May Day Musings is an annual event in The Internationale, held for two weeks, before and after May Day, or International Workers' Day, in which comrades are invited to write in reflection on topics related to the holiday, labor movement, and revolutionary struggle. The format for submissions is open-ended, and thus may be anything from short paragraphs, to essays, or even poems and songs. After the event is concluded, all submissions are gathered and showcased here, to celebrate the holiday of the working class. Participants are generally submitted to receive the award, Peoples' Artist of The Internationale.
As an anarchist I am often thought of as very sectarian by most leftists solely because of my ideology. I am lumped in with those who despise any form of leftism that is not their own. It is quite unfortunate that I must explain that this is simply not the case.
Regardless of the contrast and incompatibilities of Marxism and Anarchism I see no reason for either to be hostile towards the other. I show strong solidarity with my Marxist-Leninist comrades. I celebrate the life and accomplishments of Lenin and Mao like I celebrate Makhno, and Revolutionary Catalonia. I praise the strides made towards Communism in the Soviet Union and China, and I stand by them against imperialism. I call each and every leftist my comrade and I say it sincerely even if I disagree with them.
We all have a common enemy who needs to be destroyed and I would not sacrifice the opportunity to do so. If a revolution were to start I would join it, unlike many who won’t lift a finger to show solidarity with their comrades. Because to me, the Revolution is far more important than petty sectarian nonsense. I will offer them my hand because unity only strengthens us. The liberals have no issue collaborating with the fascists when it is convenient for them, but when all leftists stand together their alliance of convenience is but an obstacle. Like all obstacles it can be overcome. Because this fight is the fight for the greater good, and to finally overcome the evil that oppresses us.
We have nothing to lose but our chains, and we will break them.
Elections are like TV serials, full time occupation of politics whatever it's supposed to be, treasons, disappointing crushes, dei ex machina, it always ends with a cliffhanger and next season will be all the more awful but the audience is made sure to watch. It hides what's behind everyday work and life: who produces, what is produced, to what end, who gives orders, to whom, to what end. Focus is the hunger for power of some puppets and wannave puppeteers.
To denounce these puppets and puppeteers, many have relied on the idea of conspiracies, of pseudo-logical explanations of how this « power » works. Power corrupts, that's right, but corrupted governments are only the consequence of a system. This system is the capitalist system. Production, relations of production, reproduction of these relations and means to it are the key to any fight against it. No reinformation, no tinfoil hat, no further fragmentation of people, one against the other, is capable to fight the conditions that capitalism set. Only internationalism, in it's wide sense, with all tendencies of the left (and for my part with a wide anarchist communist participation in it) is capable to fight, because it organizes the resistance, it organizes the oppressed, rather than relies on what some elite would do.
These struggles are multiple, that diverse ways of organizing address: unions, riots, associations, counter-powers, alternatives, cooperatives, communities, local or global resistances, global or local anticapitalists net and solidarities, historical models born form struggles… Each of these struggle forms have its theories, group name, historical sects and divisions, there may be a better moment, a better place for this one or another, but in the long run, each is a development of the international workers solidarity.
The first of may is this point of the year where all progressive movements recall that they have to unite against capitalism. It is an anarchist, an anarcho-syndicalist, a marxist, a marxian, a communist, a socialist, a mutualist history that is celebrated on this day. It is a global movement that fought and will fight again for our right to desire a better life for all, what can't be done inside capitalism. This can seem to be a walk in the park for some, but it isn't. It's the only time of the year where the mass has internationally, unconditionally, without having to launch a general strike on all continents, a hunch of what its force really is and should be on any day and any territory.
As the First of May is here once more, it is important to remember what it stands for. Because many have forgotten about its meaning while others have tried to corrupt it. The First of May has been, is and will always be about the workers and their struggles. About the sacrifices made by the working class in their struggles against the capital, against their exploiters. No reformist tendencies, no class collaborationism can change this indisputable fact.
May Day is closely linked to the Haymarket affair. 132 years afterwards, however, has anything really changed? Are we closer to an 8-hour workday nowadays? Have the workers succeeded in enforcing their demands for a better wage, for better conditions? Is the prosecution of the workers who dare to strike and protest a thing of the past? It is a testament to the deterioration of our society and the success of the bourgeoisie that 132 years after Haymarket, the same demands are still relevant. And still out of reach.
