According to a story broken by Buzzfeed over the weekend, it looks like the first May Day of the Trump era could be a record-breaker.
A coalition of unions, worker centers, and alt-labor organizations, including SEIU United Service Workers West, Restaurant Opportunities Center United and the Food Chain Workers Alliance, have announced plans for a general strike on the internationally recognized day of workers.
The May Day strikes come on the heels of the “day without an immigrant” and “day without a woman” strikes on February 16h and March 8h respectively, but is expected to dwarf both of them. The coalition leading the strike has estimated that 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers will walk off the job in multiple states.
“We understand that there’s risk involved in that,” David Huerta, president of Service Employees International Union- United Service Workers West told Buzzfeed, “but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”
May 1 will mark the 100th day of the Trump administration.
I would suggest you do this on May Day...
Prior to May Day (like right now) write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper stating the need for a National Public Health Care System... when your letter is published, print it on one side of the paper and the petition below on the other side of the paper... don't forget to print some contact information so people can get in touch with you (phone number, e-mail address, etc.) At the bottom of this post you will find the Letter to the Editor I wrote which was published in the Austin American-Statesman, the main daily newspaper in Austin, Texas--- use it as a guide.
I would suggest you circulate the petition below at May Day events in your community...
Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”
We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.
We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into plowshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.
A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care--- general medical, eyes, ears, dental, family planning and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Or paid for with a tax on Wall Street transactions. Or financed with a combination of these methods. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.
A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.
We need to restore the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
“At Will Employment” legislation in states across the country needs to be rescinded and repealed to expand democracy in the workplace and provide workers with the right to freely participate in the communities where they live.
All attacks on immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, need to end.
Planned Parenthood needs to be defended and programs expanded.
We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.
Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out. A Basic Income for All must be guaranteed. Pensions must be honored and protected. The Wall Street swindle of pension funds must end; restore the Glass-Steagall Act.
Turn Habitat for Humanity into a massive public works project to create jobs and assure everyone has a decent home.
Free education through university; cancel student debt. End military recruitment in the high schools.
Unemployment and lack of a National Public Health Care System is the price we pay for militarism and wars. We are entitled to a Peace Dividend……... Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood.
Name Address City State E-mail
My Letter to the Editor...
Re: Feb. 9 article, “Trump looks to stabilize health insurance market”
So, the “health” — read: profits — of the health insurance industry supersedes the human right of access to health care?
Left out of the discussion is the real solution to this health care mess, which would eliminate the health insurance industry: national public health care based on the public education model. Publicly financed. Publicly administered. Publicly delivered.
It makes more sense to finance a network of publicly funded neighborhood and community health care centers across the country dispensing free health care for everyone instead of squandering the precious wealth of our nation maintaining over 800 military bases dotting the globe protecting Wall Street’s interests and wasting trillions of dollars on these dirty wars from which only the Wall Street merchants profit.
ALAN MAKI, LAKEWAY
About May Day...
New Masses, May 6, 1941
May 1st: The Sun of Tomorrow
International? That must be “foreign,” many folks mistakenly infer. But what could be more international in its origin and population than these United States? Proudly we declare May Day is American. It is not a foreign idea. Many good ideas come from abroad, but this is an American idea exported to all other countries from America. May Day as an official labor holiday was born in the fierce struggles of the eighties to establish an eight-hour day. Workers of all nationalities, immigrants, political refugees, exiles, from every foreign land; native born grandsons of the American Revolution and Civil War veterans made a common, determined demand: “Eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s work from and after May First, 1886.” The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor of the United States and Canada (later to become the American Federation of Labor) called upon the workers to down tools. Enthusiastic, they poured out in the first American general strike. It spread from city to city, over 3,000 miles. The whole continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was astir: 192,000 won the demand. The employing class, appalled at the solidarity of the workers, struck back viciously. Six workers were killed and many wounded at the McCormick Harvester Works in Chicago.
May Day was baptized in the blood of American workers. A protest meeting Haymarket Square May 4, 1886, resulted in another bloody battle and a bomb frameup. It caused the railroading to the gallows of Albert Parsons (whose ancestor had been at Valley Forge) and three of his comrades, Engel, Fischer, and Spies. "Let the voice of the people be heard!" cried Parsons, as the noose tightened around his neck. It has been, it ever Will be on May Day, brave martyred hero of yesterday! This year the newly organized, victorious strikers of the International Harvester Works in Chicago will hallow your names on May first.
The struggle for the eight-hour day was renewed. The AFL decided to reinaugurate it on May 1,1890. To widen its effectiveness they sent delegates across the sea to Paris to the International Labor Congress. They proposed that May first be officially declared an international labor holiday. This was done amid great enthusiasm, on July 4, 1889, the 100th anniversary of the Fall of the Bastile, after the delegates had heard recounted the struggles of the brave American workers. With the passing of the years the growing needs of international labor expanded the significance of May Day far beyond the eight-hour demand.
