International May Day 2017: Mass marches and police repression
2 May 2017
May Day, the day of the international working class, saw mass marches and protests on every continent, as well as scattered strikes, as workers sought to demonstrate their opposition to the policies of right-wing governments and their solidarity with their class brothers and sisters around the world.
In country after country, workers raised the same issues—low wages, the growth of “contingent” labor, the slashing of benefits and pensions—underscoring the common struggles confronting the working class internationally. Governments around the world are imposing ever more vicious austerity measures in response to the global crisis of the capitalist system, while diverting greater and greater resources into military spending and war preparations.
The day’s events demonstrated that the objective conditions produced by the development of global production have created the basis for the unification of the working class as an international class. But workers are held in enforced disunity by the nationally-based trade unions and “labor” parties that serve as the direct instruments of big business in every country.
In several countries, protests on the traditional holiday of the world working class were met with violent provocations on the part of the authorities. In Turkey, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators in Istanbul, the country’s largest city, and arrested at least 200 people. Most were arrested during the protests, but some were detained in raids later that night. Political tensions have been rising in the wake of the April 16 referendum, narrowly won by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which gives Turkish President Recep Tayyip…