1st of May, the international day of struggle of the working class, is the day on which the most tangible problems of the population, the demands of the workers' and people's movement are brought into focus. Worldwide, in the vast majority of countries and a large part of the cities, workers and other parts of the population take to the streets to express their demands. So also in Austria! Journalists of the Red Flag participated in demonstrations and various activities and give here a joint report.
After two years of "online protest" by the SPÖ [the Socialdemocratic Party], this year they did dare to take to the streets, not least to present itself as the "better" parliamentary alternative in crisis management and warmongering. The turnout, however, fell far short of what could generally be described as "prosperous" or a "new force". Besides old familiar "celebrity pictures", there were also speeches of the highest party representatives. Emphasis must be placed above all on the party leadership's declaration of war and setting aside of neutrality, which did not shy away from supporting the Western NATO war alliance and its lackeys of the Selensky government in the Ukraine war. A newly warmed-up form of warmongering in a "red" coat, no trace of (peoples') "friendship".
On the other hand, it was the organizations, initiatives and forces of the workers' and people's movement that made this 1st of May a successful day for the most important concerns of the oppressed and exploited. For about three years, the ruling class hs been mired in an ever deepening political and economic crisis. The burdens of this crisis are thereby shifted onto the workers and the masses. Thus, in many cities, such as Vienna, Linz, Salzburg or Graz, the 1st of May was marked by the struggle against inflation, high rents and imperialist war.
Against price increases and high rents
Tangible problems of broad parts of the population were expressed in banners, signs and slogans. On the banners was written: "Down with the inflation!" and "Against rent usury - for affordable housing!“ In addition there were loud slogans such as "Price increases - what is that? Not a cent more for electricity and gas!“. In between the shouts of "Organize yourselves, restist, struggle!“ could be heard again and again, thus mentioning the aspect that the oppressed have to unite and organize for their concerns in order to oppose deteriorations.
In Graz, a cultural event was also held at the Volkshaus, where the well-known Roma musician Harri Stojka performed. In Salzburg, among other things, demonstrations were held against the demolition of a housing estate.
Against imperialist war - For international solidarity!
The question of war was also a central concern in the 1st of may demonstrations. Thus, many chants, but also banners were directed against the unjust war in Ukraine. As we observed, banners with the inscription "For a new peace movement!" were carried, around which mainly forces of the peace movement gathered.
Besides the war in Ukraine, other symbols of internationalism were also present at the demonstrations. For example, a group of activists made a solidarity picture with the flag of the anti-imperialist and revolutionary "Partija Rada" (transl. "Party of Labor") from Serbia, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary of foundation. We also observed numerous symbols of the 50th anniversary of the TKP/ML, a Turkish party that has been in struggle for the rights of the working class and the oppressed in Turkey for 50 years. Symbols of solidarity with the progressive forces from Bulgaria and the revolutionary peasant movement in Brazil (LCP) could also be observed. A truly internationalist 1st of May!
Last but not least, May Day always stood and still stands for the fact that the majority, the oppressed and exploited, must not only win individual improvements, but must hold power in their hands. The 1st of May stands for the struggle for an end to exploitation, which today serves only a small elite and forces the population further and further into poverty, unemployment and oppression. In the demonstrations it were especially the Maoist forces which shouted slogans and carried banners at the demonstrations, which had the revolution, the struggle against capitalist exploitation, as their content.
In order for 1st of May to fulfill its purpose of uniting the workers and the oppressed in their struggle, to become a common force, it must be used to see more clearly the tasks and goals of the workers' and people's movement and to pursue them. The most palpable problems of broad sections of the population are before us, it is time to unite and thus strengthen the forces. It needs a unity that brings together the struggles that already exist, which are alone isolated and weak, and creates that basis to fight successfully for the interests of the working class and the people. Long live 1st of May!