Mayday 2010 celebrated in Cork


As once again Cork's mainstream trade unions declined to publicly celebrate the everlasting memorial day to working peoples' struggles worldwide, it falls to Solidarity Books/Workers Solidarity Movement Cork Branch and the Independent Workers Union to mark this most important of days. A day of public talks and a community meal was organised by the local branch of the WSM at Solidarity Books, which complemented excellently the annual May Day march through the city streets this evening organised as usual by the Independent Workers Union.

Cork's May Day public activities began at 12 noon at Solidarity Books when Noel Murphy of the IWU spoke on workers' rights in Ireland today, followed by a very informative question and answer session. The audience then repaired across the road to the beer garden of Fionnbarra's (thanks once again!) to share a community meal prepared all morning at Solidarity Books by a hard-working volunteer crew as well as salad and cakes brought by generous Cork socialist activists.

After the multitudes were fed, back at Solidarity Books Claire McCarthy of Nasc gave an overview of migrant workers' rights today. She was followed by Joe Moore of the Cork Anti-Racism Network who talked on Racism in Ireland today - a class-based perspective, and the afternoon's programme of talks was concluded by James McBarron of Cork WSM who spoke on the partnership process, its legacy and the state of the Irish trade union movement today. All of the talks were followed by lively discussion and questions to the speakers, and all the day's talks were well-attended, which made for a little bit of a crush at times.

There followed a fancy-dress march from the bookstore on Douglas St. over to Lapp's Quay to join up with the IWU-organised main march at its starting point. The numbers attending the march this year were down a bit on last year; this was perhaps due to the march being on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend, the 'pro-capitalist' showery weather, or maybe this was symptomatic of the demoralisation Irish working people must surely feel when the big unions' leaderships which should be defending their interests instead capitulate to the government and attempt amongst other betrayals to sell the Croke Park 'deal' to a public service workforce already punchdrunk from assaults to their pay and conditions of service. In any case the May Day marchers paraded proudly down the city's main streets to Daunt Square once again, to remind friend and foe alike that there are working people who remember well how the few rights and freedoms the common man and woman still enjoy today were won, who won them for us, and how dearly they were paid for.

The May Day marchers then listened to short speeches from elected representatives, local political activists and spokespersons from several campaign groups active in Cork. Among those who spoke were city councillors Ted Tynan(Workers Party) and Mick Barry (Socialist Party), James McBarron (Workers Solidarity Movement), Alan Davis (Cork Women's Right to Choose), Anne McShane (Hands Off the People of Iran) and Ray Hanrahan (Cork Shell to Sea). This was then followed by Jamie on guitar singing and playing the 'Internationale' and DJ music in the square for an hour or two afterwards. There was also a free rock gig organised by the IWU (& allies) at the Spailpín Fánach on South Main St. tonight, which wrapped up Cork's 2010 celebration of the heritage of the global working-class liberation movement. 

Also, we wish to remember a friend and visitor to us in Cork from Oaxaca/Chiapas in Mexico, the late Alberta 'Bety' Carino, who was murdered by right-wing paramilitaries this week. We honour her memory and grieve over her loss to her people and to us, half a world away but part of the same struggle which unites us all in blood and love.

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