Our May Day Message

Just over sixty years ago an international labour conference of reformers of various kinds, thrown up by the labour movement and movements for national self-determination, proposed that the workers throughout the world should take a holiday on the 1st May each year for the purpose of holding demonstrations as an expression of their international brotherhood. Each succeeding year until the outbreak of the first world war these demonstrations were held. On the platforms appeared a hotch-potch of political “leaders,” Trade Union “leaders” “leaders” of nationalist movements and, of course, the ubiquitous “intellectuals.” Fiery speeches were delivered and the emotions of huge audiences were stirred up until, at an agreed upon moment, a resolution expressing the international fraternity of labour, was put from each platform and carried with acclamation.

May Day is here again but, to the Labour movement, only as a faint memory of times long since gone by. The ideals of those times are now nearly dead and forgotten by the movement that sponsored them. Two devastating world wars, the rise of modern dictatorships, the struggles for new national groupings, the emergence of Labour governments and the unscrupulous and defiling hand of Russian “communism” have submerged these ideals in a world tortured and torn into fragments by conflicting sectional interests and breathlessly bent on a gigantic armaments race.

In place of the solidarity of labour workers in their trade unions take action to resist, or hinder, the employment of their fellows, both at home and from abroad; support national groups of capitalists in their struggle against foreign competitors; send deputations to employers to advise them on methods to adopt to help run the industries successfully and to resist foreign competition. Labour “leaders” who once cut a figure as rugged sons of toil, claiming to represent their fellows in antagonism to the interests of the employers, have now become transformed into pontiffs of industry and trade, supporters of “national” ideals and banquet addicts.

The unfolding of this sordid and bitter story, which has ended in hopes gone astray, we foretold at the beginning of this half century of disillusion. Its ending was inevitable because it started off on a false trail. It set out to lop off, bit by bit, the branches that sprouted from the tree of property ownership instead of uprooting the tree itself.

So this May Day finds us still in a system of production for profit, with its anarchy in production, its competition, its insecurity and its gloomy portents of a slump on the horizon. Again we call attention to our oft repeated May Day Message which is the only message of hope in a despairing world.

There is a solution to the troubles of to-day, a simple, complete solution, and one that can be applied without turmoil or war. Its application requires only the understanding and co-operation of the people of the world, which is guaranteed by their common humanity. That solution is the establishment of a new form of society—Socialism; a system in which there will be neither propertied nor propertyless because all that is in and on the earth will be the common heritage of all mankind. Each member of society will co-operate with his fellows to meet their mutual needs and will thereby be enabled to fully express himself by taking a direct part in the production of that which is useful, harmonious and pleasurable. The touchstone of production will be usefulness and not profitableness.

In place of the present antagonist elements, and the time-worn “solidarity of labour,” Socialism implies the harmonious co-operation and fraternity of all the inhabitants of the earth. This, and this only, is the real solution to the troubles that afflict the world to-day.


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