Australian workers and youth have responded enthusiastically to the World Socialist Web Site’s forthcoming May Day rally and the struggle to revive the revolutionary traditions of the international workers’ day (see: International May Day 2014).
The online event is being held as the Obama administration steps up its military encirclement of China, or so-called “pivot to Asia,” and expands its provocations in Ukraine against Russia. Washington’s operations threaten to escalate into a catastrophic military conflict and nuclear war.
Those participating in the May Day event from Australia voiced their concerns about the dangers of war. Others spoke about the crisis of global capitalism and the corporate media bias, and said the working class must be unified around a socialist and internationalist perspective.
Ashley, a 17-year-old Sydney high school student, decided to join the rally in order to “support working-class solidarity and fight against the danger of imperialist war.” She has been reading the WSWS for six months.
“The aims of US imperialism have become evident to me through the WSWS’s analysis of recent events in Ukraine, and the US and German backing of a fascistic government. Over the last two decades, US imperialism has intervened in numerous countries which didn’t comply directly with its interests.”
Ashley continued: “The revival of militarism and celebration of World War I in Australia are indicative of preparations for war.” She pointed to the Abbott government’s $12.4 billion purchase of 58 US fighter jets. “This is further worrying evidence of the preparation for war.”
Ashley said she was inspired by the International Committee of the Fourth International, which “provides a solution, the only viable perspective.” She continued: “Based on the historical strategic experiences of the working class, it fights to build an anti-war movement on an internationalist, socialist basis. The International May Day online rally is an event which opposes destructive nationalism in a time of the threat of all-out war.”
John, from Perth, the Western Australian capital, said he was worried about the ongoing crisis of global capitalism and the dangers now facing workers internationally.
“The capitalist system is in a bad state,” he said. “Greece is technically bankrupt, with six million people totally dependent on welfare and youth unemployment up to 60 percent. In Spain, it could be 70 percent.
“May Day is being buried under the issues of the day—fads and the latest crazes… The original meaning of the event was for the workers’ revolution, but May Day marches in Western Australia are about ‘jobs for Western Australia.’ This is a political trend. And if it continues travelling uninterrupted to the right, it could end up like the fascist Golden Dawn in Greece.
“The May Day rally is an important way to have an impact and the message should be to change the current system. We need to reach far more people and the website is a way of doing this.”
Isobel, a retired nurse from Western Australia, explained that she met the Trotskyist movement in Britain at a young age and supported its internationalist perspective. “I understood—even in 1968 after the May-June events in France and later on in the Middle East—that workers need an international organisation that fights for world revolution, not just national struggles…
“The May Day rally is a vital initiative and one that should be oriented toward young people. It is important for the Socialist Equality Party to reach the youth and revive the revolutionary traditions of May Day.
“Young people should really grasp the significance of the Russian Revolution—that the working class can rise up and take the power. I defend this revolution and young people should defend it as well.”
Shanta from Melbourne said the May Day rally was “a step toward preparing the international working class to face the present-day world crisis.
“One hundred years since the First World War we are on the brink of a nuclear war, which could mark the end of the human civilisation. The present-day democracy boasted by the ruling elites provides opportunities for the rich to invest anywhere they wish, shifting capital all over the world by just touching a computer key.
“Under the name of the same democracy, the working poor of the world are forced into national states against their wish, creating cheap labour platforms all over the world, such as Brazil, Eastern Europe, Middle East, India and China. What we witness is democracy for the rich not the democracy of the poor.”
Aaron from Perth said he was concerned about the “relentless propaganda bombardment” from the mainstream media. “Nearly all the information we receive from the corporate media is saturated with agenda and bias, and quite often outright lies and hypocrisy.
“I’m very angered by the savage mistruths the commercial media tout to the general public, particularly when many people don’t think to question this, and they’re told to focus on distractive subjects, such as gay marriage, the Royal family and individual, parochial and identity issues.
“It is only since learning about the Socialist Equality Party and WSWS that I have been able to find an informative antidote to the unpalatable bile which is presented to me by every other information source in the commercial world. This is the reason I’ve registered to join the May Day Online Rally and will continue to follow the WSWS.”
Daminda, a first-year biomedicine student from Melbourne University, said the rally would warn workers and youth about the danger of world war.
“I’ve got to campaign for this event. I can’t think of anything more important than increasing the awareness of young people about the international situation. There is a profound relevance for everyone. The only way to prevent a world war with nuclear weapons is through the international unity of workers.
“I don’t think young people know much about what is happening. They know that Australia is aligned with the US, probably for some kind of benefit in return. They probably know that the US is aggressive. If you just saw the news, you would think that the US was involved in legitimate disputes with Ukraine and with others.
“Young people must understand how the contradictions of capitalism are leading to war. They need to see that these have led to world wars during the 20th century; they need to see that the same problems are here today and are leading to conflict, but with modern weaponry this time; and they also need to see the real reasons behind the war-mongering of their governments.
“It is not just about national pride, or about doing the right thing for your country or protecting international law. These wars are about profit, maintaining the capitalist system.”
Steve, a retired warehouse worker from Melbourne, said he was “revolted by the nationalism and patriotism of the Anzac Day march and the obscuring of the reasons for World War I.” He said he registered for the May Day rally because he wanted to “connect with our brothers and sisters around the world…The threat of war in Ukraine makes it urgently necessary to unify with the Ukrainian, Russian, German and US working class. The WSWS is the only medium for workers to do this. The only force that is going to build an international anti-war movement is the Fourth International.”