Ken, an educator from Ontario and a member of the Cross-Canada Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, sent a letter to the World Socialist Web Site explaining why he plans on attending the International May Day Online Rally. The rally will take place at 3 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, May 1, register here to participate.
May Day is an important day for workers around the world. Unlike civic or national holidays that celebrate the state or notable individuals, May Day honors the international working class. This year, under conditions of a major European war that is escalating daily, a confrontation between nuclear powers is becoming more likely. Humanity is being dragged to the brink of a third world war. The world’s working class must come to the fore as the only progressive social force capable of preventing a European tragedy from turning into a worldwide catastrophe.
This year’s May Day occurs at a perilous time in human history.
Workers are under constant attack by those who rule over them on every continent. They are divided from other workers around the world through a myriad of chauvinisms. Yet they all have much in common. The lives of workers are growing more precarious with each passing day. In the developed world, people are starting to feel the pinch of rising fuel and food prices due to out-of-control inflation. Paychecks are not keeping up with the cost of living. Even those lucky enough to have good jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet. The ones who toil on minimum wages are forced to make difficult choices between feeding their children or paying the electricity bill.
Workers in the developing world face a much harsher reality. War in Ukraine and the fallout from the all-out economic sanctions warfare waged by the West against Russia is being felt around the world. For workers in Sri Lanka, the economic crisis has become acute. Shortages of the basics are affecting millions of workers. In other countries, the likelihood of food shortages and starvation are coming into sharp focus. Workers without sufficient resources are in dire straits. Governments’ inability to address these fundamental issues of life and death demonstrates that the global capitalist system is in extreme crisis.
To distract from the domestic problems of a never ending pandemic and grotesque levels of social inequality, the ruling classes of the Western powers are planning World War Three behind the backs of their citizens. There is no way out for declining western economic hegemony and the capitalist system other than war and the creation of a fake national unity focused on the Russian bogeyman. Every worker must now hate the Russians. Athletes, musicians, and ballerinas are no longer allowed to compete. Everything Russian is now censored.
Instead of ending the pandemic and addressing the staggering levels of social inequality, we are given George Orwell’s two minutes of hate daily to vent our frustration and divert our anger. Calls of Russian war crimes! Russian genocide! Russian aggression! Russian imperialism! The hypocrisy emanating from the West knows no bounds. All the while thousands of workers die every day from a preventable disease—COVID-19. We are told to mourn the deaths of Ukrainian children, while sitting by silently as billions of dollars are funneled to a suspect regime in Kiev in a giant war profiteering bonanza. For workers there is no relief from disease and inflation. The condescending ruling classes tell workers to shut up, eat less, and be cold for the cause of freedom and democracy.
A tsunami of lies and war propaganda amplified by the western media and repeated over and over is intended to pummel workers into submission. Workers are abused daily to accept a singular narrative that they must prepare for more war and lower standards of living. Billions are given away in weapons. No other opinion is allowed to be expressed. Voices of opposition to the narrative of war and austerity are silenced and removed from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
The horrific war in Ukraine has many villains—among them Vladimir Putin, but also extreme right-wing nationalists and outright Nazis embedded in the Ukrainian government, military, and security apparatus. Both have committed war crimes. However, the greatest villains can be found in Washington’s State Department, the NATO military alliance, the heinous war profiteers in the armaments industry, privileged ivy league think tank ideologues, a servile and subservient corporate media, a sterile and unquestioning academia, and a repugnant, moralizing, shallow, liberal, affluent upper middle class. All these forces are enemies of the world’s working class. Members of this warmongering minority seek to drag the workers of the world into a catastrophic world war. None of them speak for workers. All of them support Western imperialism and its relentless drive for global hegemony. They are the manifestations of a ruling elite gone mad.
I am attending the May Day rally because I am a worker. I have been gaslit by a ruling class in Canada that is helping to inflame tensions in Europe and is recklessly pursuing an aggressive imperial pro war policy. This must be stopped! Workers have no interest in supporting imperialist wars. Workers in Canada have no issues with workers in Russia, Ukraine, China, Iran, or in any other country. The solution to war is not more weapons or more war. Instead of working to cool off the situation, reckless governments in the NATO alliance have flooded the world with weapons, squandered resources, and transferred obscene amounts of wealth from the working class to the ruling class.
Lastly, the economic sanctions against Russia are a direct assault on the global working class. Workers face ruin for the decisions made by a tiny cabal of capitalist criminals. This May Day, stand with the international working class against militarism and imperialism! Say no to war and the social and economic suffering that is being unleashed on hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Fight for socialism and the unity of the world’s working class. We are a part of the most powerful social force on Earth.
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- Workers and youth in Sri Lanka support International Online May Day Rally
- The Challenge of May Day 2022: For the International Unity of the Working Class against Capitalism, National Chauvinism and War!