Joint Workers Campaign May Day Statement of International Peoples Front (IPF), Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), International Migrants Alliance (IMA), International League for Peoples Struggle (ILPS), People Over Profit (POP), and WORKINS
We are in the middle of the worst economic crisis of our time. Hundreds of millions of working people lost their jobs and income during the COVID-19 years, and the losses have remained with us. Many workers have become, and are becoming part of the precariat, as the COVID-19 pandemic has closed down hordes of businesses and production houses, forcing many of us to seek work in insecure and low-paying jobs in order to put food on the table. Flexible and long working hours have become the norm, pushing many workers to physical breaking point.
Hunger, poverty, and destitution are rampaging in countries of the Global South. Working people and their families in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America are being denied basic social services, including appropriate health care, as their governments implement crippling austerity measures to fuel debt payments to international financing institutions. Inflation is eating away at what remains of our paltry income, furthering the slide to abject poverty. Rising prices of basic goods and commodities are everywhere, including the economies of the Global North, whose workers are continually facing austerity measures, pension reforms, and job and income cuts. Workers and their basic rights are under attack by the big capitalists and their enablers in the state. Murders, abductions, and vilification of workers are on the uptick, while work-related violence is being committed by employers and state agents against workers with impunity.
The worst time for us is also the best of times for the big capitalists and their states. The number of billionaires created during the COVID-19 years is scandalous, with the richest 1% possessing 2/3 of the global wealth created. A report from Oxfam has shown that 95 food and energy corporations have more than doubled their profits in 2022, with $306 billion in windfall profits. Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance corporations continue to rake in massive profits, with Military-Industrial Complex stalwarts like Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin making a killing in profits from the Russia-Ukraine war. The value of their stocks has climbed since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Media reports have mentioned that Lockheed Martin acquired $521 million of military contracts, while Raytheon signed a $1.2 billion contract to make missiles.
International Financing Institutions (IFIs), backed by rich economies and big capitalists, continue to bleed dry the Global South through predatory lending. Structural adjustments are imposed by the IFIs to further deepen Neoliberal policies in the Global South. Capitalism and the big capitalists are the makers of the economic crisis which forces poor countries to borrow in order to stay afloat, and it is the same group of the global elite that benefits from debt payments of the Global South.
Governments of the countries from the Global South are acting as enablers for the profit-taking of the big capitalists by creating and implementing a favorable local environment for them. Neoliberal policies on trade, investment, labor, and agriculture, among others, continue to be implemented, widened in scope, and deepened through laws and reform, furthering exploitation and plunder by the big capitalists of the economies of the Global South.
As working people of the world we list down our demands:
- We want decent jobs and not just jobs. Jobs that are safe and secure uphold the dignity of work.
- We want an end to forced migration. We want decent jobs back home, eradicating the need to look for jobs outside of our countries.
- We want living wages. Wages that provide for our family and us a respectable standard of living and self-esteem.
- We want our rights to form our organizations and unionize. These rights must be upheld and respected and any hurdle in enjoying such rights must be removed.
- We want an end to flexible work arrangements. We are workers and not machines and thus must be treated with dignity.
- We want the rich to be taxed based on their income. A progressive taxation regime is able to collect the tax from the rich to fund health care and social protection for all.
- We want an end to austerity measures brought about by debt payments. We want the international lending institutions and national governments to stop imposing cutbacks on social spending in order to finance debt payments.
- We want people and the planet first over the interests of the big capitalists. We want the big capitalists to cut carbon emissions, stop their plunder of our natural resources and pay for the environmental ruin they have brought to our countries and the planet.
- We want an end to all wars of aggression. We want to end these wars initiated by rich economies against the poor countries and peoples of the Global South, aiming for greater economic and political hegemony of the big capitalists.
- We want an end to cartels and monopolies. Cartels and monopolies are machinations of the big capitalists to expedite the siphoning of global wealth towards a few.
- We want a people’s trade agenda. Global trade should be ruled with equality and parity among nations, with the interest of the people and planet paramount.
We vow to raise our fighting will to new heights to oppose Neoliberal Globalization and work for system change to eradicate the scourge of the working people. We will raise our militant struggle and increase solidarity by building a common front of all working people against Neoliberal Globalization and the big capitalists. We will build these common action platforms to bring together all workers, host and migrant workers, unemployed, informal, unionized, unorganized, home-based, factory-based, farm-based, and sea-based and fight Neoliberal Globalization, from the global to the local level.
These common platforms of action will take note of all the concerns of the working people and work together to address them. These platforms will be formed at all levels, take the disposition as a coordinating center for working people’s actions, and a school for working people to understand Neoliberal Globalization and its various manifestations in our lives.
A hundred and thirty-six years have passed since the Haymarket workers’ demonstrations, the origin of May Day, but working people are no better today, nay even worse, compared to our predecessors. Big capitalists and traditionalists are constantly trying to blunt the fighting edge of May Day to lead away the workers from the struggle. We must reclaim May Day, and place in the forefront that whatever the working people have now were achieved through the relentless struggle of previous bearers of the fight.
We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the working people to put forwards our demands and achieve victories against Neoliberal Globalization. Only a united, conscious, militant rank of working people can stand against Neoliberal Globalization and take gains toward system change.
Fight for our lives! Raise the level of our militant struggle to new heights and establish our common front against Neoliberal Globalization! Fight for system change and march on to victory!
#PeopleOverProfit #MayDayFight #WorkersofTheWorldUnite