May Day – A day to recollect

posted 1 May 2010, 08:08 by Stefan Gigacz
Greetings and call to introspect

Accept our greetings on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day. For many of you who have been in and through Cardijn movements, May Day will bring memories of your struggle for justice and the sacrifices you had been through. Yes, it is a day to take a look at what we have achieved since 1886, to celebrate our victories and at the same time to reflect on contemporary realities.

God – the worker

God himself was and is a worker. He worked to create the world and everything in it. The most important of the creation is humanity in his own image. And he rested at the end of the week. The struggle for 8 hour day was in relation to this plan of God that man and woman should work and at the same time they need rest too.

Reality today

Today, after 124 years – can we say that the struggle launched by the May Day martyrs has won for the working class and the whole of humanity what they aspired for? Very few would say ‘yes’. While they enjoyed some privileges, rights and enactments, the situation of majority of the working class is very pathetic in many parts of the world.

Working conditions

Unemployment is still a big challenge for young people; planned marginalization pushes the worker community to the edge of society as peripheral/unorganized workers; instead of providing the workers more leisure and relaxation, modern technology has replaced ‘human labour’; lack of or no social security at all for majority of the workers; work related injuries/casualties are on the increase due to improper or no safety measures; long hours of work; women workers are forced to work on night shifts; child labour is rampant in many countries; right to strike and right to form unions are still denied to the workers in countries around the world; and the woes of the workers are endless.

Living condition

With hardly 5 years to go to 2015, the target set to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the living condition of most of humanity portrays a very shocking scenario. Provision of potable water, health facilities for the poor, hygienic living condition, poverty alleviation measures, nutrition to children, acting against trafficking of humans, decent housing and a host of other needs are to be addressed on a war footing.

On the contrary, war, ethnic conflicts, communal clashes and above all natural disasters kill millions of innocent people.

Modern technology

Communication and information technology had advanced to a great extent which enables individuals and communities to interact at a speed hitherto never even dreamt of as possible. But this technological advancement is also used to accept ‘consumerist’ values as an essential part of life. Young people become vulnerable targets in this scheme. Age old values and cultures practiced by the people are being replaced by ‘imported cultures’ promoted through ‘media’.

The Challenge

What we have recalled here is only a part of the actual situation. You are aware of many such realities from your own experience.

A reflection on this historic day leads us to realize that we still need to work; we still need to struggle to restore human dignity.

We remember the May Day martyrs, other worker leaders who had laid down their lives for our sake, Cardijn and all those who had been formed by him who had sacrificed their all by struggling for justice, freedom and human dignity and gratefully thank them and salute them for their courage.

Cardijn Community International (CCI) is one such network trying to bring together all those who have been formed through Cardijn movements – in order to continue our journey to build a new world according to God’s will.

International Coordination,

Cardijn Community International (CCI)