May Day 2020 during COVID-19


This 30 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

May Day 2020

This May Day finds us at an important historic crossroads. Amidst a global pandemic, this year the streets will be eerily silent as people forgo the marches and rallies that are the annual rituals of international workers’ day.

But while the streets may be calm, the class war rages on. Wildcat strikes are popping off among ‘essential workers’ who two months ago were seen as some of the lowest, most precarious participants of the gig economy. Prison uprisings are breaking out around the world at an unprecedented rate. And millions of tenants are withholding their rent in what could become the first global rent strike in history.

These are interesting times. Stay safe. Get organized. Fight hard. Happy May Day.

This 30 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Workers Are Fighting Back

Labor journalist Sarah Jaffe says despite unprecedented challenges, working people are finding new ways to organize for basic protections during the coronavirus pandemic.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 1 May 2020:

Editorial: Our united response to coronavirus shows the power of collectivism

THE usual May Day marches and rallies are not taking place this year for obvious reasons. Yet the solidarity we proclaim with workers around the world on International Workers’ Day is felt throughout our movement.

The reality of the Covid-19 crisis has made stark the difference in the value of the work done by some of the worst-paid and worst-treated workers in the country, without whose labour our streets would pile up with rubbish, our shops would lie empty, our deliveries would not arrive and our sick would not be treated or cared for – and the handful at the top paid astronomical sums for no conceivable reason.

It makes clearer than ever the need for a new deal for workers, a concerted push by our whole movement to call a halt to the march to a bargain-basement economy where labour is cheap and workers are expendable.

For years workers have been forced to work harder for longer, to put up with whatever terms and conditions are imposed by unaccountable management, trapped on zero-hours contracts or bogus self-employment arrangements designed to deny them access to rights our trade-union forebears won through relentless struggle – to sick pay, holiday pay, defined working hours, weekends.

Now, with government ministers forced to sing the praises of “key workers” keeping the country running, we must stand together to demand that they receive the pay and dignity they deserve – above all through winning the right to have pay and conditions agreed through collective bargaining where the representatives of workers – unions – are able to fight their corner against bosses.

For years government has outsourced real decision-making to “the market”, refusing to stand up for British manufacturing, outsourcing the delivery of public services or selling them off altogether, dismissing the possibility that it was in the power of the state to end homelessness or joblessness. The utter inability of the market to meet the requirements of the people during this crisis shows the need for an entirely different economic approach.

And for years government has tried to find scapegoats to take the blame for the stresses and insecurities of capitalism, seeking to divide workers against their fellows from other countries. As Covid-19 began to spread, there was an alarming spike in anti-Chinese racism, but the collective effort of the lockdown is an opportunity to point to the common interests of all workers and the contribution people from every corner of the globe are making to our survival and recovery.

Even if we are trapped inside our homes and unable to meet comrades and friends, the collective response to the pandemic has renewed a sense of community in many neighbourhoods, as we gather at our windows and doors at the same hour each week to applaud our health workers, volunteer to deliver essential supplies to those who can’t go out and make sacrifices, some small, some large, in a national effort to keep everyone safe.

In the process we can begin to glimpse what a different social order might look like.

Internationally, we are presented with the contrast between the immediate steps taken to help others by China and Cuba, rushing medical aid and doctors to the worst-hit countries, and the behaviour of the United States – blocking the shipment of medical equipment to Cuba, sending gunboats to the shores of Venezuela and slapping additional sanctions on Iran even as the latter struggles to cope with the most severe Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East.

At home, the proliferation of mutual-aid groups and the heroic work being done by trade-union reps to keep people safe at work show the power of co-operation and collective action.

The changes we need will not come from politicians or Parliament. It is our movement’s job to win them, in the workplace and in the community.

By Ian Waddell in Britain, 1 May 2020:

The pandemic should open up a new struggle over working hours

IAN WADDELL of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions says the labour movement has to seize on the new understanding of what constitutes essential work

SINCE the Covid-19 crisis erupted workers have been at the forefront of our society’s response, from the heroic efforts of front-line health workers to the essential workers keeping supermarkets stocked with shelves.

Cleaners became critical workers as companies, schools and universities embarked on deep-clean programmes to disinfect their premises.

Essential jobs included many low paid roles: postal workers and distribution drivers; bus and coach drivers; bank customer service advisers; teachers, care home workers, social workers and support staff; farmworkers, food production workers; and sewerage workers to name just a few of the jobs vital to maintaining our way of life during lockdown.

This 1 May 2020 video from New Delhi in India says about itself:

LeftWord Books Managing Editor Sudhanva Desphande talks about May Day @ May Day [bookstore]

Every year on the 1st of May we have a grand celebration of workers rights at our bookstore. We salute workers who struggled for our rights for over a century.

This year we are not able to hold the festival. But we will be celebrating it online with Roger Waters, Tania Saleh, Aisi Taisi Democracy, M D Pallavi, Amir Aziz, Martin Espada, Jana Natya Manch, Aishe Ghosh and more…

Join us on May Day at live.leftword.com to celebrate the festival of workers.

This 30 April 2020 music video from Belgium shows people singing the anti-fascist song Bella Ciao from their homes for May Day.

This video from Cornwall in Britain says about itself:

Happy May Day 2020 – Hal an Tow (with improved audio)

We’ve managed to locate a better sound recording of this performance, and what better day to share it!

Filmed and recorded by Harry Campbell.

Recorded in St John’s Church, Keswick, Saturday 22 June 2013.

5 thoughts on “May Day 2020 during COVID-19

  1. Pingback: May Day and coronavirus pandemic | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: COVID-19 crisis in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Coronavirus disaster in Trump’s and Bezos’ USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: May Day 2020 during coronavirus, reports | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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