With solidarity, a better world is possible

BY: Ricardo Soto| May 1, 2020
With solidarity, a better world is possible


Today, May 1st, people around the world celebrate May Day, a day commemorating the lives that were lost at the Haymarket Affair on May 4, 1886, when a bomb was set off during a confrontation between the Chicago Police Department and peaceful laborers protesting for the eight-hour-day. Thousands of workers across the country had launched strikes three days prior. Two years later, a conference of socialist parties, trade unions, and other organizations declared May 1 to be International Workers Day.

In the United States, however, due to the decision by US politicians to not enshrine an international workers’ holiday, we do not celebrate our Labor Day until September. Instead, since 1955, the US government has declared May 1st to be “Loyalty Day.” Even with these arbitrary date changes, communists, socialists, and progressives across the United States recognize May Day as the day of international solidarity that it is.

May Day raises a lot of different feelings that I have about the world and how I experience it as a worker. More than anything, though, I have an acute awareness of solidarity.

Change has always followed strong showings of international solidarity by workers.

Tangibly, solidarity is necessary for the worker’s movement internationally to actualize change. There is power in labor, and there is unlimited power in a united front of workers. May Day not only harkens to a tragic event, but it reminds us of a time when the struggle for workers’ rights was more militant, and international solidarity was both more acutely present and publicly expressed. There is a lot that I, as a young communist, can learn from these events and, more broadly, the course of labor history. Looking back on history, we can see the extent to which this solidarity was present. There was no time when that was more palpable than the end of the 1910s. The revolutions of 1917–22 mark one of the most momentous periods in worker history wherein workers, inspired by their fellow workers’ gains in far-flung parts of the world, chose to take destiny in their own hands. These events emphasize the importance and power of solidarity. Solidarity, more than anything, is what pushed me to join the CPUSA. Global problems require global solutions, and that means communist workers around the world will need to work together to agitate, educate, and organize in a coordinated fashion. Change has always followed strong showings of international solidarity by workers, and that same sentiment is even more critical as we, the human species, face ever more significant threats.

A strong sense of solidarity offers clarity.

On a personal note, solidarity is important to me because it gives me an abundance of hope for our future. For people around my age, often the default approach to the unprecedented challenges we face is primarily one of total resignation. And, when evaluating the likelihood of the bourgeois state taking the necessary actions to avert climate disaster, it isn’t unreasonable to fall into nihilism. I know how inescapable this outlook on life is, as I once saw the world in the same way. Growing to understand, feel, and experience genuine comradeship and solidarity is what vanquished that ever-present pessimism. In bourgeois society, individuals are seen as the primary movers of history, yet most feel powerless. A strong sense of solidarity offers clarity. The constraints on the realm of possibilities in this world are lifted.

With that intense feeling of comradery, there is no reason to accept the world as it is. There does not need to be tens of millions of deaths from starvation, dehydration, or preventable disease annually. There does not need to be hundreds of millions of people in the world that do not have homes. There does not need to be inequality to progress as a species. With worker solidarity, anything is possible. The working class is the producing class, and we hold all the power in our hands—it is just a question of exercising that power. Using that power is easier said than done. Nonetheless, we communists work toward a sweeping vision of a restructured society.

On May Day, I wake up with these feelings of possibility and solidarity heightened, a day when revolutionary fervor is in the air. This May Day I know that, to quote Thomas Paine, we truly “have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

Image: Steve Rhodes, Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA 2.0).


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer