May Day 2021 – Organizing to get results

May Day Greetings Worker’s Centre of CPC(M-L)

The Workers’ Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) wishes everyone a very happy May Day. Across the country and all over the world, workers are getting together to highlight their own struggles and demands, take stock of the situation they face and how things stand, and make pledges of what they want to achieve in the coming year.

To their credit, the Communist International and workers in the United States gave this day to the peoples of the world. In 1889, during the founding congress of the Second International in Paris, a resolution was passed to commemorate the strike led by U.S. workers fighting for the eight-hour workday. The strike had started on May 1, 1886 and ended when police launched violent attacks against the gatherings of the workers, such as in Chicago’s Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886. May Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1890 to commemorate this fight, 131 years ago.

This May Day finds workers and toilers of the world engaged in a life and death struggle to bring in a new world which serves them. The fight is taking place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic which has not let up and is now reaching horrifying proportions in India, following the disasters we have seen in the U.S. and Brazil, as well as in other countries. One of the main things we take from this experience is that ruling elites across the globe are more concerned about maximizing profits than the lives of billions of people. They are committing countless crimes against humanity and Mother Nature as well. This means that it is up to the working class in all countries to constitute the nation and vest sovereign decision-making power in the people. The people must become the makers of history in their own image, with their own aims, which are those of humankind. This is the aim to humanize the natural and social environment and bring in the New on that basis.

Indian farmers hold mass meeting (mahapanchayat) in Rajasthan, March 13, 2021.

Protest against racism and police brutality and impunity, Washington, DC, June 3, 2020.

One of the greatest battles of toilers for a new world is unfolding in India as farmers, workers, women, dalits, students and all the oppressed people rise up against their condition. Another is unfolding in the United States itself where it is thanks to the relentless protests waged for more than one year now in city after city after city that the murderer of George Floyd had to be found guilty. One hundred days of the Biden presidency have shown that his doctrine is to commit more and more crimes against the peoples of the U.S. and the entire world in the name of democracy and human rights and the claim that the U.S. is the indispensable nation to which all must submit. To their eternal shame, the ruling circles in Canada are participating in this fraud, integrating Canada more and more into the U.S. war economy, and the same is being done with Mexico and the countries of Central America.

On this occasion, we greet the peoples of Central America and all of Latin America and the Caribbean with whom we share weal and woe, despite the differences of privilege we enjoy as a result of their super-exploitation and oppression. We also greet the fighting European workers, those of Oceania and the working and oppressed peoples of Asia and Africa.

We could enumerate the crimes taking place in Canada and on the world scale, but not today. We see them every day. We live them every day. We do not need to get struck on a hamster wheel, reliving them over and over and over again. We prefer to highlight what the situation shows – that we are one humanity, waging one struggle, and that our future and security lie in this struggle for the rights of all.

Today, right within the borders of our own country, the working class has become international. Its experience and working conditions have become a matter of global experience and working conditions. The information we share is common to us all and every contribution we are able to make, no matter how small, is significant. It is important. It will contribute to turning things around in favour of the working class and peoples.

Demonstrations across Canada and Quebec demand healthy and safe working conditions and full status for all workers.

On this occasion, the Workers’ Centre invites you to use its online publication Workers’ Forum and others like it which will follow throughout the year. As we share our experiences and discuss the problems we face in organizing we can work out solutions concerning how to tackle the serious problems facing the workers and society, as a contribution to setting an agenda based on nation-building, to end nation-wrecking, in a manner which puts the initiative in the hands of the people.

Our aim this May Day is to highlight the significance of the fights the workers have waged in the past year so as to strengthen our work in the coming year. To discuss this in depth we need to hear from the workers themselves in all the sectors of the economy.

One thing to highlight is that it is thanks to the claims the workers are making on society that anything is revealed at all. If it were not for the fights the workers are waging, the truth of what is really taking place and what it reveals would be kept hidden. In other words, by fighting for what belongs to them by right, workers are able to take control of their lives. Despite the measures taken against them, despite the difficulties they face, they are able to organize in a manner which gets results.

Another thing we have learned is that it is thanks to the struggles the workers are waging that Canadians now have a much better idea of Canada’s economy, who controls it and who it serves and the need to deprive those who control the decision-making power of their ability to deprive us of what belongs to us by right.

Actions by workers and families of those in long-term care.

