May Day 2012 - discussion and updates

#Occupy Mayday strike poster

May 1, International Workers Day. Please post your accounts and updates of workers' events today in the comments below.

See this article for a short history of Mayday as International Workers Day.

And see this thread for discussion of organising of the #occupy Mayday general strike attempt.

One of our users, Soapy, in particular is going to try and keep track of the events:

Well, I'm out of the country, but I'm gonna try and keep track of all the mayday activities. Here's what I've seen so far.

Businesses cars and police station vandalized in San Francisco

Please let us know what is happening in your area!

Posted By

May 1 2012 08:13


Attached files


May 3 2012 23:06

The website might be shit, but that article was good.

Defensive violence is fine.

Offensive violence against individuals representing authority, capital (police, bankers, teachers) isn't.

Glamourising or promoting violence against coppers on a public forum borders on fucking crazy. Maybe I'll just go shoot a copper in the face or blow up a police station? ACAB, right? Teh anarchists said it was a good idea. Oh, wait.

Also, I wish you all luck hitting the next copper you see in the face.


Black Badger
May 4 2012 00:18

Your alternately hand-wringing and petulant tirades are so cute.

You know, there are some anarchists and other authentic revolutionaries who recognize that the mere existence of institutions where there are "individuals representing authority, [and] capital" automatically puts working class, poor, and oppressed people on the defensive every day. There would be no respect for police if there were not an implicit and inherent threat of violence behind the uniform. There would be no respect for bankers if the police and courts and prisons didn't have an implicit and inherent threat of violence behind them that bolsters the continuation of the rule of capital. There would be no respect for teachers if state-sponsored indoctrination were not mandatory, with the implicit and inherent threat of violence toward those children and their parents/legal guardians for non-compliance in that scheme for enforcing social conformity. In the world where I live, that called bullying.

In that light any attack against any of them is self-defense. How does calling what the drummer did "a cheap shot" glamorizing? All I have seen anyone here saying is that they're not crying for the copper, who was clearly not injured after getting smacked; she's wearing a helmet after all. Can't say the same for the people being mercilessly beaten by her colleagues in the background.

May 4 2012 00:31

I'm amazed that somebody on this website thinks that somebody who is wearing armor, a club, a gun and is backed by the force of the entire US government is somehow unfairly matched against a kid and his drum...

May 4 2012 00:58
Black Badger wrote:
Your alternately hand-wringing and petulant tirades are so cute.

And your patronising tone is grating.

You know, there are some anarchists and other authentic revolutionaries who recognize that the mere existence of institutions where there are "individuals representing authority, [and] capital" automatically puts working class, poor, and oppressed people on the defensive every day.

Evidently. And there are some anarchists and other "authentic revolutionaries" that don't think this equates to legitimising non-reactive physical violence against individuals in these roles. So tired of this 'you ain't one us if you disagree', 'white knight' crap getting thrown around here.

In that light any attack against any of them is self-defense.

Any attack? Really?

Black Badger
May 4 2012 01:16

Being patronizing is one of the perks of growing old; I'm too old to be petulant any more.

I suppose there are several self-proclaimed revolutionaries who are as mired in bourgeois moralism as you are, who find the "non-reactive physical violence" from our comrades horrifying, but who are eerily silent when the cops beat people.

I don't think that you "ain't one of us" just because you disagree with all of the other folks who've posted on this thread. I don't care one way or another what your self-understanding is; you can be "one of us" if you like. What I do care about is the impact of your ideology. The result of your kind of thinking and moralizing is the removal of part of a revolutionary's toolbox - or arsenal if you will. In an asymmetrical struggle for survival (also known as class war), that is just batshit crazy. If we ever have any hope of tipping the balance in our favor we should have all tools available at any time in order to continue fighting for a world without the domination of capital and the state.

And yes, any attack. Really. All legitimate self-defense.

May 4 2012 01:38

I'm quite content with my 'bourgeois' ethics if it means I keep clear of spouting consequentialist nonsense like this.

Been a lot of words in the past few posts. Wouldn't wanna scare off the authentic revolutionaries.

Look at this guy! Tee hee! He got kicked in the balls! Let us spout shit about how revolutionary and awesome (which isn't the same as glamourising) the fellow in the black cap is!

Redwinged Blackbird
May 4 2012 02:18

Dude, that nut shot IS awesome.

Black Badger
May 4 2012 05:35

I'd say a cop has done that to some unlucky citizen more than a few times. Revolutionary or not, payback's a bitch, innit? All short words so even authentic revolutionaries can get it.

Caiman del Barrio
May 4 2012 12:57

Move/delete this ridiculous discussion please.

May 4 2012 17:27

Gothenburg pwnz0rz

May 4 2012 19:20

That's the best banner, ever.

Joseph Kay
May 4 2012 19:53
Khawaga wrote:
That's the best banner, ever.

hmmm, this didn't get an outing on mayday as it was TOO BIG FOR THE TRAIN.

