In the midst of a world wide economic collapse and relentless attacks by the right wing ruling establishments against the people and on the eve of local elections in the UK only a thousand people could manage to muster for London’s May Day “long march” from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square.
The Trade unionists, individuals and groups that did bother to turn up - the teachers, media workers, and civil servants appreciated listening to brilliantly articulated speeches from Unite General Secretary Ken McCluskey, Jackie Davis “Keep the NHS public, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Gloria Hanson from Unison. It was good to hear comments of appreciation raised from the platform to the Turkish and Kurdish groups who year in year out ensure that the London May Day march is filled with red flags and music. The vintage “Big Red Band” kept things going blasting out ‘guantanamera’ - the “internationale”, the ”red flag” and other favourites. Although Peter Dombi from “Occupy” gave a rousing speech on the evils of capitalism from the platform beneath Nelson’s majestic monument to Imperialism there was a marked absence of the young and politically active - “Occupy”,“anti-Capitalists” and anarchists - maybe they couldn’t get a day off work...?
Fortunately it wasn’t raining otherwise the platform of TU speakers would appear to be “shouting at windmills”... and usual gatherings of bemused tourists getting a late Spring tan in Trafalgar Square. The London May Day organisers were relieved that London’s rally went off peaceably in comparison to what was happening in Istanbul, Madrid and Dhaka...and as those marchers who could still afford bus and train fairs wandered off to relax in the nearest pub for a “well earned” post revolutionary beer it would seem that in London on this May Day there’s a denial of reality and a lack of anger over high levels of unemployment, persistent poverty, increasing suicide rates amongst ordinary workers and a continual bailing out for corrupt city bankers....
So forget the self congratulatory back slapping of having managed to organise another well policed workers May Day march and rally - there is a lot of mass awareness raising needed to be done amongst our workers before organising next year’s repeat performance.
Platform Speakers: Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Paul Nowak, Assistant General Secretary of he TUC, Jackie Davies Keep the NHS Public; Sean McGovern of UNITE; Len McCluskey General Secretary of UNITE; Chris Baugh Assistant General Secretary of PCS; Gloria Hanson Convenor of Greater London UNISON; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Aysegul Erdogan of the Kurdish Federation in the UK; Peter Dombi of Occupy; John McDonnell MP.