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Post reports here: May Day! May Day!

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Post reports here: May Day! May Day!

reports here: May Day! May Day!

¡1° de mayo—Día Internacional de los Trabajadores!

May 1st is a day celebrated and cherished around the World. It is part of the people’s legacy and the people have claimed May Day as their own. It’s a day for reflection, of solidarity and an important part of our future. In many countries, May Day is a national holiday—ironically not so in the U.S. where its opening salvo began. But many in the U.S. are and have tried to reclaim International Workers Day.

As in year’s past, it would be inspiring if those in and around Kasama could help act as additional eyes and ears—reporting on May Day’s events and happenings—from Venezuela to South Asia, from México to France, et al.—or on your own home turf.

Onto May Day! ¡E el futuro!

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  • Unlike Larry David, I have been unable to “curb my enthusiasm” re May Day, trying to assemble reports since 5:30 a.m. (pst--U.S.). There’s a lot to cover! I will try and submit ongoing reports. Clearly the way May Day is being “celebrated” is a mixed bag, with the events and forces varying. But what is also clear is that thousands upon thousands are in the streets claiming, as one worker from Greece noted, “this is OUR day, the workers of the world—unite!”

    There are a few places that are definite hot spots—very militant, and places to keep an eye on: Turkey, Indonesia, Greece, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

    Here’s an early AND partial/preliminary overview from Al Jazeera (just the tip of the iceberg):

    “Demonstrations are taking place across the world as protesters gather to mark May Day, the traditional date for demanding better workers' rights, etc..

    Protests first began in Asia, with tens of thousands of workers in Jakarta calling for improved conditions and mobilising against government plans to cut fuel subsidies.Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jarakata, said: "Everywhere I look I see demonstrating workers; this is the biggest rally I've seen here. [Lead photo—demonstrators holding huge pix of Mao, Marx, Lenin, Engels and Stalin, and red flags everywhere.] Vaessen estimated that 150,000 people could flood the capital by the day's end.

    Istanbul clashes
    With 80 countries around the world marking May 1 as a public holiday, Istanbul's Taksim Square was in lockdown on Wednesday, after the Turkish government banned May Day protests there.The square is the site of a 1977 May Day massacre in which dozens of people died under disputed circumstances. Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, said: "There have been scuffles, particularly in areas that lead to Taksim Square, which has been sealed off. "Protesters say they should be given access to celebrate May 1 in a place of symbolic importance; they want to honour the memory of those who were killed here. There is a tug of war under way between the government and people." Earlier images showed police spraying water at protesters who threw objects at their vehicles.

    Cambodia workers
    In Phnom Pehn, the Cambodian capital, garment factory workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions. Organisers said about 5,000 demonstrators, including union workers, gathered for the rally, chanting slogans and holding banners. Protesters came from 16 unions and associations in Cambodia to mark International Labour Day and urge whoever wins the general election in July to meet their demands. "I demand that my pay is increased to $150 per month," said garment worker Neang Leakena, from the Chinese-owned Deum Por garment factory.

    In the Philippines, thousands of contract workers marched through the streets of the capital, Manila. Banned from forming labour unions, the workers demanded a strengthening of their rights.

    In Athens, Greece's capital, the main public and private sector unions called a 24-hour strike to protest against the government's austerity policies.

    Much more to come...

  • BANGLADESH: activists shout slogans and wave red flags during a procession to mark May Day or International Workers Day in Dhaka. Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis joined May Day protests Wednesday to demand the execution of textile bosses over the collapse of a factory complex, as rescuers warned the final toll could be more than 500. Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh also marched through the streets screaming for safeguards to be put in place and for the owner of the collapsed building to be punished.

    FRANCE. Thousands of people demonstrate as part of the May Day rallies in Marseille, southern France. The front banner of the CGT labour union reads : 'MPs, dare social progress.” People hold a banner asking to “regularize illegals.” And against the anti-immigrant policies of the govt. Demos sweeping France, including in Nice/southeastern part.

    TURKEY. May Day marchers continue clashes with police in Istanbul, Turkey, after Turkish police blocked access to a city square. Masked protestors throw objects during clashes in Istanbul. Turkish riot police used water cannon and tear gas on Wednesday in a bid to disperse hundreds of protesters who defied a Labour Day ban on demonstrations in a central part of Istanbul. Protestors use a makeshift barricades during clashes -- Cops using teargas, water cannons. See earlier video at

    INDIA. "Indian labour and trade union activists from leftist parties shout anti-government slogans as they march during a May Day rally in New Delhi. Hundreds of workers from various labour groups took to the streets on the occasion of the International Labour Day which is observed worldwide."

