PSL Editorial – The meaning of May Day: We need a revolution!

The countless millions of people who are in the streets today celebrating International Workers Day are struggling against a world capitalist system that seems to get more and more brutal with each passing year. Today’s holiday was founded by people who wanted to end once and for all the exploitation of workers by their bosses, and end all the different types of oppression the working class is subjected to. May Day is about indicting the system, and life under this system has become even more unbearable and brutal in the last year.  

The violence being inflicted by the Israeli regime and the Biden administration on the people of Gaza is unspeakable. Already, over 35,000 people have been killed in a genocide funded by the U.S. government using our tax dollars. Now, the politicians in Congress and Joe Biden have agreed to send even more money – over $14 billion to line the pockets of arms industry executives and provide new weapons to the murderers in the Israeli armed forces. 

The majority of Gaza’s population has been forced to flee to a tiny area called Rafah, which is about half the size of San Francisco. Israel is threatening to use its US-supplied arsenal to launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah. In the meantime, Palestinians are left to starve amid a suffocating Israeli siege. 

As this historic crime is being committed, the system is presenting us with a choice in the presidential election that makes most workers nauseous: Joe Biden or Donald Trump. They are among the most unpopular figures in the country, and each have a long record of loyal service to the billionaire class. While president, Trump cut taxes for the rich and corporations by two trillion dollars, slashed health and safety regulation meant to protect workers and their communities, and installed Supreme Court justices that would go on to end abortion rights and affirmative action. In addition to his crimes in Gaza, Biden banned rail workers from going on strike, wasted well over $100 billion on war in Ukraine, and abandoned all of his promises to improve people’s lives with expanded social programs. 

This is the amazing “democracy” that the rich and powerful claim is the best in the world! From a young age we are taught that voting in these sham elections is the only legitimate way to make change. There are revolutionaries like Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia who are running to build opposition to the system, but electoral laws and the media landscape are designed to make it extremely difficult for anyone running outside the two parties to compete. And this year, those twin establishment parties have decided that the candidates on the ballot will be two of the most hated people alive. 

While we listen to politicians lecture us about democratic values, the planet is burning. Climate change has accelerated – 2023 was the hottest year on record, and 2024 is on track to be even hotter. Wildfires, intense hurricanes, widespread flooding, and other disasters are increasing in frequency. 

The vast majority of capitalist politicians want to do practically nothing about it. In fact, this year’s “Conference of the Parties” summit organized by the United Nations – supposed to be the world’s premiere forum on the fight against climate change – was presided over by a literal oil executive! The coming COP summit later this year is also set to have an oil executive as its president. 

All these injustices have a common root: political and economic power is held by a tiny handful of millionaires and billionaires. Who makes the decision to go to war? Who’s invited to the donor retreats that determine who’s a viable presidential candidate? Who sets environmental policy? Who owns the energy grid?

May Day is a time to take to the streets and say that it is the working class that should have the power. Our labor makes every aspect of society run. So why shouldn’t workers make the decisions instead of leaving that to the ultra-rich who contribute nothing of value to society?

A revolution is when one class takes the power from another class. Revolutions happen all throughout history when oppressed people decide that they can no longer live under the tyranny of their oppressors. No one can predict what a revolution will look like, but it is clear that only the working class can transform society. On International Workers’ Day and everyday, we commit ourselves to building towards that transformation. 

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