Red Contingents at May Day 2015

This year again, the Revolutionary Communist Party called for the formation of “colourful red contingents” for International Workers Day. In a statement titled “The World Needs Socialism! Socialism Requires Revolution! The Revolution Needs Us!”, the PCR-RCP called for waving “the proletarian flag that symbolizes our strength, our courage, and the victories that soon will be […]

This year again, the Revolutionary Communist Party called for the formation of “colourful red contingents” for International Workers Day. In a statement titled “The World Needs Socialism! Socialism Requires Revolution!
The Revolution Needs Us!”, the PCR-RCP called for waving “the proletarian flag that symbolizes our strength, our courage, and the victories that soon will be ours.”

Here are the reports we got from comrades:

GATINEAU:

Some 2,000 people took part in the union demo downtown Hull, making it probably the largest demo ever held here. All the main unions were there, except those from the federal public service who went to the Ottawa march. The demo started from the office of the MPP on St. Joseph Boulevard and went to the Casino du Lac-Leamy. The organizers were allowed by the management to block one of the two entrances to the casino.

Along with anarchists associated with the “Association de Défense des Droits Sociaux,” the local PCR-RCP Organizing Committee took part in an anti-capitalist contingent, which brought together some 40 people including community organizers. One of the three banners held by the contingent had also been deployed earlier in the day at the head of a community demo.

The anti-capitalist contingent was both visible and audible with its slogans and massive red and black banners and flags. One of three banners were signed by the PCR-RCP and it read: “All power to the people—united and armed, we shall overcome.” A leaflet jointly written by anarchists and communists was also distributed.

When turning on the road leading to the casino, the protest was taking only one lane, even if the police had taken care of blocking both. The anti-capitalist contingent led 50 people on the second lane, causing the intervention of a union marshal who even tried to have the police involved. Once arrived at the casino, the protest turned into a fiesta with free hot dogs.

The anti-capitalist contingent continued to the left to block the second entrance to the casino, effectively stopping the entrance for one hour and a half. The casino is at only a hundred meters from the headquarters of the Gatineau police… The group decided to leave when the union rally ended. On the way back, on a desert portion of the Boulevard de la Carrière, a policeman tried to provoke the arrest of a demonstrator from a group of a dozen who were walking on the sidewalk, but this has not go further.

QUÉBEC CITY:

Nearly 1,000 people took to the streets this May Day in Québec City. The red contingent carried two banners and four red flags and was part of a larger anti-capitalist contingent which included students, anarchist groups and other protesters.

On several occasions, the anti-capitalist contingent shouted more politicized slogans than the official ones. There has also been a failed attempt to lead the protest to another route. That initiative came from an anarchist group that was part of the anti-capitalist contingent. The same group subsequently started a sit-in at the corner of Charest Blvd. and De La Couronne. All in all, this year’s was a more politicized demo than in previous years, clearly inspired by the anti-capitalist aspirations expressed in the “Spring 2015” and anti-austerity movement.

TORONTO:

Education Workers Action Committee and the Revolutionary Student Movement – Toronto gathered together for their May Day contingent in front of Ryerson University with a solid crowd of around 40 to 50 people. The crowd swelled at the sidewalk intersection, with EWAC and RSM members handing out red squares for everyone to show solidarity with striking Québec students.

Two rousing, anti-austerity and anti-neoliberalism speeches were given by rank and file members of CUPE and EWAC. They talked about the recent unions’ strikes, the successes and gains, and the need to carry the class struggle onward from this new momentum. With our high energy, we moved out towards Nathan Philips Square to join May Day march.

We bellowed out strike-supportive chants that we had all come to fondly memorize over the last month. Turning onto the street, we spontaneously occupied one lane of traffic, spreading out our banners and voices to vibrate the messages of anti-austerity and anti-capitalism. We were warmly greeted with solidarity honks from passing cars, and solidarity chant join-ins from people as we entered Nathan Philips Square.

The Square had numbers of around 200 people joined together. Speeches were read aloud with efforts to connect the struggles against austerity to those against resource and mining exploitation against First Nations people, and recent police violence against black communities in Baltimore and Ferguson. After the speeches, the march began. EWAC and the RSM held firm with our banners and pushed the militancy of the messages to match those in Québec, shouting ‘Anti-capitalist!’, smashing the state, and ‘Fuck the Police’ chants. Our radical voices echoed along the corporate buildings we marched by in the financial heart of Bay St. The march ended at St James Park with high enthusiasm, and more speeches given. One of the scheduled speeches was given by an RSM member, who poetically called for the masses to hunger for revolution.

By the way, we had no problems with police. Their numbers were small, and they didn’t follow us closely.

MONTRÉAL:


photo ACAB Media

The eighth edition of the annual Anti-Capitalist May Day demonstration called for the seventh consecutive year by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), brought together several thousand people, who bravely resisted the fascist terror exerted jointly by the Montreal Police and the Québec Provincial Police (SQ). Despite their savage attacks with gas, pepper spray and batons, people continued to protest and regrouped, showing great determination.

CLAC has called for three gathering points both located in the new bourgeois “Golden Square Mile,” while several groups had planned to gather in various neighbourhoods to converge downtown.

The main gathering has been the Square Phillips one where the PCR-RCP, the Proletarian Feminist Front, Women of Diverse Origins, the Immigrant Workers Centre, Muslim Feminist Activists and the Revolutionary Student Movement had called for a red contingent.

After a few speeches stressing the importance for the working class to unite to combat all forms of oppression and discrimination, the group was quickly attacked by the SPVM thugs who tried to prevent the demonstrators to take to the streets. The people nevertheless succeeded to gather and march and soon the whole area turned into a virtual war zone. The cops extensively used tear gas, causing a chaos in this highly busy shopping area.

At the call of the CLAC, the demonstrators regrouped and re-started the march to the west, succeeding in thwarting the onslaught of police officers who suffered significant material losses, as a number of their cars were destroyed.

The courage and determination of the demonstrators clearly won over the unbridled violence of the watchdogs of the bourgeois system.

UPDATE FROM OTTAWA:

On May First, 2015, several hundred people marched in the streets of Ottawa for a number of labour, environment, student, and anti-police repression reforms. The PCR-RCP marched along with the Proletarian Feminist Front, the Revolutionary Workers’ Movement, and the Revolutionary Student Movement of Algonquin College, and was later joined by the RSM of the University of Ottawa, which marched from the university with other students. We handed out flyers with a short explanation of May Day’s origins, and lead the march into taking an extra lane on several streets.

We faced many challenges amongst the organizers; although the communist movement in Ottawa is growing every day, Ottawa May Day marches are shrinking in both size and militancy. We were threatened by one “security team member” with being cut off from the march because we chose not to give up an intersection to the police and traffic during a round of speeches. This completely defeated the purpose of making a disruption in the first place and also landed the organizer on the side of the cops by threatening to isolate us in the middle of an un-permitted march! Ultimately, they did not carry through with the threat.

We need to prove that May Day can be more than just an annual parade passing empty government offices if we want to connect it with the working-class of Ottawa. Keep an eye out for a video of a speech we gave near the end of the march about revolution and settler-colonialism (done without permission of the organizers who wouldn’t allow us on the speaker’s list).

We also held an impromptu concert in a park with several fantastic musicians and celebrated well into the night!