Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Viewpoint

Grasp Lessons of Historic May Day 1977

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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May Day was a smashing success!

With our red and gold banners blazing “Break the Chains of Wage Slavery and National Oppression! Fight for Socialism”, over 1,000 militant working class brothers and sisters marched on May 1st through the streets of the Lower East Side of New York City. That same day, 300 other demonstrators marched through Los Angeles’ South Central community under the same revolutionary call: “Break the Chains! Fight for Socialism!”

These two May Day demonstrations brought together the advanced fighters for the working class, from many nationalities, from all four corners of the U.S. and from a whole range of trades and industries, to unite as one and declare war on the U.S. monopoly capitalist class!

Autoworkers and truckers marching alongside oil and electronics workers... steel, chemical and construction workers linking arms and chanting with textile, and hospital workers... the uniformed Revolutionary Youth League, marching in spirited, disciplined step... contingents of workers’ children shouting “All Out For May Day!” as they marched to the rally. .. all the marchers together chanting “The Workers’ Solution Is Socialist Revolution!” and singing the Internationale, the battle hymn of the international working class!

This tremendously successful May Day under the leadership of the Workers Viewpoint Organization was the fruit of the years of struggle for the most correct ideological and political line among communists in the U.S. The Workers Viewpoint Organization has developed this correct line and guided all our work with it. Now we are tightly grasping the organizational sphere of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to build the genuine Communist Party, the vanguard of the U.S. proletariat. May Day shows that this Party is on the horizon.

The fighting working-class spirit that made May Day ’77 a victory was shown by an elderly Chinese-American worker who refused a ride in a car along the demonstration’s route, saying “No, I came to express my support, and that’s exactly what I aim to do.”

Testifying to May Day’s truly multi-national character, a 90 year old Afro-American woman declared, “In the old days, the the communists led big May Day marches too, but this is the first time I have seen so many different nationalities together!”

Workers who couldn’t be with us on the march and rally showed their complete solidarity. At one Midwestern garment factory workers who couldn’t make it to New York organized their section to stay out to celebrate May Day.

One Army, One Flag, One Aim – May Day’s army is the proletarian army, its flag is the red flag of socialism, and its aim is the revolutionary overthrow of monopoly capitalism and the establishment of socialism in the U.S.!


Marching in organized ranks, our proletarian army called on the masses in the streets to join the struggle. The masses responded by cheering and raising their fists in solidarity. Many older workers remembered past revolutionary May Day celebrations, and younger workers wanted to check the demonstration out. A number joined our ranks and stayed for the rally.

With the Revolutionary Youth League marching in formation in the demonstration’s front ranks, the march was tight and disciplined. At one point when a few cops tried to break through our ranks, the marchers pushed them back. No capitalist agents allowed to disrupt the proletarian ranks!

Sharp and spirited revolutionary agitation pointed our arrows straight at the heart of the monopoly capitalist class.

In Chinatown, scene of the 20,000-strong demonstration against police brutality in 1975, agitators exposed how capitalism oppresses immigrant workers in the garment sweatshops, the restaurants and on the block.

As the march reached Gouverneur Hospital, hospital workers laid out the militant history of the workers’ and community’s struggles against the cutbacks of the monopoly capitalists and the union hacks like Victor Gotbaum of DC 37. Agitators showed how the workers built solid multi-national unity in these struggles.

At the Consolidated Edison generating plant, we thundered against the monopoly capitalists who deprive our families of heat in the freezing winter to squeeze as much profit from us as they can.

As the march went on, moving like a well-oiled machine, the masses’ enthusiasm rose higher.

But there were problems we can improve on. For example, the sound system was in the main outstanding due to comrades’ hard work, but when we found out that the sound was not reaching the whole march we should have moved on getting agitators to all parts of the march, as we had planned. In the future, we must not only plan ahead but also make sure that we fully implement our plan.

This is one of the lessons we are grasping to turn our work into an even sharper weapon against the monopoly capitalists.


Approaching the site of our rally in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a roaring chant went up: “1, 2, 5, 3, Workers Rising More And More! 5, 6, 7, 8, We Must Prepare To Smash The State!” So high were the masses’ spirits that many thought the 2-hour march was too short and wanted to march on.

May Day showed that we grasped the problem of running a tight program that moves with proletarian spirit. Unlike our International Working Women’s Day celebration in New York City this year, the May Day program stood out for its liveliness and organization. Speeches were short and sharp, and we combined them with good cultural work, including songs, poetry, posters, buttons and so on.

