Greetings and solidarity on International Workers Day

Thanks to the indefatigable Sue Atkins for the May Day collage


Greetings and solidarity to all our readers, supporters and critics on International Workers Day. As much as ever we need that fragile, but creative cocktail of dissenting dialogue and collective strength – involving, to use today’s parlance, both millenials, centennials, generation X, baby boomers and the traditionalists – in the struggle for social justice, equality and authentic democracy. Let’s carry on chatting, agitating and organising.

Female workers in the May Day Parade in New York City in 1936 [File: New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images]

Greetings on International Workers Day

May Day greetings to all IDYW supporters and critics. In the words of the classic song, ‘Solidarity Forever.’

international workersday

Ta to

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one
For the Union makes us strong

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite 
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?  
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?  
For the union makes us strong

It is we who ploughed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘mid the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong 

All the world  that’s owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone 
We have laid the wide foundations, built it skyward stone by stone 
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own  
While the union makes us strong

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong

 In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousandfold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong.

Recreating a tradition of solidarity, assaulted by neoliberalism across the last four decades, is vital to the struggle for social justice and democracy, concepts supposedly at the heart of youth work.



Solidarity on May First : We're All on This Together!

As I noted in the post Thatcherism and Youth Work key to the neo-liberal  political strategy is the assault on the very idea of collective solidarity. In the eyes of the ‘free marketeers’ we must become self-sufficient, ‘resilient’ individuals beholden to nobody but ourselves. Of course this is absurd. We are first and foremost social individuals dependent on each other in a myriad of ways. Thus on International Workers Day we need to remember that our social and political gains are a collective legacy and that without solidarity they can and indeed are being taken away from us. We need to renew that understanding of autonomy, which affirms, ‘ I can only be free if you are also free’. As youth workers we need to turn words into action. Our claim in the Framework of Ethics that we are committed to social justice means nothing unless our practice is rooted in a creative and collective struggle against injustice.

May Day Greetings – as the old slogan goes, ‘an injury to one is an injury to all!’ Never mind we’re all in this together………….