This past MayDay, like each year for over a century, was the International Workers' Day. Despite being confined, many people took action to redecorate the city. The situation might seem grim, but there are still a few positive observations we can make.
The air in our city is clearer that it has been for over a century. Oil consumption slows down and greenhouse gases production diminishes. For many people, being confined is an opportunity to review our unhealthy relationship with work within an hyperperformist and hyperproductivist society.
We define ourselves through our job. One of the first question we ask to anyone we meet is "what do you do?". The Right kept repeating for decades that non-working people are parasites. Did all these people, now confined and jobless, suddenly became parasites? Or is there more to life, to real human life, that an endless trudge between work and sleep?
We salute those who help their neighbors, directly or indirectly. How many people who, yesterday only, were scorned and looked down on, are now on the frontlines? Let's talk about the healthcare system, for instance. The current crisis demonstrate the essential nature of the work of nurses and attendants. Media qualifies them as angels. But public recognition is not enough, this recognition must be extended to actual changes in their work conditions. How many are forced to do mandatory extra hours, to work 16 hours day or more, and to start over day after day? Fatigue gets piled on, risks rise. All this stinks of exploitation. And to make things worse, the State punishes them when they denounce the situation.
In the midst of all this, thousands of people without internet, without contact, without support. The homeless, the prisoners, the undocumented, all those now trapped in squalid, moldy and unhealthy appartments. All the people stuck between borders, here or elsewhere. All silent witnesses, because noone listens to them, sees them. Rent strike, hunger strike...
All this chaos, simply because a handful of rich morons wanted to spend their holidays abroad, to go on cruises, to burn what little is left of our ecosystems. The ship sinks, and it is always the same who pay the price. The crisis is not yet over, still the rich already talk about rebuilding: airports, pipelines, ships. Our answer is: Basta! If we need to rebuild, fine, but we will work to rebuild something else. Let the Capitalist world burn, let us be the spark!
We therefore ask you this question. In the following months, will you also work in building new solutions? Or will you work, yet again, to keep the old problem in place?
Thanks to all of you who kept this MayDay alive this year.
Photos are available at https://clac-montreal.net/node/752