Last year, we determined in our analysis of May Day 2015, particularly in relation to the morning DGB demonstration that: "Clearly, this demonstration, distant from the working-class district and consisting of all sorts of social democrats and other opportunists preaching class conciliation and submission, cannot remain the future platform of our political expression on May Day in this city" (Report: May 1st, 2015). From this assessment, we made the decision this year to relaunch the 1pm demonstration, following a six year hiatus, with an "anti-imperialist, proletarian and red" character.
Upon our invitation of various progressive and internationalist organisations and groups that were also critical of the other demonstrations in Berlin on that day (Why a 1pm Demonstration?) and with particularly strong support from the comrades from ADHK Berlin, Red Liberation Cottbus, Venceremos and the anti-Capitalist non-white group we took up the initative. With a strong ideological callout through our slogan "Resist and fight against exploitation, oppression and imperialist war - No liberation without revolution" in German, Turkish and Russian, we launched the mobilisation, which was carried out by various methods over several weeks. In addition to the politically and ideologically anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces mobilised with the official callout, which expressed a clear red line in line struggle, and posters found in political cafes, at demonstrations and at rallies, the focus was put on mass agitation at the district level.
Thousands of Jugendwiderstand May Day leaflets intended for locals were handed out in a distribution campaign reaching into all North Neukölln underground rail stations and commuter trains, shopping malls, squares and into the streets. Our posters were hung up in the windows of convenience stores, bakeries and cafes. Banners with slogans such as "Neuköllners, resist and fight - come out for May Day!" and murals and graffiti proclaiming the May 1st action in the district were addressed directly to our class and are a statement of our mass line.
Other organisations also greatly helped with the mobilisation. In Cottbus, posters were pasted, graffiti and stencils were done and a mobilisation video was produced. The Anti-Capitalist nonwhite group mobilised under the excellent slogan "We can only liberate ourselves!" with their own stickers and a callout for the demonstration. ADHK took action on May 1st with the slogan "We represent on May 1st the fighting spirit of unity and solidarity on the streets".
The exact purpose of May Day is to serve revolutionaries. Although the demonstration should be an expression of class consciousness, organisation, strength and unity, the current phase of organising in Berlin for revolutionaries is in focused opportunities to develop propaganda for revolution and Communism and to deliver it to the masses and not in pseudo-political bourgeois mock struggles with various reactionaries to provide a plan or "alliance party" via the press.
In regards to our own mobilisation, we must critically state that some decisions could not be implemented and some new ideas and actions therefore (for the time being) have not been applied. However, the overall process was certainly positive. Among the positive there was the addition and integration of new comrades via the mobilisation campaign and the dominantly positive reactions, feedback and experiences from the neighbourhood. Our work confirmed and served their political development.
After 1pm on May 1st Karl-Marx-Platz steadily filled with the sound of Turkish-Kurdish and Arab revolutionary music and political rap. Following a welcome speech and a reading of the May Day leaflet, the May 1st Declaration of ADHK was given in Turkish and German followed by a speech from the visiting comrades of Red Liberation from Cottbus.
Then there were two short but powerful performances from Berlin rappers Thawra and Taktikka, affirming that the revolutionary music of our class is an integral, positive part of our struggle. During a speech from Jugendwiderstand, the demonstration took position and began its march forward at about 300 strong.
The view of the demonstration was characterised by banners reading slogans central to the demonstration combined with those of other solidarity organisations and groups such as FOR Palestine and Red Action and by plenty of red flags, Palestinian flags, the flags of ADHK, Jugendwiderstand, Red Liberation, images of Marx, Lenin and Mao, many Kufiyahs, red cloths and mostly young participants of various nationalities. The "foreigner block" of the Anticapitalist nonwhite group under the slogan "We can only liberate ourselves!" with their many Arabic and Kurdish chants, and anarchists with their high red and black banner also ensured a diverse yet unified picture.
