Mayday 2011

Pipe band leads march from Trades Hall

Numbers were up on last year, partly no doubt because the day fell on a Sunday, allowing the May Day Committee to fall in line with the rest of the world, but also boosted by the arrival of a large contingent marching under the banner of Middle East Solidarity and demanding democracy in Syria:

Syrian pro-democracy demonstrators arriving at Trades Hall

Closeup of women and children with Syrian flags

Syrian spokesman appeals for support

A spokesman for the Syrian community appeals for Australian support

As always, the march was led by the Ringwood RSL Pipe Band, and followed the traditional route down Russell Street to LaTrobe, Swanston Street to Collins, and so back to Trades Hall via Russell Street. Proceedings began with a Welcome to Country from Indigenous activist Sharon Firebrace:

Sharon Firebrace speaking from the stage

and ended with more speakers, and performances by the Victorian Trade Union Choir:

Victorian Trade Union Choir performing

These photos represent the three stages of the event, beginning with the stalls in Lygon Street and preparations for the march. Most require no comment:

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) stall

Spirit of Eureka stall

Free West-Papua stall and flag

Melbourne Anarchist Club (book)stall

Communist Party of Australia stall

Equal Pay [for women] campaign stall

Man with TCFUA flag waiting for start of march

LASNET stall

Banner with portrait of Salvador Allende

Craig Johnston at the BBQ

AEU member in wheelchair, with flag

Dogs with red scarves ready to march

The band tuning up

Tuning up

On the march:

Band leading march down Russell Street

Flags including Aboriginal flag near head of march

Tamil and CPA banners

Socialist Party bannerAnarchists and Workers Solidarity Network

Pay Justice Action - Freedom Socialist Party banner

Bringing up the rear - train with children and others prefering not to march

Young people with flags leading march down Swanston Street

Anti-US banner - Rogue State

Socialist Party banner and Syrian placard

Middle East Solidarity banner

Japanese solidarity

Workers Solidarity Network again

Anarchist flags on Swanston Street

MUA flags in Swanston Street

Band leading way up Russell Street again

Boy on scooter, girl with dog - following the band up Russell Street

ANF flags up Russell Street

CEPU flags up Russell Street

Anti-Intervention placard

Flags at head of march, including Aboriginal flag

March returning to Trades Hall

Returning to starting place

Brian Boyd speaking from the stage

Brian Boyd

Outstanding amongst the speakers at the end of the march was anti-Intervention campaigner Barbara Shaw of the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs:

Barbara Shaw at the microphone

Barbara Shaw speaking in front of anti-Intervention banner

The anti-Intervention banner - Sack Jenny Macklin

The audience in Lygon Street, Barbara Shaw speaking

This took things up to 3pm, which is when Melbourne Protests’ reporter had to leave … As always there was no shortage of leaflets on offer; one of these, from Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group entitled simply ‘May Day’, has been made available for this post: May Day 2011

Photos from MayDay 2010 (2nd May, not the 1st…)

May Day banner

The weather was a bit less kind than last year (see http://melbourneprotests.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/may-day-on-sunday-3-may-the-march-and-family-day/) and the turnout once again looked distinctly unpromising to begin with, but still enough for a respectable march through the city. (A report on the website of the  Socialist Alternative , who were well and loudly represented, claims 500 on the march …) Among the speakers were Aboriginal activist Richard Downs,  Pamela Curr, and Edgar Paez from Colombia.

As usual, the march was led by the Ringwood RSL Pipe Band, and the train was there again for children and the elderly. The Trades Union Choir sang …

Reports of events held in Melbourne on MayDay proper can be found on Melbourne Indymedia:

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/02/mayday-2010-aboriginal-passports-issued-to-asylum-seekers-in-melbourne

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/02/may-day-housing-action-melbourne

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/02/new-melbourne-anarchist-zine-melbourne-black-launched

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/03/juarez-femicide-melbourne-action-may-day

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/03/zombie%E2%80%99s-march-on-on-may-day-%E2%80%93-subversive-or-braindead

Photos from before the march:

Placard - The Eureka Flag

Pipers line up at head of march

The Ringwood RSL Pipe Band

On the march:

Aboriginal flag

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group banner

More anarchists

Socialist Party banner

Train with red flag

Dog on march

Back at Trades Hall:

Pamela Curr speaking

Part of the audience - seated

Another dog

Trades Union choir

Workers' Memorial

Detail from memorial

May Day on Sunday 3 May – the march and family day

Banner outside Trades Hall before the march

Banner outside Trades Hall before the march

The Melbourne May Day Committee held its annual march, concert and family festivities at Trades Hall on Sunday 3 May. Attendance seemed smaller than last year, to begin with at least, but still amounted to a respectable showing on the march through the city. Children were especially well catered for this year, with not only the usual rides and slides, but also a splendid miniature train to ride on the march. Most prominent was a large contingent of the Tamil community, but many others will be seen in the following images, and in this slideshow on YouTube:

History on the wall of Trades Hall

History on the wall of Trades Hall

This slide was tempting for grown-ups as well ...