    HONG KONG. A protester holds a defaced portrait of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing while marching to the government's office during a May Day rally in Hong Kong. Hundreds of workers, local labor rights groups and striking dockworkers joined the annual May Day rally to fight for better wages and working conditions. Many banners read; "Dignity." Also, there’s a strong contingent of migrant workers from Indonesia.

    BERLIN. In Berlin, leading the march, Kurdish traditional dancers, in solidarity with the “immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district.” Also in Berlin, Demonstrators tied themselves together to prevent a Neo-Nazi demonstration. May Day, is a national holiday in Germany

    LONDON. Students, trade unionists, pensioners and activists staged a march through central London before gathering in Trafalgar Square. In Clerkenwell, Britain, red flags abound.

  • BTW—good photos/slideshows (many depictions in a sea of red flags) from,,, etc. (The captions not so great, but the photos worth 1,000 captions.) Obviously there's a lot more going just trying to give people a taste.

    SPAIN. Popular slogan—“Unity & Workers’ Struggle for Socialism and Communism.”

    VENEZUELA so far: “The May Day rallies are traditionally an opportunity for the public to express grievances or show their political colours, though normally it is the barrios that take to the streets rather than the middle class associated with the opposition.”

    SOUTH KOREA (Seoul). Thousands march with flags and banners. The rally, sponsored by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions in central Seoul, drew about 7,000 people, big thrust of demo was to demand labor rights and to protect workers hired temporarily.

    BOLIVIA. Bolivian President Evo Morales marked May Day by ordering the country's armed forces to seize the assets of the country's main electricity company. Spanish-owned Red Electrica owned and operated around 85% of Bolivia's power grid, and Morales announced that he was nationalizing the company because it had failed to invest enough in his country. "Long live the First of May and long live nationalization," he said in a televised speech.

    CUBA (so far): Thousands in Sancti Spiritus reaffirmed its unconditional support to the Revolution in the two hours march through the Serafin Sanchez Valdivia Revolution Square to celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the International Workers Day and the 74th of the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC). This march was led by the Union of Education Workers.

    In HAVANA: Hundreds of thousands of Cubans filed through Havana's Revolution Square on Wednesday in a May Day parade that paid tribute to Hugo Chavez. A sea of workers, many wearing Chavez’- red shirts, carrying placards with his image, streamed past the giant statue of 19th century Cuban independence hero José Marti in the vast Revolution Square.

    SRI LANKA tightened security for dozens of labour day rallies in the capital with the opposition using the occasion to focus on sharp increases in electricity and high living costs. The organizing forces and supporters includes the People’s Liberation Front.

    BULGARIA. Huge marches organized in part by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

    TUNISIA. Trade union workers expecting 6,000 in Tunis marching in support of striking dockworkers.

    GREECE. Live stream from Athens. You can watch the (militant) May Day demonstrations in Athens live, on Zougla's website.

    "Greek and foreign workers united". Solidarity with the immigrants [in Greek/French] Strikes are taking place in Greece, where the main unions are holding marches to Syntagma Square to demonstrate outside the parliament building. A strike stopped ferry services to the Greek islands and disrupted public transport in the capital Athens ahead of May Day protests Wednesday against Greece's prolonged economic austerity policies.

    UKRAINE. Communists and anarchists march and rally together in Kiev. While members of “leftist opposition groups” take part in their traditional May Day rally in Moscow.

    TOKYO. One key banner raised throughout was demanding “proper jobs” for Japan’s youth.

    CAMBODIA. (In Phnom Penh) A many (many) of the demonstrators garment workers, demanding a raise in their minimum wages and for better working conditions. Faces painted with ”Where is justice?” and waving papers with their list of demands. (Photos capture a more militant march and rally.

  • SPAIN (more updated). More than 100,000 Spaniards infuriated by austerity measures and economic recession took to the streets of some 80 cities in trade union-organized rallies Wednesday, with the largest protests in Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao.

    MEXICO. Public school teachers who have blocked highways and battled police in recent months marched peacefully Wednesday in Mexico City and the southern city of Chilpancingo, hoping to block an education reform law that introduces teacher evaluations and diminishes the power of unions in hiring decisions.
    "Not here, not there, the reform shall not pass anywhere!" the marchers chanted.

    The above blurb a little confusing—saying today’s march in D.F. “peaceful” as I came across a photo but little info. of La Policia in riot gear, batons in hand, in Mexico City.

    A ver...


