Demand freedom from fascist attacks and a new system that upholds workers’ rights, wages and job security, climate action in a safe and just world!

We stand to defend the Palestinian People against US-Israeli genocidal war!

Statement of ILPS Chairperson Len Cooper, ILPS  Commission 5 (Workers), and WORKINS

The capitalist system is struggling to recover from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not been able to expand beyond even the weak level of 2019. Right now levels of international trade and investment are low, and have been for many years. Capitalism is driving the climate emergency and is in crisis. On May Day we call on workers everywhere to rally and protest, to demand a better system than this. And that system is socialism!

Working people everywhere have been hit by the pandemic and now by inflation. Unemployment, underemployment and the numbers in the informal sector are increasing. Migrant workers continue to be super-exploited and now also face the dangers of wars. Climate disasters are increasing on all continents.

In 2024, humanity is riven by ever sharper conflicts, with rapidly growing inequality and higher levels of exploitation provoking inter-imperialist clashes and military adventures, and fomenting an upsurge in anti-immigrant, white supremacist, anti-woman and anti-LGBTQI campaigns.

Never has the productive capacity of humanity been greater, and yet the unequal distribution of this output has also never been worse, with hunger and disease stalking the earth, while super-billionaires try to travel in space!

The peoples of Palestine and of Ukraine bear the brunt of inter-imperialist conflict. There are also wars in Myanmar, West Papua, India, Afghanistan, Iran, the Philippines, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, and Congo, which inflict huge harm on indigenous peoples, farmers and workers. US-imposed sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela and many other countries also hurt millions more. The US continues to prepare for war with China. The world has never been so close to a nuclear war since 1945.

Many vulnerable developing countries are falling further behind the income levels of industrialised economies – per capita income is forecast to remain below its 2019 level this year in one-third of low-income countries and more than 50 per cent of countries face fragile and conflict-affected situations.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that the global unemployment rate in 2023 was 5.1 per cent, with number of unemployed and underemployed close to 435 million, remaining high. Average hours worked remain below their 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The number of workers living in “moderate poverty” – earning less than US$3.65 per day per person – increased by about 8.4 million in 2023. The number of informal workers reached 2 billion.

Over $15 trillion was added to the global debt mountain in 2023, bringing the total to a new record high of $313 trillion. The global debt-to-GDP ratio is 330 per cent.

Real interest rate increases in 2023 made the debt burden on many poorer countries unbearable. Since March 2020, Argentina, Zambia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Ukraine defaulted on their government debt, and Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan and Tunisia are in danger of defaulting.

Migrant workers, trade unions

Around the world, migrant workers send home more than $830 billion in remittances, of which about $650 billion goes to developing countries, according to estimates from the World Bank. That money is a lifeline to communities in poor countries, and is highly vulnerable to economic, security and climate shocks. Migrant workers have developed informal associations, some have alliances with formal trade unions in their host countries, but all suffer from lower wages, precarious employment and lack of formal worker rights.

Historically, capitalist access to markets for trade and investment has been determined by either negotiation between states or war between states. The last great division of markets was settled after World War II, with US capital dominating, followed by Europe. The stalemate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since the Marrakesh Treaty set it up in 1994 shows that negotiation is no longer enabling growth in market access for the main players, the US and Europe. China has strongly challenged the division of global trading markets, and is experiencing push-back from both the US and Europe. This is one major reason why more wars are happening.

We the working people should be at the forefront of the rebuilding, trying to address the needs of those most injured. We must assert our rights against fascist attacks. Our demands are for real increases in the national minimum wage, secure decent jobs, massive efforts to control the climate emergency. We want our full rights to organise into trade unions and political parties, to collectively bargain with employers and to exercise our full political rights as citizens. The people’s efforts must build democratically-controlled public assets in health, education, housing and welfare.

But to win these demands and to fulfil our great socialist vision, we need the majority of workers organised into trade unions and other worker associations. And we need these unions to be democratic and militant rather than bureaucratic and passive, to be socialist rather than reformist, to be red rather than yellow! Our call today is to organise, grow, educate and strengthen our ranks, and to mobilise for struggle.

Authorised by WORKINS (Workers International Struggle Initiatives) and ILPS Workers Commission (International League of Peoples Struggles), May 1, 2024. 



Len Cooper

ILPS Chairperson






[1]—dgreports/—inst/documents/publication/wcms_908142.pdf p 11-12



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