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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - May Day

Industrial Workers of the World - May Day

International Labor Day


Portland May Day 2017 — Official Response

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:05:26 +0000

By the Portland IWW - Portland IWW, May 4, 2017

(image) This was originally sent to KOIN 6 as a response to the events that took place on May Day in Portland.

The Industrial Workers of the World is proud that we were able to celebrate International Workers Day and march in solidarity with so many organizations which are essential and vibrant to the community of Portland and at large. International Workers Day is an important holiday that showcases the struggle of all workers against the wholesale societal systemic oppression brought about by corporations, CEOs, and the mega-rich capitalist class. The fact that there was such a strong contingent of marchers from all walks of life is representative of the American working class.

The Portland Police Bureau’s use of violence against workers and their families – as well as the children who were in the crowd celebrating the holiday with their parents – is a travesty and a violation of both human rights, as well as the right to peaceful assembly. We condemn their efforts in restricting accessibility to fellow workers with disabilities, and their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the people they have sworn to protect. By direct contrast, they assisted visible white supremacists and white nationalists at the “March for Free Speech 82nd Ave,” specifically a non-permitted march by pro-Trump supporters on April 29th by chartering Tri-Met buses and public transportation to get these people, some of whom were making Nazi salutes during their protest, back to their vehicles.

Our goal is and has always been to support and assist the workers of the world, and we will continue to fight for the needs of all in the face of police and capitalist oppression, and stand by our watchword that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the Portland Police Bureau inflicted shameful injury against the workers, their families, and their children during the May Day march; we will stand against that in solidarity with our fellow workers.

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One Class, One Struggle! Undocumented and Documented Workers Unite on May Day

Tue, 09 May 2017 01:30:05 +0000

By Patrick O’Donoghue - The Organizer, May 1, 2017 A Day of Resistance! Today is May Day, or as we in the labor movement call it, International Worker’s Day- a day of celebration and resistance for working class people. It is a day not only of looking forward to the future, but also remembering the lessons of the past. May Day commemorates the struggle of the Haymarket Martyrs, a group of labor organizers, most of them immigrants, executed in Chicago for their work in the Eight Hour Day movement. The Eight Hour Day was the first time that workers around the world joined together in one campaign, supporting each other’s strikes and protests around a single demand- reduce the work day to eight hours, without a cut in pay. The movement faced violence and arrests from governments, but eventually won in country after country. The eight hour day became the basic work day for workers across the countries where the movement fought, with victories across Europe, North and South America, Australia, Iran, Japan, and elsewhere. Over a century ago, workers realized the power we have when we refuse to be divided by borders, industry, or race. This May Day is also the Day Without Immigrants. It is the latest in a wave of of day strike by immigrant workers- not only to protest wages and work conditions, but also to protest the Trump’s plans to increase deportations. Under the Trump’s ramping up of the Obama administration’s already record-breaking deportations, ICE has increasingly targeted previously protected DREAMers and other undocumented people not otherwise criminalized by the state. ICE raids are becoming more regular even in “Sanctuary Cities”, and more of our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends are being captured, torn from their homes, forced through over-crowded detention centers and courts without due process. In the Twin Cities, many of the actions today are organized by CTUL, the workers center for low wage workers of color, especially immigrant workers. Even more of the walk outs and sick outs are “wildcat” actions organized on the shop floor between undocumented workers, without needing the go-ahead from a union or organizer. By striking, these undocumented workers are showing how important they are to making the world run. How many restaurants are shut down today because the back end staff didn’t come in? How many landscapers and construction companies who rely on day laborerers are not making money today? How many farm fields aren’t being worked? Every day, undocumented immigrant workers do some of the toughest jobs in America, and the country starts to grind to a halt without immigrant workers. Deportations crackdowns have already left millions of dollars of produce to rot in the fields in Alabama, Georgia, and California as farmers dependent on exploiting undocumented workers can’t find Americans to work for as low as $10,000-$12,000 a year. The four industries with the most undocumented workforce- agriculture, cleaning and maintenance, construction, and food preparation and service- are all expecting labor shortages if Trump’s deportation plan is carried out. American companies and bosses need our immigrant fellow workers- but the administration and parts of the press try to tell workers who are citizens that undocumented workers are hurting American working standards. Nothing could be further from the truth. read more[...]

