6 Ways to Get Ready for the May 1st GENERAL STRIKE
Yesterday, 60,000 people marched on Madison to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker’s drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees. Last year, Walker’s attacks on labor rights sparked massive protests that saw hundreds of thousands occupy the Wisconsin capital building. Their actions prefigured Occupy Wall Street and inspired countless others to take a stand against economic inequality, political injustice, and the tyranny of the 1% enforced through politicians and banksters alike.
This is just one example that people across the globe are actively resisting attacks on the 99%. This year has already seen the largest-ever strike on record in India, hundreds of thousands marching for democracy in Bahrain, general strikes in Montreal and Spain where students once again occupied public space in protest of the austerity measures and spending cuts being enforced by the European banking elite, massive uprisings in the streets of Moscow, and more. Even in the United States, the movement grows. The corporate media claims that Occupy’s strength is waning, but they are merely in denial. During the coldest months of this year, the United States has already seen more revolutionary momentum than it has in decades.
This winter, we refocused our energies on fostering ties with local communities, saving homes from corrupt banks and jobs from greedy corporations, and building and expanding our horizontal infrastructure. This #GlobalSpring, we will take the streets again. On May 1st, Occupy Wall Street has called for a General Strike. We are calling on everyone who supports the cause of economic justice and true democracy to take part: No Work, No School, No Housework, No Shopping, No Banking - and most importantly, TAKE THE STREETS!
We are getting ready. Planning is already underway in dozens of cities. Labor organizers, immigrants’ rights groups, artists, Occupiers, faith leaders, and more have all joined in the discussion to get ready. Now, all we need is you.
May 1st, also known as International Workers’ Day, is the annual commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a General Strike for the eight-hour workday. In many countries, May 1st is observed as a holiday. But in the United States, despite the eventual success of the eight-hour-workday campaign, the holiday is not officially recognized. In spite of this, May Day is already a powerful date in the U.S. In 2006, immigrant’s rights groups took to the streets in unprecedented numbers in a national “Day Without An Immigrant” - a general strike aimed at proving the economic power of immigrants in the U.S. At least one million people marched in Chicago and Los Angeles alone. Hundreds of thousands more marched throughout cities across the U.S.
Now, in response to call-outs from Occupy Los Angeles,Occupy Chicago, Occupy Oakland, and other General Assemblies and affinity groups, the Occupy Movement is preparing to mobilize a General Strike this May 1st in solidarity with struggles already underway to defend the rights of workers, immigrants, and other communities who are resisting oppression. Dozens of Occupations in cities and towns throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia have already endorsed May Day. Here is just a taste of events in the works for New York City:
- 8am-4pm: Midtown action staging zone in Bryant Park.
- Disruptive actions in midtown all day! Hit the 1% where they live and prevent them from getting to work. Let’s make this a Day Without the 1%, as well!
- Family friendly, free food, a really, REALLY free market, skillshares, workshops, lectures, art, fun and more!
- 4pm: March to Union Square for solidarity march
- 5:30pm: Solidarity march from Union Square to Wall St.
- 7pm: March to staging area for evening actions
And this is just the beginning. To quote the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, a major Spanish union, who recently called for a national General Strike in Spain on March 29th to protest labor reforms:
For the CNT, the strike on March 29 must be only the beginning of a growing and sustained process of mobilization, one which includes the entire working class and the sectors that are most disadvantaged and affected by the capitalist crisis. This mobilization must put the brakes on the dynamic of constant assaults on our rights, while laying the bases for the recovery and conquest of new social rights with the goal of a deep social transformation.
None of this would be possible without the grassroots support of everyday organizers who volunteer their time to grow the movement against Wall Street greed and political corruption. Here are eight simple things you can do to help advance the cause of equity for all:
 Work with Your Local Occupy: There are hundreds of Occupy groups still holding regular meetings and events. Chances are, there’s one nearby. (And if there isn’t yet -it’s easy to start one!) General Assemblies are open to everyone, and everyone has a voice in the consensus planning process. So find your nearest Occupation and go to a GA! If they haven’t already endorsed the General Strike, propose it to the group and start planning marches, distributing fliers, and forming direct action groups.