May 4 2012 19:56

It's a good one, but not as lulzy.

Chilli Sauce
May 4 2012 20:26

What!? What's more lulz than latin on a fucking banner!

May 4 2012 20:31

It's no as Lulzy; but it still can has the lulz.

May 5 2012 04:49

with regard Crow, theres not really much point in playing clean with police as its not like they do the same with us.

May 5 2012 07:33

Photos from mayday action in Yerevan, Armenia

May 5 2012 10:02
Chilli Sauce wrote:
What!? What's more lulz than latin on a fucking banner!

If you look on the esperanto thread the CGT have a pretty badass banner in Esperanto...

May 5 2012 17:29

Here in Portugal there was an anarchist rally in Setúbal (30km from Lisbon); protests convoked by CGTP (a syndicate which the most of people are communists) and by UGT (theoretically socialists but the leader signed with government a law wich facilitates unemployment) and others.
The mass media and most of people were in «Pingo Doce» (a hypermarket) who announced for 1st May a 50%promotion in schopping above 100euros. In these markets a lot of people were crazy like in cartoons.

Caiman del Barrio
May 6 2012 14:46
Caiman del Barrio
May 6 2012 14:49
fernandocouto wrote:
The mass media and most of people were in «Pingo Doce» (a hypermarket) who announced for 1st May a 50%promotion in schopping above 100euros. In these markets a lot of people were crazy like in cartoons.


Portugal, Spain, Italy, etc would seem to be a good place for autoreduzione right now. (I exclude Greece cos it seems to be already happening there to a certain extent...)

Caiman del Barrio
May 6 2012 14:53

Finally, Vice report on London Mayday (including anti-Workfare demo). Pretty typical Vice sneering 'irony', but not entirely negative.

May 7 2012 09:33
Among the participants at the leftist rally which was held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday 2012, in honor of International Workers' Day, was a radical group of people carrying black flags. They were members of an anarcho-communist group which calls itself "Unity".

I've not come across this group before; does anyone have any info/background on them?

May 7 2012 15:31

Interesting....but dumb (masks, mindless sloganeering at end)

May 7 2012 16:50

maybe Tojijah or Ilan would know, though they never seem to post anymore.

usual suspect
May 7 2012 17:44

Local San Francisco Chronicle story on Oakland Anarchists. Pictures are available on the SFGate website.

Occupy's anarchists seen as both divisive, crucial
Kevin Fagan
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Every time windows are smashed and clashes erupt with police at Occupy protests in Oakland and San Francisco, one group is in the thick of it: masked, black-clad anarchists known as the Black Bloc.

Police say they are pure trouble and point to conflicts at last week's May Day rallies as the most recent example. Most pacifist protesters wish they would go away. Hard-core Occupiers say they like having them around to diversify their movement's tactics.

Exactly who makes up the Black Bloc is, by design, a bit of a mystery. Adherents rarely reveal their identity and say they aren't really a group at all, but come-and-go adopters of a tactic.

Some protesters say Black Bloc violence and vandalism undercuts the core Occupy message of advocating for more economic equality. Supporters, however, say the Black Bloc has a different definition of violence, particularly in dealing with police - and that Black Bloc anarchists are a force for protection of other demonstrators and assertive expression.

One young Black Bloc demonstrator at a "F- the Police" march held by Occupy Oakland in March said he felt he was part of "a revolution for the people that is not going away."

"I don't know anything about violence," he said. "Everything we do - it's about freedom of f- speech, freedom of gathering. We're in a revolution here. It's not business as usual."

Emotions run hot on both sides.

"The argument that they aren't doing violence is complete bull-," said Buck Bagot, an organizer with Occupy Bernal in San Francisco. "They say the real violence is from the system, and that's true. But that doesn't mean that what they do is right.

"You can get your point across without breaking things."

Occupy's self-policing

Bagot said Black Bloc techniques are not tolerated at his group's protests. At one Occupy Bernal demonstration in February at the home of John Stumpf, chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, several local union members operated as monitors to keep in line Black Bloc-ers or others open to destruction.

"How much more aggressive can you be than visiting the CEO's home?" Bagot said. "That's enough by itself. The Black Bloc is a tiny minority of the movement."

But Lauren Smith, an organizer with Occupy Oakland, said the notion that the Black Bloc causes trouble is misguided.

"The fact that police can single out the Black Bloc as troublemakers just shows that the police are trying to pit us against one another," Smith said. "They are saying the people who use tactics that directly confront police or damage property are bad, and the people who take no action are good.

"The reality is that this (Occupy) is a fluid group, but we're really just the same group of people with different tactics on different days."

20-year-old tactic

The Black Bloc is not a secretive cabal, activists say. The technique has been used for at least 20 years in the United States, and the purpose of wearing black clothes and bandanna masks is simply to achieve anonymity - especially for those whose actions might draw police attention. They usually number in the dozens or low hundreds at Bay Area protests.

