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Melbourne May Day features Venezuela and Indigenous Rights


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by Margarita Windisch

Melbourne Socialist Alliance once again held a very successful May Day toast on Sunday May 4 which brought together members, supporters and movement allies. Comrades were treated to a delicious breakfast followed by revolutionary greetings from across the world. The toast was an excellent opportunity to honour workers' struggles across the world but also to introduce the various representatives from different overseas parties to each other.

The highlight for us was of course the presence of Venezuelan Charge d'Affairs Nelson Davila who spoke about the important role that the Venezuelan revolution has played in the many positive developments taking place today in Latin America where increasingly progressive governments are challenging imperialism and neo liberalism. He was pleased to announce that on May Day Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced a 30% increase in the minimum wage (now the highest in Latin America) and in the salary of public sector workers.'

A young Electrical Trade Union apprentice and representatives from the Australian community group Union Solidarity, the Anatolian Cultural Centre, the Salvadoran FMLN Party (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front), the Sudanese Communist Party and the Indian Communist Party (Marxist Leninist) also addressed the gathering. The speakers focused on the need to show solidarity with workers struggles internationally and work towards unity in the struggle to overthrow capitalism here in Australia.

People then joined the official May Day rally and march, which drew around 800 people. After the march Robbie Thorpe, a leading indigenous activist conducted a smoking ceremony and made a passionate plea for people to support the Aboriginal struggle for a treaty land rights and justice and called for an end to the racist Northern Territory intervention.

Davila also addressed the protest and drew the links between fighting for indigenous rights and the broader struggle for human liberation. He encouraged people who don't believe there was a revolution taking place in Venezuela to familiarise themselves better with the developments there and not reject the Venezuelan process as incorrect. Davila invited people to attend the report back meetings of the Australian brigade (organised by Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network) who went to Venezuela for May Day to get a first hand account of how the Venezuelan people are working towards a 'socialism of the 21st century.

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