The Haymarket affair revealed to us and millions more some truths, truths that are still correct to this day. The bosses have never been the allies of the workers. The state, in its full repressive potential, has always aligned with the bourgeoisie against the oppressed. The police have always been no more than the “fist” of the state, the provocateurs, the protectors of capital. And the downtrodden have always been their targets. They will change and break every law that they espouse to hit back at anyone who can be a threat. The Chicago Eight verified that, as have numerous people since then. 132 years afterwards, nothing has changed.
May Day is the day of the workers and their struggles. Of the numerous sacrifices made in the name of bread and freedom. It is also, more generally, a day of the oppressed who fight back against their enemies, no matter who they may be. It is a day that we should always remember, for it is the day that shows that revolution isn’t a simple option, but a necessity. That class war isn’t a theory or a word with no value but a reality, confirmed by a 132-year and counting history of struggles and sacrifices, made by the oppressed against their oppressors. So, in this old and ongoing social war, only one question is relevant; which side are you on?
A spectre is haunting the world - the spectre of leftism. All the powers of the globe have united in a holy alliance in an attempt to exorcize this spectre: Dictator and President, Duterte and Macron, American police and European liberals. But these powers are failing, and have been failing for a long while. Despite all attempts by imperialists and reactionaries alike to destroy us, we have prevailed against their best efforts, and shall continue to prevail.
Why do they seek to exorcize us as a church might a befouling demon? Not because we are demons at all. They seek to keep at bay the forces that would challenge their hold on the reins of the world, because they know that their lead will take us into hotter and hotter climes which we cannot endure, yet they are too enamoured with the power that the reins bestow upon them that they refuse to relinquish them. We represent the worst of society to them, but only because we can see through the falsehoods that they have deluded even themselves into thinking is the truth. We represent neither demons nor any evil known to mankind; instead, we represent the human race's last hope of salvation before the carriage we travel on is plunged unexpectedly into a glacier of reactionary politics and repression in the extreme, where we shall be frozen and unable to rectify our situation.
This May Day is, as always, not only a day of agitation but of remembrance. We have lost many comrades, of many ideological tendencies, to the cruel machinations of the bourgeois world that attempts to close its miserly talons around us. While such martyrs are lost in the folds of history to the upper classes that repress us, or else are commodified like everything else they touch, we will never forget their struggles, and we shall never give them up. We shall fight their fights and more, and we will, inevitably, irrepressively, win.
Völker, hört die Signale! Auf zum letzten Gefecht!
Die Internationale erkämpft das Menschenrecht.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” is how the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels opens. The history of humanity has been that of endless struggle; of nations against nations, of faith against faith, of the proletariat and the peasantry against the bourgeoisie and the monarchs, of strength against hardship, of ideas against ideas, of freedom against tyranny. Our history is that of our struggles.
Long before there was any concrete ideology we demanded our freedoms at blade point and later gunpoint. No imperial boot could ever so much as hope to crush the people and the march of history, the more the tyrants kill the more that would rise up. History shows that a failed revolt is as dangerous as a successful one, those who took up arms for our liberation may be dead, but their beliefs live on. Monuments to comrades live on across the world from plaques to books, while their oppresses cling to the worst form of immortality: Hated infamy. It is the revolutionary who is held high by the people no matter how the new tyrants will twist them. We have witnessed the beginnings of victory many times and we will witness them many times more until we achieve our absolute victory.
I would like to talk about the French Revolution. Although it is a well-known historical event, its implications are often overlooked. Those days were the days that created the very roots of modern politics and society. Or, in Lenin's words, the days where decades happened. What both amazes and also saddens me about it is that nobody acknowledges the leftists' contributions in this event, even though they have brought what today's society prides themselves with. There is a core reason for this(other than capitalist propaganda), and that's the lack of unity. Comrades, it's been two centuries and through that, we have constantly had our efforts for progress stolen by the bourgeoisie, all because of our incapability to properly work together. And now, in this day and age where capitalism has hit its peak but has experienced a heavy blow by the recent events, it's the perfect time and a must to unite for the common cause, which is to dismantle what they want us to believe is the truth and nature of humanity: oppression.