    1. mai i Oslo
    Tjen folket i Oslo markerte seg i den tradisjonelle 1. mai demonstrasjonen med eget banner, egne faner, trommer og slagord mot sosialdemokrati, imperialisme og for solidaritet og kommunisme. Etter demonstrasjonen gikk aktivistene videre til et lokale på Oslos østkant for å fortsette feiringa av dagen.

    The following is from Tjen Folket (the Norwegian revolutionary group "Serve the People")

    Translated into English by Kasama:

    May First in Oslo, Norway

    Serve the people stepped out at the traditional May First demonstration under its own banners, its own flags, drums and slogans -- against social democracy and imperialism, and for solidarity and communism. After the demo, activists went on to a pub in Oslo to continue their celebrations of the day.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by Mike Ely
  • May First riots today in Jönköping, Sweden against the nazi parti "Svenskarnas Parti" who had a demonstration on our day! Huge police presence after last years riots that the police could not handle. At least 3 minibuses that the fascists arrived in was burned and also the car of their leader was burned! A couple of nazis also sent to hospital after confrontations. 90 people arrested...

  • Berlin #1

    Excerpt from Matt Carter's report in Truth-out:

    This year, protests in the city are centered on the E.U. crisis, which it seems may finally be reaching Germany -- long seen as a pillar of stability amid the southern economies crumbling around it. For years, Germans have watched neighboring nations struggle in debt, and offered more debt, in the form of bailouts, as a solution. May 1 is the day people voice their frustration.

    But gaining this freedom to protest May Day was no peaceful road. On May 4, 1886, in Chicago, seven police officers were killed along with four civilians in an explosion at Haymarket Square. The rally in support of the eight-hour workweek, which ended with the result of four accused anarchists being hanged, represented the budding of support for the labor movement in America and worldwide. In 1890 the date grew into what we now know as International Workers Day.

    From Seven Police to 7000

    Kreuzberg has always been one of the most densely populated and industrial districts of Berlin. Since the 1950s, it has been a melting pot for diverse ethnic families that came to Germany to rebuild Berlin after WWII. By the 1980s, the celebration of May Day in West Berlin was an affair largely organized by trade unions, and left little room for demonstrations by factions of the left.

    But the tradition of violent May Day protests started when riots broke out on May 1, 1987, between left-wing autonomists and police. In 1988, left-wing groups in Kreuzberg organized their first official May Day demonstration -- initiating a culture of rioting as protesters clashed with police, which has been a neighborhood tradition ever since.

    May Day was no longer just about unions. Over the years, the demonstrations became a reflection of the political conflicts facing Europeans at the time. From mottos like “No liberation without revolution” in the 1980s, to “End the crisis, abolish capitalism” in the late 2000s, the fevered pitch of Berlin's leftists became a May Day institution.

    In 2001, when Berlin's conservative government tried to ban the protest, it only strengthened protesters'
    commitment to demonstrate -- whether the city deemed it legal or not. This made bringing riot police from other parts of Germany to Berlin a necessity, and heaped unwanted attention on local police who were forced to handle the chaos.

    This year, the city government brought in an estimated 7,000 auxiliary officials from across Germany to aid in controlling the action.

    The Price of Transparency

    What's new this year is the filming of “overview images” of the various events, which will be captured by helicopter and from vantage points on residential buildings. Berlin Police Chief Klaus Kandt said at a press conference on April 26 that no images will be stored. Kandt maintained that cameras are in use only as a source of triage for stationing police forces for quick security response.

    The police have also revealed the exact known routes of the marches -- both by the left and the right wing -- something authorities had not done previously because they feared it would give neo-Nazi demonstrators and anti-fascist protesters ammunition to square off violently with one another, since they could easily block each other's routes. “That’s the price of transparency,” said Kandt.

    About 30 rallies and demonstrations have been registered in the capital, with participation expected by neo-Nazis aligned with the National Democratic Party, and by members of Anti-Fascist Revolutionary Action Berlin (ARAB).

    Like most years, authorities will devote special attention to the “Revolutionary May 1 Demo,” which kicks off at 6pm in Kreuzberg and has witnessed repeated riots in the past. This year, the demo’s left-wing organizers want to pull out of Kreuzberg and move towards the city center, where they expect up to 10,000 participants.

    According to police, the march may end in a standoff at the European Commission office, located at Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

    The May Day demonstrations strike at core topics facing Berliners, such as gentrification, rising property values and the anti-bailout sentiment that is propelled by the current E.U. crisis. “The aim is to protest against German imperialism, E.U. crisis policy, and a massive impoverishment of large parts of the European population,” states the ARAB website.

