Reclaiming May Day as a Day of Resistance

By Ajamu Baraka

On this day, known as International Workers’ Day, the Green Party Power Project (GPPP) expresses its solidarity with workers in the United States and abroad and re-commits itself to the historic task of building an independent political formation that centers the values, needs and aspirations of the working class and poor.

We also say without any equivocation that any political party that is serious must center an unrelenting attack on the four interrelated issues that confront humanity in general, but specifically workers and the poor in the United States and abroad: White supremacy, neoliberal capitalist exploitation, war and ecological devastation.

May 1st became a symbol of working-class resistance beginning in 1886, when workers organized to fight for the basic human rights of fellow workers in Chicago. Their efforts for a decent and humane work day of eight hours a day were met with fire and steel from the defenders of capital. The workers that lost their lives in those days of struggle after, in those first few days between May 1st and the 5th, were re-born every year in the hearts and minds of countless workers from around the world who went to the streets every May 1st since 1886.  

And although the capitalist class in the United States has sought to extinguish May 1st from the memory and consciousness of U.S. workers, new generations of resisters have continued to emerge, have claimed the day and have created new political and programmatic connections that have brought new forms of struggle and have included broader sectors of workers.

Nowhere was that more dramatic than in 2006 when tens of thousands of immigrant and migrant workers mobilized on May 1st to demonstrate that a new force of workers had arrive on the political scene. Created out of the contradictions of neoliberal globalization that uprooted millions of workers, the workers from the nations of the global South devastated by neoliberal penetration of their economies and forced to migrate to the United States demanded they be treated as human beings according to internationally recognized rights.

But after putting tens of thousands in the streets in 2006, what happened to that movement?

Like a recurring nightmare that haunts progressive/radical activists and movements in the United States over the last forty years, the story of the immigrant rights movement is one in which the final chapter was predetermined as soon as it allowed itself to be influenced by the paternalism and conservative politics of the liberal non-profit industrial complex and the interests of the Democratic Party.

That is why the GPPP is committed to building an independent political instrument that workers can relate to and use outside of the two-party system. Without independent organization, the gains made in short-term defensive battles can be easily reversed or co-opted.

The GPPP believes that aligned with the oppressed, the Green Party is independent, multi-national, anti-oppression electoral party and people’s movement that is committed to people-centered human rights, self-determination, authentic decolonization, and a politicized global perspective that understands the contradiction of global capitalism and imperialism, which push and pull people across national borders.

On this International Workers’ Day, we pledge to re-double our efforts to agitate for and build that party.

We say:
End white privilege and class collaboration with the ruling elite
Demand a living wage for all
Protect the right to organize independent unions
Stand in solidarity with exploited workers

Ajamu Baraka on behalf of the Green Party Power Project