May Day 2017: Nothing is Over, Forward We Continue
Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Event, Featured
Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Event, Featured
Masses of people across the US are expected to take to the streets this May Day, in opposition to the Trump regime through mass protests, marches, and labor strikes, in student walkouts and direct actions on campus, and also as part of a call for a #DayWithoutImmigrants. There’s a lot going on this May Day; some of it contained by the Democratic Party, pacified by protest managers, and made symbolic by liberal hand wringers. On the other hand, some of it lives up to the original spirit of rebellion and resistance which birthed the May Day holiday in the wake of the State murder of the revolutionary anarchists in Chicago over 130 years ago. In big and small ways, we hope May Day allows people reading this across North America a chance to break with the bureaucratic and pacified Left which has done nothing to stop the spread of repression, fascism, and war. Instead, we hope it becomes a rallying point for people to come together, find each other, and form bonds which will aid them in the struggles that lie ahead.
This May Day is also taking place against a backdrop of unprecedented assaults on poor and working people, as Trump announced one of the biggest tax cuts to the wealthy in history. This move will signal the opus of his Presidency and showcase what Trump has always been designed to do: make America great again for the billionaires and corporate oligarchs while moving trillions out of the hands of the the poorest and most downtrodden. In doing so, Trump will signal not his opposition to ‘globalism’ as he is laughing heralded by the Right for representing, but a continuation of neoliberalism to grind the working class under the bootheel of increasing repression, precarity, and rising cost of living.
The scene of a recent white house conference this week illustrates this point perfectly, as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn could barely contain their excitement as they discussed the “once in a generation opportunity” to transform the tax code. It comes as no surprise that both men are both former Goldman Sachs bankers, and each worth more than half a billion dollars. This reality flies in the face of Trump’s Alt-Right rhetoric of “international bankers,” designed as a dog whistle to his far-Right base while he helps line the pockets of corporate giants.
If the Trump administration can do anything, it’s look after their own.
These cuts will also have another effect: as federal tax revenue decreases, reactionary segments in both parties will call for the slashing of basic programs that millions of people depend on such as social security and Medicare. At the same time, the gigantic Pentagon budget balloons and grows even larger than under President Obama, as Trump pushes for all out war.
Already, his administration has escalated conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and North Korea. By and large, these actions seem to be designed to drive up Trump’s approval ratings, which have drastically fallen, making him one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. While this strategy has been a near total failure, the elites in both parties as well as the mainstream media have rushed to applaud him. In the background, warhawks on both sides of the aisle beat the drums of war with Russia and China, as proto-fascists such as Steve Bannon push for a war to mold the millennial generation into a subservient population loyal to the State and ‘the West.’
Meanwhile grabbing less headlines: sweeps, deportations, and imprisonment of undocumented workers ramp up, the police continue to kill upwards of three people per day, the ecological situation continues to grow more dire, cities like Flint, Michigan are still without drinkable water, and across the board life for many Americans grows more impoverished, precarious, unhealthy, shorter, and harder.
But what of the resistance? Entering his Presidency, Trump had to contend with a wide variety of militant social movements and struggles that threatened the legitimacy of the State. From riots, uprisings, and freeway blockades against police murder, the fight to blockade the Dakota Access Pipeline, a wave of rolling fast food strikes for higher pay and union representation, a growing militant prison movement, and a surge of fierce antifascist activity against a growing far-Right as well as Trump’s own candidacy. In response, the Trump administration with the help of the insurgent far-Right pushed for a slew of draconian anti-protest measures, while hundreds of demonstrators across the US were caught up in felony charges, grand jury summons, and legal threats.
It is in this context: an authoritarian crackdown on movements for liberation and freedom, mass roundups and scapegoating of migrants, targeted repression of anarchists, water protectors, black liberationists, and antifascists, and a broad assault on the living conditions of the general population, we see many of the same things that revolutionaries faced in the late 1880s when May Day first became a holiday associated with the struggle against capitalism and the State.
