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(en) SA, Zabalaza #5 - The First of May: Symbol of a New Era in the Life & Struggle of the Toilers - by Nestor Makhno*

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 6 Jun 2004 08:04:19 +0200 (CEST)


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In the socialist world, the first of May is
considered the Labour holiday. This is a
mistaken description that has so penetrat-
ed the lives of the toilers that in many
countries that day is indeed celebrated as
such. In fact, the first of May is not at all a
holiday for the toilers. No, the toilers
should not stay in their workshops or in the
fields on that date. On that date, toilers all
over the world should come together in
every village, every town, and organise
mass rallies, not to mark that date as sta-
tist socialists and especially the
Bolsheviks conceive it, but rather to gauge
the measure of their strength and assess
the possibilities for direct armed struggle
against a rotten, cowardly, slave-holding
order rooted in violence and falsehood. It
is easiest for all the toilers to come togeth-
er on that historic date, already part of the
calendar, and most convenient for them to
express their collective will, as well as
enter into common discussion of every-
thing related to essential matters of the
present and the future.
Over forty years ago, the American
workers of Chicago and its environs
assembled on the first of May. There they
listened to addresses from many socialist
orators, and more especially those from
anarchist orators, for they fairly gobbled
up libertarian ideas and openly sided with
the anarchists.
That day those American workers
attempted, by organising themselves, to
give expression to their protest against the
iniquitous order of the State and Capital of
the propertied. That was what the
American libertarians Spies, Parsons and
others spoke about. It was at this point
that this protest rally was interrupted by
provocations by the hirelings of Capital
and it ended with the massacre of
unarmed workers, followed by the arrest
and murder of Spies, Parsons and other
comrades.
The workers of Chicago and district
had not assembled to celebrate the May
Day holiday. They had gathered to
resolve, in common, the problems of their
lives and their struggles.
Today too, wheresoever the toilers
have freed themselves from the tutelage
of the bourgeoisie and the social democ-
racy linked to it (Menshevik or Bolshevik, it
makes no difference) or even try to do so,
they regard the first of May as the occa-
sion of a get-together when they will con-
cern themselves with their own affairs and
consider the matter of their emancipation.
Through these aspirations, they give
expression to their solidarity with and
regard for the memory of the Chicago mar-
tyrs. Thus they sense that the first of May
cannot be a holiday for them. So, despite
the claims of "professional socialists,"
tending to portray it as the Feast of
Labour, the first of May can be nothing of
the sort for conscious workers.
The first of May is the symbol of a new
era in the life and struggle of the toilers, an
era that each year offers the toilers fresh,
increasingly tough and decisive battles
against the bourgeoisie, for the freedom
and independence wrested from them, for
their social ideal.

* Nestor Makhno - former guerrilla of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army
of the Ukraine (RIAU), originally published in Dielo Truda (Workers'
Cause), May 1, 1932.


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