Occupy’s Super Tuesday? Get Ready for May Day and Nationwide ‘General Strike’

Patrick Glennon

Immigrants and working families march during May Day 2011 in Los Angeles. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

In collaboration with independent media around the country, In These Times will offer special coverage

The Left is excited about May Day again.

The holiday began as a commemoration for Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Massacre, but turned into something much larger, encompassing the struggles of workers across the globe. While International Workers’ Day’s significance has waned in the United States, it recieved a resurgence in 2006 when hundreds of thousands marched in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and dozens of other cities, using the occasion to agitate for immigrant rights.

In 2006, protesters labeled May 1 a day without immigrants.” This year, the Occupy movement has labeled it a day without the 99%” and called for a general strike in more than 125 cities. The momentum of Occupy, along with the national backlash following a recent string of harsh anti-immigrant laws, will make this Tuesday a pivotal day for activists.

Occupy Wall Street, in fact has already declared a victory. While American corporate media has focused on yet another stale election between Wall Street-financed candidates, Occupy has been organizing something extraordinary: the first truly nationwide General Strike in U.S. history,” OWS’s website says. Building on … past General Strikes in U.S. cities…, the national general strikes in Spain this year, and the on-going student strike in Quebec, the Occupy Movement has called for A Day Without the 99% on May 1st, 2012. This in and of itself is a tremendous victory. For the first time, workers, students, immigrants, and the unemployed from over 125 U.S. cities will stand together for economic justice.”

But general strikes have been illegal in the United States since 1947, and unions won’t call their members off the jobs and into streets on Tuesday. So what exactly will happen? In conjunction with our partners at the Media Consortium, In These Times will bring you special live coverage of May Day-related events around the country throughout the day. 

Staff writer Bhaskar Sunkara will be live-tweeting street protests in New York City, along with blogging on Uprising, while In These Times staff members will be covering the action in Chicago, the magazine’s frontyard. Additionally, we’ll be live-streaming special coverage by Free Speech TV, and offering an interactive map and storify that will link to coverage by Media Consortium outlets around the country.

Check out Medi​aforthe99per​cent​.com, the Media Consortium’s special site with a map detailing planned protests and actions across the United States. Actions are planned in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and everywhere in between. 

In a press release, OWS said We wanted to create a broad space for people in all different circumstances from all sorts of backgrounds to be able to participate. But we also recognize that for some people skipping work is not feasible so we are encouraging people to participate how they can whether that involves wearing a button at work or leaving early or simply showing up to the march after work.”

The movement is trying to balance inclusivity and militancy, action and celebration — Tom Morello, Das Racist, Immortal Technique and Dan Deacon will perform in Manhattan’s Union Park — to broadly appeal to the 99%” and prove that an Occupy Spring is flowering.

Whatever happens, In These Times will be in the streets.

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Patrick Glennon is a writer and musician living in Chicago. He received his B.A. in History from Skidmore College and currently works as Communications Manager for the Michael Forti for Cook County Court campaign and as the web intern at In These Times.
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