par Eric Vilain
Mayday. The First of May. The coming of Spring. The day of the workers.
This statement has been published in the Mayday Issue of First of May Anarchist Alliance broadsheet, Revolution.
Since May 1, 2006 we have seen a slow opening up of mass struggles on a scale not seen in recent memory, amplified by the silent economic crash in 2008. From the massive day without an immigrant to the historic Arab Spring ; the Wisconsin workers uprising to the prisoners strikes in Georgia and California ; Occupy Wall Street to the rallies for Justice for Trayvon Martin ; General strikes of students in Chile and Quebec and of workers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. People committed to real change cannot help but feel the wind in our sails. People are rising and refusing, struggles are igniting, common ground is revealing itself, we are beginning to feel and take back our power, everywhere.
Despite the rise of new fighting forces, pain is growing not decreasing. Symbolic changes at the peak of empire—codename Obama—have only served to further entrench the direction of decline, with Democrats bringing the stick when the Republicans aren’t there to make their bad cop look good. Deportations have increased, prisons are overflowing, the local face of a global war given new legitimacy, while organized racist violence dares to seize an ever greater public stage. Cutbacks and the destruction of public safety nets pay for corporate welfare and bankers’ bailouts. Ecological destruction continues apace : tar sands mining, fracking, nuclear power, and the daily grind of a system that cannot long coexist with dignified human life on earth.
We move forward inspired with new energy and deadly seriousness. We find ourselves in a global war on a thousand fronts . . . and yet the smell of a new Spring remains in the breeze.
Never before has common sense been clearer on the connection between struggles, that freedom is only possible if no one is in chains. Embodying this truth is a core task for all revolutionaries, which requires building independent power as part of the working class. Otherwise, we as working class people are going to get pushed around, sold out by people happy to direct our struggles. Conversely, if those at the bottom aren’t connecting their struggles for survival with the ideas and methods of freedom and revolution then those facing the most brutal assaults will be without what they need to end this entire system of exploitation, oppression, hierarchy and war.
Never has this system of exploitation been closer to falling apart, yet the revolution necessary to make this possible won’t happen on its own. Even as we fight around specific demands we must continually promote a maximal program, demanding freedom beyond what this system can provide—survival, prosperity, and power for all people. This includes confronting the would be bosses among us, whether they’re liberal types trying to herd our movements into Democratic Party graveyards or authoritarian leftists whose heroes left real live mass graves all on their own.
This May Day, let us raise our fists in memory of our ancestors, the earth we all belong to, and the lessons from struggles everywhere, traces of which burn through the haze of the present to the black soil beneath, the grounded hope of social revolution and dignity for all people.
Our small, but growing, Alliance raises four motions to those already at the barricades :
1. Raise and promote the concept of Revolution. Defensive struggles can only go so far. This system cannot provide what is needed. It will need to be overturned all together. Our freedom, our lives and our planet depend on it.
2. Orient to the working-classes. Revolutionaries must be of and among the people, not staffing for a new elite. Rooting ourselves in working-class conditions and life will mean that our politics are shaped by, and will help shape the rank & file movements from below.
3. Develop non-doctrinaire anarchist politics. Anarchism has been the most consistent set of anti authoritarian ideas, hostile to all exploitation, oppression and hierarchy – but it must be further deepened and developed to help chart our course for freedom today.
4. Organize broadly and on many levels. From unions to radical media collectives, from anti-fascist self defense units to building community power around urban agriculture. Participate as anarchists and aim to federate the many fronts of resistance.
First of May Anarchist Alliance is an organization of anarchist revolutionaries working in the Occupy movement and housing defense, the IWW and broader labor movement, Anti-Racist Action and the anti fascist movement. We welcome inquiries, discussion, and critique.