Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy May Day 2.0

Capitalism Divides. Mayday Unites

I would argue our most important challenge as progressives is to build bridges between movements. Labour and Environmentalists. Feminists and indigenous peoples. Anti-war and anti-poverty activists. So, in that spirit this post is dedicated to the people, united (we'll never be divided).

Don't miss this article from Common Ground.
If springtime is all about rebirth and resurrection, perhaps it's time we dusted off a much-maligned holiday and upgraded it to May Day 2.0. The bounty from labour and capital is ultimately drawn from the harvest, so why not merge the worker and nature angles? They're a natural fit. We'd still keep Earth Day, but it would be a preliminary event leading up to the planetary celebration on May 1st, when we'd celebrate not just the Earth, but all beings that struggle on it – from the threatened creatures of the coral reefs to the disappearing tigers of Southeast Asia to the sweatshop workers of "free trade zones" to the native survivors of Canadian residential schools to endangered white collar workers.

Also, check out "our history of protest", today's series of amazing posts at Women of Color Blog.

A Selection of May Day 2007 News from around the world:

Canadian Unions need to re-energize:
Issues that were previously championed by labour: poor relief, affordable housing and job-creation initiatives -- tend to be spearheaded by community groups or other advocacy organizations that run outside and without the influence of the labour movement.

US: Wal-Mart Skirting Labour Protections:
The retail giant Wal-Mart exploits weak U.S. labour laws to prevent union formation and violates the fundamental human rights of its U.S. workers, says a report released Monday on the eve of the May Day labour holiday.

IRAQ: The Iraqi labour movement salutes May Day:
May Day is an opportunity for Iraqi working people to sharpen their resolve as they continue struggle for a better Iraq of Human rights, social justices and federal democracy, free from terrorism and sectarianism.
Also GFIW proclaims: "Strong Unions Need Women" and Iraqi communists again call for an end to the occupation.

Palestinian Teachers on Strike
Palestinian teachers have held a one-day strike over unpaid wages prompting the deputy prime minister to suggest that the unity government be disbanded if the Western embargo is not lifted in three months. It is the first time a leader of the six-week-old unity government has made such a suggestion.

PERU: Striking Miners to March on Lima
Peru’s miners began an indefinite strike Monday demanding respect for labour rights. Their main complaint is against the outsourcing of jobs, as 80 percent of the 100,000 workers in the mining industry -- the backbone of the economy – are affected by the phenomenon of subcontracting and outsourcing.

SOUTH AFRICA: "You Have to Work Nine to Ten Times Harder Than a Male Farmer"
As activists focus on the challenges facing workers this May Day (May 1), Martha Moside is calling for attention to be paid to the situation of female subsistence farmers in South Africa.

RUSSIA: Of All, Russian Unions Begin to Lose Members
Squeezed between political change and budgetary difficulties, federal and regional trade unions are beginning to lose large numbers of active members. At many workplaces unions simply do not exist.

Venezuela to hike minimum wage 20% for May Day:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez raised the country's minimum wage by 20 percent, setting Latin America's highest pay scale.

More labour news from IPS News, and LabourStart.

Posters from


TomCat said...

Happy May Dat to you, RJ. May we find that common cause that you seek.

Red Jenny said...

I'm not feeling so hopeful today after reading the negative comments to this

Ron West said...

Nice post. Happy Law day, too.

TomCat said...

I see what you mean. But then there are those that talk and those that do. Everybody complains about prisoners coming back to the community. I do volunteer work with then before and after they do. You are also a doer. I get the impression that those comments were written by talkers.