Apr 262021
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

Given

that, today, as has always been the case, May 1 is an opportunity for the workers of all nations to celebrate their historic victories and to put forth demands for further improvements to their working conditions and their health and safety conditions in general;

given

that protecting the health and safety of health care workers is of primordial importance;

and given

that the health care system and all of its workers, nurses, doctors, councillors, managers, office workers, and support staff are currently under enormous pressure and deserve our unconditional support;

We, the popular groups, unions, and community groups that organize and participate in the May 1 public events, call on those who will be joining our events:

  • to express their solidarity with health care workers, as well as with all “essential” workers, regardless of their citizenship status;
  • to wear a mask at all of our events;
  • to respect, insofar as possible, a safe two-meter distance from others at all of our events;
  • to avoid all unnecessary contact during our events.

We call on all groups and organizations that are planning events for May 1, 2021, to adhere to and respect this pact. Otherwise, we demand that they not hold an event on that day and, instead, stay home and not pose an additional threat to heath care workers and our health care system.

Signatories:

–> Si votre groupe ou votre organisation endosse ce PACTE pour un 1er mai solidaire, veuillez écrire à alerta-mtl@riseup.net pour être ajouté à la liste des signataires/participants.

–> Si vous adhérez à l’esprit de ce pacte en tant qu’individu, nous vous invitons à “participer” à l’événement Facebook qui se trouve à cette adresse, et à le relayer dans vos réseaux.

BACKGROUND

Across the world, May 1 is known as International Workers’ Day.

For 135 years, the working class has taken to the streets, organized, and demonstrated on this day, in a show of force to assert its interests and its opposition to the capitalist class and the politicians who play its games. The May 1 tradition was born in the blood of revolutionary trade unionists in the US, in 1886, thereafter spreading through the Americas and from there to Europe and the rest of the world, carried forward by the trade union movement, revolutionaries, anti-capitalists, and internationalists. Historic compromises have since led to its institutionalization in a number of countries, but anti-capitalist movements and milieus have, nonetheless, preserved its revolutionary expression in numerous initiatives in diverse contexts

This tradition is very much alive in Montréal and throughout Québec, where numerous events mark May 1 every year, including union rallies, an anti-capitalist demonstration, and a variety of community gatherings and social events meant to advance a range of demands and to, in different ways, mount a visible opposition to the privileged classes.

There are a number of events taking place in Montréal this year:

It seems that some of the leaders of the “conspiracy theory” anti-masking, anti-distancing, and anti-vaccination movement are behind a march organized for May 1 to “manifester [leur] désaccord face aux mesures sanitaires au Québec” [express (their) discontent with the public health measures in Québec]. (A number of citizens’ intiatives, including Montréal Antifasciste and Xavier Camus, have documented the influential roles of a number of individuals with ties to the far-right in the movement against Québec’s public health measures.)

This particular action in opposition to these measures will be held outside of the main vaccination center in Montréal, the Olympic Stadium, clearly without masks and with no intention to practice safe distancing.

At a point when the third wave is beginning to peek throughout Québec, when the health system

risks being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 variants, with the vaccination campaign not unfolding as quickly as would be optimal to offset these variants, and at a point when heath care and social service workers are at the end of their rope after thirteen months of intense efforts to counter the pandemic, we find it breathtakingly unacceptable that the conspiracy theory movement and the COVID deniers will take to the street on May 1 and put those workers’ lives, as well as the lives of all other workers deemed essential, at risk with their irresponsible behaviour.

The health and safety of workers have always been a key preoccupation of the movements advancing the interests and demands of the working class and the organizers mobilizing for May 1.

It’s about time the majority of workers make perfectly clear their growing fatigue with the recklessness of the conspiracy theorists behind the movement against the public health measures, who, it must be stressed, have submerged themselves in the far right’s pseudo-ideology.