Mayday 2008: A Fine Day for the Working Class


For those of us involved in the fight for workers' power, the 1st of May gave us much to be cheerful about. Traditionally a day to celebrate working class solidarity and militancy, workers in America and Iraq, marked May 1st with a wonderful demonstration of both of these fine qualities.

Work was shut down in 29 ports across the US as 25,000 dock workers organised in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) went on strike against the American war in Iraq. This action was supported by truck drivers and postal workers in the US, but the most stunning show of solidarity was that of fellow dock workers in Iraq who struck for an hour in the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al Zubair, protesting against the war, sectarianism, and the economic agenda of the occupation. As they wrote in a solidarity letter to ILWU members:

"The courageous decision you made to carry out a strike on May Day to protest against the war and occupation of Iraq advances our struggle against occupation to bring a better future for us and for the rest of the world as well. We are certain that a better world will only be created by the workers and what you are doing is an example and proof of what we say... We in Iraq are looking up to you and support you until the victory over the US administration's barbarism is achieved."