the wealthy are allowed to create laws for rest of us, the only thing that trickles down is poverty, the rest is kept for themselves.”
”The U.S. prison system. “The physical, mental, and sexual abuse glimpsed at Abu Ghraib is part of the daily experience for two million people caged in American prisons,” she writes. For example, here in Chicago, where I live, a police commander was convicted in 1991 of presiding over the torture of several hundred criminal suspects.” Source ”This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish.” Source ”The study panel attributed the “historically unprecedented” and “internationally unique” growth in prison population to mandatory sentencing, long sentences for violent and repeat offenses and the once politically popular “war on drugs.”” Source
The mainstream media in Seattle panicked over some garbage burning, calling it ”property destruction” (trash is meant to be destroyed), to justify police abusing and arresting anarchists, some “for not getting out of their way.” The local media also harassed and demonized marchers, all while pretending they don’t know why people march on May 1st.
Some anarchists were arrested for distributing food to people in need, which of course was not reported by the ”law and order” style television journalists. “SFPD officers quickly surrounded a group of marchers, refusing to let them voluntarily return from the street to the sidewalk. The cops arrested about ten people, including some FNB members, and tackled at least one detainee. They also flipped over our serving table, destroying the rice, bread and guacamole intended for hungry people, and stole the table, a SFFNB sign and some of our serving bowls and utensils.” Source
This video shows police repressing and arresting activists during Seattle’s May Day:
To our knowledge, in the United States, there were 22 people arrested on May Day, but there could have been more. Half of them were arrested in Seattle. The largest demonstrations took place in Chicago, Los Angeels, New York, Portland, and other cities, but in a large number of cities people took it to the streets despite smaller numbers to demand justice for workers. However, a man of God, Mike Huckabee, joined the mainstream media in ”complementing” working people marching on May Day by calling them ”spoiled brats.” He suggested capitalist corrections be applied to them: “I just think they’re spoiled brats. They’re spoiled brats. They need a good kick in the behind. I don’t know that that would be the appropriate way, that would get one arrested …but.” Source
Turkey’s banned May Day saw intense repression. 33 or more organisations defied the May Day ban imposed by the government, and for this the police violently retaliated.
Almost 200 people were arrested, attacked with batons, water canons, and gas grenades (some of which were thrown into their homes or offices by the police) all over Turkey.
Over 90 people have been injured by the Turkish government’s violence and brutality against working people, and even against children in their homes.
In Montreal, Canada, 137 people were arrested after police attacked them, even kettling babies. ”Another demo, another slaughter, another May Day, another kettle, some might say. “Not so!” say I! The media and naysayers have already rolled out the narrative that the SPVM and their SQ allies were in full control and managed to swiftly put down any attempt to take the streets during the anti-capitalist May Day demo.” Read more, here.
In Dili, Oriental Timor, police arrested 84 people marching on May Day. In Berlin, Germany 68 were arrested in police violence. 15 were arrested in Hamburg, Germany, and 70 injured in police violence against May Day demonstrators. Police deployed water cannons against demonstrators.
In Jönköping, Sweden, 19 were arrested, 90 locked up in buses by police and 32 detained for trying to stop nazis from marching in the city on May Day. The police allowed only the nazi demonstration – natural allies, re-enforcing the history of capitalist oppression against workers.
10 demonstrators were arrested in Helsinki, Finland. Cops later explained they were detained in a clear manifestation of political police against anarchists.
In Brazil, it’s may day everyday, as the struggle to resist FIFA’s capitalist accumulation intensifies, and police crimes and state repression is getting bloodier. In this parody cartoon, FIFA president Sepp Blattner tells Brazil to “get back to work!” for May Day.
26 were injured in Donetsk, Ukraine, as the country – where the ruling classes in the West and the East showed their true colors by bringing fascists in the government – is sliding into civil war. With Russia’s imperialism confronting Western imperialism, oligarchs are fighting for control over power and resources, and politicians are irresponsibly exacerbating nationalistic divide, just enough to cover up IMF’s capitalist accumulation there. (We’ll post our analysis extensively, soon, about the destruction going on in Ukraine).
”No gods, no masters, no country, no borders”, ”No war but the class war” – these were the messages carried by anarchists on the streets of Ukraine and Russia on May Day.
In Scotland, unions are fighting capitalist attacks against workers: ”Overnight, the Westminster coalition extinguished… the long established protection afforded to workers injured in the course of their employment. For hundreds of years the law had recognised the imbalance in the relationship between employer and employee. It accepted that the employer holds all the cards and makes all the decisions. In consequence the law sought to address this clear imbalance by affording workers a right to be compensated for breaches of regulations setting out the Health and Safety obligations of employers. Breaches of these regulations carry criminal sanctions which are rarely enforced by an underfunded and overworked Health and Safety Executive. Civil claims however have been used as a powerful tool in ensuring the regulations are complied with as they hit employers where it really hurts, their wallets.” Source Tens were arrested, savagely beaten and attacked by police in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 5 workers were badly injured. 23 were arrested in Téhéran, Iran, demanding rights for working people.
via monolight (@monolight_alpha)
Working class people demonstrated on May Day in Tokyo, too, demanding more freedom for unions: ”Work has become a harassment. Harassment doesn’t appear just at some workplace, every work is a harassment now. We might not be able to talk about hope. But we still demand bread and roses. MayDay for freedom and life.” Source
India: women are still forced to work without pay.
