Thursday 1st May 2008
Starts 12 noon, at Buchanan St Underground, Glasgow
On May 1st, Glasgow city centre will once again see the colourful annual May Day celebrations of International Workers Day - marked by workers across the world for over 100 years.
The organisers are not revealing full details of the event, but say Buchanan Street will be transformed for the day. People are being asked to bunk off work for the day and bring something along to add to the celebrations - food to share or games to play or even furniture and decorations to make the city centre a place to socialize rather than shop. The Glasgow May Day Collective - now in it's 10th year - promises music, merriment and "a few surprises".
City workers and shoppers will be asked to stop and join the carnival, to imagine a world without bosses and politicians, to think about how better the world would be if ordinary folk ran things together instead of the ones ruining it now: a world where equality, freedom and justice are more important than power, profits or war.
1968 and all that...
This year will have added significance, being the 40th anniversary of the 1968 uprisings of workers, students and oppressed peoples across the world. There was mass revolt in Europe, the most well known in France where nine million workers on strike were joined by radical students with slogans like "be realistic - demand the impossible", bringing France to the brink of another revolution.
In May 1968, people were fighting against bullying bosses, corrupt governments and a barbaric, immoral war in Vietnam. In May 2008, the world remains much the same. Oil workers are striking against the bosses robbing their pensions, public sector workers are striking against a government cutting their pay and our services - a government on the ropes for taxing the poor to fund tax breaks for the mega rich and a barbaric immoral war in Iraq.
To many, Glasgow is synonymous with rebellion - from Red Clydeside to the Poll Tax and the Pollok Free State - and struggles for workplace and community control continue. Today, the interests of the population are at odds with the models of 're-generation' of the council and the businesses they represent. Parts of Pollok Park - gifted to the citizens - are being sold off. Not so long ago community direct action nearly stopped a motorway being driven through it. Control of the libraries, art galleries and parks has been privatised, and the council's housing has been sold to a private company. The Glasgow May Day organising collective says that the interests of big business are increasingly put before the interests of citizens, and that this has to end.
Ethel MacDonald of the organising collective said: "The Glasgow May Day celebration is an event for everyone who feels their life ticking away a minute at a time in a crummy job, and everyone who can't find work and has to scrape by on the dole or bits of work here and there. For every worker with no contract or union rights. For the families of those killed and injured in the workplace, for future generations and in memory of those who went before. This is May Day, this is our day - the peoples day. Like the city, May Day belongs to us!"
Organised by the Glasgow Trades Union Council, the Mayday Rally will assemble at George Square at 11am, leaving at 11.30am to follow a route through Glasgow City Centre before arriving at the Old Fruitmarket on Albion Street at approximately 12 noon.
Speeches will start on the Main Stage within the Old Fruitmarket at approximately 12.30pm. Stalls from the labour and trade union movement, community, international solidarity and CND will be on display.
May Day Speakers: Ian Davidson MP; Agnes Tolmie - UNITE the union;
Jenny Duncan - STUC Youth Commitee; Brian Filling - ACTSA;
Alan Mackinnon - Scottish CND; Chairperson David Stark