On May Day, workers and socialists honour and celebrate past struggles as we commit ourselves again to the spirit and practice of international solidarity, struggle and socialism.
See also the cwi May day greetings page, 29 April 2005
Make capitalism history – Fight for socialism!
This year, May Day marches and events will oppose imperialism and poverty and call for system change – the overthrow of capitalism. We aim to make not only poverty but the system that creates it – capitalism – history. Only the creation of a socialist society – a society based on the needs of people not profits – can see the end of wars and poverty.
Just reflecting for a moment on the endless horrors of modern capitalism shows why we need to build mass socialist organisations to overthrow this unjust system.
Capitalism in 2005 is a completely rotten system that is incapable of advancing humanity. Imperialist occupation and aggression continues in the Middle East, and elsewhere, while economic and social uncertainty worsens.
The profit-led system means endemic poverty, joblessness, environmental destruction, wars, the spread of preventable diseases and HIV/AIDS (60 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, 92% of who live in Africa), enormous ‘Third World’ debts, and an international trade system that hugely favours the major imperialist countries.
The world economy stands on the edge of a precipice. The inherent contradictions of the capitalist market economy mean that big economic shocks are in store, including sharp recessions and even slumps. This will destroy the lives of millions in the West and plunge the poorer countries further into the abyss.
All the grand promises of the UN’s 2015 ‘Millennium goals’ – of ending poverty and infant mortality and for universal education – will not be met for as long as capitalism and class society remains. Despite global economic growth, 840 million people are chronically undernourished worldwide. At least 96 countries are nowhere near reaching education for all by 2015. Over 104 million children do not have formal education. Unemployment worldwide reached a record 185.9 million in 2003.
According to the World Health Organisation, life expectancy is falling and child mortality is rising in the world’s poorest countries as the global gap in healthcare widens.
At the same time, the Bush administration spent an astronomical $20 billion on waging its war in Iraq and many billions more on its occupation. Bush hands out big tax breaks to the US rich, while attacking workers’ conditions and rights in the US. Nearly 35 million Americans have to get by without enough food and 8 million children belong to the “working poor”. The US, the richest nation in the world, is at the bottom of the “social mobility” table in the West, followed by Britain, the fourth richest economy. Income inequality has risen at the same time as the gap between the educational attainments of the richest and poorest has grown. Around 13 million Americans and 3.6 million Britons live below the poverty line.
The bosses’ market economy is based upon the ruthless exploitation of labour, on oppression and violence, and on the attempt to divide working people along the lines of religious, race, nationality and sex.
But working people’s resistance to the bosses grows across the world. A spectacular example of this was the mass movement in Ecuador, in April, which overthrew President Lucio Gutierrez and completely rejected his neo-liberal policies. This is a magnificent indication of the developing revolutionary mood sweeping Latin America – a process that will eventually sweep the world.
The only force in society that can overthrow capitalism and create a democratic socialist world is the working class, along with the radical youth, the middle classes and the poor and dispossessed. The methods of struggle of the working class, for example, the strike and general strike, are the most powerful forces for change on the globe.
As opposed to capitalist globalisation – i.e. the super-exploitation of the working class on a world scale – the CWI stands for workers’ solidarity and socialism internationally, which would see a world plan of production under the democratic control of working people. Even today, under capitalism, the big corporations plan on a world scale, although this is subject to the chaos of the market and the short term drive for profits.
Only a socialist world can lift humanity out of the morass of poverty, unemployment and economic and social underdevelopment, and end oppression, violence, environmental disaster and class exploitation.
19 March marked the second anniversary of the US imperialist war against Iraq. This imperialist adventure is a catastrophe for the Iraqi people. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed due to the invasion and occupation and over 1,500 US soldiers. Tens of thousands of US troops are injured (many tens of thousands of Iraqis are also wounded but the occupiers refuse to record these figures).
The highly unpopular occupation can only be maintained by brute force. There are 17,000 prisoners, mostly under US control. Human Rights Watch reports torture of members of opposition groups, arbitrary arrest and torture of children held in adult facilities. Women are taken hostage by US soldiers to force fugitive male relatives to surrender. The US was forced to admit that it uses banned weapons, including the MK-77 incendiary bomb, a modern form of napalm. According to a UN expert reporting to the organisation’s human rights commission, the blockade of food and destruction of water reservoirs during last year’s US siege of Falluja was “used as a weapon of war”.
