Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 54 Number 10, May 11, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

May Day 2024

May Day Actions

London May Day march

The London May Day March and Rally took place on May 1. Assembling at Clerkenwell Green, trade unions, migrant worker organisations, pensioners, women's groups, and many others, demonstrated the unity of the workers' movement by marching behind the Big Red Band and May Day banner to Trafalgar Square. Speakers included union leaders Mick Lynch, Fran Hetherington, Matt Wrack, as well as Palestinian Ambassador Dr Husam Zomlot.

May Day in Birmingham featured a midday rally at Centenary Square, holding special prayers against Islamophobia after speeches. Workshops were also held at offices of the Communication Workers' Union on building solidarity with Palestine as well as on opposing the attacks on civil rights, which is part of the continuing trend of open rule by police powers.

The Tyne & Wear May Day Rally in Newcastle included amongst speakers Liz Blackshaw, Sarah Woolley, Mick Bowman, Ben Sellers, Mohamed Elnour, and Martin Dent. The rally concluded with a lively social at Tyneside Irish Centre, offering free food. The South Tyneside May Day rally and celebration with speaker Mick Bowman, retired Unison member recently returned from Palestine, took place in Hebburn on May 1.

May Day march Chesterfield

The 2024 May Day March and Rally in Belfast, under the theme of "Our Work, Our Lives, Our Place," was the largest parade on the island of Ireland, organised by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC-ICTU). The event featured a feeder parade, a rally and speeches, and a march. Speakers included Jackie White (NIC-ICTU vice-chair, UTU), Kerry Fleck (CWU), Roz Foyer (Scottish TUC General Secretary), and Phil Ni Sheaghdha (ICTU vice-President, INMO), which in particular highlighted opposition to ongoing attacks on trade union rights.

The 2024 May Day March and Rally in Dublin was entitled "Organise! Recognise!". Having marched from the Garden of Remembrance, workers rallying at Library Hall heard speeches on various key issues from workers' defence organisation to solidarity with Palestine. Amongst others, Ken Reilly (Mandate) spoke on the theme of the May Day action itself, and Mags O'Brien (Trade Union Friends of Palestine) spoke on the demand of "Ceasefire Now!".

Over three hundred students in Oxford marched to the town hall to join a rally organized by UCU, NEU, and CWU union members. The protesters listened to speeches and shouted chants, expressing support for Palestine. Banners from the Oxford University UCU union and Oxfordshire NEU union were prominently displayed.

This is a small selection of events held over May Day across Britain and Ireland. In reality, myriads of actions were organised large and small in all major cities, as well as in towns, and in localities such as in Lewisham, southeast London, where 20 people participated in a Health Workers for Palestine rally.

Education workers at City and Islington in north London - Photo: Sean Vennell

This May Day comes amid the developing movement to oppose the genocide in Gaza, which is backed by the British state and its cartel party system. There is a burning need for a government that stands against war, an anti-war government founded on the harmonisation of the interests of individuals, collectives and the whole of society, the expression of a modern democratic personality opposed to rule by police powers and the use of force to settle conflicts.

Enough is Enough! is the call that workers speak in their own name, take control of the concrete conditions in a manner that favours them and solves the problems towards a new direction for society and the economy. It is the working class that will lead society out of the crisis by becoming worker-politicians themselves, aiming for a new situation where decision-making involves all workers, communities, and people as a whole, speaking and acting in their own name and as one, without the mechanisms of disempowerment blocking their direct decisions from being realised.

Taking a stand that is anti-war, curbing the power of the oligarchs is an urgent step as the generalised crisis deepens. This means developing the resistance and working out how to be effective in opposing the anti-social offensive. The conditions are in such sharp contradiction with the authority that the times call for building a working class movement so that it answers the call of history, to bring about an authority of its own aimed at defending the rights of all.

Together Let us Make History!

Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World, Unite!

(Sources: Workers Forum, London May Day Organising Committee, Tyne and Wear May Day Committee, ICTU, Mandate, Socialist Worker.)

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