Organizers and activists have planned direct actions and mass rallies, marches and blockades, as well as mutual aid and concerts to include as many people as possible.
By Sarah Jaffe
April 29, 2012
The stickers, posters and graffiti have been popping up for months on subway walls, street signs, pay phones, and abandoned buildings, all with the same message: “May 1: Strike!”
Some are gorgeously designed or illustrated works of art. Some list the activities in which one shouldn’t participate: no housework, banking or work. Others rattle off the types of workers who should strike—freelance and union workers, students and teachers. But they all have the same date: May 1st. Long celebrated as International Workers’ Day, long forgotten in the United States and replaced with the defanged Labor Day, May Day is once again shaping up to be a national day of action for the “99 percent,” thanks to the Occupy movement.
The last time May 1 brought coordinated action across the country was in 2006, when immigrant workers took to the streets to remind the country what it would be like without them in the famous “Day Without an Immigrant.” May 1, 2012 has been called a general strike, but also, in direct reference to and solidarity with the immigrant rights actions of 2006, “A Day Without the 99%.” Organizers and activists, aware that actually pulling off a nationwide general strike will take years, not months, of work, have planned direct actions and mass rallies, marches and blockades, as well as mutual aid, concerts, and other events to include as wide a swath of the population as possible, providing workers who can’t strike with other ways to take part.
“I hope this brings in a new history to May Day; instead of being one struggle or another struggle each year, to really just be a movement struggle,” Nelini Stamp, an organizer with the Working Families Party and Occupy Wall Street, told AlterNet. “May Day has grit to it that I think is really beautiful and really inspiring and has that direct action piece ingrained with it.”