May Day 2017 Roundup

Annual May Day mobilizations provide a number of opportunities for revolutionary communists. They’re an opportunity for us to put revolutionary politics front-and-centre in the minds of workers and oppressed people, to commemorate the history of revolutionary struggles which continue to present the best hope for the future, and to take stock of the state of our work building such a struggle.

The PCR-RCP has expanded quickly in the past two years, opening up work in new regions and rallying new forces to the revolutionary movement, and improving the quality of our work in regions where we are already established.

The Party was active in many regions this May Day, and in some regions we were the leading force in the mobilizations, which shows the viability of revolutionary communism and shows that the people are ready for the emergence of a revolutionary movement to cast capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism into the dustbin of history. Here’s what we managed to pull off this year:

Charlottetown – The RCP (OC) took the opportunity of May Day to engage in propaganda work in the city’s downtown.

Quebec City – A Red/Black contingent involving the PCR-RCP and a wide variety of revolutionary forces made up a significant portion of the larger May Day march and this was followed by a gathering at L’Etincelle hosted by our comrades to celebrate, share ideas, and build ties.

Ottawa – “Anti-Capitalist May Day”, which a variety of radical forces including the PCR-RCP participated in heavily, organized a, Anti-Colonial May Day rally and march, and attracted some 100 people. They stopped at an Ottawa Police Services station, St. Patrick’s Basilica, and the Prime Minister’s Office to denounce these institutions for their historical and continued role in maintaining Canadian capitalism, imperialism, and settler-colonialism. Heavy rain prevented the marchers from burning an effigy of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and so they contented themselves with smashing it to bits.

Peterborough – The PCR-RCP hosted a dinner which attracted local radicals and was accompanied by an educational talk.

Toronto – Comrades from the PCR-RCP initiated the May Day Coalition and brought together a variety of progressive and revolutionary forces under the slogan “Workers of the world: Unite against war and fascism!” A rally of some 500 people gathered and marched through the city’s west end, making links with a number of the city’s progressive organizations in the process.

Hamilton – Comrades from the PCR-RCP and Revolutionary Student Movement organized a red contingent for the May Day march which was organized by local anarchists. The rally, which was about 45 people, marched through the city’s downtown and a few working class areas.

Sudbury – PCR-RCP comrades in Sudbury kept up the tradition of having a high level of activity on May Day. Their 3rd annual Art Attack attracted a large number of working class families to have lunch and produce pro-communist art projects. They also held an afternoon matinee screening of the movie Comrades. All this was before their rally and march, dubbed a “Red Demonstration”, attracted around 30 people to march through town in the pouring rain. If this weren’t enough, they held a music festival in the proletarian Donovan district later that night!

Winnipeg – Comrades from the PCR-RCP Organizing Committee initiated a coalition of anti-capitalist forces to plan this year’s May Day. This was a special May Day in Winnipeg because it marks one year since Errol Greene was murdered at the Remand Centre, for which the prison guards were indirectly responsible. Because of this, a vigil at the remand centre was held before the May Day march where the RCP (OC) participated before leading the crowd of about 70 people to the legislative park. There a representative of the labour council and another from MEGU – the union which represents the prison guards – were met with jeers and heckles by the revolutionary forces.

Saskatoon – The PCR-RCP and IWW coordinated to initiate May Day organizing, then brought in a variety of forces to rally some 40 people in a park where they heard speeches on the history of May Day and the Haymarket Massacre, the necessity of militant mobilization and revolution, and a number of local initiatives. From there, they marched through a poor neighbourhood to City Hall and denounced the “progressive” mayor, whose idea of supporting the working class is to increase the police budget. Comrades said it loud and clear: “Austerity no more, this is fucking class war!”

The Party was certainly more active and more prominent this May Day than in previous years. The revolutionary, progressive and working-class organizations who partnered with us for this are too numerous to mention individually, but nearly everywhere the Party mobilized there was enthusiastic support and participation by the Revolutionary Student Movement and the new “Against Fascism” organizations.

If we think of May Day mobilizations as a road marker for how our work is progressing, we’re clearly on the right path, so let’s use the next year to build the revolutionary movement, make wider and deeper connections with the masses, win new forces over to revolutionary politics, and make next year’s May Day even better!