May Day 2009
Workers and Peoples Worldwide
Workers and peoples worldwide demonstrated for rights on May Day, International Day of Working Class Struggle and Unity. Everywhere, workers brought their demands for rights to the fore, as well as their alternatives to the economic crisis and wars of the rich. Tens of millions of people united and strengthened their organized resistance to win change that favors the people. Worldwide, across the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe, determined actions against imperialism and the anti-social offensive of the big powers took place. Everywhere workers rejected the demands to sacrifice for the rich and took their stand for the respect and dignity of labor. The demand of the working class for the new, for new societies consistent with the needs of the times, was clear (see May 4 update for photos of actions worldwide and in the U.S.).
In the United States, workers, with immigrants in the fore, carried out militant actions on May Day. On Friday, May 1, tens of thousands marched for rights, demonstrating in dozens of cities across the country. Many of the speeches and signs were in English and Spanish, as well as Chinese, while flags from many countries were also present, reflecting the internationalist spirit of the working class.
The marches and rallies called for equal rights for all, legalization of the undocumented, an end to the raids and deportations, and an end to the unjust wars of U.S. imperialism. In major cities like Chicago and New York City, government officials tried to get organizers to cancel their actions, using the excuse of the swine flu “epidemic.” Organizers firmly rejected these efforts and denounced them as racist and anti-worker. Instead, they militantly marched, banners high, representing their many collectives in the common fight to build alternatives that favor the people.
New York City
Workers and activists from NYC and surrounding areas, Buffalo,and New Jersey joined together for a spirited May Day march. Intermittent torrential rains drenched the demonstrators, but could not dampen their spirits. Thousands gathered and marched, waving colorful flags and holding beautiful banners. A festive air — complete with dancers, musicians and drummers — mixed with a defiant, determined mood: Equal Rights for All! Legalization Now! Struggle Against War, Racism, Exploitation and Injustice! Affirm Immigrant and Workers’ Rights! One Humanity, One Struggle!
There was a kickoff rally at Union Square — historic site of many May Day gatherings — and then a march down Broadway to the Federal Building in Foley Square. A transit workers who spoke in Foley Square expressed the common spirit of all, saying “All workers — in unions or not, with papers or not — unite!"
Organized collectives of day laborers and street vendors came from Hempstead, Long Island; Queens; the Bronx; Manhattan; Staten Island and Freehold, New Jersey. Their bold T-shirts and banners captured the spirit of the day: Esperanza del Barrio (Hope of the Barrio), Vamos Unidos – Vendedores Ambulantes Movilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad (Street Vendors Mobilizing and Organizing in Solidarity), Centro de Derechos Laborales (Center for Workers’ Rights), No Raids Committee, and NICE (New Immigrant Community Empowerment). Workers from the many countries present, including El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Senegal and the Philippines also had their flags and banners held high. As workers repeatedly said, rain, government threats and attacks on immigrants, will not stop our fight for rights!
Perhaps the largest single march was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where more than 25,000 people came out. As a local participant reported, “Despite a bad economy, inclement weather, concerns about swine flu, and false rumors that the march had been cancelled, the march snowballed from 100 to 1,000 to 20,000 to almost 30,000 as it wound its way from Milwaukee’s Southside across the 6th street viaduct bridge, through downtown and into Veteran’s Park.” In addition to a large turnout from the Latino community, marchers included union workers and students from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Among the youth banners was one saying, Solidarity with all immigrants — No human being is illegal! — a common stand of actions across the country. The main banner expressed the spirit of the action, “Statewide Immigrant and Labor Rights March.”
Detroit and Chicago
About eight thousand workers, many immigrants, and their allies rallied in southwest Detroit on May Day. The rally started at Patton Park and ended at Clark Park in the heart of the Mexican-American community. Demonstrators held signs saying, Stop the Raids, Legalize Hard Work, and No Human is Illegal. Large banners said Immigration Reform Now! Moratorium to Stop All Foreclosures! A firm stand was taken against government raids and deportation. For fiscal year 2008, 7,514 immigrants in Michigan and Ohio were deported, compared to 4,144 in fiscal year 2007, an 81 percent increase. Compared to 2005, when 2,243 immigrants were deported, that is a 235 percent increase. Marches called for an end to deportations and immediate legalization for all.
