For nearly 150 years, May 1 has been an international occasion to celebrate and defend the rights of the working class. This year, with the Occupy movement taking full advantage of May Day’s historic significance, we’re likely to see the greatest explosion of outrage at the excesses of capital since the first mass May Day protest in the United States in 1886, when more than 300,000 workers nationwide walked off their jobs in solidarity with 120,000 laborers striking on behalf of an eight-hour workday.
In her new post, Allison Kilkenny reports on the hopes and ideas behind the day’s action, details the coalition-building that has gone into the many months of planning and preparation and usefully defines what Occupy activists mean when they talk of a “General Strike.”
In New York City, starting at 8 am, Bryant Park will be the site of a “Pop-up Occupation“ featuring free food, a free market, free services, skillshares, workshops, teach-ins, speak-outs, public art, performances, discussions and direct-action trainings. At noon, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello will lead a guitar workshop and rehearsal for the Occupy Guitarmy. At 2 o’clock, activists, led by Morello and the Occupy Guitarmy, are expected to march to Union Square Park. After a concert and rally at the historic site of so many past radical calls to action, participants will leave Union Square at 5:30 for a permitted march to Wall Street with a coalition of organized labor, immigrant rights groups and faith-based activists.
The most militant of the Occupy groups, Occupy Oakland, is planning to occupy the Golden Gate Bridge at 6 am followed by a series of direct actions facilitated at three announced strike stations: the anti-capitalist station at Snow Park, the anti-patriarchy station at 1st & Broadway and the anti-gentrification at 22nd & Telegraph. (There’s also a fourth station that is not being advertised.) All morning pickets, occupations and autonomous actions are expected to leave from these locations from 8:30 am until the reconvergence at noon. The Strike Stations should be active and will offer free sustenance like food, snacks, water, coffee and medical supplies. At 3 pm there’ll be a broad march starting at the Fruitvale BART station.