The truth is essential workers are risking their lives during this worldwide pandemic without any proper compensation, and millions of other workers not deemed essential are forced to file for unemployment. They deem us essential and thank us for being “heroes”, yet they mocked us when we wanted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. They don’t remember there was a time when the 40-hour work week, eight-hour work day, time-and-a-half overtime pay, and the very idea of a federal minimum wage were considered radical, before the passing of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. All of those changes didn’t happen without strikes, protests, and workers demanding to be treated like human beings rather than money making machines. So today, May Day, we shall show solidarity to our fellow comrades on the picket line in an effort for our country to respect the worker. Nobody should have to risk their life for a company or a country that doesn’t care about them, and nobody should work 40+ hours a week and not be able to make a living. Workers of the world unite!
We report here an excerpt from the speech of Prime Minister, Brother Comrade Khoun Kiri, upon the occasion of the phenomenal May Day of 2020.
“Dearest comrades, red salute! On this fine May Day we should look back to the past epoch of socialism and its glorious achievements along the road to communism. By looking back, we can also move forward. Let us all bravely pay our respects and hail the socialist revolutions of before. We unswervingly salute the marvelous examples of the Paris Commune, the Soviet Union of Comrades Lenin & Stalin, People’s Albania under Comrade Hoxha, and Red China under Chairman Mao. These fantastic advances have bestowed to us experiences to excitingly and diligently learn from. We must take to heart all important lessons, be they positive and negative, if we dare to successfully make revolution today and liberate the world.
We are proud to be communists. We will always be communists. Communism means human liberation, it means global emancipation. On this happy May Day, we hail the brilliant path laid out by Marx, Lenin, and Mao, who have granted us the highest, most elevated stage of communism, and we daringly set out to win the struggle against colonialism and imperialism. The international situation is extremely favorable. We have strategic confidence in the broad masses of people in their ability and world-historic duty in ousting the oppressors from their thrones and realizing red political power on every corner of the globe. In our iron bastion of Red Petana, we now bravely march onwards to all-round socialist construction and development, to far surpass the past and achieve the unreachable. Nothing is impossible if we dare to scale to heights!
Dear fine comrades, we bravely raise our fists up high without a shred of fear or reservation. We are always resistant, always standing up. We never cower, we fear nothing! Nothing! We are proud communists, proud revolutionaries, proud laborers! Nothing stands in our way, not the littlest ant nor the strongest titan. We are the formidable, the impenetrable. We have tilled the land and plowed the prairies. It is none other than we, the great masses of people, the bearers of communist revolution, that have built the vast cities and the countryside, that have built the wide foundations of the world. Let us make a clean slate! It is we, the people, that have made the very rope, that have purchased the very rope, that we will use to hang the capitalist nemeses. The world is ours for the taking, we will conquer the world!
Let the blear-eyed oppressors bawl their weary dead eyes out! Let the exploiters and oppressors rot, we are cheerfully their gravediggers! We watch with joy as this moribund system collapses, for it is we that are pushing it to the brink and beyond! Armed with the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we will endlessly and forever triumph above our sworn enemies and successfully win victories. It is the common aspirations of the world proletariat to free itself and the world. Now is the time!
This is the sacred day of the international proletariat. Shoulder-to-shoulder, let us unite to win greater victories! Today is the day to organize and agitate, to regroup and rebuild anew. Let revolution resound, let the people’s voice resound! Develop onwards to the strategic offensive of the world proletarian revolution! Uphold, defend, and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
Glory to the people’s war!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Power to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!”
Hello, comrades, in the name of the holiday, I will be talking about the first country to adopt the ideas of Marx, and that is, of course, the Paris Commune. The Paris Commune was established in Paris (capital of France) that e used form 18 March 1871 to 28 May the same year. The Commune was established after the Franco-Prussian War, and the collapse of the Second French Empire and the creation of the 3rd Republic. During the war, Paris was put under siege, and was defended by radical troops of the National Guard, rather than a regular army. In February, 1871, the Chief Executive of France signed a armistice with Prussia that dismantled the Army, but not the National Guard. On the 18 of March of the same year, soldiers of the Commune's National Guard killed 2 French generals, and the Commune refused to accept the authority of the French Government. The commune governed Paris for 2 months, and sadly it was suppressed by the French Army during the bloody week, which began on 21 May 1871. The leader of the Paris commune was Adolphe Thiers. Thank you for reading this article about the Paris Commune. Long live the revolution, comrades, and a happy holiday.
