The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) and the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) held an international online rally on Saturday to mark May Day 2020. Speakers from eleven countries addressed the livestreamed event, which was followed by an audience from throughout the world.
The May Day 2020 rally took place under conditions of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed the lives, according to official countries, of approximately a quarter of a million people worldwide.
The May Day rally featured speakers from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Brazil, Costa Rica and Canada.
Over 3,000 people watched all or part of the rally online live, and more than 4,200 people have viewed it on YouTube since. The full video can be watched here.
The rally, which began at 11:00 am US Eastern Time, was introduced and moderated by Norissa Santa Cruz, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for US Vice President in the 2020 elections. Norissa welcomed the workers and young people from around the world in attendance and introduced each of the speakers.
David North, the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the US and chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, gave the opening address to the rally and placed the present global crisis in historical context.
“The pandemic is a historic event that is exposing the economic, political, social and moral bankruptcy of capitalist society,” North said. “It is laying bare the unbridgeable chasm that exists between the corporate-financial oligarchs that control and determine the policies of capitalist governments and the needs and interests of the working class.”
In summing up the conclusions that the international working class must draw from to COVID-19 crisis, North said, “The pandemic is a world experience, requiring a world solution. In the fight against the coronavirus, issues of race, ethnicity, nationality and gender fade into insignificance. The struggle against the pandemic demands the surmounting of all national barriers that inhibit the productive and progressive collaboration of humanity.”
Rally participants posted comments to the online discussion during the event. Some participants posted greetings to the rally and others provided more extensive comments. One worker posted: “Yes—these deaths are a fact of life under capitalism. The essence of the lie is that this is independent of the political system in power. Socialism will put the needs of the masses first and prevent the immense suffering we are going through now and plan a future where science is used to end human suffering.”
Another viewer wrote, “Watching Trotskyist leaders on my telly is the ‘new normal.’ If there were any doubt, the ICFI is the only political force on the planet capable of organising the international working class for the revolutionary overthrow of the detested, outmoded and rotten capitalist profit system. Forward to socialism join and build the SEP in your country.”
A worker from New York wrote: “As a member of the working class, I am terrified. Many of us are frightened and angry. We have waited 6 weeks for unemployment benefits and told by [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo to just get essential work and ‘sacrifice’ ourselves. Many are starting to realize that the ruling class does not care if we live or die. Essential workers already have been sacrificed and soon more of us will follow. We (the working class) have to do something. The issue is many of us feel intimidated by academic language because the ruling class has led us to believe that we are uneducated and dumb. We are not!”
The event on May 2 marked an important milestone in the history of the international socialist movement. While the ICFI has held international online May Day rallies for the past six years, marking the international holiday of the working class, this is the first time that the speakers were streamed in a live video from each of the countries where they were located.
The first-time participation in the international online May Day rally of speakers from Turkey, Brazil and Costa Rica shows the growing support for the program of world socialist revolution fought for by the ICFI, the world Trotskyist movement.
Over the next days, we will be publishing the transcripts of each of the May Day rally speeches on the WSWS. Today, we begin with the opening report by David North, National Chairman of the SEP (US) and Chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS and the remarks by Tom Peters of the Socialist Equality Group in New Zealand.