Socialist Revolution Mobilizes for May Day 2022

May First is a day to commemorate the power and history of struggle of the world working class. Its origins trace back to the Haymarket massacre in Chicago and the US workers’ struggle for the eight-hour day. The American ruling class consciously implemented the “official” Labor Day in September in an attempt to erase this history. As a result—and aided by decades of class-collaborationist union policies that cut across working-class militancy—many of the traditions around May Day have been lost in this country.

However, the stage is being set for the US labor movement to start a new chapter in its history. A wave of unionizations is sweeping workplaces across the country, from Amazon, to Starbucks, Apple, and beyond. For the first time in generations, this battle has the potential to turn the tide for the labor movement—but only if it passes from organizing workers to organizing all-out class war.

It is in this spirit that Socialist Revolution mobilized for May Day rallies, marches, and celebrations nationwide—joining the efforts of countless other members of the International Marxist Tendency in dozens of countries around the world. Comrades hit the streets in more than 20 cities from coast to coast, bringing a revolutionary message to the unfolding class battles and raising the banner of revolutionary Marxism.

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New York City

This year, more than 40 Socialist Revolution comrades participated in two rallies in Washington Square Park and Union Square, Manhattan. Armed with Marxist ideas and literature, red flags, and signs with class-struggle slogans, they energetically seized this opportunity to bring revolutionary ideas to the rejuvenated labor movement of NYC.

Both rallies were endorsed by the newly formed, rank-and-file Amazon Labor Union, and a number of left, immigrant rights, and cultural organizations. The Washington Square demonstration was also organized by the NYC Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, the Laborers’ Local 79, Teamsters Joint Council 16, SEIU, and other union locals. It was a higher-energy event than past years, with a large march that grew to over 1,000 participants in size—a sign of the times!

The comrades set up multiple tables with a rich display of Socialist Revolution and In Defence of Marxism magazines, Marxist books, booklets, t-shirts, and more. They sold well over 150 magazines, booklets, and books, and distributed May Day–themed leaflets. Many radicalized students and workers stopped to talk to us about socialism and to ask about getting involved in the fight for revolution.

Tom Trottier, editor of Socialist Revolution, addressed the crowd at Union Square with a short inspiring speech, shortly before the comrades joined in a march to protest in front of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s apartment. Our contingent was very visible and vibrant, with bright red Socialist Revolution flags; brandishing slogans like “Workers of the world unite,” and “Build strong unions with class struggle”; and leading chants of “There is only one solution: socialist revolution,” “Fight Trump, fight Biden too, they don’t give a sh*t about you,” and “The workers united will never be defeated!”

All comrades left these demonstrations with a renewed sense of revolutionary optimism and the certainty that we will win socialism in our lifetime!

 

Phoenix

In line with many other cities in the US, Phoenix (and Arizona as a whole) has not had a strong May Day tradition in recent years. For this reason, on May 1, 2022 Phoenix Socialist Revolution took the initiative to launch a May Day celebration at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. A number of organizations joined the coalition, co-sponsoring the event—including the local DSA, Arizona Educators United, Black Political Cultivation, and United Farm Workers foundation.

There were about 75 attendees at the event, which featured catered food, speeches, and yard games. The excitement for organized labor and the future of the socialist movement was infectious! The main themes of the day were the need for class unity to build the movement. To that end, a fundraiser was held to support the local Starbucks Workers United and their fight to organize here in the Phoenix valley, raising over $2,000 to be donated to the union.

The thirst for political ideas was palpable, too. Comrades from Socialist Revolution were able to sell many magazines, books, booklets and other materials, and other groups also set up tables with labor and political literature. It’s clear that workers and youth are seeking out answers to the economic and political crisis we find ourselves in.

There were a number of inspiring speeches. Rebecca Garelli (AEU) reminded the crowd of the power of the #RedForEd movement. Jose Flores (UFW Foundation) explained that only the labor of farmworkers keeps us all fed, and therefore workers hold a tremendous power in society—ending with the iconic chant “Sí se puede!”

Socialist Revolution comrade Nick Brancaccio closed the lineup of speakers with an overview of the origins of May Day, bringing alive the militant traditions of this country, and reminding the crowd that it was revolutionaries and communists who led American labor’s most important victories in the 1930s and 40s. Today as then, it is crucial that we build the revolutionary party that the movement needs and deserves! Given the success of this year’s event, both Socialist Revolution and our coalition partners are in agreement: next year’s celebration will be even bigger and better!

 

Minneapolis

The Twin Cities comrades of Socialist Revolution attended the March on Lake Street and rally in Minneapolis for May Day this year. The event was organized by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59, which just last month organized and won the first teachers’ strike in Minneapolis in 50 years!

Despite the rainy weather, there was a good turn out and many of the attendees were enthusiastic about Marxist ideas, with many workers cheering on our magazine from the parade. Two younger teachers came up to the Socialist Revolution table to buy magazines, and one also bought a booklet as educational material for her middle school classroom! These are all exciting signs of the growing popularity of socialism.

 

Boston and Northampton, MA

Comrades participated in the May Day rally at the Boston Common. They set up two Marxist literature tables, distributing many magazines and booklets and having good conversations with the crowd at the demonstration. Our comrade Anthony A gave an inspiring speech, which was very well received. Overall, the mood was very lively, and the comrades did a great job raising the banner of Socialist Revolution!

 

Comrades also participated at a rally organized by the Northampton chapter of DSA and Mass Jobs 4 Justice. The crowd was really receptive and we exchanged contact information with the organizers to collaborate in future events.