Ignoring reality, the Bush administration and its pro-war allies claim a “turning point” in Iraq, with the creation of a new Iraqi government and a fall in US troop casualties, paving the way for economic growth. This “validates” the war and occupation.
But Iraq is still very violent, with assassinations, suicide attacks, mortar assaults and kidnappings (5,000 in the last 15 months, according to the Iraqi interior ministry), all part of daily life. The Sunni ‘triangle’ remains in revolt and the vast majority of Iraqis are opposed to the occupation. Over 300,000 demonstrated on 19 March, in Baghdad, joining millions internationally, calling for an end to imperialist rule and for the release of detainees. Four million Iraqis remain in exile, and, not surprisingly, many more are joining their ranks.
Supplies of oil and electricity are running at less than they were last year. The IMF says 60% of Iraqis live on food handouts. Under the former tyrant (and Western ally), Saddam Hussein, 4% of children under 5 years old were hungry, whereas by 2004 about 8% were suffering. This follows UN sanctions, imposed in 1990, which are estimated to have led to the deaths of half a million Iraqi children by 1995. Less than a quarter of the $18.4 billion promised by the US for ‘rebuilding’ the country have been disbursed.
Furthermore, as the months of intense wrangling over the makeup of the new government shows, the break-up of Iraq, along national, ethnic and religious lines, and even civil war, are possible.
US imperialism is in a quagmire of its own making. Attempts to build up Iraqi armed forces to take on the resistance has resulted in growing numbers of Iraqi casualties joining the list of US troop deaths. This means more Iraqi and US deaths, so that US imperialism can hold onto this oil rich and strategically vital country.
Oppression of Palestinians
Widespread anger in the Middle East and internationally over the Iraq occupation is compounded by Bush’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s oppression of the Palestinians. Sharon makes clear that while Israel withdraws from Gaza, illegal settlements on the West Bank will increase. The US sponsored ‘peace plan’ would see Palestine divided up into poor ‘Bantustans’ that are reliant on Israel.
The CWI demands the immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. We support the right of Iraqis to resist the imperialist occupation and call for cross-ethnic defence forces, under democratic workers’ control. We also call for genuine self-determination for Palestinians, for an independent socialist Palestine and a socialist Israel, as part of a socialist confederation of the region.
But we oppose the methods and policies of all reactionary and political Islamic groups, which are opposed to the rights of women, youth and the working class. We condemn sectarianism and sectarian atrocities, which kill scores of Iraqi civilians each week.
Only independent workers’ organisations can unite all the working people and youth of Iraq, on a socialist programme. The CWI calls for a socialist federation of Iraq, and a socialist Middle East, as the only way to transform living standards and to end imperialist intervention.
The White House has targeted Iran and Syria. But the hugely unpopular Iraq war, and the protest demonstrations it provoked – the largest in history – means that Bush’s ability to launch new wars is limited. This shows the power of the masses, even in a partial way. The task for socialists internationally is to build a powerful political movement that not only opposes imperialist interventions but also struggles to overthrow the capitalist system which creates militarism and wars.
This applies just as much to the US, the world’s sole superpower. Social inequality has grown massively in the US, as the Bush administration attacks working people on all fronts, including on social issues. The Republican Party is hugely influenced by powerful right wing fundamentalist Christian groups that have a reactionary social agenda. This backward ideology is useful for the ruling class, which wants to dismantle all the gains of working people. The unprecedented sympathetic media attention given to Pope John Paul II’s funeral, and the inauguration of Pope Benedict, reflects the willingness of the ruling classes to use religion to divert the anger of the working class, while, at the same time, promoting the most reactionary wings of the Churches.
Unpopular Western governments
The deeply unpopular war and disastrous occupation are “mood music” to the general election in Britain. Polls indicate that Tony Blair will return to power, but with a much reduced majority, due to his war role, the lies he used to justify it (e.g. WMD), and his right wing domestic policies.
Socialist Party (CWI) candidates are contesting seats across Britain, including the constituency that includes the Longbridge MG Rover car plant, which is facing closure. The party’s call for an immediate occupation and nationalisation of the plant is getting a great response.
