Happy May Day! The International Workers’ Day!

I greet you all–those who support the workers of the world. Today is our day to celebrate our achievements, remember our fallen brothers and sisters in the fight for justice, equality and recognition that world runs through the efforts of workers not politicians, capitalists or entrepreneurs.

May Day and worker cooperatives have a key point in common. Both have been co-opted by the state capitalist societies of yesteryear (USSR) and today (China) and well as modern neo-liberals. It is up to us to reclaim our history, our traditions, and our structures from those who would use the image and name of worker control to create its opposite.

Today should also be a day for us in the worker cooperative movement to connect to the labor movement as a whole. Last week, Labor Notes held their bi-annual conference in Detroit. This group of dedicated labor unionists reached out to the worker cooperative movement. The Restaurant Opportunities Center showed up and even picketed a  restaurant chain who has been up to a lot of bad things:

In Madison, there is a group that connects Earth Day to May Day. They schedule a number of events between April 22nd and May 1st to highlight the connection of achieving a sustainable environment and a sustainable economy. Perhaps the co-operative movement in the United States should do something similar. We should connect Earth Day, May Day and Co-op Day (first Saturday of July) along the same lines. Sustainable environment, sustainable economy and a sustainable community. It seems to me that these three holidays could form an excellent trinity of action each spring.

In Madison, it is a beautiful day. Whether there are May Day activities in your community or not, take a few minutes to revel and congratulate yourself for being part of the greatest movement in the history of the world, the people who brought you the weekend: the Labor Movement.

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-ops in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University.
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1 Response to Happy May Day! The International Workers’ Day!

  1. Bernard says:

    May Day greetings!

    Peter Linebaugh contributed an excellent essay on the heritage of May Day in line with your reflections. Here it is…

    “Alan Haber was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society fifty years ago here in Ann Arbor and nowadays he directs the Megiddo Project which seeks to replace the God of Battles with peaceful conversation at a round table he has built. He asked me to sketch out a short May Day pamphlet bringing together, first, the history of May Day, second, a celebration of the jubilee, or the 50th anniversary, of both the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and SDS, and third, an invitation to Barack Obama who is to speak on May Day at the Michigan football stadium to join the immigrant rights march in the afternoon in Detroit. No problem, I ventured to Alan. How are we to bring together the three subjects of students, immigrants, and power? To begin with we need a methodology.” [follow the link]


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