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:
The Socialist Party, which has been particularly active in gathering community support for exploited workers, had a stall concentrating on the ABCC issue:
Another speaker was Angelina Ladera, union and human rights activist from the Philippines:
LASNET was represented by Lucho:
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: email@example.com)
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.