Every year people take to the streets and go on strike on May 1st to commemorate International Workers’ Day. The following call to action is the result of several chat meetings held by us, a group of workers and students, through the International Student Movement (ISM) platform. We call on grassroots groups, labor unions and initiatives worldwide to link their May Day activities and by doing so provide visibility to the global dimension of the struggle.
We, workers and students, will stand together in solidarity, because we are all involved in the same struggle against profit-driven interests regardless of our place of residence. Budget cuts in social services, outsourcing, depressing wages, privatization, increasing costs of living as well as tuition fees are just a few of the symptoms directly related to the global economic system. A system that is based on exploitation and competition leads to commercialization of all aspects of our lives.
The constantly increasing pressure to perform is sickening, be it in the workplace, university, school, and increasingly during childhood and youth. The logic of the market economy and the corresponding nation-state structures require that conformity, competitiveness and the value-added production take priority over developing the capabilities for emancipatory thinking. Driven by the individualistic notion of “investing in one’s own future”, we accumulate debts during our studies, which we then need to repay by selling our acquired human and social capital on the labor market. The present system educates us solely within the boundaries of what is compatible within the capitalist paradigm. What we need instead is open and freely accessible emancipatory education for all – no matter one’s socioeconomic status.
We do not intend to simply disrupt; we seek to overcome.
Given the transnational nature of capitalism, it is just as relevant for workers to connect on the global level as it is for students. By networking across borders, the global systems that shape our local conditions can be made visible. Furthermore it opens up new potentialities and scopes of action within the struggle against exploitation as well precarious working and living conditions. The bargaining power of workers would increase tremendously, if they were to unite within the same value-added chain. For example, imagine if the striking miners in Marikana (South Africa) and workers of the BASF chemical plants located in Germany were to unite given that BASF is the primary purchaser of the resources produced by the miners. Such linkages could have significantly altered or perhaps even prevented the 2012 massacre.
With a transnationally coordinated May Day 2017 we strive to realize a collective goal of a better life by networking and building solidarity on a global scale. Especially in times of increasing nationalist and xenophobic tendencies, we emphasize the common struggle and resist being played off against each other.
For a better life for all – across all borders!