On this May Day, I would like to talk about the much-overlooked Kurdish people; the largest ethnic group without a state to call their own.
"A society can never be free without women’s liberation"
- Abdullah Öcalan, the founding leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
To the oppressed Kurdish people in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The Kurdish people have been martyred since the beginning of their struggle during the Ottoman Empire. In the 1970s, the Kurdish people of Iraq gained their independence and thus created Iraqi Kurdistan.
In 2012, the Kurdish people of Syria began to develop the autonomous state of Rojava, where all ethnic groups (Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Yazidis, Armenians, etc.) of Syria, could call home. Their military, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which consisted of many ethnic groups, successfully drove ISIS out of their land. Then in 2018, Operation Olive Branch commenced and the Turkish oppression of the Kurdish people spread from Turkey into Syria with the capture of Afrin. Since then the state of Rojava or the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has been chopped up by bigger powers ergo Turkey and Russia.
With the American withdrawal from Syria in 2019, the Kurdish people were thrown to the wolves and forced to make deals with dictators. Erdogan and Putin both benefit from the American withdrawal. The oppression of the Kurdish people continues to this day and liberation is a dream that seems farther and farther out of reach. Fear not, the Kurdish people are survivors and fighters and are good at resisting oppression from those who want them dead.
Biji Rojava! (Long Live Rojava!)
Sehid Namirin! (Martyrs Never Die!)
Happy May Day, comrades!
Today, I wanted to share with you one of the great inspirations of Marxist ideas: none other than Spartacus himself, a Roman gladiator who led an army of slaves in the Third Servile War of 73 B.C. , in revolt against slavery and the Roman oligarchy.
There are many sources online and books regarding this figure, so i'll do my best to provide a short and sweet snippet of information about him.
He was born in Thracia, which nowadays would be northeastern Greece, was taken in as a slave by the Roman legions and was forced to become a gladiator in Capua, in southeastern Italy.
He and 70 other slaves managed to escape, seizing several wagons of food and weapons, and retreated to the pendices of Mount Vesuvius.
Here, after having recruited an estimated number of 70.000 slaves to their cause (!) , they managed to fend off not one, but three attacks by separate battle-hardened Roman legions.
Plutarch, a Greek biographer, noted that Spartacus was an excellent tactician, managing to equip new recruits, expand his territories and maintain discipline without any experience in commanding armies.
His final battle took place in 71 B.C. in Senerchia: on the battlefield, found armor and swords suggest that he died, although his body was never found.
Although modern historians are still debating his true motives, Plutarch claims that his ultimate goal was to bring all of his men to safety into the Cisalpine Gaul, letting them live new lives free from slavery.
Comrade Marx said about him: "the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history" and " a great general, noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat".
Spartacus remains an icon of resistance in the face of tyranny in southern Italy, and his name can often be found tagged onto the walls.
It is important to remember that, although he was one of the first, he wouldn't be the last to fight for freedom, and that his example should light our spirits as we fight for worker's rights nowadays.
The history of organized labor in the U.S. is usually not thought or well know so that is why I have decided to highlight the struggle at Haymarket Square, Chicago on May 4, 1886. Around three thousand workers where on strike, demanding eight hour work days. Near the end of the rally a bomb exploded injuring sixty-six police, seven died latter. In response the police fired upon the crowd, eight anarchist where arrested for inciting the bombing. Howard Zen stated "The evidence against the eight anarchist was their ideas, their literature; none had been at Haymarket that day except Fielden, who was speaking when the bomb exploded." (A People's History of the United States, pg.271). All where found guilty and 7 sentenced to death, the Oscar Neebe received a 15 year prison sentence. As a result four anarchist where hanged a year latter: Albert Parsons, Augusts Spies, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel. Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison rather then being executed. As a result of a petition six year latter the Governor of Illinois pardoned Samuel Fielden the pastor who spoke at the rally, Oscar Neebe, and Michael Schwab. The bomber has never been identified.