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May Day, A Day of Struggle

May Day Speech: Capitalism Is A Failure

by Freedom Road Socialist Organization |
May 10, 2000
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Minneapolis, MN - It was standing room only, as more than people 55 came together here, May 6, to celebrate International Workers Day. Leaders from labor, the fight for Native land at Highway 55, welfare rights, anti-war, and student movements spoke of their struggles and victories over the past year. Some traveled over 100 miles, from Duluth MN, to attend.

Steff Yorek, the National Political Secretary of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, gave the following speech. For reasons of space, we are publishing it in an abridged form.
Capitalism Has Failed Us

Each year we organize a celebration of May Day - International Workers Day. Hundreds of millions of people have observed the holiday over this past week. From the Philippines, to Moscow to Minneapolis, working people took to the street. For working and oppressed people's, May Day is our day to celebrate our struggles and to condemn the exploiters.

Watching TV, one gets the impression that finding the time to spend all our extra money is the only real problem. Well, Wall Street isn't our street. Our own lives tell us that things are not like that. Truth be told, the economic system we live under - Capitalism - has failed us. This is a parasitic system - where the basic principal is that you don't get rich by working hard, but by hiring people to work hard for you.

The history of the owning class of this country begins with the systematic genocide of the native peoples. Tens of millions of Africans were kidnapped and forced into slavery. The northern part of Mexico was occupied. Hawaii was annexed by force. Puerto Rico was turned into a colony. Whole nations held in chains within the borders of our country.

And this isn't history book stuff I am talking about either. Racist discrimination is a built-in feature of American life. Brutal police act as an army of occupation in our communities. They are there to keep things the way that they are - to enforce a status quo that denies an opportunity for a better way of life.

The rulers of our country have built an empire of the dollar that extends around the globe. People are oppressed at home and abroad. The rich rip off the land, labor and natural resources of people all over the world.

The people of Colombia have had it with a death squad government, that has murdered every union leader or human rights activists that has stood up to demand justice. In Colombia, people's guerrilla armies are fighting for a better way of life. They deserve our support, not only because they are just - but because every blow they strike weakens our common enemy. The same goes for Iraq and Yugoslavia. Thirty odd years ago, the great Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong said, 'Countries want independence, nations want liberation, and people need revolution.' That was true then and it is true now."

You know, no ruling class in human history has ever given up its power and privilege voluntarily. Never happened and never will.

It is for these reasons, we in Freedom Road have decided to be revolutionaries, and to build a revolutionary organization, that can fight for a more just system, for socialism.

For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, we always heard how terrible life in Soviet Union was. OK, so now Russia has capitalism, and is the life of the people better? No. Old folks on pensions are eating out of garbage cans. Moscow is filled with beggars and prostitutes. This is the "happy and prosperous" life that capitalism has brought.

We advocate socialism. We think that all power, and all of society's wealth needs to be place in the hands of working people. We have a vision of justice, and we have the interests of the majority at the heart of what we are doing.

We do not believe that this kind of change will happen overnight, but we are confident that such change will take place. Cuba is an example of what we can do here. This small island has managed to give free education, health care and housing for EVERYONE who lives there.

On May Day 2000, we look forward to a better world. A world that will be born in struggle and shaped by our common efforts and intelligence. A world where equality, liberation, and freedom are reality.