The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) sends revolutionary May Day greetings to all workers and oppressed people fighting against capitalism worldwide. We commemorate the struggles and sacrifices of past generations of fighters and martyrs in the struggles against bosses and dictators and for a socialist world.
We stand in solidarity with the working class and poor of Venezuela currently resisting a new right-wing coup – an attempted brutal counter-revolution.
There seems no end to the vast accumulation of wealth in the hands of a rich few who already own more than the rest of the world’s population. There seems no end, either, to the rising levels of poverty and degradation across the globe – not only in Asia, Africa and Latin America but also in ‘metropolitan’ Europe and North America.
We know from their own recent public comments that the capitalists themselves are not confident of the future. In their serious journals, they wonder if they should introduce an element of ‘socialism’ into their system by which they mean limited reforms to prevent explosions of anger from below. They would “prefer higher taxes to the pitchforks”!
This year marks 100 years since the founding of a new revolutionary International by the victorious workers’ government in Moscow in March 1919. It is also 45 years since the launch in London on April 21, 1974, of the CWI itself. This took place just a few days before the revolutionary events in Portugal, witnessed by CWI members, which shook the capitalist world.
May Day 2019 sees a world still dominated by a tiny handful of the super-rich and their political mouth-pieces in government and in the kept press and other media. Capitalism means no stability for anyone and a life of toil and deprivation for the overwhelming majority. It means war and hunger for vast swathes of the world’s population. It tramples and destroys the world’s natural resources and takes it to the edge of catastrophe.
But around the world, the existing capitalist order is being challenged. The voice of young people is heard in the streets, crying out for action to save the planet and understanding the need for international action. Millions of people – men, women and children – have marched against dictators in Algeria and in Sudan, demanding revolution.
Workers in India have come out in ever greater numbers – this year over 200 million – in general strike action over wages and prices. Women everywhere have been demanding a better deal for themselves and their families in strikes and demonstrations across the globe.
In France, the ‘yellow jackets’ uprising against ‘the president of the rich’, Emanuel Macron, has gone on for nearly six months now expressing the determination of the oppressed to stop the attacks on their living standards.
Discontent and anger are everywhere but organisations that can channel this huge force for change are missing. Trade unions, which can organise action to bring economies to a halt, are unfortunately often led by leaders who are failing in their roles even to protect the basic interests of workers in the workplace, let alone throw their weight behind movements for socialist change.
In upcoming elections, such as those in the European Union, in India, in the US or in recent ones, like those in Indonesia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Spain, workers have few, if any, genuinely socialist candidates to vote for. Right-wing populists can fill the gap but provide no answers to the myriad of problems that capitalism creates.
A clear socialist challenge is urgently needed – a challenge based on supreme confidence in the ability of workers to stand up, to fight and to transform society. If the old workers’ parties have left the field open to populists of left and right, then new parties must be built. They must take up the banner of socialism – nationalisation of big industry and big finance under the democratic control and management of elected workers’ representatives.
In many countries on May Day, it is a treasured tradition to celebrate the international solidarity of the working class. In Sri Lanka, all May Day events have been cut across by the horrific terrorist attacks of Easter Sunday and the government clamp-down that has followed. This outrage has itself brought home the urgency of building the struggle for a socialist world with no wars, no exploitation and no hunger.
Another world is possible – A socialist world is necessary!
On May 1st, we, as international socialists, re-dedicate our efforts to strengthening the working class movement and building parties of revolutionary change.
As we honour all those imprisoned and killed in the fight for workers’ justice, we inscribe on our banner all basic democratic rights and freedoms – of assembly and speech, of association and organisation, of press and publication. We say no to any discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality or creed, and stand for the right of all nations to self-determination.
Wherever we have the forces, we will step up the fight for world socialism – a world without bosses, without tyrants, without exploitation and war – a world of a harmonious democratically planned development of all resources and industry – a socialist world.