May Day points the way forward

May 16, 2022

The Militant salutes the millions of workers who took to the streets on May Day around the world.

International Workers Day was born May 1, 1886, when working people and our unions in the U.S. launched a fight for the eight-hour day. That demand still resonates for millions here and worldwide who face the bosses’ drive today to lengthen the workday, impose debilitating or on-call work schedules, and forced overtime.

Strikes last year at Frito-Lay, Nabisco and other companies by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union pushed back some of these attacks. But the fight begun in 1886 remains in front of the labor movement.

Resurrected by immigrant workers in the U.S. in 2006, May Day actions highlighted the need to unify native-born and foreign-born workers in common struggle against the bosses. The Socialist Workers Party calls for an amnesty for the 11 million workers in the U.S. who don’t have government-recognized papers. This is in the interest of all workers because bosses use their superexploitation of immigrant workers to divide us and drive down the wages and working conditions of all.

Unions “must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of the downtrodden millions,” Karl Marx, a founder of the modern working-class movement, explained in 1866.

Workers taking part in May Day rallies around the world discussed Moscow’s war against Ukraine, and many called for deepening the fight to end it. Only by unconditionally defending Ukraine’s independence, and fighting for solidarity between working people in Ukraine and Russia, can a working-class course be charted to drive Putin’s troops out and bring an end to the biggest land war in Europe in decades.

Sanctions by Washington and other imperialist powers make conditions worse for working people in Russia, endangering building the working-class unity crucial to mobilizing to defeat Moscow’s war.

Workers need to break from the bosses’ political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. The exploitation of workers and farmers rests on the ruling capitalist families and their middle-class hangers-on to keep us searching for a “lesser evil” among the parties that defend capitalism.

We need to build our own party, a labor party, that acts on the interests we share in common and advances a course of uncompromising struggle for what our class needs. Along that road, workers and our allies can organize a struggle of millions to overcome the dictatorship of capital and take state power into our own hands.

The biggest May Day action took place in Havana, Cuba, where 600,000 marched to show the strength of support for their socialist revolution. They reaffirmed their determination to resist the U.S. rulers’ decadeslong economic war aimed at crushing them, overturning their government and restoring capitalist exploitation.

Members of the Socialist Workers Party were proud to participate in the march. The SWP and its 2022 candidates demand an immediate halt to the U.S. embargo and that Washington get out of Guantánamo. They explain that the Cuban Revolution shows what working people are capable of accomplishing when we forge a communist leadership. That powerful example shows what needs to be done everywhere, including in the imperialist heartlands like the United States.