“I am a revolutionary, I am a proletariat I am the people, I am not the pig.”
I bring the big homie Fred Hampton into this space because his words still reign true today as they did when he first said them in the sixties before his untimely death. Excuse me, before the capitalist power structure assassinated him before our very eyes and ruled it just. It is fitting that we honor the strongest among us that fought diligently against an inherent unjust and cruel system. However, how many laborers have died slower deaths through a system that denies us a decent existence? How many people have died without food, without homes, without insurance without the basic needs of human beings. These things are seen as optional to our bosses, the captors of our labor, and the road block to human development.
Shout out to all the incarcerated workers, immigrant workers, sex workers, drug dealers whose labor are consistently criminalized and devalued in this capitalist society. By honoring the most vulnerable among the working class we strengthen the collective. We can’t talk freedom from capitalist chains without including folk that have been ruled out as undesirables by the elites as well as many among us. Sex work is work. By creating a division between the values of labor of others we are reproducing the same system that harms, kills and destroys us all. We cannot disrupt capital without disrupting our own capitalist thinking. To all laborers that feel alienated in this society that has taken all things good and replaced with nothing but subservient and meager living, you are family. You are the working class. You are one of us. You are the proletariat. I bring into this space the millions of Black and brown men and women that have been removed from the nation’s means of production and have resisted through the creation of underground economies that have sustained communities that have been left for destruction under the social order of Benign Neglect. As we celebrate the martyrs of the Haymarket uprising on May 4, 1886 let us remind ourselves the sacrifice of not just the men and women who cast their lives aside to further the labor movement, but, also let us take time to call to the millions of unnamed workers among our collective history present and future that continue the struggle against exploitation on the local, national and international stages. Let us not forget the Black and brown folk, the Femmes, Queer and trans folk, the bulk of the working class that resist every day to work and live in a society that thrives off the socially constructed difference made to enforce worker subjection. Let us not forget where we are on the global stage. Let us not forget who sits on the throne of this imperialist and murderous empire. Let u not forget who the oppressor and oppressed really are in this game of accumulation vs humanity. People over profit. Bottom lines over lives. This revolution cannot be waged without an understanding of how gender and race exist in this continuous class struggle.
Let us not forget the white working class voted for Trump! We cannot celebrate May Day without examining this fact. We have seen just how ugly it gets when race and gender is ignored for a strict class analysis. White workers, understand how you perpetuate the system by relying upon the signifiers of race and gender to support your own labor and social positions in this society. Whiteness has always worked in this manner. The genocide of indigenous people and the displacement of Africans within the context of settler colonialism of the US has removed most indigenous people from the labor market while the labor of Black folk, once proclaimed as property, has since the end of slavery been devalued and exploited in order to the sustain this society we can somehow call the land of the free and brave.
As I close I draw our attention to the precursor of this celebration. The HayMarket uprising. Yesterday I went to the home of one of the dopest anarchist family I have met and broke bread with other amazing people. I was speaking to a historian of labor movement and anarchism and he was putting me on game on the real history of Haymarket. As we know, a bomb was thrown at police during the historic day of May 4, 1886 killing one and wounding six others. No one knows who threw the bomb but the state, of course, used this as a way to assassinate prominent radical labor organizers of the time. I was told by the historian that when interviewed about Haymarket, Lucy Parson, a renown anarchist said “we should have all thrown bombs that day”. I think about that statement during this political time that is showing us more each day the social and economic despair that is America. This despair is as American as baseball and greatly impacts the racialized and gendered workers among us. Are we all willing to throw the next bomb to sustain this struggle? Are we willing to bomb the capitalist power structure? As the American empire prepare itself for the next phase of its illegitimate order on the world we must honor the named and unnamed heroes of Haymarket that fought for workers and the eight hour work day. We must honor the Black radical tradition that fought for the liberation of Black people. We must honor the Stonewall riot that fought for Queer liberation. These struggles all fight capital and the way it always dehumanizes the most marginalized among us in order to sustain itself. It’s Mayday 2017. Honor this day, but more so, honor the people, all the people, that make this day possible. Workers united will never be divided.