When May 1 rolls around, the proposed general strike will probably not strictly resemble famed general strikes of history. But the tactic is no less significant now than it used to be. In fact, a lot rides on this upcoming May Day. This video, featuring archival footage and the words of Marina Sitrin, Francis Fox Piven and John Nichols, explains why the general strike matters so much, not just for Occupy and labor but for the legitimacy of democracy itself.

For more, watch all of the videos in VideoNation’s series on the general strike.

Music courtesy The Unsacred Hearts, Creative Commons

—Elizabeth Whitman