“For our demands most moderate are, We only want the Earth.” James Connolly
Industrial workers of the World, Ireland Branch sends solidarity greetings to the working class throughout the world as we celebrate May Day in unusual circumstances. The Covid crisis has shown very clearly who runs the world - the workers. Societies have only been able to function due to the continued activity of nurses, retail, agricultural and transport workers, caregivers and homemakers among others.
The boss class has been largely absent, save for appeals for bail outs, tacky ‘solidarity’ actions or ordering staff to return to work...
Workers have been, yet again, shamefully let down by the employer class, who have demonstrated how little they think of the safety of their workers in what are clearly life or death circumstances. Workers and communities have demonstrated that solidarity and mutual aid is alive and well, and keeping our society running at present. We MUST learn the clear lessons of these times, and continue to build on the unstoppable potential of an organised working class.
The nature of lockdown, and its impact on profit, has demonstrated again, and very clearly this time, the truth of what one of our founders Bill Haywood said: “If the workers of the world want to win, all they have to do is recognise their own solidarity, They have nothing to do but fold their arms and the world will stop. The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists”.
The present crisis does afford some opportunities to organise which may not have been present before. Many people who are working from home have the opportunity to connect with fellow workers outside the fishbowl of the office; the parasitic and exploitative nature of capitalism has been clearly shown to many who may not have previously shared our analysis; mutual aid and solidarity are strengthened in work places and communities. It is heartening to see the widespread community support for workers continuing in essential roles, those who were dismissed or made attend unsafe locations, and those individuals and families in unsafe living spaces such as Direct Provision or homeless facilities.
As we remember the sacrifices made by previous generations of workers, who fought, and often died, to improve their (and our) lives, let us never forget the treacherous actions of the boss class, and the solidarity of the working class. Let us resolve that no more will we allow ourselves to be sacrificed on what IWW founder Mother Jones called “the altar of profit”.
We must come out of this crisis with a renewed energy and desire to organise across the working class, as envisioned in the IWW Preamble- “forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old”.
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