New Haven, CT

The New Haven branch of Socialist Revolution helped to organize the local May Day event, which was primarily coordinated by the left-wing Latino organization Unidad Latina en Acción. The rally was attended by several hundred people, who then marched across New Haven. During the march, curious restaurant workers came out to hear the speeches during the march, raising their fists in solidarity! The protesters also made an incursion into the Yale University campus, where marchers staked down a banner with the slogan “Make Yale Pay.” Our comrade Eric Goodman got on the stage to give a militant speech, and the Socialist Revolution contingent distributed 100 leaflets, as well as 40 magazines, booklets, and books.

Chicago

To celebrate May Day 2022, Socialist Revolution joined a rally in Chicago’s Union Park, followed by a march into downtown’s Federal Plaza. Around 300 people attended the event, and the speeches were often explicitly anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, with a near-unanimous rejection of both the Biden administration and both bourgeois parties. In spite of the rainy weather, it was a successful rally, and the Chicago comrades displayed a determined, militant spirit that they will carry forward through the rest of the year and beyond.

Dallas and Denton, TX

The Dallas-Fort Worth branch took part in an event organized by the AFL-CIO. They distributed Marxist literature, sang labor songs with everyone, and one of our comrades gave a speech to the rally. The branch made new connections with union members, politically interested folks, and many young socialists. After this small but exhilarating event, comrades were also able to participate in the Denton May Day rally!

Los Angeles

Comrades mobilized for the annual May Day rally held in downtown LA. The march was quite large with over 1,000 attendees, including most of the major unions in LA—SEIU, IATSE, and others. The comrades were able to hand out 100 leaflets and multiple copies of our magazine, having many positive interactions with people there. This included a local documentary filmmaker who has helped produce material for the Amazon Labor Union!

San Francisco

The Bay Area comrades participated in a May Day rally, where they interacted with a number of local unions including the Theatrical Stagehands Union, a Roofers Union, and the Teachers’ Union. Many of the attendees were interested in hearing a Marxist perspective, and took our leaflets and Socialist Revolution magazines.

Mount Vernon, WA

This May Day, the Bellingham branch drove down to Mount Vernon in solidarity with tulip farm workers in the Skagit Valley. The workers went on a three-day strike to demand better working conditions, including work gloves, more bathrooms, larger bonus pay, and back pay for sick leave related to pesticide exposure. The strike ended with an agreement that granted some concessions to the workers. There is no better way to celebrate May Day than by actively supporting the ongoing struggles of immigrant workers and the whole working class!

 

Seattle

A few hundred people rallied in Seattle to celebrate May Day. Our comrades sent a delegation to the protest, talking to many of the union members and young workers about revolutionary organizing, and distributing leaflets and Socialist Revolution magazines. The march featured slogans such as “Bourgeoisie, run and hide, workers struggle side by side,” and against American imperialism.

 

St. Louis

For May Day this year, comrades organized an event outside our St. Louis offices. Dozens participated in this celebration, and many passersby also stopped to talk to the comrades present and purchase Marxist literature. The event included a tent with political materials, food tables and drinks available for donation, and revolutionary songs!

Durham, NC

Socialist Revolution comrades attended the International Workers’ Day rally and march in Durham. A couple hundred people were in attendance, marching up a main road and blocking traffic for approximately an hour. The main slogans were of a class nature, with demands for higher wages, but the crowd also showed great interest in the revolutionary Marxist ideas our comrades brought to the event. In fact, one individual approached us to thank us for the Socialistrevolution.org and Marxist.com websites, explaining that he uses our analysis for his reading group! In all, it was a great day of working-class solidarity.

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, comrades organized local outreach at Clark Park to commemorate May Day. They had very positive interactions with passersby, although it was striking that only very few of them knew about May Day or that this was a holiday associated with socialism and the working class. This highlights the importance of organizing these kinds of revolutionary outreach and events to revive the US history of class struggle.

Portland, OR

Comrades assembled at the waterfront park in downtown Portland to do revolutionary outreach and tabling. They sold several copies of Socialist Revolution and also showed their solidarity with a nearby protest against the Sri Lankan president in light of the revolutionary events that are taking place in that country today.

 

Detroit

The comrades from the Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Flint area set up a table to do socialist outreach at the riverfront park in Detroit. They had many good discussions and handed out May Day leaflets and magazines to everyone they talked to.

 

Atlanta

The Atlanta branch joined other left-wing activists at the Georgia capitol building for a May Day rally to defend workers’ rights and demand a higher minimum wage. They later attended a festival organized by the local DSA and labor organizations. At both events, revolutionary socialist ideas found a receptive audience, and comrades distributed a number of leaflets.

Boulder, CO

The Boulder branch organized public outreach for May Day, setting up a Marxist literature table in the downtown 16th St Mall. They had good interactions with pedestrians, distributing May Day–themed leaflets, Socialist Revolution magazines, and booklets.

Louisville, KY

The Louisville branch held its annual May Day cookout and auction. The comrades discussed the history of May Day as a source of inspiration to the worldwide workers’ movement today, and raised donations for the IMT Fighting Fund.

Columbus, OH

A comrade participated in a DSA May Day picnic in Goodale park. It was a very welcoming social event with plenty of good conversations about the way forward for the labor and socialist movement in the US!

Providence, RI

To commemorate International Workers’ Day, the Providence branch organized very successful outreach near the Brown University campus.

May Day around the world

We also received May Day reports from IMT comrades internationally—from Venezuela, Norway, Poland, Russia, Greece, Switzerland, India, the former Yugoslavia, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Brazil, Sweden, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, and Pakistan. You can read some of the reports here.

The only way to fight against the world crisis of capitalism is to build a genuinely international revolutionary organization. That is precisely what the International Marxist Tendency is doing in over 40 countries worldwide. There’s no time to waste—join us now in the fight for world revolution!


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