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Freedom Road Socialist Organization Twin Cities celebrates International Workers Day 2023

By staff

Olivia Crull, of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Minneapolis, MN – On Saturday, April 29, over 100 activists from mass movements around the Twin Cities area came together at the office of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals Local 59 to celebrate International Workers Day, and another year in struggle across the movements in the streets, and the movement for socialism. The location was fitting for such an event because the Teachers and Educators in Minneapolis Public Schools spent more than three weeks on strike only one year ago. The room was packed and boisterous. The speeches were lively. The night closed with a performance of The Internationale, which started with a cello and violin duo, then the entire crowd joining in for the singing of the historic song.

The following speech was derived by Olivia Crull, of Freedom Road Socialist Organization Twin Cities:

“Greetings friends and comrades, my name is Olivia Crull. I’m an organizer with the MN Abortion Action Committee, I’m a member of UFCW local 663, and tonight, I get to represent an incredible organization that is fighting across the people’s movements for justice and actively building for a future where working people have the power, and that is Freedom Road Socialist Organization! How are we all feeling celebrating one of the best holidays of the year: International Workers Day?

“The way that the international working class celebrates May Day is something that really moved me when I was first finding my footing in the organizing world – really shaped my understanding of our shared struggles and our collective power. It’s a day that the labor movement shows out in full force to say that it's the workers, not the bosses, certainly not the greedy capitalists, that create all the wealth in this country and around the world. It’s a day with a revolutionary character that was reignited by the immigrant rights movement here in the U.S., when thousands marched in the streets with an understanding that solidarity cannot be limited by borders, by legal status, and that we're so much stronger when we fight for all workers. It’s a day that we’re reminded in every space that we organize, in every movement we represent, that there’s a political necessity for working class leadership, for our demands to advance the conditions and fighting power of the working class. Because otherwise, what exactly are we fighting for?

“And I want to give an example of that from my own work, because as we all know, this year has been a historic one in terms of our enemies mounting attacks on reproductive freedom and gender expression. We should recognize the overturning of Roe for what it is, fundamentally: an attack on the working class and oppressed people in this country. The rich will always have access to abortion. That has never been a question. When we fight for abortion rights, we’re fighting to secure healthcare for our class, the working class, and we’re fighting to win back a fundamental human right that the masses of people never conceded. And to me that feels representative of so many movements we’ve heard about tonight, from the day to day conditions we face on the job, the rights of immigrants to live and work in this country without fear, the self-determinative power of our communities to control how they are policed, the solidarity we show with people across the globe in opposing U.S. imperialism, the right to breathe clean air and live in communities that are free from toxic pollution – it’s all part of defending and advancing the rights of workers from a capitalist class that is constantly testing the limits of what they can take from us.

“But we’re not only interested in defending ourselves, right? Or settling for scraps from a group of people that have never worked a real day in their lives. When we look at how the system of capitalism is set up, we can see that by design, it will never benefit working people. Capitalism ensures that we will never be paid the full value of our labor, because otherwise, the capitalist wouldn’t turn a profit, and profit is the thing that drives every single decision they make. We live under a system where things like healthcare, housing, basic human needs are weighed against the question of how costly they are, how much revenue they can generate, and the incentive of the capitalist class will always be to accumulate more and more wealth, even at the expense of human lives.

“And we can't talk capitalism without talking about its origins, how this system was built on the stolen labor of enslaved African Americans, on the theft of land and the genocide of indigenous peoples. Today, capitalism continues to exploit and oppress Black, Chicano and indigenous people as a way to maintain itself, to further enrich itself. It is impossible to separate the foundations of capitalism from how it exists today.

“Freedom Road Socialist Organization understands that this economic system, which is fundamentally rotten to the core, which enacts so much violence and destruction on the people and the planet -  well, it has to be go. It must be overthrown. We see that a future is possible where working people run our society so that it functions to meet the needs of the many and not just the monetary desires of the few. Where working people don’t just have a say or a seat at the table, but we have full control over our economy, our political system, our futures, all of it.

“And it’s going to take a lot of things to get us there. It’s going to take all the people who live under the boot of capitalism to rise up, which isn’t just something to wish for, but something that has to be built through struggle and a strategic alliance between the multinational working class and oppressed nationalities. It’s going to take constant political action and a willingness to fight, which I see here tonight in this room, without a doubt. It’s going to take a highly organized party of the working class to lead the people towards socialism, and this is what we in Freedom Road are building.

“So I invite you to join us as we continue to organize and fight for better conditions for working and oppressed people, not just on May Day, but every day of the year. I invite you to get involved in our organization, which has not only a vision for what a better world can look like, but a road map towards revolution provided to us by decades of struggle, by the example of successful socialist revolutions around the world which have lifted millions of people out of poverty. We look to them, especially on May Day, the holiday of international socialist tradition, to see what is possible. We, in the belly of the beast, have a duty to overthrow our oppressors.

“To put it simply, we have a world to win!

“Monday May 1 is International Workers Day, also referred to as May Day. A large May Day March will begin at 4 p.m. at the Adult Education Center and English Second Language School on East Lake Street in South Minneapolis in honor of the day.”

#MinneapolisMN #May1 #Socialism