“Ideas,” someone once wrote, “move rapidly when their time comes.” As we gather to celebrate May Day, the continuing capitalist crisis makes socialism an idea ready to move rapidly. While the banks have received trillion dollar bailouts, working people still face mass unemployment, state and local budget cuts and deepening personal debt. Capitalist crisis has made the socialist vision of a world where human needs are put ahead of individual profits even more relevant. Our task on May Day is to convert socialism from a good idea into a movement to transform our society.
The recent economic crisis was more than a banking crisis or a housing price bubble. It was a demonstration that there is a fundamental problem at the center of capitalism. That problem lies in the nature of corporations themselves. Noam Chomsky once described corporations as “unaccountable private tyrannies.” There is no democracy inside of a corporation and, as a result, there is no democracy on our worksites. Corporations are undemocratic entities created only to make profits from exploiting the labor of workers.
The undemocratic corporate model now also dominates American politics. A corrupting system of campaign donations and lobbying ensures that both Democrats and Republicans serve the interests of corporate America. When corporate profits declined, politicians began handing out trillions of dollars in public money to them. When these same corporations fired millions of workers, neither Democrat nor Republican attempted to stop them.
Socialism offers an alternative to undemocratic profit-mad capitalism. By ensuring that people’s needs for housing, healthcare, education and employment are guaranteed, a socialist society will offer equality of opportunity. By bringing democracy to the economy through worker’s control of production, we will make sure that the place where most people spend their adult lives operates democratically. By organizing participatory budgeting, we will put people at the center of the system – fully empowered to make decisions concerning the future of the society they live in.
The powerful necessity of socialist ideas can be seen most clearly with the issue of immigration. The capitalist state presents restrictions and police actions as the proper way to keep immigrants in line. Conversely, socialists support the rights of all workers regardless of their status. We support the creation of an unconditional amnesty program and seek to build solidarity amongst workers throughout the world. Where capitalism offers ICE raids and the Border police, we support human freedom and social solidarity
May Day - Our Day
May Day is our day. A day when trade unionists, anarchists and socialists gather to state clearly that another world is possible. This other world is a democratic participatory one, where resources are shared for the betterment of humanity. However, democratic socialism will not come about spontaneously – we must get organized. So, today we invoke the names of Eugene Debs, of Caesar Chavez, of Dr. Martin Luther King to call on all working people to join the struggle for socialism. Move rapidly, act boldly, we have a world to win!