Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir´s speech on Mayday:
We are here together, we who have built our society, we who maintain it every day of the year. We are here to stand together in solidarity, with each other and with ourselves, to show those who think they own society; those with wealth and power, who think they are the creators of heaven and earth, who think they own all that we have made – a class that thinks it can treat all of this as it pleases, a class whose greediness prevents economic justice, social justice; we come together to show them that we are many. That we are strong. That our solidarity isn’t just empty words, that it is real.
We rise up, we rose this winter, we said: We are here, you should get used to it. We are here, we have always been here, now the time has come for all of us to become visible, see our visible working hands, see what happens when we stick them in our pockets, and they lost their minds, those who say things should remain the same, those who speak for a total domination by the wealthy, the most antidemocratic people in Iceland lost their minds; criminals, traitors, trash! We were denounced for daring to say that the people who change the sheets and drive the buses, that the labour power is made of actual people, living humans of flesh and blood, with real human of flesh and blood rights, with the right to live free. The women who scrub the floors were accused of wanting to kill Iceland; can’t you stop these mad minimum-wage women, they’ve lost all sense of reality, their greed will destroy the economy.
This incorrigibility, the lunacy on display this winter, it sure is disgusting, but we should still celebrate it. Those who have acted as if it was a natural law that they could have limitless powers to rule over our lives, income, conditions, they have been exposed as unhinged charlatans, and the system, the machinery of exploitation, was shown to be what it is; a machine of wild injustice which has been given free rein over the last decades.
We are here together, but that time is gone where we exhibit a fighting spirit only once a year. That time is gone when we are satisfied with just waiting and wailing, that time is gone when we let it suffice to go begging for a few thousand from the wealthy; we are here and they shall get used to it, we are here and we will demand and fight every day of the year, we will fight so that our interests become decisive. We have been made to pull the wagon, we have been taught to work and we have been taught to wait, we have been taught to be satisfied with what we’re given, but that time is gone.
We will no longer sacrifice our time and our life, ourselves, for a society where a paltry few make up an elite that pays itself billions in profit while a mass of people can never be free, where the kids of the rich invest in luxury housing while the children of the workers, who suffer the violence of want, don’t have a place to call their own.
We will no longer sacrifice ourselves for a society that is based on injustice and exploitation. No, we want to change society.
Our prosperity, that real prosperity of a society which puts people’s needs first, is based on equality, on economic justice. Equality creates a society where people have time and freedom, real freedom, to care for themselves and their children, freedom to use the only existence we’re given, freedom to grow and thrive on our own terms, freedom from drudgery, freedom from that horrible economic violence which condemns children to poverty.
These things we will fight for, united. Against exploitation and oppression, for freedom and justice. Thank you.