Rosa Luxemburg, brave woman Socialist of Germany, who was later brutally murdered by the militarists, sounded the alarm against a World War in 1913. She called upon the workers to make May Day a mighty demonstration for peace and socialism. “Workers of the world, Unite!” became the insistent cry on May Day. Every vital issue was pressed, more and more militant slogans raised in each country and internationally.
Are you a bad member of your family because you go out of your home to be a good citizen of your state? Are you a traitor to your state because you are equally concerned shout your country? Are you betraying your country if you are also an internationalist – dedicated to the brotherhood of man? Only workers are forbidden to be internationalists. It’s perfectly proper for J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford; for the bankers, the munitions trusts, the chemical companies. It’s proper for scientists, stamp collectors, athletic associations, musicians, spiritualists, people who raise bees, to be internationalist – but not workers. Only the clasped hands of the workers across the boundaries are struck down in every country. It will pass for all anthropologist to say in abstruse language, “There is but one race – the human race!” But let a worker say, “Brother, fellow worker, comrade” – and there’s hell to pay. He should be sent back from where he came from! He should be deprived of his citizenship; he should lose his job; he should be jailed! If a Christ-like voice should challenge them: “But what about loving thy neighbor as thyself?” the wild man from Texas would roar: “Who said that? He’s a Red, subversive, a trouble maker!” Let us not be dismayed in the slightest by all this frenzy. Let us remember the cool words of Lenin: "Acting thus the bourgeoisie acts as did all classes condemned to death by history." Every beautiful May Day of solidarity, triumph, and hope is another reminder to us to take “the long view” – the Bolshevik view of passing events. The road ahead may be rougher but it is shorter than the road behind.
Once they laughed at us, these rulers of America. We were still, small voices, crying in the wilderness, we were dreamers of idle dreams, Utopians; we couldn’t change human nature. What would the world be without the profit incentive? Answer that now, you agitating soap boxer. We were as Vanzetti said: “Talking at street corners to scorning men!” But this was two decades ago. Now they know, the rulers of the world, that the era of socialism has begun. They have been tried and found wanting. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics not only guarantees a peaceful, happy, secure life on one-sixth of the earth’s surface to nearly 200,000,000 people. It is a constant inspiration to downtrodden and exploited workers in every capitalist country in the world to “go thou and do likewise!” On May Day we salute the Soviet Union – land of socialism – land of peace and plenty, the great ideal of labor since time immemorial, the cooperative commonwealth of all who toil. “It works, brothers!” they say in the deep, dark mines; “It works,” they say by the blazing furnaces in the steel mills; “It works,” says the tenant farmer; “It works,” says the sailor in the hold of the ship and the truck driver rushing through the night. No bosses, no landlords, no bankers, no munnitions makers, no loan sharks, no employment agencies; no child labor; no prostitution; no unfinished educations; no broken old age; no long hours; no low wages; no speed-up; no unemployment; no rich, no profiteers, no capitalism. Organization is the stage we have advanced to now. Music to the ears of all old time agitator is all the justified scorn and contempt the average worker expresses uncompromisingly of the boss class. These workers don’t take off their hats; they don’t say “Sir!” They are unafraid. There is a fighting class spirit abroad in this land today among the people.
MAY DAY traditionally celebrates victories won; makes new demands; presses forward slogans of immediate action. Have we won victories in 1941? You tell it, you hundreds of thousands, union men of Bethlehem Steel; US Steel; Allis Chalmers; International Harvester; New York Transport Co.; Ford Motor Co. Ten million organized workers in America today and more to come. Skilled and unskilled, black and white, native and immigrant, man and woman, young and old – shoulder to shoulder. Let the war mongers shout; let the profit-mad rave. “We shall not be moved!” retort these millions of American workers on May Day. There is nothing to be despondent about; nothing to be weary about – not so long as we are organizing and fighting. Not so long as we are holding what we have won in an iron grip; are moving forward, getting more. Not so long as there is unswerving resistance to the Roosevelt-Willkie war party among eighty-six percent of the American people. Organize. Fight. Press Forward – that’s the spirit of America’s May Day in 1941.
Organize and fight, to stay out of war! Against all imperialism and fascism, including American!
Protect labor’s rights to organize, to make demands, to strike. No blackout of the Bill of Rights. Defend the rights of minority parties – the Communist Party – vital test of the people’s rights to free elections. Stop war profiteering. Lower the cost of living. Resist wage cuts and longer working hours. Free all fighters against imperialist war. Free Earl Browder! End Jim Crowism and anti-Semitism in our country. Cement a friendship with the Soviet Union. These slogans are aloft, the fighting slogans of America’s May Day everywhere. For peace and socialism is in the hearts, in the minds, on the lips of millions around the world May First, 1941. The “sun of tomorrow” shines upon us. The future is ours.
May Day - 1951
IS IT SUBVERSIVE
to march on May Day? Well, by now you know that anything which does you some good and takes a nickel out of the boss's pocket is subversive. A dollar raise is "subversive," and it's "subversive" to want your kids to grow up instead of becoming corpses in Korea.
But how "subversive" is May Day? It just happens to be the most American holiday we have. It was brought into being in 1886 by the Chicago workers, in their struggle for the eight-hour day. Remember their slogan:
"Eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, eight hours of recreation!"
The kept press, the bosses and the sellout artists screamed that it was "subversive," but the American working class fought it through, and the eight hour day became an accepted thing.
Not without the workers paying a price. There was never a time when good things came easy. Even then, the bosses worked with the time-honored pattern of frameup and lies, and four of the best and bravest leaders of American labor were framed for a crime they never committed; and then they were sentenced, and executed.
And one of them, a brave and honest man, August Spies, said, as he stood on the gallows:
There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!"
And his words have come true. This May Day, millions of workers will march in every corner of the earth. They will march on that day which our working class ancestors won with their courage and militancy.
James Turnbull's drawing (above) and Fred Ellis's (opposite page) deal with the historical and international aspects of May Day. Turnbull and Ellis are not only among the best of America's labor cartoonists, but fine graphic artists as well. Fred Ellis is the foremost cartoonist of America's labor press.WHY DO THEY FEAR
the worker's holiday? Why, when a hundred days in the year are celebrated, is the one day that the American working class has chosen as its own day hated and maligned?
Why do they scream that May Day is subversive, a foreign importation, an "un-American" plot?
What are they afraid of? They have many sweet words about organized labor, but on that one day when organized labor marches through the streets of New York City, the corrupt press, the bosses and the sellout artists scream with rage and fear. Why?
We have some answers, good answers. Answers which mean life and peace to you, as workers, and to all the millions of good and decent people in our land – people whose only hope of happiness lies with the working class.
Here are some of them – good reasons why you must march for life, for peace, for freedom on May 1st.
WE MARCH FOR PEACE
on this May Day. Back in Civil War days, the Confederate soldier summed up his position in these words:
"A poor man's fight and a rich man's war."
A lot of truth in that. You never saw war profiteers in the infantry. The workers do the fighting and dying; the bosses grow rich. Only this time, they're playing with atom bombs. Your boss can buy himself an atom-proof shelter in the Sherry Netherlands Hotel. You and your wife and kids are supposed to fry and like it.
More than any other group, the working class suffers from war; and only the working class, in all its strength, can lead and win the fight for peace.
That's what we march for this May Day, for peace, for a decent world where our kids can look to a future other than death. The whole of the human race looks to the American working class to win its fight for peace.
For a peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union!
For an end to the Korean war!
For peace, friendship and trade with China!
The struggle and desire of the worker for peace is a new theme in American graphic art; but it will yet be one of the great themes of our time. Here, Charles White (opposite page) and Philip Evergood (above) render this theme graphically as a tribute to the working class on this May Day. Evergood has long been considered by many critics as one of the best of all living American artists, and Charles White is a talented and outstanding graphic artist.
I conceive of labor as a giant. This giant has the power and strength to do almost anything. His history as you know has been exploitation, betrayal and misleadership. He has been blinded and hypnotized by this poison propaganda to the extent that he is not fully aware of what goes on about him. He does not want war, yet he works for war, pays for war, and sends his sons to a war he does not want. He produces all the necessities of life, yet he has a difficult time getting some of these necessities for himself and his family, and so with his education, culture, amusement.
When this giant finally stands up and lifts his head out of the fog, it will be then that we will have no hysteria, loyalty acts, McCarran Bills, wars, persecution of the minorities, lynchings, rats, inflation, gangsterism, corrupt politicians, Peglers, and what not, but a wonderful MAY DAY.
WILLIAM GROPPERIn the history of the American labor movement very few artists share that place of honor and integrity and consistent service occupied by William Gropper. For three decades American workers have found their hopes, their dreams and their bitter anger mirrored in the magnificent drawings and paintings of William Gropper. Gropper's integrity has become a by-word in the field of American culture. He cannot be bribed or bought, nor can he be swerved from his chosen arena of struggle in the defense of the workers and oppressed people of America. Gropper's reputation is an international one. Not only has he drawn for the labor press in a score of lands, but his paintings have an honored place in the galleries of Europe and Asia as well as America.