Support for the Iraq war is also an important factor that leads to the current crisis of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government, as well as his attempts to carry out neo-liberal attacks on workers.
Crisis looms for other European governments. President Chirac faces the prospect of a humiliating defeat in France’s referendum on the EU Constitution. French workers correctly see the Constitution as another attempt to attack their living standards and working conditions, after years of neo-liberal assaults by the French government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The vote is just as much a referenda on Chirac’s rule and right wing policies.
If the ‘No’ vote wins on 29 May, it will be a huge blow for the French government and will put the whole Constitution project in crisis. But this will not be the end of attacks. The European ruling classes, demanding more exploitation and super profits, as they compete with other economic blocks, will ensure EU governments return with neo-liberal plans, and new EU ‘projects’.
The CWI rejects the bosses’ EU. But we also oppose right wing, anti-EU nationalist arguments, which divide workers and play on anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner sentiments. We call for a Europe of genuine working people’s solidarity and co-operation – a socialist confederation of European states, on a voluntary and equal basis.
The workers’ movement across Europe must fight against the bosses’ agenda, the right wing parties, and their divide and rule policies, such as attempts to whip up anti-immigrant and anti-asylum seeker moods. These reactionary ideas are a big feature in the British general election, where the main parties no longer have any real ideological differences but argue over how to ‘manage’ government for the big bosses.
Furthermore, far-right and right-populist/nationalist parties throughout Europe are able to make electoral gains by playing on people’s fears over unemployment, housing, wages and the welfare state.
CWI MP fights racism and exploitation
The CWI has a long and proud record in fighting all forms of racial, religious, ethnic, sex or gender discrimination. We demand decent housing, jobs and wages for all, and huge investment in the welfare state. Socialists also show in action how to take on racism and to unite the working class.
Socialist Party member of the Irish Parliament, Joe Higgins TD, plays a key role in the struggle by Turkish immigrant GAMA Construction workers in Ireland for unpaid wages. Irish workers have warmly responded to this campaign, putting GAMA and the Irish government under huge pressure and winning concessions from the company.
This shows what just one fighting, socialist representative in parliament – a workers’ MP on a workers’ wage – can do for working people. Joe’s record stands in stark contrast to the careerist, right wing social democratic MPs and other elected representatives in the Irish parliament and, indeed, in parliaments throughout the world.
In Germany, Sweden, Britain, Ireland and Australia, CWI elected public representatives campaign for working people, the poor and the oppressed. In the North of Ireland, Socialist Party members, standing for workers’ unity and socialism against the sectarian bigots’ and the bosses’ parties, are fighting local council seats in May.
Where possible, the CWI also works with others on the left and with other community and workers’ campaigners. The SAV (German CWI) is part of the new opposition party, ‘Electoral alternative- work and social justice’ (WASG). However, if this new party is to develop into a serious challenge to Schroeder’s SPD and the other main pro-capitalist parties, and if it is to fulfil workers’ needs, the WASG must adopt fighting, socialist policies.
CWI sections are also important tendencies in various left parties, such as the Scottish Socialist Party, the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, the Left Bloc in Portugal, the P-Sol (Party of Socialism and Liberty) in Brazil, and the National Conscience Party in Nigeria. The CWI argues for socialist policies and works to build these parties on a programme that will resist the inevitable pressures to bend to reformist policies. There is no guarantee that new left formations will automatically succeed – this ultimately depends on programme and ideas and taking an independent class stance.
The CWI stands for new mass workers’ parties that can attract working people and radical youth with fighting, socialist programmes and by campaigning in the workplaces and in working class communities.
Workers take strike action
In recent years, workers have taken strike action and held mass protests against government cuts in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France and other European countries. In 2004, general strikes occurred in Greece, Italy, Nigeria and India. More class battles loom, including in Australia, against Prime Minister John Howard’s ‘industrial relations reforms’.
Unfortunately, the conservative union bureaucracy refuses to take decisive action, including general strikes, involving all workers, public and private. This applies just as much in the neo-colonial world. Leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) called off a general strike against fuel price rises, last November, following earlier cancellations of industrial action. This led to demoralisation amongst sections of the Nigerian masses. Nevertheless, the Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI) in Nigeria is confident that the atrocious conditions of life in Nigeria, and new government attacks, will set the mighty working class back on the road of struggle.
