Revolutionary May First, 2013, Across the U.S.

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Houston, May 1

As Revolution wrote recently, “May Day is the revolutionary internationalist holiday of the exploited and oppressed and all those who hate the world as it is and who are fighting for a different future.” (“Celebrate May Day 2013: Humanity Needs Revolution”) On May First 2013 and on the following weekend, revolutionaries went out to different neighborhoods and campuses, joined May Day and immigrant rights marches, and celebrated the day in various ways in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Cleveland, Birmingham (Alabama), Boston and New York. They took to people the message that humanity needs revolution and the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian.

The following are brief excerpts from some of the reports we received, to give a flavor of revolutionary May First:

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, at immigrant march, May Day 2013

Fifteen people marched in the main immigrant march, with red flags and a huge banner reading in Spanish, “Primero de Mayo—La humanidad necesita la revolución—El internacionalismo, el mundo entero ante todo.” A smaller tight crew would also march into the crowd—to the beat of a drum—with the chant “What is the problem? The system, the system. What is the solution? Revolution!” calling on people to hook up with this movement and learn about its leader, Bob Avakian. The entire march knew that the revolutionaries were in the house. A company of Aztec dancers marched behind the revolutionaries and the two groups began to interact. At times they would dance and drum and then stop—and as if on cue, the revolutionaries would resume their chants and the dancers would join in—then it would be back and forth. This drew people to want to join this section of the march. They also worked to make this an American flag-free zone.

East Oakland

East Oakland, May Day 2013

More than 30 people assembled at a very busy corner in a very spirited way for revolutionary May Day. Responses from people in the neighborhood to two quotes on internationalism from Bob Avakian were read (See below: "Responding to BA's Quotes on Internationalism"). Then it was time to march! For several blocks, people took to the streets in the neighborhood, which had been notorious for police shootings and harassment. After the march, people took turns on the bullhorn chanting “Trayvon Martin didn’t have to die, we all know the reason why. The whole system is guilty” (also mentioning other victims of police and racist murder) and “Revolution—Nothing Less!” Some people stayed around for a showing of the chapter “Remind me: Which System, Capitalism or Communism, is the Nightmare for Humanity” from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! at a nearby fast-food joint.

New York City

May 4, Revolution Club in front of H&M Department Store, which sells clothing produced in Bangladesh.


May 1st NYC, many people spent time with a large artwork depicting crimes of imperialism all around the world.

From the Revolution Club: On Saturday, May 4, there was a May First “tour” up and down 125th St., the main street in Harlem, as the Revolution Club held up posters and an enlarged centerfold of Revolution newspaper with BA’s quote “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First,” chanted with fists in the air, and rocked our T-shirts that say “The System Has No Future for the Youth, The Revolution Does—Get With the Real Revolution!” Our visual presence drew in many people and made us a force to be seen and heard. Along the way we stopped and did agitation at the main military recruitment center, several clothing retailers, and near the police precinct where the first civil disobedience action against stop-and-frisk, led by Carl Dix and Cornel West, happened in October 2011. At every stop we drew in all kinds of people who connected with the agitation. All the while, a crew sold lots of copies of Revolution newspaper and got out palm cards for BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and Many people gave donations as well, as we were also kicking off the BA Everywhere six-week campaign to raise big funds to be able to spread BA’s work and vision all over society.

On Sunday, several dozen people gathered at Revolution Books for a wonderful potluck dinner celebration, including people who had met the revolutionary movement for the first time just the day before in Harlem, people active in the struggle against mass incarceration, and supporters of the bookstore.


Internationalist Contingent in Chicago, May 1.

A small but spirited Internationalist Contingent stepped out in the street as part of the May Day march of several thousand. The marchers were mostly Latinos, along with labor unions, gay activists, Occupy activists, and many, many youth. This was a very fertile atmosphere into which to take the message that humanity needs revolution and the new synthesis of communism. The chants of the Internationalist Contingent were appreciated and taken up by some of those marching (while others attempted to create some distance). The march came at a time of deeply felt frustration and outrage at the conditions of immigrants being forced to live in the shadows and facing persecution—driven home by the fact that 18 immigrants in Chicago were dragged out of their homes and away from their families by ICE agents right on May Day itself. So at the May Day march and rally, it was very important to challenge the illusions about the so-called “reforms” being offered by the system, using the Revolution article “Proposed New Immigration Law: An Ominous Leap in Repression and the Need for Resistance.”

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, May 1st

A couple of carloads of revolutionaries drove to Birmingham to participate in a march and rally for immigrant rights organized by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. With the spirit of internationalism, our orientation was to unite with this important gathering of immigrants standing up in the face of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country, and to bring a sharp expression into the mix of what is really needed to liberate immigrants and all of humanity: Revolution—Nothing Less! The crowd was between 500 and 1,000, the vast majority Latino immigrants who traveled from all over Alabama and some from Tennessee. People told heart-wrenching stories of families being split apart and living in fear of detention and deportation. All were simply demanding to be treated as human beings.

* * * * *

Responding to BA’s Quotes on Internationalism

These are responses from people in a neighborhood in one city on May 1st to two quotes from Bob Avakian, “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” (BAsics 5:7) and “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.” (BAsics 5:8)


“No more people living in poverty. No more people living like slaves. Internationalism means the whole world needs to come together as one.”

—African-American man in his 40s


“Internationalism is important for the new generation and for the new humanity. Internationalism means our movement is growing throughout the whole world. Our struggle is for all of humanity.”

—Mexican woman in her 50s


“People in the Third World countries are just as important as the lives of the American people. We should be concerned about all the people. The others, that we are taught to not worry about, that we are taught to ignore, are suffering just as much, actually more, than what we have ever experienced here in America. It’s not a ‘them’ problem. It’s a ‘we’ solution.”

—African-American woman, living in a shelter


“I agree with ‘Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.’ People have no voice all over the world. People are suffering and people are poor. I remember seeing on TV how people in other countries are living in garbage dumps, and it looks that they are almost being buried by that. This is horrible. The rich keep on stepping on the poor. We need to unite.”

—African-American man


“Internationalism is the unity among the people of the whole world. American lives are NOT more important than other people’s lives. Internationalism also mean no oppression, no poverty, no hunger/starvation, no getting beaten down. It’s about rising up and staying strong in unity among the people. Internationalism means the emancipation of humanity.”

—High school student, Revolution Club


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