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A day to remember power

Communication Workers Union banner on the 2023 London May Day March. Photo Workers.

May Day is a day to remember the power of the working class to transform the world. In 2024 we must assert that power to shape a future for Britain.

Capitalism has failed us utterly. Abroad it offers nothing but ever-escalating wars and interference in other countries' affairs. In spite of the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, once again politicians talk up a need for greater British involvement in war and increased spending on aggression, not defence.

Membership of NATO ties us in to a policy of war on as many fronts as they wish – today Ukraine and the Middle East, tomorrow the Far East.

Capitalism glories in uprooting vast numbers of people and transporting them thousands of miles from their homes. Immigration is not an outside force beyond the power of governments to control. It is a deliberate policy to depress wages and de-skill our class, while draining skills and people from the countries they leave behind.

Meanwhile in Britain our rivers, lakes and seas stink. Our food producers, essential to self-reliance, are brushed aside. The fabric of schools and hospitals decays for want of money. Fundamental industries like steel are run down to the point of extinction.

Capitalism would rather our attention were fixed anywhere but Britain. Here, in our workplaces, we are powerful; abroad we are not. Expressions of solidarity or sympathy for other workers around the world may be well meant. But fine words will not bring about change; they take our attention away from our urgent tasks here and now.

There is but one working class in Britain. We reject attempts to divide and separate us, for whatever reason. Since May 2023 the pages of Workers have recorded struggles by workers for many different parts of our class: steel, rail and other transport workers, energy workers, engineering workers, health workers, teachers, university lecturers, workers in the arts, offshore oil workers and more.

Many young workers have joined struggle for the  first time; the class as a whole is stronger for it. But some trade unions have indulged themselves in distractions, at the expense of the basic task on uniting against the employer. These distractions vanish when exposed to the cleanser of class struggle.

Workers are the antidote to decline. Those who say that Britain is finished are wreckers, prophets of doom, finding excuses for their own lethargy and indifference.

Workers know elections make not a whit of difference. All political parties standing candidates - in Westminster or elsewhere - offer nothing but more of the same. Politicians, in office or aspirant, are held in universal contempt.

The only guarantee of a future lies with us ourselves, with our class strength and unity. The British working class, that is to say everyone who works for a living in this country, can change Britain and hence the world.

Stop the drive to war! Build a new Britain.