To see off bosses’ and governments’ attacks, and to win better conditions and living standards, unions need to be fighting class structures for rank and file members. This requires transforming them into democratic, campaigning organisations.
World economy “dangerous and intractable”
The world economy is in a fragile state and faces major convulsions that will wreck the lives of many millions of working people. Despite this coming disaster, many economists point to last year’s global output growth of 5% as a reason to be optimistic. But this attitude is not shared by more sober analysts. The former chairman of America’s Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, recently wrote: “Circumstances seem to me as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember, and I can remember quite a bit. What really concerns me is that there seems to be so little willingness or capacity to do much about it” (quoted in the Economist, 16 April 2005).
An Economist editorial warns: “For beneath a veneer of resilience, the world economy is becoming increasingly fragile” (16 April 2005).
While the US and China economies are “booming”, those of Europe and Japan are falling back even further. Japan’s recovery stalled in 2004 and growth for 2005 is expected to be a mere 0.8%. The outlook for the euro-zone countries is also bleak, with high unemployment and weak domestic markets. The IMF has scaled back its projected growth rates for the euro-zone to just 1.6% for this year.
The lopsided growth in the world economy means that imbalances are getting worse. Larger US external debts and a current account deficit of well over 7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are expected by the end of 2005.
High oil prices aggravate and complicate these imbalances. They weaken further domestic demand in Europe and add to the US import bill. The world is hugely reliant on US consumers as an engine for growth and, in turn, the US economy relies on China’s continuing boom.
This situation cannot last indefinitely. Trade tensions between powers are mounting. Numerous factors, such as a rise in US interest rates or changes in oil prices, can lead to a sharp slowdown in the US or China, which would have a catastrophic effect globally. Matthew Simmons, a Wall Street advisor to President Bush, recently warned it “was inevitable that prices of oil would soar above $100, as supplies failed to meet demand”, triggering economic collapse (Guardian, London, 26April).
Millions of working people would face disaster in conditions of slowdown or slump. But such blows would also compel millions of workers to fight back against the bosses’ and the capitalist system, starkly posing the need for workers’ political representation and a new society.
Poverty and social inequality increase relentlessly under this profit-driven system, with 852 million people across the world hungry, up from 842 last year. More than 1.2 billion people live below the poverty line, earning less than $1 per day.
Poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or to have disabilities, according to the World Health Organisation. Each day, 25,000 people die of hunger and 11 million children under 5 die each year from hunger-related causes and preventable diseases.
The gap between the rich and the poor is wider than ever. In 1976, Switzerland was 52 times richer than Mozambique; in 1997, it was 508 times richer. Yet only 4% of the wealth of the world’s richest 225 people – $40 billion – would be enough for basic healthcare, food, safe water, sanitation and education for all of the world’s people (UNDP Human Development Report).
Poverty and poor infrastructure leads to huge death tolls when ‘natural disasters’ occur in the neo-colonial world, as shown by the recent Asian tsunami. But the masses do not have to just accept these “acts of god”. With the assistance of workers’ international solidarity organised by the CWI, the United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka provided relief for survivors of the tsunami on the island and conducted a highly successful political campaign against government incompetence and corruption.
Likewise, the CWI in Nigeria, India, South Africa, Pakistan and other neo-colonial countries, campaigns for independent working class politics against poverty and corruption, and the religious, national and ethnic divisions that blight poor countries.
‘Make Poverty history’?
In the West, many youth are attracted to the demand made on the big powers to ‘Make Poverty History’, which is backed by Nelson Mandela. The large, radical anti-globalisation protests over the last few years played a crucial role in highlighting the outrage of poverty and the debt burden.
Nigeria is a typical case of a neo-colonial country crushed by huge debts. According to Farouk Lawan, Chairman of the Finance Committee in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, “Nigeria has paid £3.5 billion [sterling] in debt service in the past two years but our debt has risen by £3.9 billion – without new borrowing. We can’t continue.” (Guardian, 26 April) Lawan went on to warn that Nigeria is heading towards an Argentinean-style default on its overseas debts.
