International Workers’ Day 2021 marks a year of intense struggle for the global working class.
“Essential workers” won praise from corporate media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but big corporations attacked the working class through mass job cuts and unsafe conditions while collecting government subsidies. For example, Amazon’s profits increased by 200% during the COVID crisis. Early on we saw workers start to walk out in protest, and we have since seen the Hunts Point Teamster strike in NYC, strikes of steel workers and miners, and now the St. Vincent nurses strike locally in Worcester show that workers are fighting back. All workers are essential!
Last summer, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets in a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests after the police murder of George Floyd. In some cities, demonstrations lasted for several days and protesters clashed with police, National Guard, and federal officers. Movements against police brutality emerged around the world, from the #EndSARS movement in Nigeria to anti-racism protests in the U.K. Now, BLM protests are rising again around the Chauvin trial and recent police murders including those of Andrew Brown Jr., Adam Toledo, and Ma’Khia Bryant.
The class struggle will continue to heat up. The anti-racist and labor movements need socialist ideas to unite and fight successfully. To continue to grow even larger than last summer, the anti-racist movement needs to establish democratic organizations to develop a program of common demands and to link up protests in different cities. Unions need to learn again how to organize together through real solidarity—including coordinated job actions and strikes. The labor movement needs to rediscover its socialist roots, including International Workers’ Day itself which has always been a rallying point for workers around the world.
We need our own political party, a mass workers’ party, to unite and sustain Left movements and to prevent them being diverted into the capitalist Democratic Party. A new political party for working people can win free healthcare for all, a $20 an hour minimum wage, and a massive nationwide jobs program.
Real gains in labor have historically been made when mass left political parties provided unions with activism, leadership, and the vision of an alternative to capitalism. Join the Independent Socialist Group, part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, in the fight for international socialism!