The Chicago May 1 march drew many thousands, also despite the rain and efforts by local officials to have the action canceled. The demonstration led off with a banner calling for legalization. The march included workers from the Republic Windows factory and a large contingent from Teamsters Local 743. “We go out to demand not only immigration reform with full equality for all the immigrants, but we also march for the whole working class,” said a union representative. Banners expressed the fighting unity of the class, saying Freedom and Justice for All Workers, Worker Dignity in a Global Economy, We Don’t Have an Immigration Problem, We Have a Capitalism Problem.
Los Angeles & the Bay Area
In Los Angeles, nearly 10,000 hit the streets on May 1. Several marches were organized, with each drawing thousands of workers and youth. There were many hand-painted banners, embracing the internationalist spirit of the day: Workers Unite! Stop the Raids, Stop ICE! For Workers’ Solidarity to Stop Government Repression! Long Live First of May! Long Live United Struggle! Contingents from the many immigrant communities of Mexico, Central and South America and Asia participated, as did contingents from college campuses. High School youth walked out to join the marches. Many participants chanted ¡Obama, escucha, estamos en la lucha! (Obama, listen, we are here to fight!).
May Day marches were also held in other large cities such as Boston, Miami, Louisville, New Orleans, Houston, Denver, Minneapolis and smaller towns. Everywhere, the stand was the same: “We demand our rights and we will fight for them, united as one!”
Steelworkers Hold May Day Rally and March in Hamilton
On May 1, Local 1005 and Local 7135 of the United Steelworkers (USW) held their second annual Rally and March on the occasion of May Day, the Day of International Working Class Unity and Struggle. The action was held to protest the massive job losses that are affecting Hamilton and the rest of Canada, especially the country's industrial manufacturing base, and to oppose the nation-wrecking that this destruction of the manufacturing base represents. From beginning to end, the whole event marked May Day with a spirit of resistance to the attacks against labor and society and of organizing workers to fight for a solution to the economic crisis that benefits the people by guaranteeing the well-being of all. Workers put forward their own demands, marching under the banner Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No! in the face of the anti-labor onslaught that is being stepped up by the rich and the governments in their service to force workers and all sections of the people to bear the burden of the economic crisis. Two particularly blatant examples of the vicious attacks on the workers have hit these workers directly: the shut down of the Hamilton and Lake Erie mills by U.S. Steel and the strike forced on National Steel Car workers on April 6 by the owners, whose demands for anti-labor concessions are an affront to the dignity of labor.
Over 700 workers participated in the action this year, most of them active and retired members of Local 1005 and Local 7135. A large contingent of Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) from Oshawa joined the Steelworkers, with a busload of active and retired members of Local 222 and many young CAW workers marching under their own banner. Other workers and residents from the area, along with students from McMaster University and a number of local federal and provincial politicians and city councilors also participated.
Workers gathered at the Local 1005 Union Hall in the late morning and at noon they spilled into the street to begin their march up Kenilworth through Hamilton's industrial core. Workers passing by in cars honked and other workers and their families along the route applauded, impressed by the sight of workers in their numbers with their flags snapping in the wind and their demands emblazoned on their banners and placards — Manufacturing Yes! Nation Wrecking No! Concessions Are Not Solutions! No More Secret Deals — No More Secrets, Fight for the Dignity of Labor, Hands Off Our Pensions and many others.
The first stop was in front of National Steel Car. Here workers called for the capitalist owners to withdraw their demands for anti-labor concessions and satisfy the just demands of the striking workers.