 Spread the Word on Social Media: Follow #M1GS,@OWSMayDay, @OccupyWallSt, and @OccupyGenStrikeon Twitter. Also be sure to RSVP on Facebook and followfacebook.com/OccupyGeneralStrike. You can also look for city-specific events, like these from Chicago and Detroit.
 Start an Affinity Group: You can take action on your own. All you need are a few friends. Affinity groups are groups of people who know each other and come together autonomously for a particular action. Find a few people who are interested in helping you out on a project you have in mind - whether it’s making fliers and literature to distribute, or shutting down a Wall Street bank in your hometown. Get creative, and get to work! (Here’s a hint: OccuPrint collects, prints, and distributes posters from the worldwide Occupy movement, and they have a ton of amazing General Strike posters!)
 Join the General Strike Conference Calls: InterOccupyhosts regular calls to organize May 1st activities. Check out their schedule and join in the conversation!
 Talk to Labor: Due to federal laws, most unions are forbidden from organizing strikes for political reasons. However, unions and labor groups are still some of our strongest allies. During last year’s General Strike in Oakland, many unions encouraged their workers to take the day off or attend demonstrations after work. Not long after Occupy Oakland shut down ports in solidarity with striking Longshoreman, their employers caved to the union’s demands in a new contract. Get in touch with local unions and labor organizations, let them know about the plans for a General Strike, find out what they’re working on and how you can help, and encourage them to let their members know about May 1st and get involved in organizing directly.
 Organize Your Workplace, Campus, or Community: If you’re a unionized worker, encourage your union to support the General Strike. Whether your workplace is union or not, you can encourage co-workers to take a sick day on May 1st. If you can’t afford to lose out on pay, that’s okay - there will be plenty of celebrations, marches, and direct actions throughout all hours of the day. Invite your community to attend. If you’re a student at a high school or college, spread the word to walk-out of class on May 1st. If you’re not a worker or student, organize your friends!
More information: [MayDayNYC.org] | [OccupyMay1st.org] | [StrikeEverywhere.net] | [NYC General Assembly - May Day]
Well. Now that the insurance industry says climate change is bad because it costs them money, we’ll probably see the gop on-board. Completely. Because insurance companies are people and people vote. With money.
Makes you ill, doesn’t it? Well, whatever gets it done…
Which makes me ponder, what actions can we take to realistically affect the market in such a way as to force corporations to chase the money down the right paths, e.g. sustainability, transparency, etc.?
How Occupy helped labor win on the West Coast
Defiance of labor law and movement support yield a union victory in Washington state
Earlier this month longshore workers in Washington state reached a contract with a boss that has spent the past year fighting to keep their union out. That company, the multinational EGT, sought to run its new grain terminal in the town of Longview, as the only facility on the West Coast without the famously militant International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). A victory by EGT would have emboldened employers up and down the coast to seek to free themselves of ILWU influence. And if the union — with the help of the Occupy movement — had not defied the law, EGT would have succeeded.
The Longview struggle began last March when, after initial discussions with ILWU Local 21, EGT announced its intention to run its new grain terminal without them. The ILWU held protest rallies, and joined the Port of Longview’s lawsuit charging that EGT was bound by the union’s contract with the publicly owned port. The union may have had a good legal case. But so did Washington’s Boeing workers when their boss blamed their strikes for its decision to take new work to South Carolina. Boeing mostly got away with it anyway.
