Noisy, muted, massive or microscopic?

IssueJune - Aug 2003
News by Ippy D

While May Day might have been a relatively muted post-Iraq war affair in much of northern Europe and the US, across Latin America hundreds of thousands took to the streets to highlight and take action on a wide range of issues. Protests also took place in Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Japan, India and many other countries.

Traditional worker struggles - unemployment, pay, conditions and workplace control - featured strongly, along with the wider issues of global capitalism, poverty, debt, indigenous struggles, militarism and war: the grassroots came together, with all their diverse - and also related - concerns.

Independent coverage of MayDay actions highlighted the goodnatured, celebratory nature of events, though some incidents of police brutality were also reported: in Berlin the end of the day saw pitched battles with the police.

A few demonstrations in Eastern Europe were attacked or confronted by small numbers of neo-Nazi groups.

Mind those Martians

Activities in London focused on the theme “arms and oil” and began with a noisy protest outside the offices of number one global arms dealer Lockheed Martin.

In Argentina demonstrations focused on the struggle at the Brukman factory, where 55 women textile workers have been attempting to peacefully re-enter their factory after being evicted by the government on 18 April. In recent weeks the workers and their supporters - sometimes up to 7,000 of them - have come under sustained attacks from the police, reportedly using tear gas and live ammunition.

In Poland several separate demos took place: a traditional leftist event, an anarchist street party; a radical queer action; a generic anti-war march; and a small contingent of “green Martians” - who showed up in order to arrest the Polish president and return him to Mars. Unfortunately the plucky Martians were arrested by “Earth-Pol” before they were able to apprehend the rogue president.

Topics: Labour movement