Thursday, 2 May 2013

May Day 2013

Forgive the lateness but I had to gather the materials. May 1st is of course May Day, or to give it its proper name International Labour Day, around the world the day is used by many groups within or attached to the Labour Movement to celebrate victories, and regroup and continue to fight to reverse defeats. We do this because we want to build a better world for all of us.

Unsurprisingly many events held on this Day are often attacked and undermined by governments and companies. In fact in some countries like America (where it was founded) the day itself was under attack with the "official" Labor Day being moved to September in an attempt to break its links with the Haymarket meeting and its Martyrs.

Fortunately as you can see they haven't succeeded, a group assembled at the statue to the Haymarket Martyrs in Haymarket Square in Chicago on May Day.

The main group are RAD (Radicals Against Discrimination)
And elsewhere in America there were demonstrations, though mainly by the Labour Movements "Radical Reds" as the mainstream unions back the official day in September. In particular the Industrial Workers of the World

Viva Las Vegas!
In New York

Protests and demonstrations took place across the country and the world today for International Workers Day. In Bangladesh, thousands filled the streets of Dhaka to demand labor protections after last week's deadly garment factory building collapse which killed more than 400 people. Garment workers also rallied in Cambodia's Phnom Penh. Tens of thousands of workers in Jakarta, Indonesia demanded better wages and conditions, including transgender activists who held signs calling for labor and LGBT rights. In a moment, we'll go to Seattle, Washington, then hear a report from Istanbul, but first we go to New York, where activists are calling attention to rights for immigrants. We're joined by Mariano Muñoz-Elías. He's one of the organizers of the Immigrant Worker Tour and one of the founders of Occupy Wall Street's Immigrant Worker Justice Group. Earlier today, he joined us from Bryant Park where actions were getting under way.

In Seattle

 Protesters in Seattle are also marking May Day today with several marches and an anti-capitalist rally this evening. One of the closely watched issues in Seattle is how authorities respond to the actions. Last year on May Day, the mayor authorized an emergency proclamation after clashes erupted during the protests. An independent review of the police response found a lack of proper training and direction and police use of plainclothes officers to infiltrate protesters. It also came to light that the FBI had tracked and tailed activists from Portland who came to Seattle for the rally, according to statements from FBI agents filed at the US District Court in Seattle. For more on today's events we're joined by reporter Mark Taylor-Canfield in Seattle.
Elsewhere around the globe there were large mobilisations on May Day. In Bangladesh anger over the recent tragedy ensured a big push for workers rights, unionisation and a commitment to tougher safety regulation.

 And in Jakarta in addition to usual Labour groups May Day was noted for the active participation of LGBT groups campaigning for rights and recognition.

And in Istanbul workers were not happy with the governments attempts to shut down the day and deny access to Taksim square the main site for Labour events ever since 1977 when a number of protesters were gunned down there by unknown gunmen


 In Turkey, officials banned an annual May Day gathering in downtown Istanbul. But labor unions and workers defied the order, and were met by riot police who fired tear gas and used water cannons in an attempt to disperse thousands of demonstrators. FSRN's Jacob Resneck reports.
And due the governing AK parties Islamic Conservatism women's groups have more active resisting laws and practices that are restrictive of women's liberties. As such a number of feminist groups were in attendance on the march to Taksim square. And female activists(not necessarily part of those feminist groups) were in the thick of the fighting with the riot police.

And in neighbouring Greece there was a mass march through Athens and a 24 hour General Strike.

In Britain our official May Day is the first Monday in May which this year will be the 6th so most of the big Trade Union demonstrations will be then. Sadly in Britain the actual day is dominated by the Morris Dancers prancing around a pole in a field. We should really look into changing that.

 Tis always a fine day on the 1st of May
For it is and shall always be International Labour Day
From mechanics to pen pushers
To farmhands and court ushers
We march and sing and cheer
Loud and proud for our time draws near

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