Rather than putting all their faith in the law while EGT did its work without them, ILWU members chose to get in the company’s way. Literally. Beginning in July, union members blocked railroad tracks to prevent grain shipments from passing. According to media reports, workers also tore down fencing and dumped grain. Police charged that workers threw rocks at them; labor denied members were violent, and charged that police beat and pepper-sprayed workers without justification. The ILWU did not formally endorse its members’ actions, but its international president was among the dozens arrested. In September, 200 union members and supporters lined up outside the building housing the sheriff’s office and announced they had arrived to turn themselves in for nonviolently defending their jobs.
Why We Must Occupy Our Food Supply
Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed a massive consolidation of our food system. Never have so few corporations been responsible for more of our food chain. Of the 40,000 food items in a typical U.S. grocery store, more than half are now brought to us by just 10 corporations. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of all U.S. beef, Tyson, Cargill and JBS. More than 90 percent of soybean seeds and 80 percent of corn seeds used in the United States are sold by just one company: Monsanto. Four companies are responsible for up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. And one in four food dollars is spent at Walmart.
What does this matter for those of us who eat? Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, the destruction of soil fertility, the pollution of our water, and health epidemics including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain forms of cancer. More and more, the choices that determine the food on our shelves are made by corporations concerned less with protecting our health, our environment, or our jobs than with profit margins and executive bonuses.
This consolidation also fuels the influence of concentrated economic power in politics: Last year alone, the biggest food companies spent tens of millions lobbying on Capitol Hill with more than $37 million used in the fight against junk food marketing guidelines for kids.
On a global scale, the consolidation of our food system has meant devastation for farmers, forests and the climate. Take the controversial food additive palm oil. In the past decade, palm oil has become the most widely traded vegetable oil in the world and is now found in half of all packaged goods on U.S. grocery store shelves. But the large-scale production of palm oil — driven by agribusiness demand for the relatively cheap ingredient — has come at a cost: palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia are razing rainforests, releasing massive quantities of greenhouse gases and displacing Indigenous communities.
Source: The Huffington Post
“Facts suck, don’t they?” Condescending much?
You do realize that the primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the country, e.g., military, right? Also, Obama got us into 3 additional unnecessary wars. Oh, and Obama is a Christian. Facts suck, don’t they?
I didn’t do the drawing and if I had, Obama would be sitting with the GOP in the tank. I don’t disagree with your point there. However, I do disagree with you on the primary responsibility of the government. The primary responsibility is to represent the People. Furthermore, there is a difference between “protecting the country” and going to other countries and exerting our superior fire power in order to exploit and control the world’s resources so that Americans can maintain an unsustainable way of life (a way of life that is increasingly diverging into the haves and have nots). You yourself just admitted they are unnecessary wars (i.e. not a war waged to protect us).
Lastly, on a personal level, I have a strong global conscience. I do not feel that patriotism is synonymous with elitism. I do not view everyone outside our borders as an enemy. I’m not naive, I recognize there are genuine threats that exist. However, it is a bit disingenuous not to acknowledge that we are Goliath in most situations, and if we really want to face the facts, most people who want to attack us would probably do so because we have superior access to resources that other nations are desperate for and/or because they hate us as an imperialistic world-power that exerts its influence over nations (i.e., we are viewed by them as the oppressor they must fight against). And they would be right, wouldn’t they? We are often not the defender, but the aggressor.
Moreover, I do not hold the belief that, as an American, I am somehow more worthy of having a comfortable way of life when that way of life is predicated on the reality that millions of lesser-protected peoples are being exploited and murdered. Have this be through war or through sweat shops or simply neglect of the suffering and poverty of others. As a nation of unmatched power, we have an even higher degree of social responsibility.
If the government’s job was truly to protect us, then homeless people would have homes instead of banks owning thousands of empty foreclosed houses, people would have access to free medical care, people would have access to affordable education. If it was about protecting us, half of our black population would not be in prison. If it was truly about protecting us, the government would not have allowed a concentration of power to amass in amoral, exploitative corporations with no national loyalty. If it was about protecting us, it would not protect buildings and profits over people. If it was truly about protecting us, it would not consistently cut funding to social programs in order to fund unnecessary wars. If it was truly about protecting us, it would not start unnecessary wars killing thousands of innocent civilians, undoubtedly creating a generation of people who HATE us and actually now have motivation to retaliate against us.