Delivering a statement for the Central Committee of the Workers Viewpoint Organization, a comrade spoke for us all by saying that this May Day was a tremendous victory for the working class and oppressed masses in the U.S. He laid out the latest development of the line of the Workers Viewpoint Organization. In this period, he said, communists must pay close attention to their methods of work and methods of leadership, and fight the deviations of intellectual anarchism and bureaucratism. Both make us stray from giving correct leadership to the struggle for socialist revolution.

From the Revolution Mills in North Carolina, a comrade told of the progress in the workers’ fierce struggle to-unionize the textile plants in the heart of the Black Belt South.

Another comrade from the African Liberation Support Committee denounced the monopoly capitalists who condemned old people in Harlem to freeze to death last winter. He roused the audience to fight these and other attacks on us at home, and to prepare for the ALSC’s African Liberation Day on the following May 28th.

A Hawaiian comrade talked from her heart about the jailing of her brother and her family’s suffering under capitalism. She explained that, in fighting this daily national oppression and eventually seeing through to its causes, she was won to communism and to the Workers Viewpoint Organization.

At the Los Angeles demonstration, an oil worker declared: “Under communist leadership, we’ve been fighting for one industrial union and closed shop so that the oil bosses – Rockefeller, etc. – can’t divide and conquer. We’re learning through every struggle that only rank and file unity under correct leadership can take back the trade unions from the union hacks!!” The audience erupted into chants of “Break the Chains!”

Showing the blossoming of working-class culture, in New York City the May Day Singers sang “Break the Chains” in two versions (including Blue Grass style). The singers repeatedly brought the audience to its feet shouting “Break the Chains”, fists raised high in the air.

From the West Coast came the Family (Marxist-Leninist). This Marxist collective put on a skit which showed the workers’ resistance to capitalist oppression on the assembly line. Their parody of a foreman and their cutting satire on petty bourgeois nationalist “Stokely Ron Karenga”, as well as their dance for African liberation showing the struggle of guerrilla fighters, all raised the audience’s revolutionary spirit tremendously.

Speakers from the Iranian Students Association and the Group of Khmer Residents in America gave solidarity statements, showing the true unity of the workers, oppressed nations and peoples of the world.

One worker, having experienced this revolutionary May Day, said, “I wasted 30 years of my life in not hooking up with you communists!” She was filled with the feeling that she was not fighting alone, but alongside many working class brothers and sisters.

This was the historic event that was May Day, 1977!


Like a mighty army in battle, the most significant feature of our victory was the steel-like discipline and organization of our May Day demonstration each step of the way.

The great teacher and leader of the Russian and international proletariat, Lenin, said the proletariat has no other weapon than organization. This lesson was grasped deeply in the course of waging the May Day campaign. Every aspect, from speaker systems to chants, was consciously planned out. tested and retested, and hooked up concretely to become part of the overall campaign.

And through the workers’ enthusiasm and hard work, the correct political line became a living, breathing proletarian army, a material force against the criminal monopoly capitalist class!


The militant workers drawn to the WVO and the large number who turned out for our demonstrations shows clearly the stunning success of May Day.

At the May Day Organizing Committee and at the build-up dinners beforehand, workers gave short political agitation raps as part of the political education. The excellent May Day slide show gave the history of the working class struggle against capitalism, and showed why socialism is the only solution to capitalist oppression of the workers. Revolutionary songs like the Internationale, the battle hymn of the international working class as well as songs such as “Break the Chains,” “Three Great Traditions,” and “Mira La.”

Seeing the revolutionary spirit and organization of our May Day events, workers were enthusiastic and went all out to mobilize other workers. They leafletted, postered and talked to others. Hard work such as this brought out the large number of people for our revolutionary proletarian holiday.

We discussed how to mobilize other workers. In the beginning, we set up an “outreach committee,” a separate body for mobilization, but soon saw that this was incorrect. We saw that we had to rely on the mass organizations that it was the task of every mass organization to mobilize for the May Day events. This was not a separate task for separate committees, for who was better able to mobilize the masses than the mass organizations and caucuses who knew concretely the people and the concrete situation in each area of work.

May Day proved that the working class and oppressed masses have boundless creative power and the most highly developed organizational ability. Workers became powerful agitators that moved the masses. Most importantly, the enthusiasm and initiative of all workers there were unleashed for the class struggle we face everyday and for the struggle for proletarian revolution in the United States. May Day 1977 concretely sharpened the weapon of organization, tempering it like steel, readying it for the final onslaught against the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.

May Day 1977 showed how bright the future is for the working class and oppressed masses in the U.S! It was clear proof that the vanguard communist party of the U.S. proletariat is visible on the horizon. And May Day showed clearly that the fusion of the working class movement and the communist movement has never been higher since the 1950’s. May Day, 1977 shows that proletarian revolution is knocking at the door of the U.S. monopoly capitalists and a socialist United States is nearer than ever before!