Representatives from more than 55 countries have signed up so far to participate in the May 4 International May Day Online Rally, organized by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site.
The historic online event has been called to reclaim the revolutionary socialist traditions of May Day and to organize an international movement of the working class against imperialist war, inequality and dictatorship.
The rally is being held amidst the intensifying campaign led by the United States and Germany against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. A US and EU-backed coup in Ukraine in February has been followed by a series of provocations that threaten to spark a war between nuclear-armed powers, with incalculable consequences.
“The response to the International May Day Rally reflects growing anger all around the world at the reckless actions of the political representatives of the corporations and banks,” said Socialist Equality Party (US) National Secretary Joseph Kishore. “We call on all readers of the WSWS and all those who are looking for a way to fight back to sign up today to participate in the first ever global online May Day rally.”
Many of those registering at internationalmayday.org have left statements explaining why they plan on attending. Steve, from Kansas City, Missouri, writes that participating in the online rally “is the most important thing a person can do for a movement of the working class.” Asoka, from Kandy, Sri Lanka, said he wants to “give my support to the world socialist movement.”
“I am attending to add my voice to the call for the end of capitalism and a beginning of democracy,” wrote Andrew, from the US state of Georgia.
Derrick, in Wellington, New Zealand wrote, “May Day is not just a workers’ celebration. It is an expression of the consciousness of the working class. The WSWS campaign for an international rally under the slogans, ‘Fight for social equality! Defend democratic rights! Stop the drive to war! For the international unity of the working class!’ is a struggle to lift up the consciousness of workers and youth around the world in preparation for the great class struggles ahead.”
Over the weekend, supporters of the Socialist Equality Party in the US campaigned throughout the country to talk to workers and young people about the May Day rally, the attack on the working class and the danger of war against Russia.
Many workers stopped to speak to a campaign team in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood. Jackoby, a hotel worker, explained the conditions motivating him to participate in the May Day Rally. “The banks are taking from the workers, and it’s getting worse. The government doesn’t care about the people. I voted for Obama, but he gave money to the banks and the car companies. Many were thinking he would change things, but he made it worse.
“It looks like it is close to war in Europe. It is none of the US’s business. Ukraine and Russia did a lot of business together. The US created the problem over there, and it doesn’t want to stop. The CIA is doing it.”
Samuel Morgan, a retired mechanical engineer, said, “I don’t want war. I don’t believe in war. I believe in the unity of all peoples and races.” He added, “The economy is in bad shape now. I used to get $200 in food stamps, and now I get $189. I have to cut down on expenses. I have to eat less.”
Charles, a young worker who registered for the rally, said, “I’m paying attention to what is going on. I don’t know the full truth, but I know there is a truth. The US will attack Russia. It’s the rich people doing this. Frankly, I think they set up 9/11, and that they are going to do something like that again. The working class has to unite, and we should get this started. Don’t wait until explosions go off and it’s too late.”
At Detroit’s Eastern Market, Melissa, a graduate student in cultural studies, said, “I think the May Day rally really is a great idea. We all need to work together from different countries if we want peace in the world.
“I am very anti-war. I feel it is very unnecessary. Many people in America are not familiar with socialism, and the government takes advantage of that to try to scare them, particularly by trying to associate it with Russia. They even talk about Obama being socialist. He really isn’t. In fact he is very much in favor of the corporations.
“Me and my friends were talking about this earlier. I think it is really important to celebrate the working class. Detroit was founded on the working class with the auto industry.”
In Chicago, James spoke to a campaign team about the extremely high levels of social inequality in the US. “Inequality is intentional. It is the result of people with the means to concentrate wealth at the top,” which workers “don't have the means to counter.”