‘May Day Statement of the American Negro Labor Congress’ from The Daily Worker. Vol. 6 No. 47. May 1, 1929.

‘May Day Statement of the American Negro Labor Congress’ from The Daily Worker. Vol. 6 No. 47. May 1, 1929.

May Day is the international labor holiday of the revolutionary working class of the world. It is the symbol of that solidarity of the world’s toilers through which alone the emancipation of the Negro masses of the United States, the West Indies and Africa can be achieved. But for that solidarity and the revolutionary temper of tens of millions of white workers it would be futile to talk of African freedom, of race equality, in the face of the superior armament and organization of the imperialist countries.

May Day will be celebrated in every country of the world by large masses of revolutionary workers who recognize their class interests and their class enemies, and see behind the efforts of the capitalist class, through its press, courts, schools, churches, etc., to divide the workers on lines of nationalism, race and color. These revolutionary workers are the vanguard of the proletariat in the struggle to overthrow the oppressive capitalist system, they are the hope, not only of the exploited masses in their own countries, but of the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, the West Indies, Indonesia, etc. These revolutionary workers will stage May Day celebrations in every European country, in every North and South American country.


May Day will be celebrated in South Africa by tens of thousands of native and white workers and farmers fraternizing together under the banner of the South African Communist Party and pledged to fight shoulder to shoulder for the overthrow of imperialism. May Day will be celebrated in China by millions of revolutionary workers who will use the occasion of Labor’s international holiday to voice their protests against the brutal exploitation of foreign capitalists and against the treachery of their own bourgeoisie. May Day, with its message of working-class solidarity, will bring new hope and inspiration to the embattled proletarian and peasantry of India, where the British censorship tries in vain to hide from the eyes of the world’s proletariat the heroic struggle of the Indian masses against the white terror of British imperialism. To the Indian masses, facing the machine guns, bombing planes and gas bombs of the imperialist murderers, May Day’s message of international working-class solidarity will be a welcome one. May Day will be celebrated in the United States of America by thousands of Negro and white workers who have within the last year achieved a remarkable solidarity under the leadership of the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat, the Communist Party of the U.S.A., and in open defiance of the capitalist dictum of race separation and race hatred. In the South, the old stronghold of capitalists stimulated racial prejudices, thousands of white and Negro textile strikers, under Left-wing union leadership, will join together in May Day celebrations, presenting, for the first time in history, a solid front of the white and Negro workers of the South against capitalist oppression and capitalist attempts to divide the working class.


And, last but not least, May Day will be celebrated by the millions of workers and peasants of the Soviet Union who are now enjoying the fruits of the proletarian revolution by which they won their emancipation from the bloody rule of the triune of czar, church, nobility, and established the proletarian dictatorship through which they have been able to protect the revolution and the workers’ state from the various intrigues of international capitalism.

As the Negro masses of the United States come to realize the class nature of their struggle against white ruling class oppression, May Day will have a special, a glorious significance for us. We have suffered for many years from the treachery of professional leaders (coming from the ranks of the intelligentsia and the propertied class, the bourgeois) who, like condescending saviors and self-appointed Moseses, led us from their offices, not into struggle, but into the camps of our enemies. This leadership, while filling its own pockets and building up personal prestige, has never helped the masses, but, on the contrary, has served to forge our chains the stronger. “The emancipation of the masses is the work of the masses themselves.” Leaders from the bourgeoisie are both unwilling and incapable of leading the struggle for emancipation. Unwilling because they (property owners, landlords, real estate agents, bootleggers, preachers, college professors, editors of bourgeois magazines and newspapers, heads of various “advancement” associations, etc., etc.) are themselves beneficiaries— dependent upon crumbs from the table of the white ruling class—of the capitalist system under which we are oppressed, terrorized, exploited and degraded. These leaders are incapable of leading the struggle because they have neither a clear understanding of the nature of the struggle (which is essentially a class struggle, and not as they imagine a purely racial struggle) nor the guts to prosecute it militantly enough to insure success.


As part of the working class, we Negro workers and farmers, have a share in the traditions of May Day. In the past we have contributed to the traditions of the class struggle, and as we mobilize our forces in the present period and enter more and more into the international class struggle we shall have in contributing many stirring chapters between this day and the final victory of the international proletariat.

Already hundreds of thousands of Negro workers and peasants in the Belgian Congo have joined the army of the proletarian revolution.

Already we see revolts in Egypt, in Tripoli, in British East Africa, in the Sudan, in various parts of French Africa, etc. That the Africans have been defeated in these preliminary skirmishes does not change the final result. Tempered by tradition, aided by the revolutionary workers of the imperialist countries, helped by their experience in these preliminary battles, and guided by the sum of experience of the world revolutionary movement, and inspired by the revolutionary successes of the proletariat of other countries, these African workers will again grapple with their imperialist oppressors.


In Demerarar, in the West Indian islands, as in Africa and Asia, the revolutionary ferment is at work. In Demerara the masses have sharply protested against the action of the British imperialists in scrapping the old constitution for the purpose of tightening the imperialist grip on their country. Throughout the West Indies archipelago we have seen a strong and growing demand towards a West Indian Federation. In Trinidad, as in many of the other islands, there have been serious riots within the last ten years. In every corner of the earth the masses are oft the revolutionary march to power. And the Negro masses are playing their part, and will play an increasing part, in this world-revolutionary movement against the imperialists.

Negro workers of the United States! Join in May Day celebrations of the revolutionary workers on May First. Negro workers of New York, come out in thousands to the Bronx Coliseum, East 117th St. and Bronx Park. Negro workers of Chicago, go to the Ashland Auditorium, Van Buren and Marshfield Aves. Negro and white speakers will address you at these, and countless other meetings held throughout the country (get the address of other meetings from The Daily Worker), and will deal with your problems.

Negro workers! Demonstrate your labor solidarity! Join the ranks of the revolutionary workers!
Fight against the speed-up and for a shorter workday!
Demonstrate solidarity with the striking Negro and white textile, food and shoe workers!
Demonstrate against the treacherous socialist party and the trade union reactionaries and fakers!
Fight imperialist war! Build international working class solidarity!
Fight for the freedom of the colonial peoples!
Down with imperialism! Down with lynching! Down with white ruling class terrorism!


The Daily Worker began in 1924 and was published in New York City by the Communist Party US and its predecessor organizations. Among the most long-lasting and important left publications in US history, it had a circulation of 35,000 at its peak. The Daily Worker came from The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from 1917 to November 1919, when it became became The Toiler, paper of the Communist Labor Party. In December 1921 the above-ground Workers Party of America merged the Toiler with the paper Workers Council to found The Worker, which became The Daily Worker beginning January 13, 1924.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/dailyworker/1929/1929-ny/v06-n047-may-day-sect-two-may-01-1929-DW-LOC.pdf

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