Occupiers are calling for a General Strike and boycott for May 1st.
NO WORK - NO SCHOOL - NO SHOPPING - NO BANKING - NO TRADING
We will be protesting for:
- Immigration reform/rights
- Women Rights and equal pay
Anarchists certainly deserve a lot of credit for the original establishment of May Day, but (speaking just for this country) the recent re-establishment of a protest tradition and any labor stoppages of meaningful scale are due entirely to immigrant organizing from 2006 on.
It’s too bad that the Occupy goals for the day are weirdly vague, and that they don’t give any credit to earlier anarchist or socialist history of the day, nor to immigrants who have revitalized it.
Nevertheless, we should welcome the participation of Occupy in May Day events. It is a chance to grow those rallies and perhaps trigger new strikes or blockades, and simultaneously a chance to help pull Occupy to the left and to a more developed class analysis. Standing aside and sneering at a progressive mass movement because of its weaknesses is unhelpful sectarianism, IMO.
I am very sectarian:P . I don’t believe in living in a world where I or anyone should have to lower their revolutionary standards to appeal to the masses. I just know from experience with Occupy Boston that there was no initiative made to get the immigrant community in other than a few vague gestures. It was pretty much all geared towards ending skyrocketing tuition costs, they didn’t even want to address the gentrification because, well they were mostly upper-middle class white kids, what do they care about high rents. The May Day last year, pre-occupy, was massive in Boston. Largely immigrant too, very radical. I just don’t want to see a bunch of white upper middle class college kids trying to tone it down/co-opt it. Hell, I’ve heard “anarchists” form Occupy who say they are nonviolent and are happy at the new class labels of 1 percent vs 99 percent being more inclusive of upper class “liberals”, which is just telling of how little they understand class.
short answer: I think they are going to whitewash the day and try to mic check down the speakers we have planned.
Fair enough! I expect my perspective is shaped by being in Oakland, where Occupy has generally had pretty advanced politics. (Not without its own flaws but generally pretty good and open to being moved in better directions, IMO.)
Out here I think May Day will be a chance to build and strengthen some links between Occupy and local POC-led movements (which have been developing lately with actions like the march in support of immigrant workers at Berkeley Steel last Friday, and the day of solidarity with prisoners/Occupy San Quentin happening right at this moment).
But in places where Occupy is trying to substitute itself for a living radical tradition, or where the politics of those movements would have to be watered down in order to make an alliance with Occupy, then rejection of their involvement on May Day might make a lot of sense.
(Also, while I personally put stock in the mass line and see a need to connect our politics with where the masses are at in some ways, I think being sectarian from time to time can be entirely necessary too.)