“Let’s continue to fly the flag for socialism & for an internationalism that stands in solidarity with all those fighting for a world that puts people before profit.”
1000s tuned in on Friday night for a May Day eve rally hosted by our partner organisation Arise – A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas and Tribune magazine. For our #MayDay2021 message, we publish Arise and Labour Outlook volunteer Sam Browse’s speech at the rally, which you can also watch in full below.
“Socialism – unity – and internationalism – the three watch words of this eve-of-May Day rally.
And they’re well chosen. Politics has changed a lot since that wet and miserable day in December 2019, but nothing has fundamentally changed in the nature of the multiple crises we face.
We still face a crisis of faith in our democratic institutions: the Greensill scandal; the cosy chats with vacuum cleaner millionaires; and the luxury makeover of Number Ten.
This isn’t just about a few dishonourable exceptions: it’s symptomatic of a culture and system which is rigged in favour of the rich and wealthy – a culture that’s writ large in the ink of the Serco contracts and the agreements with NHS privateers reaching back decades; it’s inscribed in our history books – the history of imperialism and British exceptionalism leading to the Bengal famine, the Balfour declaration, and bombs on Baghdad; and it’s written in the paucity of their attempts to get to grips with the climate emergency – in the refusal to invest in the renewable energy, the infrastructure and the workforce needed to radically transform our economy and meet our zero carbon obligations.
So, the crisis of democracy hasn’t gone away. The climate crisis hasn’t gone away. The crises in our economy and our public services haven’t gone away. And the Covid crisis has made them all worse. And for as long as they continue, so we should continue to argue for the socialist solutions that we know would remedy them.
Because we’re not alone in that struggle. From the women on Clapham Common fighting for their right to walk home safely; to the Black Lives Matter demonstrators tearing down memorials to the mass murderers of our imperial past; to all those fighting against a policing Bill designed to persecute the traveller community and crush the right to protest – people are rising.
Our task is to join them – and join all those fighting the rigged system; the workers organising against fire and rehire; the healthcare workers organising for a 15% pay rise; those in the gig economy fighting for higher sick pay and better pay and conditions.
And it’s not just here, because if all these crises – the economy, the pandemic and the climate emergency – show us anything it’s that our struggles are international. Just as we would support a picket in Liverpool, we should support those struggling for socialist change in La Paz. And – yes – let’s take inspiration from places like Bolivia, where a year after a coup the left have regained power. I hope it’s the start of further victories across the continent of Latin America.
So as we approach this May Day, let’s continue to fly the flag for socialism, for unity of our movement, and for an internationalism that stands in solidarity with all those fighting for a world that puts people before profit. Because we still have that world to win.”