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An Open Letter and Invitation to Participate

Dear brothers and sisters,

MAY DAY is coming - the day the workers and the oppressed all over the world mark advances in the struggle for unity, rights and dignity.

Last year workers and youth made a start in restoring the commemoration of MAY DAY. This year, matters have already advanced a step over last year: a Halifax May Day Committee has been established to ensure its commemoration as an annual event in our calendar.

To individuals and organisations involved in resistance, in uniting the people and in the manifold struggles for rights and dignity, the Committee is issuing this invitation to participate this upcoming MAY DAY, Thursday May 1st, in a vigorous program. It begins with a public rally starting 5 p.m. in the Grand Parade (Barrington Street). It culminates in a festival event shortly afterwards at the North End Memorial Branch Library (Gottingen Street), with speakers who will bring together knowledge and experience that serve to affirm the workers' and people's struggles here and around the world. Spread the word far and wide, endorse MAY DAY in your organization, and vigorously participate. Bring your concerns and voices, your banners and flags.

We invite members of the First Nations who stand against colonial justice and for their hereditary rights. The workers and people from the immigrant community should come and stand in their place. All those who boldly declare "No One is Illegal" should affirm their right-to-be together with us. We invite the African Nova Scotian community, which has been standing up against school closures and environmental and other forms of state-organized racism, to boldly affirm their demand for justice.

MAY DAY is the International Day of Working Class Unity and Struggle. We invite all those active in the work to defend the peoples and nations of Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Korea and Zimbabwe and their right to self-determination, all those who are resisting the onslaught of colonialism, imperialism, occupation and unjust war.

We also take this opportunity to invite our workers of the forestry and those of the sea, to come together with us. These workers are at the heart of whole areas that depend almost solely on the forestry or the fisheries to make a living. Bring your banners and concerns to the capital to take one united stand against being thrown into the street and forced out of your communities and the Maritimes under the hoax that there is no alternative.

We invite the health care and public sector workers to join in voicing our rejection of the dictatorial denial of the basic right to strike by the MacDonald Conservatives. And the ports workers who face draconian maritime "security" regulations levied under the pretext that their labour is "strategic" for the Bush-Harper "war on terror." All those who are fighting for their rights, for their livelihood, security and dignity against the all-round, anti-social offensive of the monopolies and their governments at all levels will find their place of honour in our ranks.

MAY DAY brings to life the suppressed history of the working people refusing to be fleeced by the rich as the price for surviving the 1917 Halifax Explosion. On MAY DAY, 1919, workers of Halifax, led by the building trades, downed tools and launched a General Strike against war profiteering and all-round exploitation carried out in the name of "recovering from the Explosion". With this invitation, we appeal to youth and students and the community to join us in preparing the most fitting possible memorial for the 90th anniversary commemoration of MAY DAY 1919 as part of informing and reminding all of us about this living history of the struggle of the working people who with their sweat and blood built this province and nation only to be been denied the fruits of their labour.

The time is now! Take up the independent banner of the class with determination. MAY DAY 2008 is an occasion to celebrate and sum-up what the working class has achieved so far. It is a time to proclaim to the world its wants and expectations for the future starting right now.

Who Decides? We Decide!

Unity! Resistance! Dignity!

Workers and Oppressed Peoples of All Countries, Unite!

Tony Seed*, Aaron Doncaster, co-chair

Halifax May Day Committee

E-mail: mayday.halifax@gmail.com

MAY DAY PROGRAM: 5:00 p.m: Rally at Grand Parade, Barrington Street, Halifax.

March to North End Library.

6:30 p.m. Festival and Forum: Halifax North Memorial Library, 2285 Gottingen St. Program includes food supplied by Homes Not Bombs; Prof Michael Earl on May Day and Labour History; the 1977 video Work and Wages (Fish or Cut Bait Film Collective); and more.

Please contact us to join our e-mail list.

*For purposes of identification: Tony Seed is editor and publisher of Shunpiking Magazine (tel: 477-0470 [res], 444-4922 [work]) and Aaron Doncaster is a longtime food services worker and social justice activist.

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