The terrible social costs of debt for Africa’s largest nation are seen in the death of 79,000 under-five year olds, each month, from a lack of healthcare, clean water, food and shelter. Speaking on ‘World Poverty Day’, on 24 April, Tony Blair opportunistically played on people’s anger over these injustices to try to win votes for New Labour in Britain’s forthcoming general elections. With the help of the former US president, Bill Clinton, Blair called for voters to “back the fight against global poverty”. Blair and Clinton have good reason to make this appeal – a third of British voters say they are likely to vote for a party that tackles world poverty and 78% in a British poll think Britain “needs to do more”.
Cancel debts and class society
But Blair’s vow to “fight poverty” is hypocrisy of the highest order. The British government’s overseas aid is a mere 0.34% of Gross Domestic Product. The target for 2013 is only 0.7%. Furthermore, New Labour only sees ‘solutions’ to poverty coming via the profit making system. Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, calls for poor countries “to borrow money on the capital markets against a promise of future aid budgets” (Guardian, London, 25April). In other words, the poorest countries should take on more huge debts without any possibility of being able to pay them off!
Socialists call for an immediate cancellation of debts and an end to the capitalist trade system that favours the rich in the main imperialist states. There can be no ‘fair trade’ under capitalism, which is a profit-driven system based on exploitation, oppression and violence, both in the ‘Third World’ and in the West. Poverty is endemic in this system, as is joblessness and hunger. Women are the poorest of all. They do 67% of the world’s work, earn 10% of the world’s pay, and own only 1% of the world’s land. Only the socialist transformation of society will see the end of poverty and all the other evils of class society.
May Day 2005 will see a coming together of trade unionists, anti-war activists and anti-globalisation protesters. The CWI from several European countries will also enthusiastically participate in the big protests during the July G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland. As long as capitalism and imperialism exists, so will poverty, exploitation and environmental destruction, but so also will the resistance of the masses.
Increasingly, workers and youth across the world will conclude they need a party to bring these struggles to a successful conclusion by transforming society.
Russian pensioners’ protests
Over a decade ago, under a barrage of capitalist propaganda, many people in the former Stalinist dictatorships hoped that the return of the market economy would lead to US or German-style living standards. Instead, the last decade has been a very bitter experience.
In these states, social inequalities worsened under the rule of the market. Russia has 36 billionaires, more than any other country. Their total assets amount to £110 billion, or 24% of the country’s economic output. Most of these ‘new rich’ plundered state-run industries under capitalist restoration as the majority of Russians fell into deep poverty.
The start of 2005 saw widespread mass protests by pensioners across Russia against President Vladimir Putin’s ‘reform’ of social benefits into much smaller cash payments. The authoritarian Putin was quickly forced to make concessions, revealing the fragility of his rule. The pensioners’ movement, and other protests over education fees and fuel hikes, prepare the way for the development of class politics in Russia, after many desperately hard years for working people and widespread ideological confusion. Fearful of this, Putin warned in April that the state would crack down on popular movements.
Western commentators try to present recent opposition protests throughout Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, as part of a US-sponsored ‘democratic movement’.
Socialists, of course, support struggles by working people for democratic rights and against oppression. Historically, it was mass struggles by the working class, or the threat of them, which won precious democratic rights.
By contrast, the US and other imperialist powers supported, and continue to support, authoritarian regimes and dictatorships around the world, when it suits their interests. The Bush administration backed the opposition in countries like Ukraine, to put in power pro-West, neo-liberal regimes. Last year’s ‘Orange Revolution’, led by Victor Yuschenko, manipulated the genuine aspirations of working people in Ukraine for an end to authoritarian rule and for better living standards, playing on potentially explosive national and religious differences. Similarly, the US backed the anti-Syrian opposition in Lebanon, regardless of the polarisation of religious and national differences in a country that has already suffered terrible civil wars.
When in power the new regimes in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere, quickly reveal they are incapable of developing people’s livings standards, or allowing full democratic rights. Disappointment and disillusionment is inevitable, but further struggles by working people in these countries will be necessary to safeguard and extend democratic rights and to win better living standards. This requires
building mighty socialist organisations that unite working people across all national, ethnic and religious lines.
The US’s aggressive foreign policy is an expression of the sharpening tensions between imperialist powers, as they compete for markets, resources, influence, power and prestige. At root, this is due to the historic crisis of capitalism, a system that long ago ceased to play any progressive role.
