On May 1, Fightback played a pivotal role in organizing what was the largest anti-capitalist online International Workers’ Day rally in Canada. With 400 in the Zoom meeting and hundreds more watching the livestream, the event garnered endorsements from more than 60 organizations, including: the Ontario Federation of Labour (representing one million workers), NDP Federal NDP MP Niki Ashton, and dozens of other union locals, councils, socialist and community groups.
This year, the three demands that were democratically decided by the Labour May Day Committee (LMDC) were:
‘No Bailouts for the Bosses, Nationalize the Pandemic Profiteers!’
‘Fight Capitalism – Fight for Socialism!’
‘Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!’
With the pandemic raging through the country, thanks to the profit-driven policies of the federal and provincial governments, the May Day Online Rally 2021’s demand to end bailouts and nationalize big business has never been more urgent to save lives and build a socialist future.
Speakers included Indigenous land defender Skyler Williams who spoke about the ongoing repression by the Canadian state at 1492 Land Back Lane for over 10 months. Williams explained the role that the Ontario and federal governments are playing to suppress the rights of the Indigenous land defenders. He also highlighted the need for labour to be involved in the struggle of Indigenous peoples across Canada:
“These courts and these cops and their jails and their guns…There is nothing they can do to dissuade us from being able to lift each other up… There is absolutely nothing that these governments can do that is going to dissuade us from being able to push forward in all the ways that we are.”
Doctor Naheed Dosani with Health Providers Against Poverty made a powerful speech denouncing capitalism:
“If Jeff Bezos can get $91 billion richer during a pandemic, Amazon can afford paid sick days for its employees… The system is rigged, this is capitalism on steroids… People matter more than profits and labour is a determinant of health!”
Niki Ashton, federal NDP Member of Parliament declared solidarity with Indigenous land defenders, the newly formed Ontario Coalition Against Ford and several unions including Port of Montreal workers with CUPE 375:
“Solidarity with the Port of Montreal workers who fought back-to-work legislation rammed through parliament this week by Liberals and Conservatives alike… Let’s be clear, back-to-work legislation is union busting. The Liberals and Conservatives proved once more whose side they’re on, the bosses.”
Ashton finished by calling for a better future for humanity.
Marco La Grotta spoke against corporations such as Air Canada and Bombardier who have received billions in bailouts from the federal government during the pandemic, while at the same time laying off thousands of workers.
“Some say the system is broken but the system is working perfectly fine because it’s run by the millionaires and billionaires… We need to confiscate these factories, banks, warehouses, just like they’ve been confiscating money from taxpayers for years… We need a plan of production, encompassing the whole of the economy, not based on profits, but based on the needs of ordinary working class people, a socialist plan of production democratically run by the working class, that’s what we’re calling for… We need to bring an end to this capitalist nightmare, we need to organize for the socialist future so that sometime soon we can have something really to celebrate on this important day of the working class.”
With the third wave of the pandemic in full swing across Canada, it is more important than ever to take up the fight against the capitalists who put profits ahead of lives. As the May Day rally showed, support for radical, anti-capitalist demands is growing by the day. Join Fightback to take these inspiring speeches and turn them into reality.
The full video of all the speeches can be found here on the Labour May Day Committee’s page.