WE MARCH FOR FREEDOM
from want on this May Day. There was a time when our great labor unions could look with pride and confidence on the gains they had won under honest and militant leadership.
That is not the case today. We have come through a period when the sellout artists did their work well. The Taft-Hartley Act has crippled organized labor. President Truman has broken strike after strike. Supporting the war makers, the Murrays and the Reuthers split the CIO. And honest and militant labor leaders, such as Harry Bridges and Julius Emspak, are thrown in jail.
Wage freezes, phony escalator clauses, and skyrocketing prices – these add up to misery for the American people. There can be no freedom and no peace in America without a free and powerful and courageous trade union movement. Recent strikes in coal, railroad, textile and packing house have demonstrated that labor will resist the war profiteers. This resistance must be directed into the building of a great peace movement of the working class. Only the struggle for peace can defend the hard-won gains of the workers.
There can be no freedom for American workers if the Communist Party is outlawed and the Communist leaders jailed. This meant fascism in Germany and in Italy, and it means fascism here. And under fascism, workers are slaves.
Above all other things, it was to enslave the working class that the fascist McCarran Bill was passed.
Down with the Taft-Hartley Act and the McCarran law!
We march for freedom from want on May Day.
Robert Gwathmey has often been compared to Picasso; and certainly as a colorist and linear designer, he has no peer in America. His superb paintings of Negro workers hang in many galleries. In his drawing (above) he depicts a Negro worker laying aside his tools to March on May Day. His worker is gravely calm, deliberate and conscious of his role.WE MARCH FOR EQUALITY
on this May Day, and in defense of our Negro brothers. "Labor in white skin can never be free, while his brother in black skin is branded!"
It is almost a hundred years since those words were written, but they were never more true than today. The same Truman government that is smashing organized labor has instituted a veritable blood bath among the Negro people.
Because the Negro people are overwhelmingly workers, and because the Negro people understand and oppose the injustice and horror of the Korean war.
The Hitler-like murders of the Negro people must stop! John Derrick and the seven Martinsville martyrs already dead – the Trenton Six and Willie McGee to die – the bloodbath must end!
On this May Day, we march shoulder to shoulder, Negro and white – for democracy and equality. We march with full understanding and bitter memory of the murder of six million Jews by the fascists of Hitler Germany, and we take a sacred vow that this will not happen here.
We demand an end to segregation! We demand an end to Jimcrow in every form and manifestation! We say:
"Hands off the leaders of the Negro people! Hands off Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois and William L. Patterson! Free Lieutenant Gilbert!
We call for unity of all Negro and white workers!
The above drawing by Hugo Gellert was chosen as the poster for this May Day. Hugo Gellert is a muralist, painter, and graphic artist of note.WE MARCH FOR THE CONSTITUTION
of the United States and for the people's Bill of Rights on this May Day.
The Truman government has torn the Constitution to shreds. For the first time in a century and a half, our jails are crowded with political prisoners, Negro and white. Artists, writers, film workers who have taken their stand on the side of the working class are either in jail or facing imprisonment – as are Communists and trade unionists.
Leaders of people's organizations are being jailed daily. Guilt by association or through the testimony of stoolpigeons is becoming the legal pattern of America.
Leaders in the peace movement are being terrorized and jailed. The greatest of all American scholars, W.E.B. Du Bois, leader of the American peace movement and of the Negro liberation movement, has been indicted and faces five years in jail – in spite of his 83 years.
The un-American Committee has become the fascist inquisition of America. Workers, artists, professionals – all who fight for peace and freedom are hailed before it. The Smith Act and the McCarran Bill round out the fascist work of this committee.
Great peoples' leaders, like Paul Robeson, are denied passports and virtually imprisoned in America.
Only the working class can restore the Bill of Rights to the American people. Freedom for all Americans to assemble and speak!
We march for the Constitution on May Day!
Ten of America's fine artists have joined together in the making of this pamphlet. They undertook the task as a tribute to our working class and as a manifestation of that unity of workers and intellectuals which is our only guarantee for free expression and democratic culture. Each of the drawings was made expressly for this pamphlet, and the result is a splendid achievement in working class art.
FOR NEGRO EQUALITY
FOR THE BILL OF RIGHTS FOR ECONOMIC SECURITY
This pamphlet is published by the
United Labor and People's Committee for May Day
Hotel Langwell, 123 W. 44th St., N.Y.
Telephone: JUdson 2-5067
Pamphlets may be ordered in bulk at $7.00 per hundred, at $5.00 per
hundred in quantities over a thousand.
Pictures or text may be reproduced without permission.