From Office bearers and members of UNITE Community West of Scotland
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The above is not a distress signal, but it is a request for assistance as we approach our second lockdown May Day with little activity possible on the streets or in our localities.
UNITE Community West of Scotland still thinks it’s important for International Workers Day to be marked in a safe manner given the times we find ourselves living in.
We have teamed up with Stephen Lewis a retired union leader in the USA, and a long time labor/labour movement activist. He is also a collector of trade union campaign posters, the women’s movement, liberation struggles, minority groups and those of international solidarity organisations. In these areas his collection numbering thousands is one of the world’s largest in private hands. He is however only the curator and custodian they are our history; he gathers and looks after them on our behalf. In normal times in conjunction with local union branch’s he puts on posters displays in mostly public libraries.
Stephen sends out regular emails announcing exhibits when possible and images of some posters with little stories allowing his list of 3000 people in various countries to view some of his extensive collection.
This year thanks to the electronic wizardry we have all become familiar with, you will have the opportunity to not only view posters but meet the man himself.
In the run up to 1st May, each day from 1st April an International May Day poster will appear on the branch’s Facebook page.
On 1st May all the posters and perhaps a few more will be available as a slideshow.
Our hope is that others across the Labour movement will share from our page [You will need to befriend us] and offer their members and friends an opportunity to view some items that they will never have seen outside their original area.
We also want folk to join with us and Stephen on Sunday 2 May 4pm [Glasgow time] via zoom to hear the story of the collection and view some rare and unusual examples of the “poster makers” art. Details of how to participate in this meeting will be available once we go live on Thursday.
Posters – “the silent agitators” – are an important aspect of working-class culture and by their nature transitory, used for an event or dispute and discarded and forgotten. It’s worth remembering that Trade Union rights are not universal. There are countries where an attempt at organising or pasting a poster on a wall can be a death sentence.
We hope you will support this project and encourage others to do the same. We realise that it’s not the normal traditional May Day that we remember or want, but in the absence of that, we hope that it will be of interest and something that could be repeated each year in the countdown to 1st May.
Please forward this through your own networks, contacts and on your own pages.
Comradely greetings to all.