Global May Day: Belfast
This years annual May Day march and rally in Belfast took place earlier today as thousands gathered in the city centre to mark international workers day.
Members of the Industrial Workers of the World gathered at the antifascist monument on Writers Square before the main event got under way as part of an international solidarity action with the CNT Xixón Six echoing the call from our comrades fighting attacks on trade union activists in the Spanish State.
This years May Day events in Belfast was organised by ICTU with the majority of unions represented on the main demonstration as large turned out was due to an increase industrial action over the past year across the north as well as in Scotland, Wales and England. Another "crowd puller" was undoubtedly the RMT leader Mick Lynch serving an added boost to the local trade union movement as labour itself increases its strength and size. However more importantly for many, a welcome sight had been the participation of trade union activists from SEAGATE in Derry who have been fighting throughout the year for trade union recognition within the US owned technology plant. As the various speakers called out their support and solidarity, cheers rang out across the front of Belfast City Hall and along Royal Avenue.
We were joined and we weaved through Belfast city centre by activists from @NI_Litigants whose banners displayed the slogan "These Lips were made for taking & that's just what we'll do" ensuring that many within the May Day event would continue to hear that they will not remain silent when standing up for the rights of all workers.
This year again the IWW Ireland branch participated in Global May Day along with a growing number of revolutionary unions and grassroots organisations with the theme of this years week of action being - Unionise the Fight! Wobblies locally created a DIY banner with this years theme displayed and march with thousands of other trade union activists through the streets of Belfast to remember past battles won and those yet to come.
Global May Day Statement 2023:
Working class communities worldwide face a continuing negative spiral of poverty and crippling debt. In some regions growing anger and rage fuel strikes, protests, and industrial actions at the workplace. Workers are challenging the false narrative that we are powerless to determine our future.
Increasing energy and food prices hit many homes hard, particularly of low waged workers. People who already live on or below the poverty line. For many the only choice is between heating and eating as the economic hardship intensifies.
Successive governments throughout the world continue to work against the interests of our class. Business people, landlords, factory owners and investors – as part of the ruling class – ensure their own power and wealth is protected at the expense of people of the working class and the environment.
The ideology of continuous economic growth dictates everything.
The crumbs they throw at us when their backs are against the wall due to organised counter-pressure, are given in order to silence and distract us from the real enemy: The capitalist system. It makes us sick and keeps many in poverty, while prisons swell and we are expected to pay and fight for imperialist wars.
The introduction of laws to restrict protest and reduce workers’ rights that were fought hard for through countless workplace struggles, is designed to derail any effective working class fight.
Our anger must not be diverted down dead ends which seek to replace one set of puppets with another, nor with any system reforms that seek to rehash the same failed methods as before. For ourselves, there can be no ceasefire in class war.
Our objective is the abolition of the wage system and of capitalism itself. We struggle for the creation of a world organised by and for our class, one that works in harmony with the earth.
We do not intend to simply disrupt; we seek to overcome.
We are convinced that what is required now is the creation of organised workplace and community resistance, increasing solidarity locally and globally to effectively achieve our goals both in the short and longer term.
Actively building grassroots resistance in our unions, in the workplace, on picket lines and on the streets; on the front lines where workers are mobilising.
All over the world, we revolutionaries, syndicalists and workers should organize the struggle within respective unions in solidarity, using proven tactics like those of mutual aid, direct action and self-organization.
Together we have a world to win! Unionise the fight!