The pandemic has revealed the crisis caused by 30 years of cutbacks and privatization and that current measures are concentrating more and more economic and political power in fewer and fewer hands. The borrowing governments are doing from private sources is going to cause serious difficulties to the societies that have to pay back these loans over long periods of time with interest. But, besides this, the crisis has also revealed the political crisis facing the working class and the ruling class. For the ruling class, it is the competition to ensure the continuity of what they call the constitutional order. We saw how profound that crisis is from what took place and continues to take place in the United States or India or all the countries whose system called a representative democracy is stuck in the abuses of the prerogative powers, which is to say decision-making powers to set policy and protect positions of power and privilege. Government executives and systems of justice and the courts are inherently elitist, racist, anti-worker, anti-people and now anti-national as well.

For the working class, the crisis appears when they have to countenance the irrationality of bringing one cartel party to power to replace another when it is known they are all part of a cartel party system which does not represent the people. It is up to the working class to show what is meant by “the people.” By speaking in their own name, they provide a definition which brings that into being. The workers are dealing with their lack of representation by speaking in their own name and this shows the way forward. This is what is life-giving and provides confidence and hope.

With the workers speaking out about their working conditions, the peoples of Quebec and all of Canada are much clearer about what goes on from coast to coast to coast in the mines, mills, ports, and transportation and communications networks, and health care and educational institutions, and how agriculture and the supply chains are organized. They are also clearer about all matters which pertain to Canada’s integration into the U.S. economy and war machine and the motivation behind government decision-making.

Montreal dock workers launch strike April 26, 2021 against unilateral changes to their working conditions.

Mi’kmaw lobster fishers affirm their right to a self-regulated fishery, September 17, 2020.

UFCW members outside Olymel meat packing plant in Red Deer to ensure the plant shuts down due to unsafe pandemic conditions February 18, 2021.

But so too the fight in our mines, mills, factories, ports, transportation and communications networks, and services of all kinds, in commerce, in the hospitality industry, and in the work camps tells us what we are made of. We have to acknowledge that only some 25 per cent of workers in Canada are unionized, which includes the 30 per cent of workers in Quebec. On this occasion we not only salute the unionized workers fighting to defend their members, but we also salute the large number of organizations which exist across the country to organize the workers who have no other voice or representation. We are calling them advocacy organizations for they are not unions and while many are organizing unorganized workers into unions, others have valiantly come forward to make sure workers have a voice to express and represent collective demands which they themselves put forward. These advocacy groups are organizing migrants, minority communities, seniors and of course truckers, gig workers and others who governments have arbitrarily declared do not qualify as workers, for purposes of making sure they have no collective protections and can be tossed around at will.

Health care workers in Ontario and Quebec demand proper working conditions and reversal of the anti-social cutbacks in the sector amidst the pandemic.

The meaningful results are thanks to the fight the workers are waging. We can truly say that the fight for lives is the fight for rights. We can also say that the fight for rights is the way out of both the pandemic and the economic and political crises!

Workers’ Forum is playing an important role by informing workers in sectors other than their own of what is going on. This shines a light on the unacceptable measures governments are taking and their program to use the pandemic to pay the rich by borrowing huge sums from private sources and using the same to pay interest on what is borrowed. It is theft pure and simple, using the revolving door between narrow private interests and governments and positions of power and privilege.

Contributing to Workers’ Forum shows that together it is possible to assess the conditions as well as the work being done to change the situation in a manner which favours the people and society. By coming together through workers’ forums and discussion and work-related groups during the pandemic we see that it is in fighting for our rights that workers save lives. It is by fighting that we dispel all the dogmas which say that the working class is just an extra-parliamentary pressure group to get good policies passed and divert us from looking at what are the policies being passed, who they serve and how the workers can represent themselves by working out their own reference points so as to not fall into the traps of what the rich and their spokespersons say are matters of national interest and national security. We need to strengthen our own organizing work to get our interviews, publications and experiences circulated on an ever broader basis.

On the agenda of the Workers’ Centre is to strengthen the broadcasting of the workers’ reports and views using modern means. We have received offers to help from many and youth especially are coming forward to play a role in this. We also need funds to sustain this work so that it can be organized on a professional basis.

Let us continue organizing to get results! Best wishes in the coming year to all those fighting for their lives by upholding the rights of all!

One Humanity, One Struggle!
Workers and Oppressed Peoples of All Countries Unite!

Hospitality workers in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa oppose employers’ attacks on their rights and livelihoods under pretext of the pandemic, October 2020.

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