|Issue No 99||15 June 2001|
Letters to the Editor
The May Day Wash-Out Explained
The editor of Workers On-line Peter Lewis has requested that in my capacity as May Day Secretary that response be given to the letters which came in concerning the cancellation of the March component of this year's May Day.
The May Day committee has traditionally had responsibility to organise activities to promote and commemorate the principles of May Day.
In most recent years this has taken place in the form of a toast on May 1, and a march/rally to take place on the next Sunday.
This year's toast was a resounding success with a function at South Leagues Club filled to capacity.
During the course of the week torrential rain had bucketed upon Sydney causing flooding throughout a number of areas including the CBD.
On Sunday May 6, I was inundated with phone calls as to whether the march would be proceeding. In discussion with those responsible in assisting with the preparations for the march and other committee members, the following was basically confronted:
1. People were having difficulty under the weather conditions actually getting into Sydney, impacting heavily on the numbers.
2. Darling Harbour Authority was concerned about traffic into Tumbalong Park, and could not supply the sound system which was ordered (due to weather). Thus, stopping the ability of conducting the speeches and the planned entertainment.
3. The Police were advising that the conditions were not safe to conduct a march.
4. The PA could not be put on the truck. It was envisaged to use that vehicle to play music and give general directions at Hyde Park.
5. A number of union floats could not be prepared.
All of the above was considered by the executive and ultimately a decision concerning the march aspect was taken and that albeit under difficult circumstances it was decided to have a rally at Hyde Park perhaps invigorating the old "speakers at the Park" which took place at the Domain many years ago.
Perhaps the decision would have been supported by those who did show up had the rain kept bucketing down, the rain eased slightly for about 60 mins over the week! Forty of which when we had the rally at Hyde Park where Jack Beetson headed up a number of speakers.
Constructive criticism and debate are integral factors in working class politics.
The decision was not taken lightly and further has continued to be subject to analysis, which should only assist organisers in determining future outcomes.
Ultimately there has to be accountability and as Secretary will take responsibility, something which was put to those who chose to stay for the rally.
Committee members are obviously disappointed the weather was not suitable as changes in the assembly/rally point from Town Hall/Circular Quay to Hyde Park/Tumabalong Park provided an environment for family involvement, and with ideal weather we would have achieved an outstanding day.
In closing the May Day committee has a number of responsibilities including satisfying council requirements, organising literature, fundraising (selling raffle tickets, badges), meeting with police, organising speakers, organising insurance coverage etc. It is work which is invariably done in committee members own time; given that we have not met since May I would like to place on the record my appreciation for the small number of people who assisted to achieve the above.
Comrade Lutherborrow says in his last contribution to workers on-line that he was trying to get a response from the May Day committee, yet the 1st letter stated no such request rather that we should take a long hard look at ourselves!
The above hopefully gives background to the predicament organisers faced. The debate reflects the passion people have for the ideals of May Day, which should be viewed as a positive for our movement. The committee is cognisant of the responsibility to ensure that we continue to build the movement in the interests of working class solidarity.
Hopefully, this correspondence clears the air for those concerned, allowing us the opportunity to focus on continuing to improve our collective efforts at this most important date on the workers calendar into the future.
Long live May Day
Yours in Unity
May Day Secretary
CNSW Branch Assistant Secretary, Maritime Union
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