The first day of May is ‘May Day,’ also known as International Workers Day. Usually it’s observed with a simple march from point A to point B, usually by labor unions and workers from various industries. May Day this year is expected to be starkly different, as Occupy Wall Street and affiliated groups have endorsed a call for a General Strike in cities around the world. That means it’s a holiday for everyone who wants the system to change. No work, no school, no shopping – just get in the streets.
Occupy Wall Street has officially called for a May 1 blockade of bridges, tunnels and ferries into New York City.
For the first time in a long time, there’s a lot of people willing to challenge the state, the police, their workplaces, their schools – and May 1 has been mutually agreed on by all parties as the day to do it. The May Day General Strike is designed for everyone, as a broad demonstration that enables people to shut down everyday life. Whether you’re an anarchist, an illegal immigrant, a college student in debt, a person who hates their job, on May Day you are encouraged not to go to work, not to stay home on the computer, not to go shopping, but to go in the streets with the rest of the work force and do whatever you want. AKA: “Be the change.”
There’s a lot of stuff planned by a lot of different people for that TUESDAY, May 1. Here’s our guide to things you might like to know about.
What’s a General Strike?
A general strike is when a variety of different groups get together to strike and demand something. In our case, unions will be joining with anti-capitalists and Occupy Wall Street to shut down the city as much as possible on May 1. The general goal is to prevent people from going to work, and stop the city from functioning, to force people to talk about the protest.
This is a call for a 5 day weekend beginning Friday April 27th, culminating in global General Strike on Tuesday May 1st. We propose using this mobilization as a tool for realizing more global solidarity and mutual aid while creating and strengthening the necessary relations and conditions for revolutionary potential – here and now. We will strike, assemble, block and shut down the city!
We are New York City Anarchists, Anti-capitalists and Autonomists; we are joining the call for global revolution. In the coming weeks local groups and individuals, along with regional and global allies will help develop and facilitate a framework to organize, coordinate and propagate activities for a 5 day weekend. This will include local and regional organizing bodies, websites and information hubs, resource and skill sharing, and various actions, events, and outreach efforts in the lead up to the General Strike.
What to Do:
Friday April 27th 2012:
Remember the days when Critical Mass bike rides in New York were fun? That lasted until the police crackdown went too far, and a cop infamously punched a guy off his bike in Times Square, catching the attention of media and leading to a huge crackdown on the ride. May Day is a perfect occasion to bring back this militant bike demonstration.
Bike Bloc is a large group of individuals and cycling affinity groups similar to a Critical Mass ride. Bike Blocs at street protests have the advantage of being able to break up and reform. The spontaneity of a Bike Bloc means that participants are able to easily move through the streets without the needing leaders or a decided route. Another advantage of a Bike Bloc is that arrests are rare and a generally festive atmosphere. In the past, Bike Blocs have provided a tremendous amount of solidarity and logistical support to demonstrators who are on foot.
We are encouraging anyone who wants to make their voice heard during the May 1st General Strike to come to New York and to bring a bike.
Tuesday May 1st 2012 (MAY DAY)
9:00 AM Bike Bloc at Union Square (Facebook event page)
10:00 AM ‘Free University’ Student Strike @ Madison Square Park (https://www.facebook.com/events/425436457482396/)
During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. If you are in solidarity with the general strike but cannot cancel your class, bring it here! We also invite all educators interested in volunteering special sessions and classes for the day.
12:00 PM High School School Walkout - Facebook Event
1:00 PM Wildcat March @ 2nd and Houston Street. Bring drums, banners, music, and an affinity group. Stay tight and stay in the streets.
We were told by a bosses, by activists, by union leaders we couldn’t strike. Perhaps, they suggested, if we wanted to protest we could carry a sign and walk within police barricades, safely cordoned off in a free speech zone. On May 1st, we aren’t working and we aren’t protesting. We are striking.
We call on all fellow wildcat strikers to join us for a massive unpermitted march at 1pm at Sara D. Roosevelt Park (corner of 2nd and Houston). Along with striking rebels all over the world, we will show the bosses and cops of the world that we are many and we are only getting stronger.
3:00 PM Free show in Union Square with Das Racist, Immortal Technique, Dan Deacon, Tom Morello.
The Union Square phase of the day’s actions are mostly under the control of Occupy Wall Street’s union and immigrant-advocacy allies, so organizers are emphasizing that the free concerts that afternoon are expected to be safe, family friendly, and low-risk for audience members who might be undocumented or otherwise wary of risking arrest.
5:30 PM Solidarity March from Union Square to Wall Street
On May 1, 2012, autonomous direct action groups within Occupy Wall Street, as a part of the global mobilizations for general strike and economic non-compliance, will block one or more Manhattan-bound bridges or tunnels to protest the shameful opulence of the 1%. [...] Last fall, when Occupy Wall Street blocked the Brooklyn Bridge for several hours, we were acting within a long line of protest in New York City that stretches back to the so-called Fiscal Crisis of 1975, which much like now, was a bank led assault against working people. In the summer of 1975, striking hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, blocked the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was even blocked by thousands of laid-off police, the very people who act as the guard dogs of the 1%. More recently, both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Holland Tunnel were shut down during protests of the shooting death of Sean Bell. But this May 1, we will create the biggest shut down the city of New York has ever seen.