May Day

"Labor does not make a dent in swaying voters’ preference in the May 13 midterm elections."


“May Day! May Day!” is an emergency call of a person in distress whose boat, ship or plane has encountered rough seas or winds. It is an international code name asking for extreme emergency assistance.

May 1 or May Day is marked as Labor Day internationally in many countries in the world specially those whose form of government is communist or socialist in nature. In the Philippines, May Day sadly reflects the true state of affairs of the Labor movement which in itself is in distress. To wit, labor organizations supported by the militant left staged their usual protests, rallies and burning of the President’s effigy. But that is the usual stuff they do to protest lack of jobs, underemployment and low wages. The only new element in this litany of grievances are the non-implementation of contractualization or endo and the hiring of Chinese in the online gaming industry, displacing Filipino workers.

The result is the anemic public reaction to protests staged by labor demonstrators and the nonchalant “who cares?” attitude of government. That most of the administration senatorial candidates endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte are in the winning column of 10 reflects how labor does not make a dent in swaying voters’ preference in the May 13 midterm elections.

Yet the issues raised by the labor sector are the same concerns of Everyman—high prices of the cost living, water (if available), electricity, unemployment, low salary, the hiring of Chinese workers imposed on the government because of Chinese loans for its infrastructure projects, etc.

In France, Europe and some parts of the Asia Pacific, May Day is something governments watch out for as it could be an occasion for upheaval to change of government. It is only in the United States that Labor Day is marked on Sept. 5 of every year. The violence that attended the rival demonstrations of anti and pro-Maduro protesters in Caracas, Venezuela happened on May 1, Labor Day. But Nicolas Maduro backed by the military appears to be well entrenched despite the support of the United States and most of the European Union for Maduro’s rival.

The volatile situation in Venezuela is turning out to be a proxy fight between the US and Russia. Moscow is accusing Washington to be meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. The Kremlin’s statement drew a strong warning from the White House with undertones of a strong response similar to the Cuban missile crisis, when then President John F. Kennedy made Russia’s Nikita Khruscheve back off under pain of a nuclear strike against the Russian missiles and Cuba itself, then ruled by dictator Fidel Castro.

The US under its self-proclaimed Monroe Doctrine does not want any outside power stepping into the affairs of countries in South America because of its propinquity to US interests in the region. Will the US be able to stare down Russia this time in a nuclear poker game?

The states are too high not just for the two superpowers but also for the peace and security of the entire world. China’s Xi Jinping must be gleefully watching developments in Venezuela at the sidelines. Any form of distraction elsewhere is advantageous for Bejing’s ambition in Southeast Asia and its desire to claim the entire South China Sea and its oil resources under the seabed.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , May Day , Labor Day
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