    Bit by bit, Berlin is allowing corporations and wealthy expatriates to change the industrial landscape of its city. And as people in working class neighborhoods see the property values rise, more communities of workers, students, artists and activists may turn to May Day as a vessel for change.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by Mike Ely
  • Reports from Russia:

    From political demonstrations to humorous mock marches, a single girls’ rally, and a retro disco – millions of Russians took part in Labor Day. While parties used the occasion to mobilize their supporters, others simply chose to have fun.

    Various events to celebrate the Day of Spring and Labor – a Russian public holiday – have been held in over 1,000 towns and cities across the country.

    A rally held by the Communist party – the second largest in Russia – had some 4,500 people in attendance- according to police. The party’s official website claims though that over 50,000 joined the KPRF gathering, led by the party’s long-time leader Gennady Zyuganov.

    Waving red banners with the Communist symbol – the hammer and sickle – and portraits of the Bolshevik revolution leader Vladimir Lenin – KPRF supporters marched through Moscow downtown to Teatralnaya Square next to the Kremlin. After the Soviet anthem was played, Zyuganov addressed the crowd, traditionally criticizing the ruling party’s policies, including Russia’s recent entry in the WTO and unemployment in the country.

    “We have a team, we have our history, and we have solidarity in the fight for the interests of workers, for a strong, fair, socialist power, for the revival of our great union state,” the KPRF leader stated. “Viva Solidarity! Viva May! Viva Labor! Viva our Victory!” he concluded.

    Zyuganov's speech can be heard here:

  • Re the U.S.--Read a few articles on the Associated Press (AP) which I'm not going to repeat here...but they (even the bourgeois press) said thousands turned out for M.D. across the country, emphasizing Seattle (where there were arrests), NYC ("reminiscent of Occupy") and San Francisco. And all tied in with immigration/immigration "reform." would be great if people in and around Kasama could share their reports (experiences, etc.) with all of us.

  • Though it seems linking to these sites is frowned upon...
    There are some reportbacks on the PugetSoundAnarchist website from Seattle May Day and AnarchistNews has reportbacks from all the major US cities that decided to reportback as well as several international reports from Canada, and several Eurpoean Countries. Way too many to link so go check them out if youre interested.
    D.C. also had a crazy mayday fighting police in front of the GAP and fighting white supremacists.

  • we don't block any links, it's just the stupid spam filter, which freaks out if a post has too many links in it. But if you post less links it should work. The site is still a work in progress.

  • This may not be much...but here in the little stench hole of Wichita...that bastion of right-wing stupidity...we do have progressive people who understand what May Day is are realize we have every right to celebrate it:

  • I don't know why the above hyperlink doesn't work. If this doesn't work, I've posted it on my blog; Otto's War Room.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by otto
  • Otto--thanks much for your additions (of course more additions always welcome.) Re Wichita--am sure you are keenly aware that you have some real allies there. Last month, even in the face of death threats, et al. the women's health care clinic (think it is the only one still standing) reopened its doors, and adding to the poignancy, the clinic has been rebuilt on the very site of Dr. George Tiller's former clinic. (The latest assault is to inundate the new clinic in bogus legalese, mounds of b.s. paperwork, economic insanity, etc. But the women's health and abortion providers are carrying on in spite of all the obstacles.) So your May Day report--may not have seemed like much on the surface, but in reality IMO has added significance.

  • Thanks...I have to curb my negativity at times and I need to be more positive. Thanks for reminding me about the new clinic. I believe I already blogged on it a little, Julie Burkhart has gotten a lot of attention from Rachell Maddow.

  • People can go to indymedia——(or cmi) kinda sorta as you really have to search--for more coverage of Latin America.

    BRASIL (in Portuguese, obviously): Registro das atividades do Bloco de Luta pelo Transporte Público no 1º de maio e comentário sobre criminalização do movimento, que se acentua após a vitória parcial obtida com a revogação do aumento das passagens.

  • I thought this was an interesting development with strategic implications for communists. We should all be paying attention I think to the development of the immigrant movement and what happens with this new bill. Right now we're kind of in the civil rights stage of the movement. Can we be headed at some point to the liberation/power stage?

  • HAITI: a brief, initial report:

    * The largest mobilization was in Cap-Hatien, with several thousand people.

    * In Ouanaminthe, there was a demonstration of about 1000 people, mostly workers from Codevi free trade zone and Caracol.

    * In Port-au-Prince, 600 workers from various unions came out of the factories to participate in a demonstration. The police tried to block it, but couldn’t.

    * In Anse-à-Veau, a protest went on all day and was very animated, joined by a lot of agricultural workers who have not been paid.

  • Another photo from Haiti:

  • Video from May 1st in Toronto, via Basics News

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by Nat Winn

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