May Day 2016: A Call to Action

We call upon the people of North Carolina to take action to commemorate May Day, also called International Workers’ Day. Marked around the globe as a day of workers’ and people’s struggles, May Day is an opportunity for our many movements to stand united in solidarity, build our collective power, and express radical alternatives for the world. On May Day we champion a vision of a world of dignity, justice, and liberation for all people.

May Day is a revolutionary holiday that is celebrated around the world, but it has been actively suppressed here in the very country where it originated, the United States. International Workers Day commemorates the anniversary of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, where police opened fire on workers demonstrating for an 8 hour workday. Despite no evidence, seven labor organizers were sentenced to death for the incident.

This May Day is particularly significant, marking 10 years since a massive uprising of immigrants across the country in 2006 that revived this day as a day of struggle in the U.S. May Day demonstrations have been held every year since 1886 in cities all over the world and on six continents.

Over the last year, workers in North Carolina have led campaigns to disrupt classism, racism, sexism, LGBTQ oppression, and worker exploitation:

  • the Fight for $15 and a union for fast food, childcare, home care, municipal, and ALL workers,
  • demanding a “People’s Budget” led by UE 150, the NC Public Sector Union,
  • student/worker solidarity and occupation of the administration building at Duke University,
  • winning an union for adjunct faculty at Duke,
  • solidarity pickets with immigrants workers whose wages were stolen by the Marriott hotel,
  • campaigns to stop ICE raids and deportations in immigrant communities ,  
  • the ongoing campaign for farmworker justice targeting Reynolds American Tobacco,
  • bold campaigns to end the war on Black America by demanding accountability for police murders and jailhouse deaths, and
  • militant QTPOC-led actions to oppose the anti-trans anti-worker HB2.

On May 2, we invite everyone to join us in Durham to center working-class struggles and the multi-racial, multi-gendered, and multinational working class movement.

The continued mistreatment of workers and working class people must be met with resistance and demands coupled with action. Without justice, there is no peace. We stand in solidarity with international movements to resist worker oppression, imperialism, racism, and Islamophobia. Islamophobia is product of US wars and occupations abroad, and surveillance/institutional repression in the USA. The US South is home to more than 50% military bases in the USA. US law enforcement has entrapped Muslims throughout the country, including in local communities like Raleigh.

We stand opposed to anti-worker, anti-environment, so-called free trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership.  We believe that intersecting oppressions of the working class — transphobia, homophobia, racism, patriarchy, xenophobia, ethnocentrism and plain bigotry– must be fought alongside and within the class struggle.

The economy of the U.S. South was built on theft of native land, genocide of native peoples, and centuries of the enslavement of Black people kidnapped from the African continent. Vestiges of this history remain intact today in “right-to-work laws,” the Jim Crow-era ban on collective bargaining for public workers, poverty wages, and the relentless attacks on workers and oppressed peoples’ ability to organize.  

Now more than ever, we must build unions, workplace organizations, and other institutions to fight back and build a new economy that serves the needs of the 99%, not the 1%.

People are rising up and fighting back – from the #BlackLivesMatter movement against racist mass incarceration and police murders to the #Not1More movement and fight to end raids and deportations of immigrant families. From the massive statewide uprising against HB2’s attacks on the LGBTQ community to the Southern Workers Assembly and the work to build a rank-and-file workers’ movement that is united with the broader social movements in the U.S. South. In spite of daily attacks, our movements have made this clear: an injury to one is an injury to all!

This May Day, we will take to the streets to celebrate our victories, ready ourselves for future struggles, and send a message to the masses and the powers that be, that we are ready, and we are coming.  We carry the spirit of Che Guevara, Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Mother Jones, and all of those who stood for worker’s rights on the frontlines of the class struggle and struggle against all oppression.

Co-Sponsored by:

Durham Solidarity Center

Durham for All

Black Workers for Justice

UE 150 Public Sector Workers Union

Durham Beyond Policing

Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity

Raise Up for $15

Muslims for Social Justice

Si a las licensias

El Pueblo

Southern Vision Alliance

Faculty Forward Network

Triangle Green Party

Jewish Voices for Peace

ICE Out of NC

Witness for Peace – SE Chapter

Southeast Immigrants Rights Network

Triangle SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice)

Workers World Party

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