International Working Class Day 2006:
120th Anniversary of May Day
Unity and Organization Imperative for Advancing the Class Struggle!
May 1st is the international holiday of the working class. Marked at the height of spring, the day is celebrated by the proletariat around the world as the dawning of a new year of united struggle against its class oppressors and for its liberation from wage slavery. The workers also mark the day by reviewing the year that has past, their victories and defeats, their advances and retreats on the road of Socialist revolution. On May Day, 2006, Scientific Socialist greets the working class of the United States and the world, and issues the proletarian internationalist call “Workers of All Countries, Unite!”
Like most holidays of the proletariat, May Day is rooted in the history of class struggle. On May 1st, 1886, there was a strike in Chicago at the McCormick Harvester Works (later, until 1985, the International Harvester Company) which culminated a 20 year-old organized fight for the 8-hour day. From Chicago, which was its center, the strike movement spread to many major cities across the country, including New York, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, with approximately half of the 340,000 striking workers either winning the 8-hour day or a substantially reduced work day. On May 2nd, strikes and demonstrations continued in solidarity with those workers who were denied any hourly reduction. Panic stricken, the bourgeoisie launched counter-revolutionary attacks to crush the center of the movement. On May 3rd police opened fire on the McCormick workers, who had been peacefully demonstrating, killing six and wounding many more. Then, on May 4th, when 25,000 workers rallied in Chicago's Haymarket Square to protest this brutal attack, the police descended upon the scene, indiscriminately firing at the demonstrators while bombs were thrown by agent provocateurs. The violence perpetrated by the bourgeoisie and its state supplied the pretext for unleashing a reign of terror against the revolutionary movement. Eight labor leaders were arrested and imprisoned and four executed, being falsely charged with the bombing, thus lending even more political significance to the American revolutionary movement. In 1889, the International Communist Movement resolved that May 1st , the day repeatedly used in the US for general strikes, be declared International Working Class Day. It has been celebrated around the world by working and progressive people ever since.
May Day 2006 comes at a time when the world situation poses grave challenges to the working class. Dangling over our heads are the dual dangers of a new imperialist world war and more reactionary forms of fascism.
The war-mongering Anglo-American imperialist bloc, after its bloody invasion and brutal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, after its internal aggression against Georgia and the Ukraine and military base-building in Central Asia (to name just a few of its more recent adventures) has not given up its expansionist ambitions. Now it threatens Iran and Syria, thus continuously running up against rival imperialists in the on-going battles to re-divide the world – battles that could easily escalate into open inter-imperialist war. At the same time, the US and Britain and their annexations, on the “cutting edge” of fascist-imperialism, are installing and “modeling” more repressive, mail-fisted, and beguiling forms of fascism disguised as “democracy.” This stepped-up repression is needed to secure a “quiet rear” on the home-front so the imperialists are better able to wage war; to consolidate their newly conquered spheres of influence; and to throttle the labor and democratic movements.
However, this May Day also witnesses some favorable opportunities for working class advance.
The abhorrent policies of international reaction led by Anglo-American imperialism are eliciting an outpouring of indignation and opposition among the working people across the world. Spontaneous currents underlying the labor and democratic movements are extremely fluid and, in the ever-deepening economic and political crises, more and more tending toward taking on an anti-fascist, anti-imperialist character. Such currents are prone to give rise to powerful upsurges for genuine freedom and democratic rights for the working classes and popular masses. These upsurges are manifesting themselves from the neo-colonial periphery, e.g. the Middle East and South America to the imperialist centers, e.g. France. They clearly illustrate that the potentially revolutionary and progressive forces cannot be suppressed and that they are sure to advance if they are united and organized under the leadership of Leninist-Stalinist vanguard parties.
For the workers and oppressed people of the US to break through the dual chains of wage slavery and fascist oppression, for them to stop the war-mongering and aggression of US imperialism and make their contribution to bringing peace and stability to the world, they must take their fight onto the democratic and revolutionary path. This is the path of the historic fighting tradition of the American working class that, as in the past, stood shoulder to shoulder in internationalist unity with the workers of the world in common struggle against wage slavery, fascism, and imperialist war. It is not the path that fifth columnists, trade union misleaders, and reformists have attempted to impose on the spontaneous working class currents this May Day; for example, the retrograde forces that have attempted to steer the just struggle of immigrant workers in chauvinist and sectarian directions, thus splitting it from the main struggle of the working class that should be emphasized this day; the abolition of wage slavery. As Lenin pointed out “the First of May must be the day on which the workers” are shown the connection between the fight for partial demands and “the proletarian struggle for emancipation in all countries.”
It is up to the vanguard forces, first and foremost, to provide the leadership and organization necessary to guide the struggle of the working class and oppressed people onto the democratic and revolutionary path. It is up to the vanguard forces to unite into one Party reconstruction organization on the basis of Leninist-Stalinist theory applied concretely to formulate program and a revolutionary line of march, which includes a practical plan for Party building, to realize the program's politics. This unity and organization, which the working class still lacks, are imperative to advance the class struggle of the proletariat.
Despite the repression and manipulation of the state and the absence of any genuine revolutionary leadership, the American working class and oppressed people continue to spontaneously struggle for their liberation from wage slavery and fascism. On this May 1st, we call upon the vanguard forces to take the necessary steps to provide the consciousness, unity, and organization to divert this spontaneity onto the path of New Democracy and Socialism.
Hail May 1st - International Worker's Day!
Workers of all Countries, Unite!