Every first of May we commemorate the Chicago Strike of 1886 that culminated in the so called Haymarket Riots. The strike ended with thousands of workers being fired and many injured, the vast majority of them immigrants from Europe. This mass mobilisation was fought extremely hard by the authorities, who subsequently executed the five “Chicago Martyrs”, trade unionists and anarchists militants.
Chicago was the starting point of a worldwide movement to win the 8-hour working day that lasted for decades. The working class achieved this goal thanks to the struggle, not thanks to the decisions of parliaments. Most of our rights are won through the offensive of the popular forces. It is when the struggle stops, that the correlation of forces changes, and the ruling class starts to cut rights.
For decades the ruling class of Europe as part of the imperialist core was able to secure basic standards of living for ‘their’ working class by colonial and imperialist exploitation of the global south with the aim to undermine resistance in their own backyard. Although this exploitation and oppression continues to exist, we can see that even those standards of living are more and more under attack: Having to work more and more to get the same pay, seeing our living standards decrease through inflation or seeing our pensions cut or the retirement age increased. For some years now, we have been experiencing a process of dispossession of the working class that is accelerating due to the various crises that feed back on each other.
We have the post-pandemic production crisis, the energy crisis, the housing crisis, the crisis of increasing resource scarcity and the climate crisis. All of them will mark a time of change towards another kind of civilisation and all of them bring us new conflicts that can develop in the field of geopolitics. In this sense, we do not want to forget the terrible war in Ukraine, where the great world powers have been at each others throats for more than a year, producing death and devastation en masse.
Social anarchism understands that empowered peoples cannot expect substantial improvements in their lives through parliamentary struggle. On the contrary, in times of scarcity authoritarian monsters grow. Right-wing ideology pretends to use the diversity of the working class to single out groups to hate: immigrants, the LGTBI community, Romani and Sinto people or even feminism or environmentalism.
We cannot fail to point out that the libertarian communists will always be with oppressed people and social groups and that we believe that collective self-defence against authoritarianism is a means of building a better world, which necessarily involves diversity, fraternity between peoples and the construction of a free and socialist society. Anarchism is a permanent effort to generate emancipation from mass direct action, from diverse but federated and cohesive social struggles, building the correlation of forces that allows the radical changes we need.
We, the European anarchist organisations signing this communiqué, wish all the working class of Europe and the world a happy and militant May Day.
For the construction of popular power
Long live anarchy
Long live libertarian communism
Long live May Day