Gary Howe, Vice-President of Local 1005, emceed the proceedings and welcomed all the participants on the occasion of May Day. Workers have had more than enough of the anti-labor assault on them, he said, which is an assault on society as a whole. He introduced the first speaker, Gary Pedron, outgoing President of Local 7135, which represents the workers at National Steel Car. Gary Pedron used the opportunity to thank the workers, especially Local 1005, and the whole Hamilton community for their support for their strike, which is being held in the most difficult economic times. He blasted the owners of National Steel Car for daring to use the excuse of the global economic crisis to try to break the union and humiliate the workers. "It is very sad to see the owners basically trying to use the occasion of the crisis to try to strip us of what we have been working for so hard over all these years at National Steel Car," he said. "We are the ones producing these rail cars and we do it for a modest wage and still they want to impose a 25 percent wage cut, as well as attack seniority and health and safety. We demand that National Steel Car comes back to the table immediately and withdraws these concessions."
President-Elect of the Local, Steve Weller, who takes office on May 12, said the struggle at National Steel Car continues in the same spirit and with the same negotiating committee. "Nothing is going to change at the negotiation table," he said, "We are carrying on with the same attention to the needs of our members and of our union that Gary paid as President of the Local."
Ken Neumann, National Director of USW, denounced the Harper government for using the global crisis as a pretext for attacking unions and pay equity and for refusing to assist people in distress. He particularly denounced Minister of Industry Tony Clement for insulting workers with his demands that workers make even more anti-labor concessions instead of protecting them. He pledged that USW will put its weight behind workers on strike at National Steel Car.
The march then proceeded west along Burlington Street, ending at the gates of U.S. Steel. Workers shouted: U.S. Steel! Use them or Lose them! Whose Economy? Our Economy? Who Decides? We Decide!
Rolf called upon all workers to step up their resistance reiterated the necessity of their work to transform the situation politically by becoming worker politicians themselves. He invited everyone to join in a barbecue at the Union Hall.
What the Workers Had to Say
There was a buzz of lively discussion throughout the action. Workers were proud of using the occasion of May Day to take their message to the streets of the city.
One worker from an amalgamated local of USW in Hamilton said:
"There are lots of projects we could do with the steel we are producing but these are blocked by the corporations and the government is going along with them. They are blocking the value we are creating because they are in it just for profits. For them, workers and the communities are just numbers. I think that workers have to participate in greater numbers in protests like this. We are not going to sit back and wait for the recovery to take place. We can't afford to be passive because this economic crisis is also an impending social crisis, which will have a devastating impact on workers and their families. Soon workers are going to run out of their EI, which is kept at a very minimal level anyway, and then the option is to go on social assistance but they will have to sell their assets first. They risk not being able to pay for their basic needs. They have worked all their lives not to make themselves rich but to reach a certain level of security and then they do not get this security. This is disgusting."
A cement worker from CAW Local 222 said:
"Today is my first day as a retiree and this is how I have decided to spend it, marching with the other workers in the streets of Hamilton. I thought that when I retired I could take my boots off, but I have had to put them back on again and participate in these actions. This is what I have done all my life, first in mining in Manitoba and then in cement in Oshawa. It is very troubling that there is no contract anymore. Workers sign a contract in good faith and two weeks later the big companies say that the contract does not mean anything and workers have to make more concessions. These concessions do not solve anything. There is just no end to them and the crisis is getting worse. It is a disgrace how the rich corporations and the big media are blaming the workers for the crisis and they are trying to pit worker against worker based on who is going to make more concessions.
"All my life I have been fighting for the health and safety of the workers. I was a union rep on a health and safety committee for years and in the end I couldn't stand being on this committee anymore because I thought I would end up using violence against the representatives of management. They were always saying that health and safety was at the top of their priorities but in fact it was not true. We had two completely opposite views on the matter."
Said a retired member of Local 1005:
"I became active in the struggle when Stelco went under bankruptcy protection. Before that it looked like things were being looked after, but when Stelco went for bankruptcy protection I felt that I had to get involved. I believe in the saying: 'Those who run the show are those who show up.' We are not such a big local but we really came together — the active and retired members. We are not only focusing on our own struggle but we support the fight for health care and other fights in the community.
