The Global May Day is a project for (grassroot) labour unions and initiatives supporting labour struggles. Besides the focus on common coordinations for the annual May Day, the Global May Day infrastructure helps to put groups and individuals in contact so that they can share information as well as resources and initiate Solidarity Partnerships.
Local self-organisation is encouraged as much as possible. The Global May Day platform seeks to enable local and regional structures to share successful practices and inspiring ideas.
Concept of the Global May Day (GMD)
for May Day (Labour Day) itself
The purpose for May Day itself is to become visible as a network of grassroot unions, union-oriented groups, as well as groups and individuals, which support union approaches. Demonstrations and actions are planned autonomously (also in local and regional alliances). Everyone identifying with the goals and priciples of the GMD is welcome to make use of common materials (logos / posters / text), but it is not obligatory. There will be an annual call to action, which can be complemented by calls on the local / regional level.
For networking on the global scale the GMD consists of an online infrastructure (homepage / social media / mailing list). It is possible to upload materials, texts and reports of May Day activities worldwide. Furthermore the logos of the organizations supporting the annual call will be published.
For internal communication the mailing list and social media platforms can be used.
To foster transnational cooperation Solidarity Partnerships can be constituted. Through them current labour struggles can be supported and connected. This way pressure on different levels within the global value and production chain and a transnational public can be created.
Each syndicate/group/union organizes its activities autonomously with their own focus.
Between May Days – Solidarity Partnerships
The infrastructure can be used to report and interact between the annual May Days, especially to cooperate when labour disputes arise, which could merge into Solidarity Partnerships. Furthermore it is a space for the coordination of activities connected to emancipatory efforts, like the annual day of feminist (labour) struggles on March 8th.
How do Solidarity Partnerships function?
1) A group / trade union has a labour dispute / conflict with an employer. This could be pay claims, but also claims going further, like the constitution of women councils to ensure women rights. This can be communicated via the mailing list.
2) At least one other group / labour union connects with the foresaid group / trade union and explores ways of supporting them in their dispute. Assuming the group / labour union is active within the same value chain of production, it can even be considered to expand the conflict.
3) Support can be organized in different ways; e.g. rallies in front of shops / factories within the economic value chain, generating publicity for the ongoing labour dispute and contacting the employer demanding to fulfill the demands of struggling workers and so on. All of this should happen in coordination with group / labour union which initiated the Solidarity Partnership.
Besides these cooperations groups / labour unions can use the GMD infrastructure to exchange information about current developments and prepare the next Global May Day.
Feel free to subscribe and/or contact the Global May Day mailing list [globalmayday[AT]lists.riseup.net] or use it to get in contact with other groups / labour unions (for example to initiate a Solidarity Partnership).
Why we need a Global May Day:
Worldwide we, the wage-related workers, are set in competition to support the additional value production. Regardless where we live, our gender / sex, nationality, we are interwoven in the same fight, if we want to or not. Budget cuts in social services, outsourcing, depressing wages, privatization, increasing costs of living as well as tuition fees and the destruction of natural recourses are just a few of the symptoms of the global economic system. A system that is based on exploitation and competition leads to commercialization of all aspects of our lives. We suffer from growing pressure to perform, separation, as well as the alienation of our needs and people, which we are working and living with. Be it at the workplace, university or increasingly even during childhood and youth. The logic of the market economy and the corresponding nation-state structures require that adaption to the dictate of competitiveness and the value-added production take priority over the development of emancipatory capabilities.
We do not intend to simply disrupt; we seek to overcome.
Given the transnational nature of the capitalist system, it is necessary for workers to connect on the global level.
By networking across borders, the global interconnections that shape our local conditions can be made visible. Furthermore it opens up new potentialities and scopes of action within the struggle against exploitation as well as precarious working and living conditions. The bargaining power of workers would increase tremendously, if we were to unite within the same value-added chain.
Especially in times of nationalism and racism, we seek the common struggle and resist being played off against each other.
For a better life for all – across all borders!
General strikes and direct actions could have probably prevented the war raged against emancipatory forces in Rojava. Consequently we strive to empower us as workers to directly impact political developments.
Let us imagine what differences it would have made, if the striking miners in Marikana (South Africa) and workers of the BASF chemical plants located in Germany were connected and had united in their struggle given that BASF is the primary purchaser of the resources produced by the miners. Such linkages could have significantly altered or perhaps even prevented the 2012 massacre.
Another example are garment workers in Sri Lanka (producing textiles for the retailing company H&M) who fought for wages enabling them a proper living on November 27th, 2018. On the same day groups across Europe and the USA organised activities in solidarity in front of outlets of H&M. This shows that pressure can be generated through a network of actors within the value-added chain, from the producing workers to those working in the retails stores and those purchasing the product.
The same applies to strike actions taking place at Amazon: For example the labour union ver.di called for strikes in 2016 at logistical centers across Germany. Since logistical centers in Poland were used as evasive locations, the labour union IP organised solidarity actions. By now action groups are forming at Amazon centers around the world, which are also increasingly shaping a network.
Last but not least IT workers are resisting precarious working conditions and get organized across borders. As an example we want to point out the initiative Game Workers Unite! and mention the walkout by workers at Google, which was joined by tens of thousands of people in 50 cities worldwide in November 2018.