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May Day - fighting capitalist oppression internationally
Around the world, trade unionists and socialists celebrate May Day (1 May) as a commemoration of past struggles but also to rededicate the workers' movement to fighting capitalist austerity and oppression.
CWI members, often in difficult circumstances, organised and participated in May Day events around the world. Here are a few short reports.
This year's May Day came in the middle of the general elections campaign in the country. The turnout in the rallies, public meetings and seminars were low compared to previous years.
The deteriorating security situation played a role in the low level of participation. The Pakistan People's Party failed to organise its traditional May Day rally in Lahore for the first time in 40 years.
Yet, in spite of these difficulties the Progressive Workers Federation, Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan and Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI) organised and intervened in the May Day activities in more than 38 cities and towns across the country.
Over 5,000 industrial and public sector workers participated in these activities. A special issue of the Socialist newspaper was also produced.
Syed Fazal Abass Shah, secretary general PWF, Pakistan
Twelve members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM - CWI, Nigeria) were arrested at May Day rallies in Abuja, Niger, Oyo, Kaduna and Anambra states for circulating a leaflet issued by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN - a new left party initiated by the DSM) on monumental corruption and pension fraud and selling the paper of DSM, Socialist Democracy, with a bold headline on the pension fund scam.
However, local and international pressure mounted by comrades and supporters forced the authorities to release the comrades.
It was an atmosphere of siege at all the May Day events across the country with more vicious attacks on democratic rights than what existed even under the military rule.
Apart from the five states where we experienced arrest, comrades were also harassed at gun point and threatened with arrest in Lagos and Osun, and chased out of the venues in Delta and Imo states.
The Jonathan government has employed strong arm attacks on democratic rights as its response to the growing criticism of its anti-poor conduct and policies as well as monumental corruption.
We commend comrades and supporters locally and internationally for their prompt intervention with protest letters, calls and text messages as well as collaborators and lawyers who helped secure the bail of some of the comrades.
Segun Sango, general secretary DSM
Around 20,000 Taiwanese workers used this year's May Day to rally against austerity and cuts to the pension. Workers weaved through the central Taipei city streets, despite the cold weather and pouring rain, chanting "defend the pension!" and "stop corruption!"
A CWI contingent also marched in the demonstration.
The government stepped up its attacks on workers, pensioners, students and communities such as that in Miaoli (scene of a long and bitter struggle by textile workers last year). Fighting for an end to these attacks means fighting against capitalism.
Chris Dite, Taipei, chinaworker.info
Committee for a Workers' International
The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) is the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated.
The CWI is organised in 45 countries and works to unite the working class and oppressed peoples against global capitalism and to fight for a socialist world.
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