This slide was tempting for grown-ups as well ...

Also for the children ...

Also for the children ...

Solidarity with workers of El Salvador

Solidarity with workers of El Salvador

This banner speaks for itself

This banner speaks for itself

One of the stalls - http://www.iww.org.au/

One of the stalls - http://www.iww.org.au/

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group - http://melbourneanarchistcommunistgroup.org/

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group - http://melbourneanarchistcommunistgroup.org/

The march sets off

The march sets off

Some rode on a truck ...

Some rode on a truck ...

 ... others on a train.

... others on a train.

Another reading of A(ustralian) B(uilding)& C(onstruction) C(ommission)

Another reading of A(ustralian) B(uilding)& C(onstruction) C(ommission)

Obstructing police?

Obstructing police?

Passing the State Library

Passing the State Library

MACG in the Bourke Street Mall

MACG in the Bourke Street Mall

Remembering the Eureka Stockade

Remembering the Eureka Stockade

This is Aboriginal land ...

This is Aboriginal land ...

Back at Trades Hall, the choir

Back at Trades Hall, the choir

Time to relax a bit

and time to relax a bit

May Day – Global Day of Action 1 May 2009

As usual, Melbourne’s observance of the International Workers’ Day is split this year between what turned out to be a disappointingly small rally on the day, and what remains to be seen will happen on Sunday. There was, of course, another ‘Mayday’ rally earlier in the day, a protest at the BHP Billiton office to coincide with the release of that company’s Environmental Inpact Statement regarding the planned expansion of its Olympic uranium/copper mine at Roxby Downs. That rally is being reported elsewhere. Also earlier in the day there was the annual Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation picnic at the Eight Hour Monument, and there were other celebrations on the day and following weekend. But it remains a cause for regret that the day is not marked here as elsewhere around the world, at least given what is considered not too much trouble on the first Tuesday of November … *

As a flyer distributed by the ASF-IWA pointed out, “[in] 2009 May Day is more relevant than ever … after the attacks on workers by the previous government’s criminalisation of the right to strike …[and] now the arrival of the Great Recession … it is of course workers everywhere in the world who are being asked to soak up the losses …”

Also at the picnic, but bannerless here, was the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group, whose leaflet reads in part:

* Workers of the World, Unite!

In the face of this gathering catastrophe, the relevance of May Day is once more underlined. Workers around the world are finding the bosses of their country have proven that they are enemies, while the allies they need are amongst the workers of other countries. Capitalism, as well as being unjust, is inherently crisis-prone. Only a vast revolution of the working class, across the world, can throw it into the dustbin of history. Today, on May Day, we dedicate ourselves to this revolution, and the establishment of libertarian communism, a State-less society where each contributes according to their ability and receives according to their need.

Earlier this week saw a huge rally of construction and building workers opposed to the ABCC and related legislation, and that rally featured also the current dispute at the West Gate Bridge reconstruction. So it was only fitting that the first speaker of the evening should be one of the sacked workers, who was supported by his family:

Construction worker addresses the rally

Construction worker addresses the rally

The Socialist Party, which has been particularly active in gathering community support for exploited workers, had a stall concentrating on the ABCC issue:

Socialist Party stall collects signatures on ABCC petition

Socialist Party stall collects signatures on ABCC petition

Another speaker was Angelina Ladera, union and human rights activist from the Philippines:

Angelina Ladera

Angelina Ladera

LASNET was represented by Lucho:

Lucho addressing the rally

Lucho addressing the rally

See the LASNET website for details of current campaigns. Later in the evening LASNET held a special commemoration at the Che Guevara plaque in the foyer of Trades Hall, a “Tribute and Celebration of Immigrant Rights” – http://www.latinlasnet.org/node/266

Alison Thorne, for ISJA and the Freedom Socialist Party, spoke on the case of an Indigenous man, Mr Ward, who died while being transported in Western Australia by officers of security company Global Solutions (GSL). the inquest into Mr Ward’s death is due to end on 14 May, and there will be a protest at the head office of the parent company Group 4 Securities in Melbourne, coinciding with a community picket at the head office in Perth. (Details from ISJA, Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne on 03-9388-0062 or Alison Thorne 0411 080 031. E-mail: alison.thorne@ozemail.com.au)

Alison Thorne

Alison Thorne

Another event due to be marked by a protest in Melbourne is 15 May, Al Nakba/The Catastrophe, as explained by Omar:

Credit for organising the rally goes to AAWL, Australia Asia Worker Links, http://www.aawl.org.au, whose representative was the final speaker:

*In case anyone is reading this who doesn’t follow such things, that is the day each year when the country traditionally and proverbially comes to a halt for a horse race, the Melbourne Cup.