#MayDay greetings on #primerodemayo #IWD2017 to one and all from Santiago in Chile, where we’ll be out and about to join one or more of the local events commemorating the struggles of workers worldwide – both before and after the Haymarket events in Chicago back in 1886. Good to see that Anarchists in Santiago (info here) and Valparaiso, the direct descendants of the ideology that so motivated the Haymarket Martyrs, have various activities planned for the day, both on the streets and more socially later. (see history of Haymarket Martyrs and this article on Lucy Parsons).
It seems here in Santiago they take the concept of May Day as a day off work (or public holiday) a bit more seriously than back in the UK, and that most workplaces will be shut (except public transport and a number of clearly identified exceptions we think). Indeed visiting a few areas of Santiago the last couple of days, including the centre, we’ve found the majority of shops & other commercial premises already closed for a long weekender. The actual ‘law’ relating the May Day & not working is given in both some media outlets and by the main official trade union organisation the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores – see info in spanish).
Just like the UK however we find divisions within the labour unions, along with activities from a plethora of lefty groups – producing at least 2 & possibly 3 May Day events all pretty much on the same major road in the city, the ‘Alameda’, or Avenida Bernardo O’Higgins. The CUT is under immense fire for all sorts of failures including lacking transparency, and had it’s elections suspended recently – they’ll march from one end of the street. The more-left grouping of workers/unions the CIUS (Comite de Iniciativa por la Unidad Sindical), along with the NO+APF (anti-Pinochet pensions scheme) campaign will meet up about 2km away. They it seems may be joined by various far left socialist/trot groups including Colectivo Accion Directe.
Who knows what’ll happen if they meet in the middle of the street? We’ll let you know….