I gave three May Day speeches this year. Here is the one I gave in London at Trafalgar Square, on 1 May.
May Day in London
1 May, 2015
I bring May Day greetings from the Fire Brigades Union to workers here in London but also to those across the world as workers and trade unionists come together to celebrate our struggles and to pledge to continue the fight for justice and for workersâ€™ rights.
We remember those whose rights are under attack and send solidarity to those whose rights are under attack. We see that once again this year, in Istanbul workers are attacked by the police simply for trying to hold the traditional May Day rally. So we send a message of solidarity: Yasasin bir mayis
Next week we will see an election in the UK and a new government. I hope we can see the back of this government, which has unleashed five years of attacks on workers, on public services, on our living standards and pensions.
Regrettably, it is likely that whichever government emerges, austerity and the cuts will continue.
We should be clear; austerity is a programme of war on workers. It is a programme designed to shift resources from the many to the few; from workers to the bosses; from those at the bottom to those at the top.
We see the results in many ways. The recent Sunday Times rich list highlights the fact that the super rich have doubled their wealth since the economic crisis of 2007/8. There are now 80 billionaires based in London.
It is no wonder that (with the assistance of London mayor Boris Johnson) London is turned into a city where working class communities are increasingly driven out, where workers commute huge distances and where the young face little or no prospect of securing decent homes.
While we see increased wealth at the top, we have increased hardship for the majority with the majority, facing the longest fall in living standards in recent history. We see our services slashed and privatised, our wages attacked and our pensions robbed.
Why is it that the system must be restored in this way?
Why is it that we cannot house everyone?
We have the building workers. We have a need for housing? But we have a housing crisis.
Why? It is because of the demands of profit.
As long as the demands and needs of profit rule, we will have shortages and insecurity for the majority. We will have a housing crisis. We will face attacks on our wages, jobs, pensions and services.
Austerity is about restoring and maintaining the profits of big business, the banks and the billionaires â€“ at the expense of the rest of us.
I speak as a trade unionist but also as a socialist.
As a trade unionist I say this: The bosses – and the boss class – will never give us anything out of the goodness of their hearts. We will only make progress when we organise and fight. Those truths apply today as much as they did when workers began to organise and build trade unions.
That applies in relation to the struggles today against cuts and austerity.
As a socialist, I say that we also have to fight to change the system. The system is based on the needs of the profits of the few. The needs of the majority are irrelevant, unless there is profit to be made.
We have to create a different vision â€“ the vision of a really democratic system â€“ which puts the majority truly in the driving seat.
We have the resources to provide homes, schools and hospitals. We have the resources to provide decent living standards and security for all.
But power and wealth are in the wrong hands. Itâ€™s time to challenge that.
They will say it canâ€™t be done. They will say there is no alternative.
But we remember that nothing has ever been given to our people.
If we had listened to those who say, â€˜There is no alternativeâ€™; then slavery would never have ended; we would never have won the right to vote; women would never have won the right to vote.
If we had listened to those who say, â€˜There is no alternativeâ€™; then we would never have won our health service.
We have only ever made progress by thinking for ourselves and organising for ourselves. That is our task today as always.
Stand up, get organised, fight back.
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