May Day Greetings from the IWW

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 23:35:55 +0000

(image) Fellow Workers and Friends: the IWW bids the workers of the world everywhere a happy May Day, International Workers Day!

There are likely May Day events happening in your community or a community near you!

We cannot (yet) hope to keep track of or list them all, but we're doing the best we can.

One good central resource is our Facebook Page, where we have attempted to share any May Day events organized or endorsed by various IWW branches, and--failing that--events in which IWW members are actively participating.

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May Day Resolution by the Los Angeles Ricardo Flores Magon General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 01:12:22 +0000

(image) Whereas increasing numbers of working class and dispossessed people in the United States have begun to meet face to face to proclaim their opposition to economic injustice and define their interests in democratic popular assemblies, autonomous from political parties, as part of the Occupy Movement, which resonates deeply with the IWW's traditions and principles, and

Whereas millions of working class and dispossessed people around the world, but especially in Northern Africa and Western Asia, have been organizing themselves to overthrow the governments that enforce the capitalist and neocolonial domination and exploitation they have resisted for generations, and

Whereas the IWW has stood since its founding in 1905 for the proposition that:

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth." and

Whereas since 2006 the tradition of the movement for the rights of migrant workers in the U.S. has been to mobilize themselves and their allies for mass actions on May 1 to disrupt the functioning of the economic system and political discourse of the 1%, and

Whereas every year May Day is celebrated globally as International Workers Day to commemorate the struggle of the international working class to emancipate itself through the class war over the centuries, and

Whereas May Day 1890 was proclaimed to be an international day of working class protest by the Second International against the repression of the 8 Hour Day movement in the U.S. where 8 mostly immigrant anarchist labor organizers were arrested, with 4 being hanged and one committing suicide the night before the hangings, after an unknown person threw a bomb at police who were repressing a protest against police brutality in Haymarket Square in Chicago, and

Whereas the Los Angeles branch of the IWW welcomes this opportunity to organize alongside OccupyLA and other participants in the Los Angeles General Strike Coalition to help the working class build the skills, the community, and the combativeness necessary to defend ourselves, our elders, and the generations to come from the global threats of austerity, exploitation, imperialism and ecocide.

Be it resolved that the LA Branch of the IWW endorses the May 1, 2012 General Strike and commits to work as part of the Los Angeles General Strike Coalition by conducting trainings and participating in actions in the lead up to May 1.

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What Kind of May Day Do We Need this Year?

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 05:21:30 +0000

Who would have thought?

The self-sacrifice of a street vendor in Tunisia sparked the rage of a nation including general strikes from independent unions which successfully ousted the Ben-Ali dictatorship.  The garment workers of Mahalla and their national day of action catalyzed the seeds of revolt in Egypt.  Then with millions in the street and Hosni Mubarak obstinately ensconced in his compound, mass industrial action from workers across sectors and across Egypt broke the stalemate and ended a 30-year reign of oppression.  Popular revolts have spread throughout the region.

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker launched extremist attacks on public worker union rights for the benefit of corporate elites, the example of the Egyptian and Tunisian achievements inspired workers to actions with a scope and spirit unseen for decades in the U.S. labor movement.  The persistent occupation of the Capitol and enthusiastic solidarity from far and wide proved that the sense of self-worth and fighting spirit of the American worker is alive and well.  A General Strike is being discussed by workers in states around the country, not as a historical relic, but as a practical, effective, and needed tool to deal with problems at work and in the political system.

As the attacks on public and private sector unions escalate, the racist scapegoating, exploitation, and deportation of immigrant workers continues apace.  Right-wing legislators in states across the country are pursuing the Arizona show-me-your-papers racial profiling model which undermines the liberty and offends the dignity of every working person.  Employers enrich themselves for years on the hard work of immigrant employees only to cynically raise status issues when confronted with demands for stolen wages or for decent working conditions.  Yet still, immigrant workers of color are routinely demonstrating the courage to lead some of the most profound and hard-fought labor campaigns in the United States.

On May 1, 2006, millions of immigrant workers and their allies poured into the streets from coast to coast with tremendous spirit and energy to give May Day life again after decades of slumber in the country in which it was born.  Regrettably, many corners of the labor movement shied away from this watershed moment which featured large numbers of workers actually striking their jobs without even the protection of union membership.  The achievement of International Workers Day in 2006 has yet to be duplicated.

The combination of existential challenges and historic opportunities facing workers indicates only one appropriate response on May 1, 2011: everyone together in the streets against the attacks on immigrants, public and private sector unions, and all working people.  A new network of over fifty leading worker and community-based organizations, May Day United, has been hard at work building just this type of dynamic May 1st under the banner of "A Day Without Workers" and a call for, "No Work, No Shopping, and No School-Related Activities."  May 1st falls on a Sunday this year which should help facilitate the participation of many working families.

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San Francisco Central Labor Council Endorses May Day Events

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 05:13:59 +0000

May Day United ( which includes five IWW branches so far has great news report.  The SF Labor Council has decisively endorsed "A Day Without Workers" on May Day; resolution is below and online at

Resolution to Endorse "A Day Without Workers" on May 1, 2011, International Workers' Day

submitted by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

WHEREAS the attack of Governor Scott Walker on Wisconsin's public workers and their labor unions is an attack on every U.S. working family;

WHEREAS union membership enables working people to bargain collectively and obtain fair wages and working conditions;

WHEREAS solidarity on the job is how working people assert our fundamental and inalienable right to freedom of association;

WHEREAS immigrant workers continue to be scapegoated and discriminated against in Arizona and across the United States to the detriment of every worker;

WHEREAS everyone who works deserves equal rights on the job;

WHEREAS corporate interests and the politicians they control are spreading their assaults from Arizona and Wisconsin to states around the country;

WHEREAS unchecked corporate power in the United States has robbed working families of economic security and peace of mind;

WHEREAS isolated efforts at reform have failed to stem the growing tide of corporate power and the harm it causes to hard-working men and women across the nation;

WHEREAS the most powerful tool working people possess to improve our wages and working conditions and defend our dignity against attack is a General Strike of all workers;

WHEREAS May 1st is International Workers Day, a day honoring the remarkable struggles and sacrifices of working people around the world;

WHEREAS a call is growing for a national mass action on May 1st, 2011 under the banner of "A Day Without Workers" including no work, shopping, or school-related activities on May Day;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council endorses "A Day Without Workers" on May Day 2011 and supports the right of affiliates to engage in work stoppages, sick-outs, and any other solidarity actions on May Day;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council will endorse and mobilize for the May Day 2011 march from 24th and Mission Streets at 12 p.m. to a rally at the Civic Center on May 1;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council will write to the AFL-CIO urging it to endorse "A Day Without Workers" and to support the call of avoiding work, shopping, and school-related activities on May Day 2011.

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May 1: International Worker’s Day - Día Internacional de los Trabajadores

Thu, 30 Apr 2009 20:28:43 +0000

By Adam Welch - originally posted here.

(image) Yet again May Day quickly approaches. Since 2006 the immigrant rights marches- made up of millions of undocumented migrant workers along with their supporters, families and children- has brought back May 1st to its original roots in the US. But many are still unaware of its origins in US labor history and the impact this commemorative day still has internationally- such as you can still walk into neighborhoods in Mexico and find streets such as “Calle Los Mártires de Chicago” (Martyrs of Chicago Street).

Below is a short, pamphlet length piece I edited on the origins and radical history of May Day. For an in depth look you might try Paul Avrich’s classic “The Haymarket Tragedy” and AK Press offers a listing of books they carry on the subject here. -AW

What is May Day and why is it called International Workers Day?

