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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

May Day Greetings Fellow Workers!

On Saturday, May 1st, we will be celebrating International Workers' Day, a day that has been a reminder throughout history of our struggle as a class against capitalist exploitation. It began in North America in 1886, when the Federation of Organised Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada resolved to demand an eight-hour day and called for a strike on May 1st in support.

On May Day we commemorate these mighty workers which, through organised labour and ultimately with their lives, forced the rich to accede to their demands for an 8-hour working day, we remember their struggle.

We remember the execution of the Chicago anarchists in 1886 for mobilising workers in the fight for these demands, the struggle of working people using solidarity, direct action and the organisation of labour as a vehicle for revolutionary change.

May 1st holds great significance for the labour movement and in particular the Industrial Workers of the World and we denounce the hijacking attempts by politicians and the business unions. Reduced to a mere 'bank holiday', a (social) media pageant for politicians, police or prison officers and military, it is the attempt to weaken and discredit its meaning to the labour movement, our class and international working class solidarity.

Not much has changed since the days of the Haymarket events in Chicago, we remain slaves of the same wage system that profits from keeping workers in precarious and hazardous working conditions. The attacks on the working class have been particularly hard throughout the pandemic: In addition to zero-hour contracts, discrimination on grounds of migration status and no living wages we now see massive lay-offs, workplace closures, the firing and re-hiring of workers post-covid, all this amidst an increased threat to the lives of front-line workers.

As we celebrate May Day and the successful struggles that form part of our history, we also must honour and support the struggles happening around us today, the workers who in spite of adversity are finding the courage to organise and fight.

One year on, the Debenhams workers on strike continue to show exemplary courage and model solidarity unionism, the only way in which we as workers can shift power and achieve real change and control over our lives. They have experienced directly how the business unions have long since given up any suggestion that they stand with our class. They form part of the system which seeks to confine, restrict and strangle workplace resistance. As the class war intensifies it is up to us all to remember where their true allegiances lay.

We seek neither to reform or reassemble capitalism or its wage system but to destroy it entirely and build a new world once again from its embers. A society that is run directly by and for our class and in harmony with the earth, for each according to their needs.

Solidarity Forever.

This year IWW Ireland will participate with other revolutionary unions across the world as part of the Global May Day action to advance in help promote our international solidarity as a class. As part of this international event IWW branches in Ireland will do a series of actions to promote the concept of Global May Day (GMD) on International Workers Day, 1st May.

As part of the annual call to action, unions are organising events on the local and regional level. In Ireland you can join your local branch and be part of this Global May Day event such as taking part in a number of banner drops, street exhibitions and street art, street actions such as sticker/postering, as well as online music event.

Belfast: Botanic Gardens 12pm / ​​Cork: City centre, outside Debenhams @11 am / ​​​Derry: Guildhall Square 12pm / Dublin: Jim Larkin statue on O’Connell Street 1pm/ ​​​​​Galway: Check IWW Galway Facebook for update


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