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The biggest Labour Day march in Australia took place in Brisbane on May 5, as thousands of unionists marched through the city in celebration. More than 30,000 took to the streets across the state over the past weekend, expressing their anger towards the Campbell Newman government. Workers from a wide range of trade unions proudly participated, with large contingents from the Builders’ Labourers Federation and the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union.
A range of socialist and activist groups will be marching together in joint contingents in this year’s May Day rallies across Australia behind banners saying, “It's time for a fightback”. Initiated by the Socialist Alliance, the contingents have been supported by a range of groups, including Resistance, Socialist Alternative, Latin American Social Forum, Solidarity, the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Committee in Solidarity with Cuba, and Sydney University Education Action Group.
Queensland ALP deputy premier Paul Lucas and other ALP leaders faced hostile chants and heckling from workers at the annual Labour Day march in Brisbane on May 3. The main message from the union contingents, numbering 10,000, was opposition to the sale of state assets — including railways, ports, forests and motorways — by the Bligh Labor government. Premier Anna Bligh herself was overseas to promote the sell-off to North American investors.

Tens of thousands of people joined counter-protests against far-right marches across Germany on May 1. Sozialistische Alternative website said in Berlin, 15,000 people blockaded the Prenzlauer Berg district, restricting a march by 400 neo-Nazis to just 350 metres of their intended six-kilometre march route.

JB Hi-Fi staff at the company’s Wellington store have engaged in a series of strikes and protests as part of a campaign by the Unite union to win higher wages for retail workers. The strikes are the first at one of the company's stores in either Australia or New Zealand in over 27 years of the company's history. The Unite Union has been negotiating with JB Hi-Fi management for over six months for a collective agreement but the Australian bosses are refusing to raise wages for staff this year.
We have just finished a very successful May Day brigade to Venezuela, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN). The majority of the 14 participants were from Australia, with two Canadians and one from the US also taking part. May Day was, of course, a highlight of the 10-day tour: more than 1 million marchers, all in red t-shirts. Brigadistas were greeted with cheers of welcome — we were easily identified by our Australian solidarity activists shirts and banner.
In Turkey’s capital of Istanbul, more than 200,000 people gathered at Taksim Square on May 1 in the first May Day demonstration allowed in the square in 33 years. May Day marches had been banned there since 37 people were murdered a 1977 May Day demonstration there. The government had violently repressed past attempts to celebrate May Day in Taksim Square. Marches carried banners reading: “Secure job and a humane life” and “Jobs, Bread, Freedom”.
“In a stunning demonstration all over the island”, Prensa Latina said on May 1, “Cubans showed the power of unity to face the media campaign launched against the country by United States and its European allies. “Millions of men, women and even children packed in the main squares, marched along central avenues all over the provinces and municipalities of the nation declaring their support to the revolutionary process they have freely chosen.”
Venezuelans staged a big demonstration in Caracas on May one to mark the international workers’ day, Venezuelanalysis.com said. President Hugo Chavez also announced a 15% wage increase and broader social security entitlements. “While there were no official or police estimates, various participants in the march told Venezuelanalysis they estimated that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people turned out, celebrating the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution and its promotion of ... better life conditions for the poor majority.”
On May 1, international workers’ day, 500 people marched in Wollongong. Trish Corcoran from the Socialist Alliance spoke about the racist Northern Territory intervention on Aboriginal communities, and the solidarity the union movement is showing with the people fighting it. Chris Cumming, from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, reported on the nasty dispute between the Tahmoor mineworkers and their employer, coal multinational Xstrata. Nearly $450 was raised at the rally for the miners.
On May 1 in Kathmandu, between 500,000-1 million people took over the streets in a dramatic show of force by Nepal’s Maoists to demand a return to civilian rule and a democratic process of creating a new, pro-people constitution. With the government refusing popular demands for its resignation, an indefinite general strike has been called from May 2 in what the Maoists are calling a “final push” to resolve the struggle for power between the poor majority and Nepal’s elite.
The following statement for May Day 2010 has been endorsed by socialist, trade union and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, including groups in Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Full list of endorsements. * * * All over the world workers are organising…
The ALP have won a landslide victory at the election, but their commitment to neoliberalism means they still put profits ahead of workers rights, justice and the environment.

May Day on May Day: Capitalism in Crisis
Annual Green Left May Day Dinner
Geelong Trades Hall, 127 Myers Street, Geelong
Tickets: $20 Unwaged, $30 Waged, $40 Solidarity

Due to COVID restrictions, tickets are limited to 55 so don't miss out!

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