In Valencia, Spain, capitalist attacks against working people over the past years turned schools into war zones. Kids are forced to wear helmets in class, so they don’t get killed by the decaying walls:
But governments in the West are using the crisis they created in Ukraine to push for even bigger military budgets.
“We targeted Barclays because it’s a major investor in Exelis Inc. the parent company of the EDO Corporation which is guilty of mass-producing arms to sell to oppressive regimes, exacerbating violent conflict and suppressing legitimate protest. Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd has 5,059,591 shares in Exelis and Barclays PLC has 63,071 shares.” Source
Read here, Jeremy Hammond’s solidarity message on May Day. He is one of the many political prisoners, caged by the state for fighting for another world.
In Madrid alone 3,000 demonstrated, and thousands more filled the streets of tens of cities in Spain with flags and chants for workers liberation.
In Ireland tens of demonstrations took place, as on of the biggest struggles is to defend the water.
In Greece workers took it to the streets to protest new labor laws, which will make them even more vulnerable:
Anarchists in Kuala Lumpur:
In Paris, anarchists remembered the French their own history of struggle against capitalism and exploitation in a beautiful demonstration.
See more in linked video about May Day rally in Melbourne, via Sir Tomtom (@forevertoremain).
”Thousands of workers who took to Sydney streets for May Day want the NSW premier to back away from privatising the state’s $30 billion electricity infrastructure” and they expressed their anger at the about the Coalition government’s possible cut to the minimum wage in next week’s budget.
“Only 1 in 8 housing benefit claimants is unemployed. Most work but underpaid 80% public say income gap too large. Financial industry represents 36% UK bonuses, yet 9.4% gross value added to economy. Water, electricity, gas cost 60% of income for poorest 10%, under 30% for richest. Record low of children in jobless homes (14%), yet child poverty up thru in-work poverty. Around 5m working people, over 21% of all employees, are paid below living wage. 17% of people (about 11m) live in damp housing, can’t afford adequate heating.Disability hate crime doubled since 2008 financial crisis. Linked to media distortion.” Source
“Two thirds of children in poverty live in working households 25% of families have under £20/week for food, yet govt rejected EU foodbank grant. Energy prices rose 3Xs rate of inflation, 8Xs rate of average earnings. ‘Visible’ forms of homelessness incl rough sleeping & statutory homelessness rising. Public overestimates EU immigrants’ JSA claims over six-fold. Immigrants since 2000 less likely than gen pop to receive benefits/live in social housing. Immigrants 2001-11 from EU contributed 34% more taxes than benefits received.” Source
pic via Destroyed UKIP Billboards
“Number of people in low-paid jobs risen, around 5m below living wage 26% care cut for old/disabled people “without precedent in history of adult social care”. Poverty among working-age adults with children is 23%” Source
Racist anti-immigration, capitalist populist and proto-fascist UKIP got poo in the mail, and were even punished for it: “UKIP forced to cancel Freepost address after being sent FAECES in the post”, source.
However, as one reader of North East Anti Fascists said, “You can still cost them money by calling their freephone number on 08005876587″. ”Better pay and working conditions at centre of May Day march in Nottingham”, more here.
No Pipeline Demo, Vancouver: ”The Anarchists, anti-pipeline activists, First Nations and others spoke and marched concerning dirty oil, polluted land and poisoned skies. The March commenced along Hastings when the Vancouver Police attempted to force corral the march that lead to a scuffle. The police arrested two protesters, violently taking them down, cuffing them and then hauled them away in the paddy wagon to jail. The march continued after that and another scuffle ensued that threatened to place more protesters under violent VPD attack. The corporate media was noticeably absent, nor was the protest published alongside the Rob Ford show.”
— May 2, 2014#MayDay2014 #MaydayParade #occupy @OccupyWallStNYC #blackflag pic.twitter.com/qeUmPuFAFl — Mike Henny (@mikehenny181) May 3, 2014#MayDay2014 #MaydayParade #occupy @OccupyWallStNYC pic.twitter.com/QNDkFrgVx9 — Mike Henny (@mikehenny181) May 3, 2014
Read more here about Free West Papua Campaign: ”May day Adelaide, South Australia at the May Day rally.”
In Nigeria protests are ongoing for two weeks now after 234 girls were kidnapped from their dorm room in Chibok, in northeast, by Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Detailed report, here. The situation seems to be getting worse as AFP reports that the leader of Boko Haram vowed to sell the kidnapped schoolgirls: “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” Shekau said. More, here.