From the truck-mounted loudspeaker many topics were addressed, such as resident displacement out of Neukölln and the international character of May Day. Suitable music was also played and slogans were spoken loud. Internationalist chants were repeated throughout the demonstration, such as "Our neighbourhood, our struggle - the youth resists!", "Refugees are not the problem, but this fucking system is!", "Don't believe the lies of the exploiters - rebellion is justified!", "The FRG is not our state - all power to the proletariat!", "Brothers and sisters, join with us - only we can free ourselves!", "Only the grip of the masses to the gun creates socialism!" and "Clear the streets! - red youth!".
The demonstration crossed much of the district, starting from Karl-Marx-Platz and heading towards Rathaus Neukölln, then down a large part of Sonnenallee and across Braunschweiger Straße at the S/U-Bahnhof Neukölln. Then it went further on to Hermannstraße, up into Schillerkiez, and back on Hermannstraße until the end at Hermannplatz. The route for the march was chosen specifically to cover the biggest possible area of Neukölln North. Leaflets were distributed to passers-by and residents along the entire route of the march.
The march stopped on Hermannstraße at the corner of Emser Straße for speeches from FOR Palestine, the Anti-Capitalist nonwhite group and the ILPS (International League of People's Struggle). The Philippino comrades of the ILPS then sang the traditional "Song of Hope" of the Philippino peoples' movement for May 1st: Awit ng Pag-asa.
There were many demonstrations of solidarity from nearby residents throughout the march, such as applause from balconies or from the front of cafes and convenience stores, and as revolutionary music blasted, people from the neighbourhood spontaneously joined the demonstration. This demonstrates on one hand why Neukölln is an important district for the development of class-consciousness and revolutionary politics, and on the other hand, what feedback one can get from the masses through developing revolutionary work and from a conscious and correct choice of slogans and expression, despite ubiquitous anti-communist propaganda.
The length of the route covered the area well, however it was at the limit of what is appropriate for a demonstration. Thus, towards the end of the demo the group became visibly smaller and so a part of the route was cut out.
During the end stop in Hermannplatz, a political-ideological callout and a joint declaration regarding political and militant prisoners for May Day was read out as revolutionary music played. The demonstration then ended at about 4:30 pm.
ASSESSMENT AND OUTLOOK
"In the first year, it's not about the quantity reached, but about marking the day in a dignified and combative way in accordance with our class." We had accordingly set beforehand low expectations regarding turnout. An estimated 300 people participated in the first year of the relaunched traditional 1pm May Day demo. This definite success speaks to the positive development of revolutionary work in the area and to the strength of the movement, despite whatever attempts at smearing the movement.
The demonstration was carried out completely without error or problems. Attempts by anti-German reactionaries to turn anarchist associations against us in advance failed completely. Trotskyists and mechanic-dogmatic forces knowingly giving out false information in order to deceive and divide are in retrospect just an expression of a reactionary, bourgeois political style and nothing to worry about moving forward.
After so many years, let's celebrate the return of a combative May Day that finally unites our class under proletarian internationalism and the revolutionary politics of our neighbourhood, that stands in solidarity with the people's wars being waged as part of the most advanced communist-led revolutions in the world today, that is organised in the tradition of the May Day marches of the KPD and those of the Revolutionary Communists (RK) demos in Kreuzberg, and which enables a proper anti-imperialist and red expression. This expression prepares the lowest section of the proletariat in advance through intense politicisation, mobilisation and organisation and that is a political victory for our young organisation. This success also demonstrates that anti-imperialist and revolutionary youth structures and the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement are politically and organisationally on the rise again in our country.
We will do everything it takes together with other anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces to further build up and advance this revival. We must build upon it a nd consciously overcome any weaknesses that reveal themselves in the process. We look forward to making even better and more efficient use of the time around May Day in the years to come in order to serve and further strengthen the development of the revolutionary movement and militant youth against the imperialist system.
The 1pm demonstration in Berlin is back.
The struggles of the coming year will be equally imbued with this spirit. Our entire political and organisational development must work to make full use of this great advance in order to cope with the urgent problems of our movement, namely the absence of a recognised communist vanguard and its associated tasks, and to work on their solution.
Long live the international day of struggle of the working class!
Long live May Day!
More images: summary report and pictures of the 1pm demonstration
Pictures of the mobilisation on May 1st, 2016 - 1pm, Berlin-Neukölln