May 1st, International Worker’s Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States and Canada. This is despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880’s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day led by immigrant workers. The recent historic marches and protests for immigrant rights, which began with “El Gran Paro Americano 2006,” have brought back into our memories May 1 as an important day of struggle. Although the history of the day has largely been forgotten in the United States, it is still actively remembered and celebrated today by workers, unionists and oppressed peoples all over the world. In fact you can still walk through neighborhoods in Mexico and find streets such as Calle Los Martires de Chicago in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, commemorating the leaders of the eight-hour day movement who were imprisoned and executed.

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May 1st is International Workers Day!

Mon, 27 Apr 2009 04:13:28 +0000

Happy International Workers’ Day!

Dear Friend,

This Friday, May 1st, is YOUR day, a day to celebrate all working people.

Please take a moment to thank your co-workers, friends, and family members for all the hard work they do every day.

Many people don’t know about the history of May 1st as a workers’ holiday. Here is some information on the roots of May 1st, also called May Day.


The origins of International Workers’ Day go back to 1886, when hundreds of thousands workers across the United States went on strike. Workers demanded that their 10- and 12-hour workdays be shortened to an 8-hour day with no reduction in pay. Over the next few years, thousands of workers won the 8-hour workday that many of us still enjoy today.


We also celebrate in memory of the Haymarket massacre, in which eight labor activists were framed and put on trial by the government. On May 4, 1886, there was a rally at Chicago’s Haymarket Square in support of striking workers from a nearby factory.

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May Day and Argentine Workers' Struggle

Wed, 29 Jun 2005 07:37:17 +0000

By Marie Trigona--Grupo alavio, Buenos Aires - Industrial Worker, June 2005

(image) Since the turn of the century Argentine labor movements have marked May Day as a remembrance of class struggle and resistance. Since the 1890s, anarchists gathered in Plaza Lorea to commemorate the Haymarket Martyrs of Chicago who were murdered for their ideas and fight for a eight hour day. This year, workers in struggle held May Day in this same plaza, separate from the left parties.

"Fighting for a 6-hour work day is similar to the struggle for the 8-hour work day," said subway delegate Roberto Pianelli. "Today, the working class doesn' t have time for rest, leisure activities, or for their lives. The economic system has transformed us into working beasts. The average working day for Argentines is 10 hours. This has resulted in a unified struggle among active workers and unemployed, fighting together against capitalism and super-exploitation."

Subway workers who have been organizing wildcat strikes for salary increases have spearheaded Argentina' s movement for a six-hour work day. In 2003, subway workers (in all sectors from ticket office to train drivers) won a six-hour day. Metrovias, the private corporation contracted to take over the once state-run subway lines in Buenos Aires, has had to respect the 6-hour work day, improve working conditions and salaries, and address gender inequality. Since this victory, subway workers, other workers, economists and unemployed organizations have formed a movement for a 6-hour work day for all, with increased salaries. In addition, Metrovias employees (organized outside of the official UTA transport workers'  union) held week-long wildcat strikes in February and won a 44 percent wage hike.

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Millions Celebrate Around the Globe

Wed, 29 Jun 2005 07:19:53 +0000

Industrial Worker - June 2005

(image) Millions of workers all around the globe, from Mozambique to Manila, joined May Day rallies and marches demanding a living wage, the right to organize and immigrant rights, and in opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq.

In Germany, more than half a million workers rallied against layoffs and falling wages. In Bangladesh, thousands rallied to demand better safety standards weeks after a garment factory collapsed, killing 76 workers. In Nepal, thousands marched in the capital city Kathmandu, demanding an end to martial law.

In Japan, hundreds of thousands called for a global ban on nuclear weapons. In Russia, 20,000 unionists marched down one of Moscow's main boulevards, demanding a living wage. In Turkey, workers organized three different rallies in Istanbul, despite a government ban on May Day events.

Half a million marched in Mexico City. In Maputo, Mozambique, 30,000 marched behind a banner: "Mozambican workers in the struggle against HIV/AIDS." Marchers also demanded an increase in the minimum wage and back wages for factory workers, some of whom haven't been paid for months.

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