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May 1st: A Fading Union

May 1st: A Fading Union


May 3, 2024


It's May 2, and I am writing this. As I do every year, I had prepared myself to follow the May 1st speeches and then analyze them closely. There was a lot of media attention in the days leading up to the event. It was particularly notable that all the trade union federations would be celebrating together after a long time. It was supposed to start at 10 o'clock in the morning. So, from 9 o'clock onwards, I searched everywhere on the radio and TV for a broadcast, as usual. In recent years, it has even been streamed online. Once I realized that I couldn't find a broadcast, I set my sights on the evening news. There were some images, and the leaders who gave speeches briefly appeared on screen, but I could hardly discern a message from the soundbites.

In the morning papers, there was no mention anywhere of the May 1st ceremony in Curaçao. Instead, there was a brief mention of protests in Paris tucked away in a corner. On the front page, there was news about the increase in salaries for specialists and about Dia di Rincon in Bonaire, another harvest festival without a harvest, where groups from Curaçao also participate. Furthermore, there were several articles about the growth of tourism and how it clashes with nature and humanity (low-paid jobs and the threat to identity).

For years, I have been afraid of and warned that this day is losing its relevance and that the union movement is literally graying. There is a glaring lack of attention to the one-sidedly developing economy, a disturbingly low focus on people who are unemployed, a worrying lack of concern for the climate crisis, and artificial intelligence. Hopefully, it's not too late, but something drastic needs to happen.

Miguel Goede

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