Why do we need a general strike?
When we celebrate May Day we seldom know or reflect on why it is a holiday in South Africa and in many parts of the world. Sian Byrne, Warren McGregor and Lucien van der Walt tell the story of powerful struggles that lie behind its existence and of the organisations that both created it and kept its meaning alive.
Members of the Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico in Havana, Cuba joined the main Mayday march, with banners promoting grassroots organisation and an end to bureaucracy, claiming that real socialism is democracy, as well as distributing a letter. A week before the march, the collective had organised a public event, promoting the libertarian origins of Mayday. After the demonstration, some of the contingent convoked an impromptu rumba in a city centre square, as marchers stopped to dance to their African drum rhythms.
This response to the graffitiing of official monuments in London on May Day 2000 looks at the origins of war memorials in the social conflicts at the end of World War One and at the myth of the Second World War as an anti-fascist crusade. See also A good day out in London? for further reflections on May Day 2000.