Today is May Day, and there’s plenty to celebrate, plenty to condemn, and plenty of struggles to take part in, support and offer our solidarity towards.  As global capitalism continues to destroy the planet and the lives of millions (er- billions) of communities, families, and individuals all over the world, many are fighting back.  Don’t count the working (and impoverished) classes out just yet- the only hope our species has for survival rests in success over those who perpetuate greed, hate, exploitation, and injustice.  Tomorrow I’ll recap some of the May Day events from around the world, but in the meantime millions of workers are struggling for a better life.  Among them:

-A wave of strikes have rippled across Vietnam over the past few months.  In November, 10,000 workers at a Nike shoe factory in Ho Chi Minh walked out demanding better wages.  A similar action in Hanoi won Nike factory workers a 38% wage increase.  Over the past couple of weeks, two more shoe factories have been shut down by walk outs, with estimates of over 17,000 workers participating as fears of food shortages have begun to generate a wide-spread panic throughout the region.

-Last week France’s seven biggest ports were shut down in protest against a government proposal to sell some equipment management at the docks to private companies.  The dock workers call the sale of no “real economic or financial necessity” and say that it would drastically endanger thousands of jobs.  During the one day strike seventy-seven vessels (including 39 tankers) were reportedly stranded in French harbors.  The CNT, the union representing the dock workers, plans continued work slow-downs and stoppages, including a halt of all night time work.

-This past week worker’s at the Grangemouth Ineos plant in Scotland took up a strike against attacks against their pension plans.  The strike effectively shut-down the Forties Pipeline, which provides a third of the UK’s daily oil output.  While the government urged consumers to remain calm, the news brought almost immediate reports of panic gasoline buying throughout the UK.

-Planned pension reforms by the conservative government in Greece will be met by a national strike tomorrow by transportation workers; the metro system in Athens will be shut down and over half of all domestic flights have already been grounded.

-In the U.S., despite the fact that union leadership have withdrawn their notice to 29 West Cost ports that the docks will be shut down on May Day in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ILWU workers are still insisting that the ports will be shut-down, setting the stage for what could become a very tense situation.

-UPDATE: As a gesture of solidarity with the ILWU dockworkers on the West Cost of the U.S., Iraqi dockworkers in the port cities of Umm Qasr and Khor Alzubair announced just before May Day that they would shut down their ports for one hour, refusing to allow any ships to load or unload.  That, my friends, is how we’ll beat capitalism.  A running list of Iraqi labor leaders who have endorsed this action and who have sent their ‘official’ May Day greeting and nod of solidarity to the ILWU and working people the world over can be read here.

-Nigerian oil workers have been on strike for the past week, crippling that country’s oil production.  ExxonMobil remains involved in negotiations with the workers, though little progress has been reported.

-The world’s largest underground copper mine, in Chile, has been shut down for nearly two weeks as miners there have been involved in an often times violent strike over safety precautions and wages.

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