Submission from Edot Blair: Saving Humanity
I’d like to start by saying that I’m a future scientist, microbiologist to be exact. Biology is the study of life, all life and I study life on a micro scale. I know life’s basic principles and these principles can be applied to EVERY aspect of life, all things living. Bacteria live in the MOST SUCCESSFUL biological system on Earth. Bacteria know living. We people and our environment is a biological system (living and non-living). Did you think humans were the most successful? HA! Bacteria that live in biofilms (sticky goo in your bathtub and plaque on your teeth) are 10x more protected then their tyrant relatives (pathogens, germs) that go infecting and killing their hosts (the pathogens food source!)! The bacteria in biofilms work TOGETHER. Each area of the biofilm is specialized for a specific function: protection, organization, food, construction. Of course they communicate (chemical signaling) so all this runs smoothly. Life for the free floating tyrant pathogens, life is TOUGH! Host immune systems put up a good fight! When they work/live together life’s a breeze. Get the picture? Of course with science there are ALWAYS exceptions but I’m only trying to make a point.
Back in early January (such a SHORT TIME!), I read this quote: “knowledge begins with curiosity” and I took the time out to figure out what I was curious about. What made me go, “hmm, that’s interesting”? My minds journey: tumblr > is marijuana really that bad? > Oh weed is GOOD? > Why is it illegal? > How to change laws > I wonder what this occupy movement is? > Politics > big corporations > Racism > What happened to the black power movement? > Conditioning, mind control > government corruption > taxes > DOCUMENTARIES > global economic crisis the power of perception > The Constitution, humanity, freedom
AND THEN I REALIZED SOMETHING (I am a scientist and problem solver) this all started with me answering my curiosity! I asked my teenage cousin what she was curious about and she didn’t know! She said whatever happens, happens! I asked “so you don’t think you have any control over what happens to you?” She said yes for when she gets in trouble. I asked her what about when you’re not in trouble and her little mind blew!
Humanity doesn’t know it’s in trouble because their closed, small scale minds. Sorry if that was insensitive. The only way to wake people up is to unlock their brains. We’ve been conditioned to think small scale. We’ve been conditioned to doubt ourselves and our ability. Too bad for them my favorite question is “why?” Don’t stifle any child’s curiosity. My mother always told me “go look it up.” That was the best lesson she ever taught me. People think being smart is hard and all about being able to solve math equations. Being smart, intelligent etc is about being open minded and answering your curiosity and that’s NOT HARD. Everyone has the ability to answer their curiosity! You DO have power and control over what happens to you, over your own life.
Ask everyone you talk to what they’re curious about. Have they ever wandered something for so long and never looked it up? The internet is at their disposal. The people’s curiosity will kill the tyrant cat!
One of the largest tragedies of the human condition is the yearning for knowledge and understanding about things we will likely never fully understand (given our limited minds/nature/access/dimension). But not everyone seems to have a driving need to understand everything around them, i.e. a passionate curiosity. Why do you think that is? Has their curiosity simply not been sparked? Or are they simply less curious, more content with not understanding? Furthermore, you have to know what questions to ask and have the faculties to discern plausible answers and facts from speculations and misinformation (a skill not everyone has). Some people struggle to logically jump from one realization to another or to sort out inconsistencies and contradictions.
Do people think this is simply luck of the draw, akin to intelligence or athletic ability or creative talent, or do you think this is something that can be better addressed in our children’s education?