In 1886 in Chicago, workers responded to a call to arm themselves and fight back against the police shooting strikers. At a rally on May 4th, clashes broke out between workers and police, leaving several police dead and scores of workers shot by the authorities. In the resulting clampdown, the State rounded up and later executed 4 anarchist revolutionaries, with one, Louis Lingg, committing suicide in prison, while others were given lengthy prison sentences. At the trial, the State made it clear that while the accused were not suspect in the clashes with the police, they were guilty of being anarchist revolutionaries and immigrant workers. The repression aimed to attack the burgeoning anarchist movement, which was growing in Chicago in the working-class and poor neighborhoods.
But instead of pacifying the population, across the US and the world, thousands of workers became radicalized in the campaign to pardon the Haymarket anarchists and it was this campaign that led to the creation of May Day and eventually helped push through the cementing of the 8-hour work day. Since then, May Day has been holiday celebrated by rebel proletarians across the world, including hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers in the US who in 2006 carried out a series of wildcat strikes, walkouts, and mass actions which defeated anti-immigrant legislation.
On May Day, the anarchists who died under the hangman’s noose live, the same heroes that shouted, “Long live anarchy!,” before they were murdered, live on in each and every act of resistance. Their ghosts greet us in every riot, every strike, and every occupation; behind every barricade, school walkout, and building occupation. They breathe again in each and every act of defiance against the authorities which pushes for the creation of a better world outside of the robbery of capital, the degradation of the government, and the suffocation of this industrial civilization.
In Chicago the tomb of the Haymarket Martyrs bares a warning to the Trumps of the world: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.” Let’s work to make that a reality.
The May Day events that are listed below are just a small section of marches, union strikes, protests, actions by migrant workers, and student walkouts that will happen Monday. Check Facebook for “MAY DAY” events, as well as student walkouts. If there is something happening near you, plan with your friends how to participate. Paste up posters beforehand, make anarchist banners to carry at actions, and print out literature to hand out to people.
Find Many More In Our Library Here!
IGD is starting this list off with some events across North America that we already know about, however expect it to grow over the next few days. If you don’t see an event that you feel should be listed, let us know! Remember, the great amount of May Day events probably won’t be listen, check social media to try and find a strike, walkout, or event near you!
Either submit it here or email us at info [at] itsgoingdown [dot] org. Send us a flyer, basic info about the event, and if possible, a link on social media.
Philadelphia, PA: Philly Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is holding a “Melt the ICE: Solidarity with Detainees” action. More info here.
Philadelphia, PA: ‘Bloc Out the Sun’ event. More info here.
New York, NY: In NYC, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council (MACC) is holding events all day. Check out all the action here.
— The Base (@TheBaseBK) April 26, 2017
Pittsburgh, PA: The IWW is organizing a May Day eve event. See more info below.
— Pittsburgh IWW (@PittsburghIWW) March 18, 2017
St. Louis, MO: Anti-capitalist and anti-statist May Day picnic. More info here.
Durham, NC: Rally and march. More info here.
Washington DC: More info on events here.
Ann Arbor, MI: Festival of Resistance. More info here.
Chicago, IL: Red and black bloc in march. More info here.
Bloomington, IN: Marches, actions, and events. More info here.
Durango, CO: May Day march and rally. More info here.
Boulder, CO: May Day rally. More info here.
Denton, TX: More info below.
A Day of Direct Action
May Day rally on the Denton courthouse lawn.
Don't be complacent
Please share/rt this flyer! pic.twitter.com/RfLwSaYikE
— BlackLand Prairie IWW (@blkldprairieiww) April 25, 2017
Los Angeles, CA: LA IWW, May Day march. More info here.
Los Angeles, CA: May Day resistance march. More info here.
Santa Ana, CA: May Day march. More info here.
Pasadena, CA: Student walk out. More info here.
San Francisco, CA: #ADayWithoutImmigrants. More info here.
Oakland, CA: May Day march and rally. More info here.
Oakland, CA: Worker port-shutdown action. More info below.
— Enough 14 (@enough14) April 26, 2017
Bellingham, WA: IWW May Day ‘March Against the Billionaires.’ More info here.
Eugene, OR: May Day, ‘Disrupt the Circus!’ More info here.
Portland, OR: Anti-capitalist march. More info here.
Olympia, WA: IWW May Day celebration and rally. More info here.
Olympia, WA: May day action. More info below:
— Enough 14 (@enough14) April 25, 2017
Seattle, WA: Block the Juvie! More info here.
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