By the Editorial Board
With militant determination against violent police repression, through thunder and rain, revolutionaries and community members marched combatively through the streets of downtown Austin in celebration of International Workers’ Day on May 1, honoring the struggle of the international proletariat on the most important holiday of our class. Although nine marchers were arrested, eight of them after a melee broke out with the Austin Police Department (APD), the police could not stop the march from continuing, nor dampen the revolutionary spirit of the demonstrators, who have marched in Austin for the past seven years and reinvigorated May Day as a true red, proletarian holiday within the United States.
A banner reading, “Proletarians of all Countries, Unite! May 1 – International Workers’ Day” led the front of the march, as well as portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, the Great Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao Zedong, and Chairman Gonzalo, as marchers carried tall red flags bearing the hammer and sickle along with smaller red flags.
A banner toward the rear read, “Cast imperialism into its grave, the proletarian revolution advances the world over!” There was also a section of the march that organizers referred to as the “People’s Bloc,” in honor of Austin-area victims of the police and civilian reactionaries, which included banners with portraits of Garrett Foster, Alex Gonzales Jr., Mike Ramos, and Javier Ambler.
The marchers chanted slogans including “Long live the first of May, it’s International Workers’ Day!” and “Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong—the fight, the fight, the fight goes on!” —they also sang revolutionary songs like “Without Power,” “Red Flag,” and “The Internationale.” Early on, as the march passed a group of construction workers, both the crowd and workers jubilantly cheered.
As the march approached the bridge where 11th St. crosses Interstate 35, the reactionary forces of APD flanked the march in order to stop them from reaching the highway. This sparked a clash between the demonstrators and police—the police used pepper spray on the crowd and arrested another eight people and stole any propaganda they could grab. Police threw some protesters onto the ground and kneeled forcefully on them. The bulk of the march soon broke free from the attempt by the police to encircle and restrict the march.
After the clash, one marcher told the crowd over a megaphone, “My heart is beating, not with fear, but with joy!” On multiple occasions, APD illegally prevented the march from proceeding on the sidewalk, the state showing that they will strip even the most elementary democratic rights from a revolutionary demonstration. All arrestees were out by the next day, and local activists are fundraising for the legal battle ahead as well as for bail money that was spent to secure their release. Tribune encourages our readers to donate in support of those arrested.
Following the arrests, the march headed back west as a severe thunderstorm began to pour down. Marchers trudged through streets, sometimes ankle deep in streaming water, while bicycle police took shelter in a parking garage for a short period. Marchers commenting to Tribune said the worsening weather conditions in fact strengthened their resolve to continue.