The First of May is the day when the workers’ movement celebrates its internationalism, and affirms the unity of their class across all boundaries. The Socialist Party of Great Britain celebrate the day in those terms. But the tradition has been debased by modern realities.
Mayday as a cultural event seems to be dying. It has become increasingly dissociated from the cultural horizon of the vast majority of the working class. If they demonstrate on Mayday at all it is for the wrong motives. Mayday has fallen into the hands of the Labour hierarchy and its trade-unionist minions, and has become a celebration of their organisations, a day for Labourite triumph and self-congratulation, an act of lick-spittlery, and kow-towing to their political masters .The reason why Mayday has become dissociated from relevance and meaning to most working class lives is that the bodies associated with it, and with the whole way of life it typifies, have become divorced from the lived and meaningful experience of most workers. The process is one of continual removal of the working class from any real control over their own economic lives, alienating institutions they created into state domination. As such people become increasingly alienated from the cultural manifestations of workerdom, enabling Labour and their union lackeys to make Mayday their day.
However, all need not be lost. Remembering that 364 days a year belong to their employers, workers can take steps towards wrenching Mayday from the grasp of alienated union officialdom, and making Mayday our day once more.Mayday belongs to the workers. Although that means admitting that the rest of the year belongs to the capitalists it also means that we know who we are.That Mayday is commemorated by workers across the globe reminds us that we have a world to win and that we can win it.The task confronting us is to build up a union of the working class, organised to put an end to the property system that divides and oppresses
1st May, 2010 SOYMB