With just over a week left before the May 4 International May Day Online Rally, organized by the International Committee of the Fourth International, registrations continue to come in from throughout the world.
The rally is being held amidst an intensifying geopolitical crisis, set off by the US and European-backed coup in Ukraine. The Obama administration is seizing on the crisis to escalate tensions with Russia, threatening war between nuclear armed powers for the first time in history. (See: “Does Washington want war with Russia?”)
Reflecting the widespread hostility to these war plans, as well as the massive growth of social inequality, workers and World Socialist Web Site readers from more than 50 countries have signed up to participate at internationalmayday.org. Many left comments explaining why they plan on attending.
“The working class is the great majority of the population, but in order to win it must organize,” wrote Aleksandar, from Toronto, Canada. “May Day, the historic labor holiday worldwide, may once again become a global day of remembrance and celebration,” said Jonathan, from Washington, DC, the US capital.
Responding to the question asking why he was registering, Serge, from Brussels, Belgium, simply responded, “Why does a thirsty man reach for water?”
Subhankar, from Kolkata, India declared, “Solidarity with the world’s working class movement!”
“I’m attending this rally because I firmly believe in the need for international proletarianism, as well as the potential that socialism has to offer a better world and a critique of the current one,” wrote Luke from Malta.
Supporters of the ICFI have been campaigning among workers and students to discuss the significance of the May Day rally.
In the US state of Michigan, a campaign team distributed leaflets and spoke to autoworkers outside the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. Campaigners encountered deep anger over the war preparations against Russia.
One worker told the WSWS, “I hope we don’t go to war with Russia, but that seems to be the direction we’re headed. The news can be disgusting to watch sometimes. There’s no way the US government cares about its citizens.
“Iraq and Afghanistan are third world countries, and the US knocked the heck out them without a second thought. Now they’re turning to Russia? They’ve got nukes; that makes this an even more dangerous situation. Workers need to put a stop to this.”
Another veteran Warren Truck worker said about the danger of war with Russia, “I don’t agree with what is going on. It is very dangerous. When corporations run the government you are a step away from fascism.
“I don’t think we have any business over there. We just got back from slaughtering how many people in Afghanistan? To think, Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize. It was the Nobel BS prize if you ask me. He is a warmonger like the rest of them.”
About working conditions in the US, he added, “They’re squeezing us dry in there. I’m so hurting and tired I can barely even think about this stuff. One thing I know for sure, though, another big war is the last thing we need.”
Chris, a veteran Chrysler worker, said, “This is just like before World War I and World War II, which started in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The European Union and Russia are in a confrontation. Why is the US involved and siding with the EU?
“These wars are always for those with big money. I support your May Day rally to unite workers against war.”
Another worker with 20 years at Chrysler said, “There’s a war going on all over. It’s a war against the workers. I’ve been saying for years that the UAW was in bed with the company, and that we need a new organization to defend ourselves.”
“It’s crazy,” another worker said about the US landing troops in Poland and threatening war with Russia. “This would be like Iraq—a war for the oil companies that are charging us $4 a gallon for gas. They always want us to look somewhere else for the source of our problems when they are robbing us right here.”
Another young, second-tier worker making half the wages of the older workers, said, “I don’t have any beef with the Russians. Why do we want to fight them when we are not paid enough to live here?”
At the New School in New York City, a campaign team spoke to Joe, who explained why he was registering. “I am worried about the effects of a globalized economy and how it affects job security and workers’ rights.
“The divide is growing between people with a lot of money and the rest of society, so people cannot be united. The support for the government is at an all time low, and people are not engaged in politics. They feel like political events don’t affect them or that they can’t do anything about it.
“I would like to educate myself more about any organization that seeks to unite the working class. That is the main reason I registered for the May Day rally.”