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1st May: International Workers' Day

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as 'American' as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.”

At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that 'eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886.'”

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public's eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.”

For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the 'anarchist-dominated' Metal Workers' Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.”

The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first 'Red Scare' in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.”

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public's memory by establishing 'Law and Order Day' on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier.”

Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted - people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we'll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.”


Related Today:

In America, the 'McCarthic' terror of the Soviet Communism is brought back, together with a systematicaly planned propaganda, in order to stigmatize the welfare state and labor rights as a consequence of this type of Communism, which of course is completely false, since, the conquest of the welfare state and the labor rights, derived through social struggles of decades from the people primarily in western countries. The 'communistophobia' is also brought back in Greece from various mouthpieces, in order the welfare state and labor rights to be targeted through a similar way, while extreme nationalism exploits this fact in order to be promoted as the only voice of truth against the systemic propaganda, and gain greater slice of the electoral pie.”


Through this way, the door opens to private companies which will undertake managing - with humiliating salaries workers under the already dissolved labor rights - and will burden state budget by setting up cartels and gaining big profits.”

If someone thinks that these are science fiction scenarios we should remember that just four years ago, or less, massive layoffs, worker availabilities, dissolved labor rights, closing public organizations in one day, and many other things, were out of question and no one dared to say that may would become reality one day. Neoliberal dictatorship is shaping the suitable conditions for the new Middle Ages and only the massive and dynamic resistance of peoples can prevent it.”



This explains the recent statement by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, speaking about growth through consumption, criticizing indirectly the austerity policies in Europe, and the expected reaction of Schaeuble, as the U.S. rely heavily on consuming power, and they do not want for the moment to cut wages and labor rights in extent. They see that Europe is moving rapidly to the degradation of welfare state and dissolution of labor rights, which means that it will quickly become more "attractive", even for big companies based in their territory.”


Renzi's debut in the political arena with specific proposals, satisfies the most crazy dreams of IGIF, as these proposals contain, substantially, the abolition of elementary labor rights, for workers who have not completed three years of work in a company.”


European institutions for the support of labor rights will be overridden since workers are pushed to their new jobs with short-term contracts, under fully "flexible" conditions, which lead faster to the new labor middle ages, not only in private sector, but also in public sector eventually.”


A brutal system takes back its promises for peace, prosperity and stability, through destructive capitalism. Labor rights, civil liberties and social benefits dismantled violently by nation-states which are self-destructed to give their sovereignty to the dictatorship of the markets.”

The more the welfare state, human and labor rights retreat, the more difficult the 'recovery' of Vision becomes. Situation becomes worse in front of the attack of neoliberalism. Vision becomes not only a utopia, but also a luxury because the top priority of people is to survive. The concept of Liberty itself tends to disappear permanently inside increasingly militarized societies of private armies.”


The base of the pyramid will be consisted by the majority of workers in global level, with restricted wages, zero labor rights, and nearly zero opportunities for activities other than consumption.”


It is a fact that, the more the democracy decreases, as well as human rights in various levels (labor rights, atomic freedoms, personal data etc.), the more we are passing in a vicious circle, a non-returning point, which downgrades democracy and institutions. Neoliberalism is a transition phase to what the economic elites are dreaming: anarcho-capitalism.”


This means that, the German government will be forced to proceed in huge cuts in wages and dissolve labor rights - as a gift to the German economic elite - so that production and products exports to retain their percentage on GDP and therefore, avoid the loss of jobs and keep unemployment percentage at current level.”

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