"I think that the problem today is that we are facing the tyranny of the corporations. They are in it for their shareholders and creditors while we are in it for the workers, their families and the communities. We have two opposite outlooks. I have become interested in the question of Cuba. We often hear people saying that it is good what Cuba is doing for health care and education and with all the doctors they have abroad to help people, but that there is a problem with their democracy because there is only one party. But they do not have a party system of government and the people select candidates amongst themselves. I think that there is more participation of people in political affairs in their system than we have in the party system here. Here it is the corporations that rule." (For more reports about actions in Canada see cpcml.ca)
On this May Day, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), CPC(M-L), salutes the workers and oppressed peoples of all lands valiantly resisting the anti-social offensive of world proportions and preparations for fascism and war. CPC(M-L) salutes all those in the forefront of the working class movement who are organizing to resist the destruction of their trade unions and the passing of the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the working class, middle strata and most vulnerable.
The Spirit of May Day Means Resisting All Attacks on Workers, Their Collectives
Using the occasion of the worst capitalist economic crisis since WWII, owners of capital together with their representatives in government and the mass media have launched an all-sided assault on the working class, its collectives and defense organizations. The anti-worker attack has been coordinated with deeper annexation of Canada into the U.S. Empire and the wrecking of Canada's socialized economy, especially its industrial manufacturing base. The mass media are engaged in a massive disinformation campaign that the solution to the crisis consists of paying the rich and private monopolies, concessions from workers, dismantling of social programs, war preparations, expanded wars against the oppressed countries and greater neo-liberal free trade under the control of the most powerful monopolies.
The frontal assault on trade unions is broad-based: governments are dismantling public sector unions through privatization and other methods; the Harper Conservative Party in power is attacking the right to strike, women, minority and migrant workers and blackmailing auto and other workers to give concessions; owners of capital are dismantling the manufacturing sector resulting in significant loss of livelihoods, union membership and social product, and are using the crisis to pressure workers for unprecedented concessions. Workers and their organizations are bravely responding saying concessions are not solutions and demanding governments bring in emergency legislation to solve the crisis in a way that favors the people, stops paying the rich and increases investments in public enterprise and social programs.
The Spirit of May Day Means Rejecting Theories of Exceptionalism,
Led by U.S. President Obama, owners of capital in the auto industry, which includes owners of debt, are engaged in a campaign of blackmail and coercion to undermine the credibility and authenticity of the United Auto Workers trade union by incorporating it into tripartite ownership of the auto monopolies along with private monopoly equity and debt capital and the U.S. government. This maneuver where the UAW has been pressured into accepting company stock in lieu of guarantees of health, retiree and other benefits is an attempt by the U.S. ruling class to block the consciousness of workers regarding the necessity of public enterprise and social programs as an antidote to the failure of the state monopoly capitalist system.
Tripartite ownership involving trade unions, monopoly capital and government is a fascist "one nation" path to living hell for the working class, as it leaves the class defenseless in the face of attacks orchestrated by the owners of capital and government. Tripartism in economic and political affairs is based on theories of exceptionalism that no alternative to the crisis-ridden capitalist system is possible and on "one nation" chauvinism, which does not recognize class divisions in society and the reality that monopoly capital exists by exploiting and negating the working class. These reactionary theories and political lines espoused by Obama and Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, pose a tremendous danger for workers and society. They deny the existence of a working class that can only flourish and advance society if it clearly demarcates its interests, needs, perspective, thinking, aims and ideology from those of the ruling capitalist class.
A "one nation" tripartite ownership arrangement destroys the defense organization of the working class and its coherence. Tripartism turns individual workers and their needs and aspirations against their own trade union organization leaving individual workers without an organized collective of and for the working class, creating confusion and disharmony between individual workers and their collectives and class.
Tripartite private share equity and debt ownership of monopolies is in direct opposition to the modern demand for public enterprise, where ownership is held by the state and no outside private owners or claimants are permitted. Public enterprise allows only two claimants on added-value: those workers directly involved in producing social product or delivering services and the society through the state. Any claim of private capital on public enterprise based on ownership of equity, debt or any other form is considered the worst form of corruption and abuse of public assets. Tripartite ownership is another scheme to use the savings of workers to prop up state monopoly capitalism and the dictatorship of the rich and undermine the independent working class movement. It is similar to the misuse and plunder of workers' pension and savings funds by the financial oligarchy, which in the present crisis has resulted in catastrophic losses.
