May Day erupted across Europe and the entire world this year in an unprecedented and revolutionary uprising of workers and youth against an international capitalist system wracked by an economic and political crisis of historic proportions.
On May 1st this revolutionary uprising swept through Europe as the traditional May Day marches, dominated in the past by trade unions who treat it as a mere day of ‘celebration’, have been transformed into open anti-capitalist struggles.
In France official estimates were that 150,000 people took to the streets with 40,000 marching through Paris alone.
Trade unions estimate that the number marching was much higher at over 300,000 venting their hatred and anger at president Macron’s austerity drive and demanding his removal.
Led by the Yellow Vests movement they rejected Macron’s recent attempt to buy-off workers with paltry concessions and are set on the course of revolution.
In Paris riot police charged into the 40,000 strong crowd and fired tear gas and stingball grenades into this peaceful demonstration causing the CGT union to condemn the police for ‘unheard of repression carried out without discernment’.
In Germany 20,000 marched through Berlin chanting ‘the streets are ours’ and ‘anti-capitalism’ as workers focused their anger on the increasing amount of housing being taken over by private property developers, driving up rents and squeezing out low and middle income workers.
The demand of the marchers was for the expropriation of over 200,000 apartments sold to big private landlords.
So great is the growing hostility of German workers to the EU that the German trade unions took the unprecedented step of urging their members to actually vote in the upcoming EU elections.
Italy erupted on May Day with clashes between police and workers furious over high levels of unemployment in the country and over the construction of a new high speed railway.
In Greece a 24 hour strike by unions paralysed national rail, island ferry and other transport services while police clashed with May Day protesters in Sweden when they tried to confront an ‘officially authorised’ neo-Nazi rally. Clashes also occurred in neighbouring Denmark.
Thousands of Spanish workers marched demanding that any government arising from the coalition talks taking place must roll back the austerity reforms introduced by a previous conservative governments under the instructions of the European central bank and the EU.
In Turkey 137 were arrested in Istanbul for trying to hold illegal demonstrations in the city shouting out before they were gagged and dragged off by the police ‘Long live May 1st!’
In Bangladesh garment workers and trade unions demonstrated in the capital demanding higher wages.
In the Philippines thousands marched on the presidential palace in Manila demanding the government of President Rodrigo Duterte increase the minimum wage and burnt an effigy of the president.
Hong Kong and Indonesia saw mass demonstrations of workers demanding higher wages and benefits and improved working conditions, while in South Korea thousands marched through the capital denouncing deteriorating working conditions and demanding equal pay and treatment for temporary workers.
Across the globe workers and young people came out on May Day united in a struggle to put an end to this decaying capitalist system that in its death agony can offer nothing but poverty and war.
Writing in 1904 Lenin wrote of May Day that it is: ‘the day when the workers of all lands celebrate their awakening to a class-conscious life, their solidarity in the struggle against all coercion and oppression of man by man, the struggle to free the toiling millions from hunger, poverty, and humiliation.
‘Two worlds stand facing each other in this great struggle: the world of capital and the world of labour, the world of exploitation and slavery and the world of brotherhood and freedom.’
Today this great struggle between the powerful international working class, revolutionised by the world crisis and a collapsing capitalist system, has reached the point where we stand on the verge of the victory of the world socialist revolution – the world of freedom from oppression and exploitation.
2019 will be the year for building revolutionary parties of the Fourth International in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to victory!