AWL celebrates May Day

Submitted by Matthew on 6 May, 2015 - 8:41

The week of May Day 2015 (27 April-3 May) was busy for Workers’ Liberty in London.

South London AWL was involved in organising three events — a film showing about migrants and health services in Greece as part of the Save Lewisham Hospital (SLH) campaign, a debate on the left and the general election and another film showing, of ‘Still the Enemy Within’.

On Monday night we also held the second meeting of our Lise Vogel reading group on Marxism and women’s oppression. On Friday, comrades from across London took part in the London May Day March, and on Saturday we held a social event to celebrate May Day, organised with Iraqi and Iranian comrades.

The SLH showing of the film ‘Into the Fire’ attracted about 40 people. Louise Irvine, a doctor and SLH activist, spoke about lessons from a recent delegation to Athens as part of the campaign’s ongoing solidarity with Greek health workers and service users, alongside Brian Heron from the Greek Solidarity Campaign. AWL members who have visited Greece contributed their political perspective to the event.

Thursday’s debate on “How should the left vote in the election?”, at Goldsmiths University, was attended by about 45 people. Jill Mountford, AWL, put forward the case for the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory, debating Paul Callanan of the Socialist Party and TUSC and Andrea Carey of Green Left. Such debates are much rarer on the left than they should be. There should be more of them, combined with more unity in action and campaigns. We think the meeting clarified some of the differences between class-struggle socialism and the left-wing liberalism of the Green Party, as well as our differences with TUSC. We objected to TUSC not mentioning migrant rights at all in its election material.

The next day AWL members took part in 1 May trade union march, alongside comrades from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency and the Worker-communist Parties of Kurdistan, Iraq and Iran. We took a socialist, internationalist and anti-Stalinist message — no small thing on a march where Stalinist politics are so prominent. We also participated in the Greece solidarity contingent organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, alongside dozens of students from places including Essex, Warwick and UAL. UAL students, fresh from their occupation struggle, really made the day, including by taking their picture with the Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network banner. We sold £50 of literature.

On Saturday, we met with comrades from the Worker-communist Parties of Iraq and Kurdistan, and the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency, for a May Day celebration. We enjoyed Kurdish food, had a drink and a dance and listened to some performance poetry by our comrade Janine Booth. Nadia Mahmood of the WCPI spoke about the oil workers’ struggle in Iraq, Morad Shirin about workers in Iran, while AWL comrade Jade Baker spoke about transforming the unions and Omar Raii about the student movement.

We finished the week with our South London showing of ‘Still the Enemy Within’, which was attended by about 60 people — most of whom were new. Jill Mountford spoke about the lessons of the miners’ strike for today, as did Mike Jackson from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, before a lively discussion.

This week we continued selling our paper and other literature, meeting people for discussions, doing educationals, organising trade union and student struggles, and doing many other things.

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