Theories of exceptionalism, "one nation" chauvinism and tripartism in economic and political affairs pushed by Obama, Ignatieff and the monopoly capitalists is meant to weaken the industrial working class as the backbone of resistance within the U.S. Empire and annexed Canada. A destabilized North American working class movement becomes both a reserve for imperialist war and a target of capitalist plunder.
CPC(M-L) calls on all workers to exert every effort to step up the resistance movement against the nefarious plans of the U.S. Empire and its annexed lackeys in Canada to destroy our manufacturing base and organized trade union movement under theories of exceptionalism that there is no alternative and the tripartite hoax of "one nation" economics and politics. CPC(M-L) salutes all organized and unorganized workers who have rejected the tripartite path to "one nation" disaster, are demanding pro-social emergency measures to confront the crisis and are developing their own human-centered alternative program for nation-building.
The Spirit of May Day Means Organizing Groups of Writers and Disseminators
CPC(M-L) congratulates those organizations and individuals who have exposed the debilitating propaganda of monopoly capital and its representatives that labels workers as "labor costs, a cost of production, legacy costs or chattel labor." Workers are the source of all social wealth as they transform raw material into use value through their hard work, skill and experience. As the source of all value along with the natural bounty of Mother Earth, workers could not possibly be considered a cost to themselves, society or anyone.
The spirit of May Day recognizes the modern definition of rights that states without equivocation that workers have rights by virtue of being producers of social product and providers of services and that people have rights by virtue of being human. Workers can give this modern definition a constitutional guarantee through class struggle by organizing themselves of and for themselves as a united class of socialized workers within society as a whole, within their collectives and as conscious individual members of their working class.
Quite distinct from the owners of monopoly capital, workers have hopes, dreams, needs, aspirations and an elemental thinking, which can only be fulfilled and reach full potential by uniting into powerful collectives and bringing their superior numbers and the human factor/social consciousness into play. Realization of the goals of a powerful working class movement and the varied demands of its individual members requires conscious organizing and action with analysis to build Groups of Writers and Disseminators, as the core of the independent politics of the working class. It demands great efforts to move forward the organizing of workers of and for themselves as a united class expressing in action with analysis, thoughts and culture their common aspirations as a class, as members of collectives and as individuals. Attaining the lofty aims of workers to humanize the social and natural environments and build an alternative to capitalism entails organizing into larger and more powerful trade unions and other social and political forms.
Let us pledge this May Day 2009 to go all out to build Groups of Writers and Disseminators wherever workers, youth and seniors live, work and study.
The Spirit of May Day Means Organizing Committees for Democratic Renewal
CPC(M-L) salutes all those workers who are engaged in the battle for democracy. Democratic renewal is the cornerstone of resistance to the owners of monopoly capital. The battle for democracy pits democratic renewal under the leadership of the working class against the establishment democracy controlled by the owners of monopoly capital. The battle for democracy requires Committees for Democratic Renewal that forge the working class and its allies into an effective political force.
CPC(M-L) calls on workers to free themselves from the old capital-centered thinking, habits and outlook of the status quo and defeat any notions of passivity. Life itself demands workers and their allies strive for a new thinking and outlook of the human factor/social consciousness, where understanding comes from consciously participating in class struggle. Such an outlook immediately overcomes any sense of defeatism and paralysis in the face of difficulties such as the economic crisis or the constant anti-worker din of the mass media. The working class through its work has already transformed the old world of petty production and absolutist rule of Kings, Emperors, Shahs, Tsars and Shoguns into a world of mass industrial production but the job is only half done as the absolutist rule of the transitional capitalist class refuses to pass into history. Today absolutism is represented by the various forms of capitalist democracy, which are meant to negate working class democracy. In opposition, democratic renewal marshals the power of numbers and advanced consciousness of the working class to break finally with the old world of absolutist rule and capitalist democracy and usher in a new era of people's political empowerment.
Let us pledge this May Day 2009 to redouble our efforts to build Committees for Democratic Renewal everywhere to organize and inspire the working class and its allies to become an effective political force.