Former President Jimmy Carter Praises Occupy Movement
Former President Jimmy Carter said on Wednesday that Occupy organizers have created a “relatively successful” movement because they focused national discussion on wealth disparity. The Georgia Democrat said at an event in Atlanta that Occupy organizers have succeeded in forcing the media and Congress to realize the “chasm is getting greater than leaps and bounds” between the rich and the poor.
“[Corporate influence in government and wealth inequality] were basically ignored by the Congress and the news media a year ago,” he said. “I believe they’ve achieved putting that back on the agenda.”
The remarks came at a Duke University event that also featured his oldest grandson, Jason, who was elected to the Georgia Senate in May 2010.
The former president said his travels abroad since he lost the 1980 election helped him realize the U.S. is “extra stingy” about sharing its wealth with developing nations, particularly when compared to European democracies that put an emphasis on foreign aid. Helping the less fortunate, he said, should be viewed as a moral obligation and not an act of charity.
“It dawned on me they were just as intelligent, they were just as ambitious, and their family values were just as good as mine,” he said. “It’s not a matter of superiority or generosity or handing out gifts to others who are less than you. They just haven’t had a chance in life.”
Faces of Occupy Wall Street
Tirsa: I’m here to stop corruption of Big Banks, Big Company, Big Gasoline. To take on and break the code to return our money. It’s said there are $600 Trillion around and across our country alone. We need that for all the people.
Taylor: This world is corrupt. Maybe we can do something about the evil selfish nature of the human race.
Daryl: I’m here to protest against the undue influence that corporate America has over our political process.
CJ Phillips: I’m here to fight for more accountability and more money for America. You always hear the time is now to change. Now is distinctively different. Never before since the Great Depression have so many Americans been affected by the actions or the inaction of the United States Government. We need to Unite and be Strong, Loud and Angry just like the Civil Rights Movement. That’s the last time we had sweeping major change in this country. We now have the People Power to make this happen again!!!
Q:Since you are trying to argue me into your cause based upon my faith, read this. "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." — Romans 13:1
Would you apply that to all governing authorities? Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille (Inquisition), as well as to existing governing systems like Monarchy, Dictatorship, Communism, Fascism, Tribal, Pagan?
You truly believe that you should unquestioningly obey your government, no matter the form or function? What about governments that have been corrupted by humans (or Satan if you wish)? If there is no authority except from God, then why do governments have authority at all? Obviously, from that scripture, that authority is delegated by God, but how and when do you know when a governing authority is “ordained with delegated authority” rather than simply a human construction that merely claims to be a system under God?
You stated that Occupy was a joke and ineffectual in bringing about change, but can you explain how sitting bitterly, nihilistically, or complacently on one’s hands brings about any meaningful change? I find the dismissive, patronizing, and apathetic obstacles posed by such sitters to also be rather “inconvenient” and, to be frank, detrimental. Personally, I’d rather be perceived by some as an ineffectual joke than to be an obstacle to enlightenment and to the progress of humanity towards becoming a peaceful, sustainable, symbiotic, nurturing species.
I truly was not trying to argue you into sharing my opinion on Occupy. I was, however, attempting to have you substantiate your bold statement that the entire movement (something I clearly value and find meaningful) is an inconvenient joke. I gave you the opportunity to either support your claim (something I would have respectfully disagreed with or actually learnt from), or perhaps make you aware of a perspective you might not have otherwise considered (awareness is wholly optional on your part).
Why would you respond to my post if you were not open to a respectful response? In fact, rather than bullying you into sharing my stance on Occupy, I asked you to offer suggestions on how we can better affect change, as I am truly curious about and open to hear your input.
For the time being, in the U.S. our corporate and governmental system backed surprisingly by the Supreme Court has become a plutocracy, designed to prolong, protect and intensify the wealth and influence of those who already have the wealth and influence. What the Occupy movement indicates is that a growing number of people have begun to recognize this in spite of the efficiency of capital’s propaganda machines. Forty years of no pay increase in the US after inflation for the average hour worked should, after all, have that effect. The propaganda is good but not that good.