US “soft power”
The US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, recently railed against Putin’s “managed democracy” in Russia. She went on to attack Putin’s ally, the Belarus government of President Alexander Lukashenko, calling it “the last true dictatorship” in central Europe, and one that faced “time for change”. Rice hinted that forthcoming elections in Belarus could be the trigger for the US to use its “soft power” to encourage opposition movements.
This reflects a ferocious struggle taking place between Russia and the US over sh;Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
To boost Russia’s ambitions, Putin appeals to Russian nationalism and harks back to Russia’s imperial past. He recently stated that Russia’s geo-political influence would be helped by bringing its “civilisation to the Euro-Asian continent”.
Meanwhile, the US increases its influence in the region, with, for example, pro-US regimes in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova forming a “union of democratic states” in April.
Competition between the imperialist powers and their local allies is also heating up in Africa and Asia. Recent sharp disputes between China, a rising power in Asia, and Japan and Taiwan, reflect growing militarisation in Asia, and a struggle between local powers, with big imperialist states in the background, over territory, trade, influence and prestige. In the long term, disputes like these can erupt into armed conflict.
As we saw recently, the ruling elite in China use nationalism and historical grievances to further its interests in the region. But nationalism is also used as a diversion from mass labour protests and strikes over atrocious working conditions, pollution and official corruption – the consequences of market ‘reforms’.
The way for Chinese workers’ to better their lives is to build genuine, independent unions, and a party that stands for workers’ unity and genuine socialism, opposing the ruling elite and imperialism, and which would reach out to workers across the region.
Struggles by working people are increasing across the neo-colonial world. The Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez was overthrown in April after weeks of protests. Gutierrez came to power on a left-populist, anti-corruption platform, in 2002, forging close links with indigenous movements. But Gutierrez’s support vanished because of his government’s cronyism and its IMF-imposed neo-liberal policies.
The masses proved they are prepared to struggle against the bosses’ governments. Ecuador has had eight presidents in the last nine years – three of them, including Gutierrez, were forced out of office. But there will be no resolution to the crisis facing working people until they have a party that fights for their class needs, and which would carry out socialist policies when in power.
The broad political trend in Latin America is towards the left. For the first time in its 170-year history, Uruguay swore in its “first left wing president”, Tabare Vazquez, in 2005. But, like the newly installed president in Ecuador, Vazquez has strong ties to ruling circles in the US.
Nevertheless, the emergence of radical, left populist regimes, under the pressure of the masses, is likely. The nightmare for the Bush administration is new radical governments in Latin American, alongside the radical and popular Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela, which has close links to Cuba.
The forces of reaction have repeatedly failed to topple the left populist regime of Hugo Chavez. But to safeguard the revolution started in Venezuela, and to extend it, the working class needs to build independent organisations and to take the economy, especially the oil industry, into their hands. A workers’ and peasants’ government, with a revolutionary socialist programme, would prove a beacon for the rest of the continent.
Unless capitalism and landlordism are abolished, and a socialist society created, reaction will always find a way back, threatening social gains and revolutionary processes with bloody counter revolution.
Attempts to build a left alternative are under way in Latin America, not least in Brazil, the largest and most powerful country in the region, where Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva was elected President in 2002. But workers and youth were soon bitterly disappointed with the neo-liberal policies of Lula’s PT (Workers’ Party) government. Left activists set up P-SoL (Party of Socialism of Liberty) as an alternative. The CWI in Brazil works to build the P-SoL, arguing for bold socialist policies that mark a decisive break with capitalism.
May Day 2005 takes place in the same year as socialists celebrate the 100th anniversary year of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Although the revolution was defeated, it proved, as one of its main leaders, Leon Trotsky said, a necessary “dress rehearsal” for the victorious 1917 Bolshevik revolution, when the working class held power and ran society for the first time.
Today’s events, including victories and defeats for the working class, wars and economic crisis, are also vital lessons for the workers’ movement and socialists, as we strive to re-build and to build anew powerful class organisations that can change society.
The CWI is committed to playing its part in building a new mass workers’ international, which will be “a party of world revolution”. In this way, we remember and celebrate the events and lessons of 1905.