Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

May Day celebrated across the country


First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 18, May 8, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“Jobs or income now” was the theme of militant rallies across the country as workers and minorities commemorated May 1, International Workers Day. A highlight of this year’s events were forums sponsored by the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist (CPML) in four cities, which linked up the fightback with the international struggle for revolution and socialism.

“May 1 is a day to rededicate ourselves to the struggle against all exploitation and oppression,” CPML Vice-Chairman Eileen Klehr told nearly 200 people at the meeting in L.A. Speaking about the present economic crisis, Klehr exposed the various lies being spread by the capitalists, saying, “The truth of the matter is–the capitalists have brought the crisis on themselves–it is inherent in their very system.” She went on to explain the role of the CPML in building a nationwide fightback “aimed not just against this or that politician ... but at the very heart of imperialism.”

Speaking with Eileen Klehr was Phillip Vera Cruz, long-time leader of the farmworkers’ struggle. Vera Cruz hailed the “fighting spirit” of the May Day martyrs as the spirit “we are trying to reawaken to fight the system today.”

The international spirit of May Day was especially strong in the cultural performances. Tribu de la Paz, a revolutionary singing group from Mexico, brought the entire audience to their feet with a special song dedicated to Gary Tyler.

The crowd cheered as representatives of I Wor Kuen (IWK) and August 29th Movement (ATM) joined CPML members and other program participants in leading the International. The three Marxist-Leninist groups recently wrote a statement announcing their joint efforts to initiate a Committee to Unite Marxist-Leninists.

Over 250 people gathered in New York to hear CPML spokesman Carl Davidson elaborate on the theme of communist unity. Davidson described Chairman Mao’s theory of three worlds as “the rallying cry for the unity of the international communist movement.” The trend toward unity, he pointed out, is the “main trend not only internationally, but within various countries as well.”

Chants of “Long live Marxist-Leninist unity!” broke out several times during Davidsonís speech and at other points in the program. The audience enthusiastically cheered when speakers from the Canadian Communist League and Bandera Proletaria, a Dominican communist organization, both announced that May Day ’78 had special significance because they were about to form Marxist-Leninist parties in their respective countries. Bandera Proletaria delivered a joint statement along with Linea Roja, another Dominican communist organization.

A moving tribute to Janet Sloan by Boston’s Liberator Singers reminded the New York audience that the red flag gained its color from the blood of many working class martyrs. Sloan, a CPML cadre, was killed on her job in Sun Shipyard in Philadelphia last June.

Enthusiasm also ran high at the forum in Dallas, where a May Day audience heard veteran communist Odis Hyde recall his life in Texas 50 years ago. “I remember Texas,” Hyde declared, “where a Black man had to get off the sidewalk if a white man came down the street.”

Hyde described the robbery of Texas from Mexico and the national oppression that followed for Mexicans and Chicanos. Denouncing the system’s attempt to divide workers of different nationalities and to “tell us who we may or may not associate with,” Hyde condemned those who stole Mexican land as “the very people who lynched us, robbed us of our land, and drove us from the plantation to the ghetto.”

In the San Francisco meeting, Sam Ho, CPML spokesman, applied the lessons of May Day to the recent miners’ strike. Ho, who recently returned from socialist China, stressed that only the socialist system “where workers run the show, not parasites like Rockefeller and Ford,” could end the exploitation that workers experience every day in this country.

DEMAND JOBS

In addition to the forums, local fightback committees throughout the country initiated demonstrations demanding Jobs or Income Now! This demand has become the rallying cry of the masses of workers, as the eight-hour day demand was 90 years ago.

A fightback demonstration in Chicago focused on massive layoffs and cutbacks at Cook County Hospital. The protesters then disrupted a hearing at the County Board office, which refused testimony from hospital workers or community people.

A Fight Back spokeswoman took over the podium and read a statement blasting the County Board and the hospital governing commission for throwing out the workers “when they’ve made their profits off our work.”

DENVER RALLY

Some 50 people attended a Denver rally around the slogans Jobs or Income Now, Support the Struggles of the Third World, and Long Live May Day.

A CPML spokesman at the rally talked about the similarities between May Day and the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. “The people of our two countries share a border, unemployment, low wages and police repression,” the speaker pointed out. “The people of Mexico and Chicanos suffer more sharply because of national oppression. But one day, united, we will share the future, the fruits of revolution.”

In Atlanta, a group of tenants from Capitol Homes project, which recently won a significant victory after occupying the project’s rental office, joined Delta workers and other demonstrators in a march to City Hall. They heard speakers from the Anti-Bakke Decision Coalition, the Communist Youth Organization and other groups demand jobs and an end to discrimination. “We’re the time bomb that you’re worrying about,” they warned city politicians.

Actions also took place in Tampa, Buffalo, D.C., Detroit and many other cities. They carried on the militant tradition of May Day as a time to fight both for workers’ immediate needs, s and to smash the whole system of capitalism.