Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität participates in May Day events across Germany

SoL supporters on a May Day rally, Dortmund

“More pay, more free time, more security” – this was the slogan under which the German Trade Union Confederation mobilised for May Day rallies and demonstrations this year. According to the confederation, over 330,000 people took part. Over 100 members of Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität (CWI Germany) also took part and demonstrated in Aachen, Berlin, Bielefeld, Bonn, Detmold, Dortmund, Dresden, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Kassel, Leipzig, Mainz, Nuremberg, Rostock, and Stuttgart, among others.

Sol’s focus was on warning against the comprehensive attack plans that big business is demanding and formulating against the rights of workers and the socially disadvantaged. Hardly a day goes by without new demands for “reforms” from business organisations, the CDU/CSU (conservative parties) and FDP (liberal party) or “economic experts”. The 12-point programme for an “economic turnaround” recently adopted by the FDP party conference, which calls for attacks on pensions, social benefits, tax cuts for companies and more, is emblematic of this.

In our leaflet entitled, “Against the class struggle from above”, we make proposals on how trade unions and the left should lead the fight against the wet dreams of capital and why it is urgently necessary to start building a socialist force that credibly represents the interests of workers and organises activists from trade unions and social movements.

Together with other colleagues, we also gathered support for the “We are sounding the alarm” call which demands consistent resistance to government and bosses’ attacks from the trade unions and gathers colleagues who want to actively participate in winning support for strategy. While this met with a very positive response from a number of colleagues, some trade union officials who orientate to the ruling Social Democrats reacted negatively and, as expected, it also became clear that many workers are not yet aware of the danger and scale of the impending attacks.

In Aachen, Sol members and others organised a militant bloc at the May Day demonstration, in which over 150 people took part. Among other things, they protested loudly against the appearance of the regional prime minister, the conservative Hendrik Wüst, on the platform and who was drowned out by protests when speaking at the final rally.

In Berlin, Sol members took part in the blocs of their trade unions and in the ‘class struggle’ bloc, which campaigned for a combative course by the trade unions and spoke out in favour of a socialist transformation of society. Alexandra Arnsburg, a Telekom employee and strike activist, spoke from the loudspeaker van about the current round of collective bargaining. Angelika Teweleit spoke on behalf of the network for a militant and democratic ver.di (public sector and service union) about the need to break away from the social partnership with the bosses and government and go on the offensive.

Solidarity was also expressed with the people in Gaza who are suffering from Israel’s war – among other things, a solidarity address from the Palestinian trade union federation was read out.

We protest this repression!

Shockingly, there were assaults by DGB (German TUC) stewards, supported by the police, and a colleague was also arrested, when an attempt was made to prevent the supporters of the ‘class struggle’ bloc from entering the final rally. We protested this action and demanded that trade union members can continue to express critical views of the DGB leadership’s positions. In the evening, Sol members took part in the “Revolutionary May Day Demonstration”, which was largely peaceful despite a few police incidents.

In Dresden, Sol members took part in the left-wing festival and the DGB demonstration, among other things. Dorit Hollasky, a Sol member and ver.di branch spokesperson at the municipal hospital, received much applause for her speech and for her criticism of Labour Minister Hubertus Heil who was a speaker at the DGB rally in the city.

In Mainz, Sol members organised a demonstration together with others, which joined up with the DGB march and walked together to the rally. A comrade was able to speak for Sol at the demonstration and, on the initiative of Sol, works councillors from Lieferando courier company were also able to speak at the final rally. Sol members took part in the youth bloc and in the joint bloc of the “Stop the War” alliance, which protested against Israel’s war. Unfortunately, the DGB later distanced itself from this in the media.

In East Westphalia-Lippe, comrades took part in actions in Detmold and Bielefeld. In Detmold, the DGB disinvited Sol from having a stall at their rally because of unspecified “criticism from the ranks of our trade unions”, an allegation that Sol challenged the DGB to substantiate. But this ban did not prevent us from engaging in dialogue with many workers and others who were present.

In Stuttgart, comrades took part in the DGB rally and a spontaneous demonstration, as well as in the later “revolutionary demonstration”. There was massive violence on the part of the police, who, according to reports from participants, suddenly attacked and surrounded part of the demonstration.

In Dortmund, Kassel and Rostock, comrades took part in the DGB actions and collected signatures for the call “We are sounding the alarm”, among other things.

For the first time, Sol members were also active in Hamburg on 1 May and took part in two demonstrations. Many leaflets were distributed for the first public Sol event in Hamburg on 18 May.

In Bonn, Sol members took part in the DGB rally and the revolutionary bloc, as well as in the 1 May festival on Frankenbadplatz, and met with a great deal of interest in socialist ideas. One Sol member was able to give a class struggle speech for linksjugend [`solid].

In total, Sol members were able to sell around 350 newspapers, collect around one thousand euros in donations and got to know at least 30 people who left their contact details for further discussions and activities with us.

To view a gallery of photos of SoL participations in May Day rallies in Germany visit: Sol aktiv am 1. Mai 2024 | Sozialistische Organisation Solidarität (

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May 2024