IN AN era of social upheaval and unrest on a global scale, what slogans should be raised at the 133rd International Workers’ Day celebrations in Britain?
Most urgently, revolutionary socialists need to work to unite all working class forces: nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, teachers, civil servants, rail workers, postal workers, and private sector workers, whose actions over the last nine months have been separated and episodic, into a coordinated struggle to raise real wages to compensate for over ten years of decline, protect public services, and defend workers’ living standards against rampant inflation. Through this historic struggle we must finally bring an end to zero hours contracts and the super-exploitation of young, female and migrant workers.
On the first May Day, in 1890, the working class needed to fight for the eight hour day and the five day week. Today, the capitalists are more and more encroaching on these hard won gains. There must be ample free time for leisure pursuits, lifelong education and political activity if the working class is to take over and direct the world, ending exploitation, wars and the impending environmental disaster.
Our trade unions must be freed from the raft of anti-union laws enforcing compulsory ballots, notification to employers, proportions of the workforce voting, the banning of political strikes and secondary picketing, and laws which defend scabs. The Tories ongoing attempts to further legislate our unions into submission must be defeated in the streets. We fight for the legal right of every worker to join a trade union, to elect shop stewards or representatives, to form workplace committees, and to inspect the books of their employers.
Desperate to cling on to power, the Tories have launched a full scale attack on the rights of asylum seekers, as well as fueling a culture war assault on the transgender community and those who support them. Such tactics are meant to divide the working class, to turn us against each other and let the capitalists off the hook. Workers must organise to defend these marginalised communities.
The world’s working class must intervene to prevent the rivalry between the ‘old’ great powers (the Nato Alliance) and the new imperialist powers (China and Russia) dragging humanity into an arms race, a new cold war, barbarous proxy wars and ultimately a third world war. The struggle to redivide the world has moved from economic clashes to eruptions of open warfare such as the reactionary Russian invasion of Ukraine, increasing the suffering of all the workers of the world through increased food and fuel prices, not to mention those suffering the direct consequences of the war. We demand an end to imperialist war (including economic warfare in the form of sanctions), withdrawal of all occupying troops, and the dissolution of Nato and all other military alliances between capitalist powers.
The obscene wealth hoarded by the world’s capitalists must be seized by the working class and mobilised to implement the necessary measures to avert climate catastrophe and establish social justice for all. Instead of super yachts and frolics in space, these resources must instead be allocated where they are most needed, according to a democratically determined plan for the global economy.
To make these goals possible the parties and movements of working people, and those subjected to national, racial, sexual, and gender oppression, need to be democratised and turned into fighting organisations against the capitalist state. Today’s pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist and repressive ‘leaders’ of the working class—Keir Starmer and his ilk—must be replaced with genuine class fighters united behind a revolutionary socialist programme. To this end, the workers of the world must unite in a new world party of socialist revolution, a Fifth International.