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Newsletter (in English)


RIO, the Revolutionary Internationalist Organization, was present at May Day demonstrations in Berlin, Prague, Zurch and St. Gallen this year. The following are reports from these actions.

May Day in Berlin

On May 1, 2010, the international workers’ day was celebrated for the 120th time. In Berlin there were many different events – 43 were registered with the police beforehand.

The trade union demonstration in the morning was smaller than ever, with less than 2,000 participants. Carrying the front banner was Berlin’s social democratic mayor Klaus Wowereit, who has been responsible for massive cuts in the public sector and the education system in the last eight years. Towards the back of the demonstration was a “class struggle block” with several hundred people who criticized the trade union leadership and called for “class struggle instead of co-management.”

More than 10,000 people blocked a Nazi demonstration in the district of Prenzlauer Berg. The police used pepper spray and truncheons against smaller groups of people – and had water cannons standing by – but thousands of people were able to hold three important points. In the end, just 600 fascists showed up, and they could only march a few hundred meters before they had to turn around and go home.

The revolutionary demonstration in the evening took place for the 22nd time. More than 15,000 people marched through the immigrant districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln under the motto “End the crisis – abolish capitalism!” The “class struggle block” was here too, calling for resistance in the workplaces, class struggle by the trade unions and political strikes against the effects of the crisis. The more than 6,000 police stayed almost completely out of sight, so the demonstration was surprisingly peaceful. However, at the end of the demonstration the police began to attack people, including a kick in the face that can be seen in a video on Youtube. But even that was limited compared the the orgy of police violence last year, when almost 300 people were arrested.

RIO, the Revolutionary Internationalist Organization, participated in all three demonstrations with a small but very visible contingent, including our new red “Strike” T-Shirts. We distributed about 2,000 flyers for our upcoming seminar about Latin America and left-wing hip hop concert.

by Wladek and David, RIO Berlin

May Day in the Czech Republic

The First of May in the Czech Republic was surprisingly calm. RIO members were active together with other radical left activists from the New Anticapitalist Left (NAL).

The fascist party DS-SS (“Workers’ Party for Social Justice”) organized a small pre-election meeting with only 100 participants, so there wasn’t any big demo against them. The NAL decided to visit different pre-election meetings of the reformist parties and try to intervene there for a revolutionary politics. The NAL was present in five cities: Prague, Pilsen, Liberec, Melnik and Tabor. We sold our newspaper and distributed leaflets.

In the afternoon, some members visited the pub and spoke there with different left-wing activists. Other RIO members attended the “Antifa May Day festival”. They organize this music festival every year, where there is a little bit of politics but mainly entertainment. Unfortunately, the Czech Antifa is dominated by anarchists who are hostile to Marxism or other leftist orientations, so we could only distribute a few leaflets to our sympathizers.

Roman, RIO Prague

May Day in Switzerland

RIO St. Gallen participated in the May Day Demonstrations in Zurich and St. Gallen. The official demonstration in Zurich was really big – despite the rain there were about 8,000 people. At the end of the route, the revolutionary block from the demonstration headed towards the Paradeplatz to raise the red flag. The Paradeplatz is the symbolic center of the banker’s paradise Switzerland and really prestigious. But before we arrived, we got a taste of the massive repression the police had announced beforehand and the street was blocked. After that, people went to the “Revolutionary Meeting Point” which had an all-day cultural program with concerts and exhibitions.

After some provocations by the police, the area was surrounded and then cleared out. The majority of the activists got penned in and arrested. After that, there were some riots at the perimeter of this area which were really brutally suppressed with rubber bullets and tear gas. There were also several attacks by police in civilian clothes who were amongst the demonstrators.

In retrospect, the program of the revolutionary forces on May Day was seriously disrupted by the police actions. 353 activists – a big part of the revolutionary bloc – got arrested.

In St. Gallen, the official demonstration began at 3pm. About 200 people participated. Because of the bad weather and the non-existence of anti-capitalist – let alone revolutionary – forces at the demonstration, the whole march seemed to be like a carnival. Nevertheless, RIO St. Gallen was present in public activities for the first time. After the demonstration there was a rally which was dominated by the speeches of the social democratic youth (“Juso”).

by Bert, RIO St. Gallen

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