Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/532/4085
May Day marches
STRIKING WORKERS from Shelter led London's May Day march, followed by members of rail union RMT, local trades councils and Turkish and Kurdish groups. It was a smaller demo than in previous years, but some young people turned up to find out about May Day and socialist ideas and marched alongside Socialist Party members.
Peter McFarlen from the Prison Officers Association (POA), appealed to the police in Trafalgar Square to not cross their picket lines when they take action again. He said there were lessons to learn from the miners' strike about solidarity with other workers.
Some of the crowd shouted 'you locked up miners on strike!' but Peter replied by saying: "Yes we did but we have learnt since then."
Janice Godrich (president of the PCS civil servants union and CWI Scotland member) argued that we must support the right to strike for all workers which includes the POA. A Shelter worker spoke at the rally, exposing the way Shelter were 'cosying up' to New Labour. She called for a new workers' party.
Among other May Day events, 100 - 200 people marched in Liverpool. That very day, the BNP failed to make the breakthrough at the polls many had feared, though they got 300 votes in Norris Green which they contested for the first time.
Most far-right candidates were out-polled by the highest-polling Left candidate Socialist Party member Pete Glover, who won 373 votes in the Netherton and Orrell ward of Sefton. Pete's vote is the closest challenger to Labour in the ward, showing the scope for building a new party of the working-class.
In Manchester, around 100 celebrated May Day on 5 May.
Speaking in a personal capacity Socialist Party member and Salford Unison young members' officer Steve North explained: "We need united action to defend workers in the public sector, and to defend public services. I want to take action with nurses, with civil servants, and other workers.
"We should also look beyond industrial battles and recognise the lack of a political voice for workers. We need a new party to represent us, a new workers' party."
Reports from Jane James, Tony Mulhearn and Hugh Caffrey
In The Socialist 7 May 2008:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
May Day Greetings
Socialist Party workplace news