Left Parties and Trade Unions in West Asia and North Africa Mark May Day

Credit: TKP/Twitter
Credit: TKP/Twitter

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Peoples Dispatch.

International Workers’ Day celebrations were held in different countries of the West Asia and North Africa region on Monday, May 1, with trade unions and left parties organizing mass demonstrations. Marking the day, workers raised slogans of unity and revolution against capitalist exploitation.

Paying homage to the martyrs of Chicago, Tunisia’s largest trade union movement, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), issued a statement on behalf of its general secretary Noureddine Al-Tabouni. It said that the UGTT was founded “on the principles of labour solidarity and victory of the interests of the workers and general public in all parts of the world regardless of race, gender, color and belief.”

The statement asserted that successive governments in Tunisia, including the current one, have been following a neoliberal economic regime, which has caused massive suffering to the working class. It also noted that the trade union movement in Tunisia is currently under attack from an “authoritarian government which tries to demonize everyone who disagrees with it.” The union called on its members to show greater resolve in the values of the workers’ movement, and asked for greater support and solidarity from movements across the world.

The UGTT added that the Kais Saied government, following the neoliberal model,  is now trying hard to compromise with the IMF and refuses to raise wages in the country, instead choosing to attack the working class movement. The UGTT pledged to fight against the neoliberal and corrupt policies of the present government.

In a similar statement, the Workers’ Democratic Way Party of Morocco saluted the spirit of May Day and noted that the working class needs to realize a dignified life first and foremost. It said that the occasion provides an opportunity to revisit the challenges facing working class movements and renew pledges to overcome them. Highlighting the need for a militant and united trade union movement in the country as the first step to achieve dignified and democratic conditions for workers, it resolved to “put an end to all divisions and differences” present in the working class in the country today.

Similar statements were issued by the Syrian Communist Party, the Tunisian Workers Party, and others.

Commemorating May Day, demonstrations and rallies were also held in countries such as in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq—where a large march was taken out in capital Baghdad.