The many rallies, marches and meetings that took place across the country this year to mark International Workers’ Day were a bit of a mix politically, but CPGB-ML banners and flags were boldly flying at more of them then ever before.
The 1 May march in London seemed a bit more upbeat than usual this year. This event always has a large minority revolutionary flavour, but this year that ‘flavour’ looked to be in the majority. Trotskyists and even trade unions had a very low attendance, while revolutionary banners from many communities and their parties were in abundance.
Several of these revolutionary banners included images of great revolutionary leaders such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but none of them had the same impact as the splendid new May Day banner unfurled by the CPGB-ML, on which a seminal quote by Stalin was accompanied by the great man’s portrait.
CPGB-ML members were dressed in red and those not carrying our banners held party flags alongside papers and leaflets, so that our party’s section of the march made a striking impression on all those who saw it. This was enhanced by the presence of fellow communists on either side: London Turks affiliated to the MLKP marched in front, while Sri Lankan communists followed on behind – all wearing red and holding banners that reflected their revolutionary communist ideals.
Communities with affiliations to many other revolutionary parties from around the world were also present on the march, all dressed in their party’s colours and carrying their banners and flags.
In solidarity with socialist countries under pressure from imperialism, the flags of Cuba and the DPRK were carried along with our own. The Syrian flag was also carried proudly by our members in honour of the government, army and people of Syria, who are facing the terrorism of imperialist-backed gangs of murderers, rapists, cannibals and torturers that are causing mayhem in their country.
May Day itself also saw a march and rally in Liverpool, where we had a small but proud presence. Meanwhile, on 4 May, many other towns and cities held May Day events, and CPGB-ML banners, flags, stalls, leaflets and papers were in evidence in Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester.
At the Manchester march, our banner and flags were everywhere, so that the local TV news couldn’t avoid showing them, alongside the DPRK and Palestinian flags that were also carried by our comrades. Unfortunately, this march avoided any ‘busy’ streets and so contact with the public was limited, but on the occasions where it was ‘on show’ our comrades were able to leaflet those observing.
At the end of the march, a rally was held in central Manchester, where the CPGB-ML was alone in setting up a literature stall inside the hall. Later in the afternoon, our comrades held a public meeting on the subject of the DPRK and proletarian internationalism to build support for the Korean people and help to dispel the lies that are spread about Korea by corporate media and imperialist politicians.
Chesterfield in Derbyshire hosts one of the biggest May Day events in Britain, which goes on all day, and includes a march, rally, live music around the town and lots of political stalls. Unfortunately, this event is heavily under the influence of the Labour party, whose banners were out in force on 6 May, celebrating not proletarian internationalism but the victory of their pro-imperialist candidate in a by-election over other equally pro-imperialist candidates from equally bourgeois parties.
However, CPGB-ML members slipped in behind the Chesterfield Trades Council banner that led the march, flying our flags proudly to the cheers of the watchers in the market street as the march concluded. Comrades from an Italian communist party who live in Britain, and whose members have worked with us at various events, were also with us.
Whatever the politics of the organisers, the majority of working-class people in the streets of Chesterfield cheerfully took our leaflets and not one objection was raised to our red stars or hammer-and-sickle emblems.
May Day, despite the attempts of our rulers to turn it into a mere ‘bank holiday’, was established at the demand of workers as a day when we assert our political independence. It is a day when we remember and salute workers’ struggles throughout the centuries, whether it be the Haymarket martyrs in Chicago, the many battles against the ruling class (both won and lost) in Britain, or the many fights for independence, equal rights, social justice and workers’ emancipation around the world.
It is a day when we remember all the victories and defeats that our movement has experienced and reaffirm the unity of the interests of all the toiling people of the world; when we reaffirm our determination to carry the struggle forward until the complete destruction of this criminal, decadent, bloodthirsty and barbaric system, which daily condemns so many of our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters to untimely and horrible deaths.
And, for the CPGB-ML, it is also a day when we give notice to the agents within the working-class movement – whether Labour party or some variety of the ‘friends of left Labour’ – that our party is growing and will grow more. There is not a corner of the land that we intend to leave alone. Our cadres will increasingly be present everywhere, ready to rip the ‘socialist’ mask from the pro-imperialist scoundrels who seek to mislead and confuse British workers.
Long live May Day!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Victory to the risen workers who challenge the right of imperialism to exist!