Mayday: Reports from around the world

cwi members participated in Mayday demonstrations around the world. Below are just some of the reports of their activities from Australia, Austria and Nigeria

Melbourne, Australia

Over 1000 people turned up for the MayDay Union Rally in Southbank, Melbourne on Saturday. Members of the construction unions and the community rallied and marched to the city square for music and speeches. The construction unions have played a good role in recent years making sure that a stop work rally happens on May the 1st and not just on the Sunday after. The Melbourne weather did keep the numbers down but it did not deter members of the Socialist Party from marching proudly with their banner and selling the new issue of their paper.

Later that day ’UNITE’ activists [UNITE is a campaign set up by the Socialist Party to organised non-unionised young shop workers in Australia] rallied outside Borders Book Store in Carlton to protest at the bookshop’s attitude to casual and low paid workers. This multi-national company’s claim to fame is having some of the lowest paid workers on the busy Lygon St strip. Borders had hired 5 security guards for the day, and also called on the police, but Unite activists held their ground for over two hours in a show of solidarity with the workers inside. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out to both customers and workers. Unite left Borders with one clear message: "We’ll Be Back!"

The traditional Sunday rally was also held the following day where several hundred people assembled outside Trades Hall and marched to the Treasury Gardens.

Perth, Australia

About 300 attended the May Day rally in Perth. The rally was organised by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the trade union leadership of Perth. The ALP have a policy of not mentioning the war in Iraq and this set the tone for the rally. In fact the numbers at the rally have been falling for decades. Despite this many unions did their best to organise and enjoy the rally.

The vetted speakers called for the end of the Howard government but did not feel comfortable calling for the election of the ALP! They would have not been received so well. The State ALP government have held down wages and allowed the worsening of conditions. Teachers, nurses, police and administrative staff have had their wages to 3-5%.

This should be a day for workers to celebrate their strength but sadly May Day is becoming tamer and used for the election of capitalist ALP.


Members of the Sozialistische Linkspartei (cwi – Austria) participated in all the Mayday activities organised in the main cities in Austria.

The SPÖ (Austrian social democratic party) claimed 120 000 attended the Mayday demonstration in Vienna. However, this was probably an overestimation. Unlike in previous years there were no home made banners or placards and little enthusiasm.

The anti-fascist demonstration was a lively militant event with between 1-2000 attending. Sozialistische Linkspartei members sold over 330 papers at different demonstrations and activities


Democratic Socialist Movement (cwi – Nigeria) participated in Mayday demonstrations and rallies in six states in Nigeria. Over 450 papers were sold as well as over 280 copies of the DSM’s new pamphlet ‘Nigeria’s crisis – Time for system change’. Many demonstrations were disrupted by vicious police attacks. In Ondo and Ekiti states, DSM members were arrested and their political material confiscated. As is usual in Nigeria the police refused to return confiscated political material – which in Nigeria is extremely costly to replace.

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May 2004