The Spirit of May Day Means Organizing for an Anti-War Government
On this May Day 2009, CPC(M-L) salutes the Canadian proletariat and its allies who are working tirelessly to stay the hand of the war government of the Conservative Party in power and together with all Canadians uphold social solidarity both nationally and internationally and are organizing to forge an anti-war government that immediately brings all troops home from U.S.-led war theatres stretching from Afghanistan to Haiti, contributes to dismantling NATO, gets Canada out of NORAD and opposes all warmongering by upholding the principle that all nations, big or small are equal and have the sovereign right to be.
The Canadian armed forces and government agencies under the Liberal/Conservative parties in power and opposition have become embroiled in U.S.-led wars, occupation, torture, attacks on rights and international law all over the world. An anti-war government would sever all ties with the aggressive war alliances NATO and NORAD and any other military cooperation with the U.S. Empire, which is the biggest warmonger humanity has ever been forced to confront. Canadian workers are conscious that they cannot defend their own rights with a clear conscience without taking an active stand against imperialist war and for an anti-war government.
Let us pledge to make next year's May Day a day of celebration of the working class in having greatly strengthened its organizational and ideological existence as individuals and collectives of and for themselves, and as a class of and for itself.
Long live May First, Day of International Working Class Unity and Struggle!
The Working Class Will Build the Future
The working class, which produces all the wealth, which puts the economic machinery into motion giving life to the society, is today, however, the class which is suffering the most from the capitalist crisis that was provoked by the big bosses who dumped the whole weight of the crisis on its shoulders.
Today the socialized production generated by the workers demands that the enjoyment of the goods produced be socialized and that property and decisions be social, however what happens now is that only the losses are socialized while profits are private. Workers today are victims of layoffs, long working days, starvation wages, terrible medical services, attacks on pensions and retirement, threats against labor stability, temporary jobs and enormous insecurity. Today we are being denied our fundamental rights and we are being attacked as we were during the Porfirio Diaz era. We just have to look at how the government is repressing the miners. Fox allowed the miners of Pasta de Conchos to die and attacked the Sicartsa strike with the PFP (Policia Federal Preventiva) murdering 2 workers in 2006. And now Calderon is ignoring the Cananea strike and attacking the workers who are defending the mine. Just as under Porfirio Diaz!!
The disaster to which the bourgeoisie has led us and the subordination to US Imperialism, which dominates us today, just as Spain did in the past, has created the necessity for the people to fight for transformation as they did in 1810 and in 1910, to defeat the exploiters and establish Mexican independence. We have rights. We have to win them back and guarantee that everybody can enjoy them. We want full rights for everybody!
For this we need democracy. The elections are a fraud and the representatives who exercise power are neither elected nor selected democratically. For this reason we have to fight for democratic renewal. Now is the time to fight for sovereignty and for democracy. The people are already organizing to demand justice. The working class has the responsibility to lead this struggle. It is the working class that will lead the way to a future that ensures the well-being of all the people. We workers are not alone. In Canada, the United States, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador – in America and around the world we are united by the same cause. We are one humanity and we have one common struggle.
The working class can build a future, just as it builds infrastructure, buildings, hospitals and schools; just as it sets up factories and builds the roads, produces the machinery and establishes transportation systems. Just as it produces food and turns the fields green and produces the agro-industry. Just as it builds cities and allows us to communicate with each other. Today it is the working class that must show the way forward, find the alternative and the solutions to build a world in which the people decide their own future and guarantee the well-being of everyone. The bourgeoisie has failed. It is the working class who will construct the new Mexico of the future. The crisis leads us to organize to fight for our rights, to understand our strength and to chart the path toward our goal of taking power so that it is the people who are in charge and not the national and foreign corporations and a handful of super-rich with the puppet politicians in their service.
