Hundreds of people from more than 60 countries around the world have signed up to join the May 3 International May Day Online Rally. The rally is being held at 2:00 PM US Eastern Time and broadcast simultaneously throughout the world at internationalymayday.org.
The rally has been called by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site to organize the international working class against imperialist war and the capitalist system.
WSWS reporters and campaigners spoke to workers and young people throughout the US and internationally over the past several days. In conversations workers and youth expressed anger over deteriorating social conditions, war and the attack on democratic rights.
Jamaica Center, Queens in New York City is an area that includes many native-born American workers as well as immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent.
Irmiya, who works with developmentally disabled adults, signed up to join the rally. “The way I see it, the problem is that a few people control all the resources; they own the land, the coal and oil, gold. They own it all with international banks. Their motivation is greed. They are greedy for themselves. The one percent control more than the 99 percent, but this way it is not sustainable.”
Russell took a May Day leaflet and came back to talk to a WSWS reporter. “It is crazy that government is doing this. We vote for them, and they make war anyway. They went over to Iraq after the World Trade Center attack, but it really was all for the oil. They did not say it was really for that. It is a problem that people are not standing up for their rights. If everybody got together, the government could be changed.”
Steve, a young worker and a part time student living near York, Pennsylvania, said he registered and will be joining the rally. “It’s distressing. All you see is drone strikes here, bombings there. Just on the news today, an American and Italian citizen were killed by a drone strike.
“I read that they call Europe ‘fortress Europe’ now and are setting up all blockades to keep immigrants out,” he added. “It makes no sense. They claim they are for human rights, but you have helpless people coming there, and they are just letting them drown.”
On police violence in the US, Steve said, “It comes down to poverty. They are gentrifying Chicago, kicking workers out and building multi-million dollar buildings for the wealthy. Now, you have these police being given assault rifles and other weapons, combined with latent racism, and something is going to happen. Police are there to enforce the laws, and if the laws favor the capitalist class they are going to favor them. They are going to enforce people being deprived of water if it’s shut off.”
Garrett, a student at University of Pittsburgh, said, “I’m attending the May Day Rally because it’s meant to bring together the working class that is subjected to the world’s problems. We are one species. It’s not like Chinese are any different from Polish or African. We speak different languages, but we’ve overcome that barrier. As different as we are, the proletariat in every country is being exploited.”
Sean, a Verizon worker in Pennsylvania with over 20 years, said, “The US is in one war after another. We are not helping these people- we are creating destruction. For 25 years there has been non-stop war in the Middle East. It doesn’t matter whether it is a Democrat or Republican president. All they care about is controlling that region because of the oil, they don’t care about the people whose lives are being destroyed.
“Now the government is provoking Russia and building up against China. This could lead to a third world war. The international working class has to unite against war. We are all the same, trying to make a living and support our families.”
John, a photographer living in Thailand, said that he participated in the rally last year and was looking forward to taking part again. “The online May Day is creating the conditions for the development of a leadership on a global scale. There is no other movement that could organize such an event. It is bringing people together under one banner to develop solutions and answers based on internationalism.”
John commend on the so-called pivot to Asia by the Obama administration aimed at encircling China. “It portends extreme dangers for the planet. They think they can continue on their way and not meet resistance. However, it could lead to a catastrophic situation.”
WSWS supporters campaigning for the rally outside the Detroit Institute of Arts spoke to a young Yemeni-American worker. “I am against wars,” he said. “They are bombing Yemen. It is outrageous. Saudi Arabia is attacking everyone. It is all under the table by the Americans to get the oil.
“My parents still live there. They say they are still bombing, and it is coming close to them. They can’t leave the city and go to a village because of the bombing.”
He described the conditions for workers in Yemen. “Working people are trying to get by with whatever they have. If you live in the cities it is hard to find food. Since 2010 inflation has gone up terribly.”
Theresa and Jennifer, also from Detroit, both registered for the rally. Theresa, an artist, said, “I am all for it. We need to oppose war. We need a strong voice. I don’t think it is a solution for us to launch wars against other countries and ignore the consequences.”
Jennifer, a seamstress, added, “The wars the US has launched have nothing to do with saving the Iraqi people or the people of Yemen. It is all for profit.
“We treat everyone outside the US as disposable. For this government it is inconsequential who lives or dies, but everyday people don’t want to kill each other.
“My daughter is a teacher in Florida,” Jennifer added. “She sees it all the time; the haves and the have-nots. She works in a lower income area, and her budget for the whole year is $57. She is making rock bottom wages and still has to buy classroom supplies out of that money.
“They don’t want children to be educated. Children are the lowest priority.”
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, WSWS supporters spoke to workers and youth in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
“Greed, greed, greed. It’s all about greed,” Robe said. “All the rich people are trying to get richer, one country trying to top everyone else. That’s why they fight—for gold, for oil, for money. It’s all about money. Money is everything.”
In Irvine, California, campaigners spoke to Tim and Meng, both originally from Cambodia. They talked about the impact of the economic crisis and rising tuition.
Tim is a senior studying political science and sociology at UCI. “Tuition is almost $15,000 a year at the UC campuses. Four years ago when I started here, it was $9,000. I’m very lucky that I was able to get financial aid and work/study because my parents don’t make enough. I heard that the regents voted to raise the tuition again something like 25 percent over the next five years.
“My parents work very hard. They own a doughnut shop in LA. My dad wakes up at midnight and opens the store at 3:00 a.m. He’s never had a day off, and he’s been doing this for over 20 years. They have to take care of myself and my two siblings.”
Meng is studying business economics. “I’m kind of in the same boat. My parents can’t support me, but my brother does. He owns a doughnut shop in Long Beach, and he sleeps all day and works at night. When our family came from Cambodia several years ago, my brother was 18. So he didn’t get to go to high school. He started working right away.”
Vijay, a WSWS supporter from India, said, “The whole world is in crisis. There is the growth of militarism by the major powers. The imperialist powers have surrounded China economically and militarily. This goes alongside the moves by NATO to conduct military exercises on the border of Russia, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.
“The online May Day is an historic event that was started last year. I am proud to be part of it.”