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Richmond IWW May Day Platform

By Joe Sabo - Richmond IWW, April 25, 2018

May Day in Richmond this year has been organized as a celebration of working people and worker’s power. We will meet at Abner Clay park in Richmond at 5pm for a people’s banquet, music, comradery and other awesome events! This celebration has been collectively organized by the Richmond chapters or Organizing for a Free Society, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Richmond IWW General membership branch.

The following platform was penned collectively by the various representatives of each of the aforementioned groups and has been approved via consensus:

May 1st is International Workers’ Day. Unlike other holidays, it is not a day to commemorate bloody wars for empire. It is not a day for shopping. May Day is a day for the vast majority of us who must labor for the profit of a tiny minority. May Day is a day without borders, where workers of all countries unite in celebration of our collective potential and power, recognizing the capitalist bosses and their state as our common enemy, and liberation as our common goal. May Day is a day to reconnect with a more sustainable form of existence, for workers to share in the abundant harvest that is the product of our collective social labor.

May Day is widely celebrated throughout the world with protests, boycotts, sabotage, and strikes against a system of exploitation: it is a day without work. May Day is not recognized as a holiday by the rulers of the USA, though it originates in our country. However, despite this lack of “official” recognition, working people have always celebrated May Day. Before the capitalists kicked the peasantry off the land and privatized every aspect of our lives, May Day was a day to celebrate the fertility and abundance of the earth with communal singing, dancing, loving, eating, and drinking.

After capitalism began to spread its reach throughout the world, May Day became a day of working class resistance: on May 4, 1886, immigrant workers in Chicago went on strike for the eight-hour day, better working conditions, and higher pay. In response, the government arrested and executed 7 working class activists – the Haymarket Martyrs – in 1887. Since then, anti-capitalist workers have chosen the 1st of May to commemorate and continue their struggle for liberation. On May Day 2006, when millions of immigrant workers went on strike against workplace injustice and racist immigration policies in the USA, we were once again reminded of the real spirit of May Day.

May Day 2018 is a day of struggle against fascism and imperialism, and a day of celebration to affirm the value of life against the killers of the earth. We mobilize on May Day against white supremacy and in defense of Black Lives, Muslims, immigrants, and all indigenous people and people of color. We mobilize on May Day against mass incarceration and in defense of prison abolition. We mobilize on May Day against heteropatriarchy and in defense of queer and trans lives and reproductive freedom. We mobilize on May Day against the capitalist exploitation of the working class, against slavery and unpaid labor, and against the destruction of our environment. We mobilize on May Day because another world is possible.

Our goal is to foster collaboration among the multiple autonomous organizations and projects operating in the city of Richmond, Virginia. We hope that May Day can be an opportunity for horizontal exchange of diverse ideas and experiences, and to form bonds based on common affinities and commitment to revolutionary struggle.

Our Platform

These points are interconnected, as these forms of oppression reinforce each other through the same exploitative system. On May Day, we rise up and beyond this system of oppressions.

May Day is International Workers’ Day

We will build One Big Union for all workers, waged and unwaged, undocumented and documented. May Day is a day for international unity of the working class against capitalist bosses and the state.

An Autonomous May Day

We will widen the terrain of class struggle in the U.S. by repealing Right to Work laws, supporting Fight for $15, and motivating workers everywhere to organize and unionize on their own terms. We will kick ICE out of our communities now and forever, disarm the police, abolish debt (student, housing, credit), and provide secure housing for all people. Measures like these widen the terrain of freedom for the working class and expand what is possible.

A Self-Determined May Day

No walls, no borders! We demand Black Liberation, indigenous self-determination, an end to imperialist wars, and solidarity

with oppressed communities worldwide, particularly at this moment those in Kurdistan, Palestine, and Puerto Rico.

A Feminist May Day

Capitalism relies not only upon wage labor but also upon the unwaged and sometimes waged domestic labor performed overwhelmingly by women, especially women of color. We demand reproductive justice, holistic healthcare, and compassionate humanistic care for elders and all members of our community. We stand with the sex workers‘ union and recognize that all workers’ bodies and minds are exploited by capitalism.

A Trans May Day

We demand an end to gendered violence, especially against trans peoples and sex workers. We fight with our trans comrades for an end to the gendered boxes and roles that demand that individuals rigidly conform to an oppressive society’s standards.

A Queer May Day

We demand sexual liberation and abolition of the heteropatriarchal nuclear family as the foundational unit of society.. This means fighting for firing protections for queer workers, building queer workers’ power, destroying gender hierarchies, abolishing politics of the body, and standing against disciplinary violence of the police state. It means fighting for those who have been neglected by the healthcare system, and those who struggle to find their place in a system that demands they fit into its boxes.

A May Day for All Bodies/Minds/Abilities

We will reimagine our built environment and the services that people depend upon. We will design our environment and services so that they are created by and for the communities that use them. We believe that all human beings are worthwhile and that all have something to contribute, whether that be through “labor” as traditionally conceived or otherwise.

A Green May Day

The earth beneath and around us is still here, despite capitalism and imperialism’s efforts to commodify it. As the earth screams for the dismantling of this destructive system, we fight for our planet by recognizing that struggles over resources in Buckingham County, Flint, Bangladesh, and Standing Rock are directly linked to social justice and workers’ struggles. We stand with those fighting the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, and with all affected communities. We envision the world’s abundance being shared amongst all rather than the few as we develop a new system of sustainability and respect for the earth that gives us life. We will build a world beyond technocratic solutions, beyond extractive economies, endless accumulation, and consumerism. We strive for conviviality, buen vivir!