Today the United States wants to annex us — after the disaster that was provoked by the economic annexation with the Free Trade Agreement that destroyed our national industry and agriculture to allow the North American Corporations to capture our markets. After the disaster that was provoked by the political annexation with the North American Alliance for Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) that was signed by Fox with Bush and Martin granting energy and security integration and subsequently ratified by Calderon with Bush and Harper. After the violence, war and insecurity that this erroneous direction has led to over the past 15 years (since 1994), now Calderon has initiated military integration to subordinate the Mexican army to the gringo Pentagon, sending, for the first time in history, the Mexican Navy to participate in military exercises under the command of Washington in UNITAS 50-09 in Mayport, Florida and granting permission for the creation of an office on Mexican territory for the US security forces to supervise the Mexican security forces.
All this under the pretext of combating narco-trafficking, which took off precisely in 1994 with NAFTA and which comes from the United States (where the drugs are bought, the money is laundered, the arms are sold and the supreme command of the narco-traffickers is located). Today in the face of this serious threat to our Independence and Sovereignty, to the very existence of Mexico, it is the working class who will take up the banner of National and Popular Sovereignty and the responsibility of mobilizing the people to save Mexico. Our organization, Mexico Tekizetiliztli (Labor Union of Mexico in Nahuatl) has convened the Conference for Sovereignty for December 1 this year, 2009, to help move this great struggle forward. (See www.mexteki.org).
This May First is a day of proletarian struggle to win the rights of all!
Comrades from the Party, state, and government leadership, distinguished guests, workers; compatriots,
We are celebrating this May Day with the joy of doing so during the year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the CTC [Cuban Workers' Federation].
A day like today must also be to celebrate, out loud and at the height of what we are and how much we have built through the efforts and sacrifice of several generations of Cubans, who have been model protagonists of revolutionary work, taking unity as the cornerstone of the resistance and victory of our people.
We arrive at this glorious date amidst daily work to eliminate substantial damage suffered last year as a result of the lashing of three hurricanes, which became the most destructive in our history. Amidst the extraordinary effort displayed by workers and the entire people, who have shown their solidarity, sacrifice, and will to move forward once again.
The recovery from the effects on the economy, infrastructure and housing stock is advancing in a gradual manner and it will still be necessary to dedicate much effort and resources to it in the future in order to heal the wounds that these natural phenomena inflicted on the country.
Even more so, at a time when humanity is immersed in a global economic crisis making the political, economic and social situation more complex globally, this impacts on the people, and workers face bleak prospects from which no country can escape.
In our case, this is compounded by the effects of the ironclad economic blockade that the U.S. government has maintained for almost half a century, with the obsessive and failed object of destroying the Revolution.
The unity and resistance in the face of any obstacle, which Fidel has formed within us, are pillars on which the Cuban Revolution is triumphantly erected and have become the central and constant battle flags. We will continue supporting with determination the measures that our government adopts to reduce the effects of the crisis on the population.
It is our task as workers to be in the frontline of this battle, with a greater dedication to work, which is the principal source of the creation of wealth; to raise production and productivity; to reduce spending and costs; to increase exports and all the conditions that reduce imports. For the achievement of these objectives it is imperative to work with more discipline, with more quality in all services and develop a culture of saving, as the most important source of resources within our reach.
Cuba's prestige is growing. In Latin America, popular governments are increasing and social movements are becoming stronger, and we are broadening and strengthening our relations with them. We rejoice at the demonstrations of support and respect expressed by many presidents from the hemisphere during the recent ALBA and Americas Summits. It is satisfying to see how wills are uniting and a genuine program of regional integration is advancing via the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.
At this commemoration, we are accompanied by labor union leaders, leaders of social movements, and other important figures from all over the world who wish to celebrate May Day in Cuba. We thank them for the gestures of solidarity and support that they have made throughout the decades to our people.
We would like to take the opportunity to express our fervent thanks to the international labor movement, workers and solidarity organizations, and all the people around the world who are organizing events and supporting the release of the five Cuban heroes who are unjustly locked away in U.S. prisons.
Workers and compatriots of the capital and the entire country:
We raise our flags and our voices so that they make resound, from one pole of the planet to the other and from one continent to the other, the inalienable decision of this extraordinary and combative people to construct socialism under the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, of Fidel and of Raúl.
You will never have Cuba!