Servir al Pueblo Editorial: First of May 2024

We publish an unofficial translation of the editorial of issue 11 of the newspaper Servir al Pueblo from the Spanish State.

The 1st of May is the International Day of the Working Class, the day when the international proletariat takes to the streets to demonstrate and struggle, one more year, for their economic, social and political rights as a class. Ultimately, the 1st of May is a day of struggle against the capitalist mode of production and against the crimes of the world imperialist system. Despite the fact that this is a day of struggle, the bourgeois has tried, is trying and will try to deprive the 1st of May of its revolutionary meaning.

Origin and significance: the Martyrs of Chicago

138 years ago, just as today, capitalism rained savagely in the United States of America. Thousands of workers, many of whom migrants, went out in the streets to protest against the exploitation and oppression which they were subjected to by the bosses. They took to the streets of Chicago, struggled fiercely against the repressive forces of the State and irrigated the streets with their blood. The proletariat fought for the liberation of the class. The class unions of Chicago agreed, on the day of the 1st of May, 1886, to close any factory that did not adhere to the workers’ demand for an 8-hour work day. The economical demand was converted into a political demand, fighting class against class.

The police responded to the workers struggle with repression. They beat and murdered the striking workers. The working-class leaders were quickly incarcerated and slandered by the bourgeois who dominated the media. The 11th of November, 1887, August Spies, Adolf Fischer, George Engel and Albert Parsons were hanged. Louis Lingg was “found” dead days after in the cell. Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden were sentences to life imprisonment, but due to workers’ protest, the sentence was reduced.

The State did not seek any justice, only to put an end to the workers’ leaders to instruct the proletariat and intimidate it to put down future strikes. These leaders were not become sell-outs nor traitors, but until the last minute, in front of the gallows, they became examples of honesty, dignity and loyalty. They did not break the secret, they did not sell out any comrades. The integrity of the Martyrs of Chicago is admirable, something that every worker must learn from. These are some of their last words:

August Spies: “If you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement—the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery—the wage slaves—except salvation—if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. you cannot put it out.”

Albert Parsons: “My enemies in the southern states consisted of those who oppressed the black slave. My enemies in the north are among those who would perpetuate the slavery of the wage workers.”

George Engel: “All workers must prepare for one last final war that will finally end all wars.”

Adolph Fischer: “I know that it is impossible to convince those whose job it is to lie, the mercenary directors of the capitalist press, who get paid for their lies.”

Oscar Neebe: “I did everything I could to found the Central Worker and grow its ranks. Now it is the best labor organization in Chicago, it has 10,000 members. That’s what I can say about my working life.”

Louis Lingg: “The United States is a country of capitalist tyranny and the cruelest police despotism.”

Michael Schwab: “Millions of workers are hungry and live as vagabonds. Even those most slaves to wages begin to think. Their common misfortune leads them to understand that they need to unite and struggle.”

Samuel Fielden: “Workers cannot expect anything from legislation. The law is just a screen for those who enslave them.”

From the Editorial Committee of Servir al Pueblo we pay homage to the Martyrs of Chicago, heroes of the international proletariat and we salute all class struggles of the world. Politicize the 1st of May with all the workers! Combat the manipulation of bourgeois press!

The proletariat is born poor, lives poor and dies poor

138 years have passed since the struggle of the Martyrs of Chicago, and little has changed since this. The bourgeois maintains its order of disgrace and oppression of the proletariat, that lives poor even if they work, living as slave of wage labor. Let us make a brief scan of the central problems of the proletariat.

Labor exploitation, abuse and humiliation in factories, in offices, in all work centers. Proliferation of the Staffing Agencies, the boss divides the workforce in first and second class. Freezing of wages, setbacks in labor rights while the companies increase their turnover and net profit. In 2022, 826 people went to work and never returned to their homes. In 2023 there were 721. Only in January of 2024, there were 52. Fatal work accidents, boss murders at work due to little or no safety measures.

Increasing costs of food, of gas and electricity, of gasoline, of transport. Temporary work, black work, unemployment, poverty, humiliation. Evictions, rent increases and variable mortgages. The poor are poorer, and the rich are richer. 26% of the Spanish population (more than 12 million people) is at risk of poverty and social exclusion. 9% are in severe poverty. Child poverty is at 27,8%. The banking monopoly (Santander, BBVA, Caixabank, Sabadell, Bankinter) earned more than ever in 2023, earning 23 billion euros in 2023. The energy monopoly (Iberdrola, Naturgy, Endesa, Repsol, Cepsa) earned more than 10 billion while 13% of children and youth live in houses that can’t afford an adequate temperature. 10% of households consume less than they should because they cannot pay for it. Mercadona increases its profits by 40% while migrant temporary agriculture workers, who collects the products of the land, live in misery and conditions of semi-slavery.

The proletarian woman carries on her shoulders the weight of double oppression: capitalist and patriarchal. She suffers the reactionary force of customs and tradition, that maintains the yoke of domestic work once her workday is over. The wage gap is maintained while the government and bourgeois feminism try separating the struggle of the proletarian woman with her proletarian comrades. The State and imperialism sustain patriarchal violence in all its forms.

Terrible living conditions for the migrant proletariat in the countryside, eternal workdays for a miserable wage bellow the minimum wage. It is not much better in construction or in industry. Even worse are the conditions of the women migrant proletarians. Semi-slaves working with cleaning homes. Harshly exploited and harassed in the hospitality industry. The most common profile of a prostitute (that is, a sex slave, that is violated day after day) is a Colombian woman between 23 and 27 years old. Sudaca, monkey, panchito, shitty moro [Translator’s note: racist insults to refer to Latin American and Magrebi people]; racism fostered by hoaxes and fake news manufactured by the bourgeois media.

Police repression and violence, abuse of authority. Special prisons for foreigners (CIE – Internment Center for Foreigners) where it has been proven that the National Police prostitutes and violates the female internees. Thousands of dead drowning on the Canary and Andalusian coasts. Racism, criminalization of migrants. Constant attacks on freedom of expression, of information, of gathering and on all the democratic rights. Between 2022 and 2023 there were 1.184 violations of the right to protest. Only in the workers’ strikes of Euskadi of 2022, there were 28 defendants and more than 15.000 euros in fines to the workers of Tubacex.

Militarization of the State: More cameras, more police, more espionage and higher budget for police operations against the union movement, the housing movement and the environmental movement. Police infiltrations, five police infiltrators were uncovered only in 2023. Police intimidation and harassment of all kinds of social activists. Galloping warmongering in the media, preparation of future imperialist wars of aggression. Justification for increasing the military budget, rearmament of the Spanish army. In 2023, the Spanish government secretly handed over the port of Maó (Menorca) to the NATO. Sale of arms to Israel, which commit genocide against Palestine, and sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, which does the same with Yemen.

Crisis of values, increasing individualism. Dehumanization of personal relations. “The more you have, the more you’re worth”. Social democracy and opportunism spread defeatism and and deep political demoralization. “We have not been able to do more” they say when they betray the workers in the signing of a collective agreement. “You have to vote for the lesser evil and stop fascism” they say in the electoral farce every four years. “Violence begets violence, we have to do it another way” they say when the proletariat rebels and decide to struggle.

There are plenty of reasons to mobilize on the 1st of May!

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