There’s been a lot of activity and planning for Mayday 2012, Mayday General Strike (M1GS) and a Day For or Without the 99% across Occupy.
Whatever theme your occupation decides on, it’s all to commemorate and be in Solidarity with the worldwide Mayday labor holiday, International Workers’ Day, which has its roots in the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886. After a bomb went off at a rally of workers striking for the eight hour day on May 4th, 1886, 176 police shot into the crowd of some 200 workers, socialists and anarchists, killing an untold number (in those days, frightened family members carried the bodies away for safe burial). Six policemen were killed with what later evidence proved was their own bullets. After nearly 20 more years of struggle, the 8 hour day was won, and workers in Europe began to celebrate the ancient Spring holiday of May Day as their own, a day to commemorate workers’ struggles. Mayday is now officially celebrated in over 80 countries, but not here in our own country where the impetus was born. The 1% and the government feared celebrating Mayday in America would fuel the fires of those revolutionary workers who wanted a fair shake! Still, labor unions in America have long celebrated May 1 as a day for workers, marching and rallying in cities across the country, and in recent history, it has morphed into a day for immigration rights as well — Los Angeles saw upwards of 1.3 million people on the streets in 2006. Many of the workers in 1886 were immigrants, just as many of our workers today in the lowest paying, most back breaking jobs are immigrants or migrants.
This year, Occupy Los Angeles, has issued a clarion call for a General Strike that steps this day up to include not just workers, but all the disenfranchised in the 99%:
“On December 19th, 2011, Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly consented upon the following statement:
“Occupy LA supports in principle a General Strike on May 1, 2012, for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights, and calls for the building of a broad coalition to make that a reality.”
Occupations across the world have made similar calls for a General Strike, or day of economic disruption, in direct response to Occupy Los Angeles, or through a synchronicity of thought, a buzzing hive mind that feels the need to express solidarity with movements and people throughout the world who honor May Day and see this years’ expression of that as our next major step.” http://www.occupymay1st.org/2012/04/11/what-is-m1gs/
To facilitate outreach, OCLA set up a weekly call to discuss M1GS through Interoccupy.org, who provides outlets for communication between individuals, Working Groups and General Assemblies across Occupy. I have been on these calls since February, encouraged by the amount of planning taking place in the big cities, and the sometimes hard job of getting evicted occupiers back together and organizing in the smaller cities and towns. But it IS being done. As of this writing, there are at least 59 Occupys on board for May1st, and I’m sure many more that have not gotten on a list. Please see one of the listed sites, and ADD YOUR OCCUPATION’S NAME! (use their Contact Us form). Begin right here on FDL!
At Occupy Buffalo, we are having a block party starting at noon at our Occupy house, followed by a march, rally and speakers at our old encampment site downtown in Niagara Square. We have been flyering, postering, and have some artistic things planned including yarnbombing, sidewalk chalking at the square, and music. Bob Albini at Occupy Buffalo also created this great promo for us:
Plans are still a work in progress and we all will be adding more as we close in upon this great day of global activist rebirth and Occupy coming back out en masse!
To facilitate occupations still needing ideas, the following are some ideas picked up on the IO M1GS calls:
NO SCHOOL. NO WORK. NO BANKING. NO SHOPPING. NO SPENDING. NO GAS. NO CREDIT CARDS. NO HOUSEWORK!
Mayday is a Tuesday – we need to keep those that have to work in mind with after work events, solidarity buttons, stickers to wear.
Ask small businesses to display signs of Solidarity with the 99% or to close for 10-15 minutes during day in solidarity.
Bikes for floats! Don’t worry if you can’t get a flat bed or vehicle – decorate bikes and join the march. Create a caravan.
Decals that look like boarded up glass – pysche out 1% locations. Speaker didn’t know where they got them (if any reader knows, please contact!)
Feeder marches, DAs along route; convergence.
FOOD. Many having supper at their square/park, etc. after rallies, events.
Much artwork, creativity going into outreach. Stickers, clothespins, flyers, DVDS – Occupy the Hood, Tacoma working on DVDs and will share.
A media consortium is developing an all day CNN style news show with interviews, live coverage and an interactive map showing all actions.
MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL: TWITTER NETWORK
Someone figured out that amongst all occupations and twitter accounts, they reach one million people – that is a lot of people!
Send tweets often #Mayday, #M1GS
FACE TO FACE – each occupier talk to X number of others, family, friends, co-workers. get to commit. each bring extra people.
Reach out to unions, schools, immigrants, neighborhood groups, foreclosure groups. Suggestion: go to meetings, even if an organization cannot be on board (unions are restricted), many do not mind and you can approach individuals. Also, go to workplaces to reach out.
Posters, flyering, etc. (concise wording) Spanish flyers.
Public access tv, radio (OcSeattle has own station), alternative presses.
Prepare history of radical movements in your city (labor, civil rights, peace).
Prepare a history of Mayday.
Prepare history of the Occupy movement and international protests.
SPRING TRAINING – practice marching together; working together, creative, fun – meet an hour before marches, learn a few moves, new chants.
Nathan Schneider of wagingnonviolence.org explained a bit about Spring Training and the +Brigades – more creative actions, imagination on display – form your own plus brigades if you and friends have creative ideas about protesting. Don’t wait for others. ACT. http://www.therowboat.com/2012/03/paint-the-other-cheek/http://www.thenation.com/article/166820/paint-other-cheek
MayDay Particpant Lists:
Register for next Interoccupy M1GS call 4/23/12:
Occupy Buffalo Event: