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.