Protest groups across the country are gearing up for May Day protests on Wednesday. In New York, Occupy Wall Street has posted a schedule for the day, kicking off with young workers marching from Bryant Park in solidarity with the Transport Workers Union. Occupy says it plans to visit the offices of union busters and companies with whom the TWU members have contract disputes.
At around noon, protesters will then go on an “immigrant worker justice tour,” in order to highlight the daily struggles facing immigrants and workers in New York City. Activists will visit several workplaces in midtown to “demand an end to exploitation of immigrant workers” with the march ending at Senator Schumer’s office for a speak-out on what real immigration reform looks like.
Occupy has also scheduled an event to “Save The People’s Post Office” where protesters will meet at the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office at 14th Street and First Avenue. I previously have written about the fake USPS budget crisis and how our pro-privatization Congress refuses to allow the Post Office to save itself.
The evening will culminate with a rally for labor and citizens’ rights at City Hall, a May Day People’s Assembly at Foley Square and a memorial for Kimani Gray, the Brooklyn teenager slain by the NYPD, at Zuccotti Park. Protesters plan on addressing racial profiling under stop-and-frisk, full legalization for immigrants, an immediate end to deportations, the injustices of the 1 percent and the devastating consequences of austerity.
Nationally, May Day protests have already attracted the attention of authorities. FBI agents in Seattle and Olympia have reportedly been showing up at people’s houses, schools, workplaces and even favorite jogging routes to question individuals about their May Day plans.
The agents were mostly chummy with the people they contacted. As one woman talked to agents, another housemate described their manner as “jokey and flirty—I almost thought they were gonna ask her out!”
Flirty or not, they identified themselves as members of the FBI’s domestic terrorism unit. Apparently, the vandalism of May Day 2012, and the potential demonstrations on May Day 2013, are terrorism investigations. (Which, frankly, seems to me like a grave insult to anyone from Boston to NYC to Kandahar who’s been a victim of, or lost a family member to, actual terrorism.)