In Oakland, Black Bloc-ers have been prominent at many Occupy demonstrations, at times toting homemade shields with "A" painted on the front, for "anarchy." In the May Day protests, one activist dressed in black shoved a pole at a police officer and others pushed at police lines with their shields.

In San Francisco, a crowd of more than 100 Black Bloc activists stormed through the Mission District after a peaceful Occupy rally Monday night, vandalizing more than 30 businesses, a police station and several cars with hammers, crowbars, paint and eggs.

Police say the actions were extreme examples of the aggression they often see from the Black Bloc.

"They engage in violent destruction of property and behave in a violent manner," said San Francisco police Sgt. Daryl Fong. "They have used pipes, crowbars, pellet guns, incendiary devices that are like Molotov cocktails, lit flares, and thrown them and bricks in an assaultive manner at officers.

"As for what they are trying to say - I don't know," he said. "Unfortunately, we can't dialogue with them."

Oakland police Capt. Jeff Israel said he believes the Black Bloc is not as loosely formed as some activists say it is.

"I don't know who they are," he said. "I just know that when it comes to criminal misconduct, they act together."

'Strategy to protect people'

Black Bloc supporters say the police have it backward. The protesters are using assertive tactics only to counteract police repression, they say, and any vandalism to businesses or cars is just an expression of rage in reaction to oppression.

At the root of the debate is the Black Bloc definition of violence and civil disobedience. Some believe that most vandalism and clashes with police don't constitute violence because they amount to self-defense in the service of a cause. And they note that some Black Bloc-ers serve as protest medics.

Besides, they argue, police are the aggressors, though police say it is the other way around.

"Property destruction by itself is not violence," said Chance Martin, an organizer with Occupy San Francisco. Rather, he said, damaging appropriate targets - such as a bank window - is a legitimate form of protest.

Smith said that when Oakland's Black Bloc protesters shove against police with shields, "it's just a strategy to protect people, to get between them and the police and their projectiles."

"Of course it's perceived as confrontational by police," Smith said. "But they (Black Bloc-ers) really are just protecting the crowd by drawing more fire to themselves so others can organize themselves, put on their gas masks or get away."

Occupy denies link

At times, when trying to explain seemingly pointless vandalism - such as Monday night's trashing of small businesses in the Mission - Occupy activists deny any link to the perpetrators.

"Anyone who just wants to break things up, I don't regard as typical of the Black Bloc," Martin said. As for the Mission vandals, he said, "it was everybody's feeling that we didn't know who these guys were."

Longtime anarchists aren't always sure how the Black Bloc fits into their ideology.

Anarchists come in many forms, from homeless rail hoppers to those pushing hard against authority to those advocating for leaderless communities aimed at pure self-governance.

"Occupy, because it is leaderless, is basically an anarchist movement," said Bill, who helps run AK Press in Oakland, one of the biggest anarchist book publishers in the nation. In anarchistic fashion, he declined to give his last name.

"But the Black Bloc? I think they're counterproductive," Bill said. "In fact, in most cases, Black Bloc tactics don't make sense."

Smith and other Occupy activists say the people behind the masks are from a rainbow of ethnicities, gender and ages, but some observers say they often tend to be white and young.

'Trust-fund types'

As co-managers of the Berkeley Surplus store on San Pablo Avenue, Mitchell Langon and Michael Ludlow have sold a lot of gas masks, dark bandannas and black hoodie sweatshirts to protesters since Occupy began in the fall.

"I've had a bunch of rich white kids come in here looking for the black stuff - you know the type, the Marin County trust-fund types," said Langon, whose store sports a sign reading, "For all your riot needs." "It's like they want to be part of something."

Ludlow added, "It's like doing this stuff gives them a chance to break something. ... But it's not all (representative of) Occupy - there are plenty of protesters who don't want that."

Kevin Fagan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

May 7 2012 19:23

"usual suspect," your posts from anti-radical bourgeois sources (as in never your own opinions) make me suspect you. That, plus the multiple handles you use on this forum and on those on other sites. Your "interventions" make us think you have the same employer as "CRUD."

May 7 2012 20:50
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Finally, Vice report on London Mayday (including anti-Workfare demo). Pretty typical Vice sneering 'irony', but not entirely negative.

this is ace! who came up with this? i suspect arbeiten

Vice wrote:
Then the activists would stand around chanting and jeering the shop mercilessly. The best one was: “We won’t work for free, mandatory workfare’s not for me!” to the tune of Black Sabbath's’ "Iron Man"
May 7 2012 23:34

Rant #2.

I'm really, really fucking pissed that provocateurs like "usual suspect" think they can get away with posting flagrant lies from the corporate media while many of our comrades are still rotting in jail from the busts on both sides of the Bay on May Day. The pigs are turning up the heat and using the spectacular media as part of a anti-radical redscare campaign, similar to the situation in Cleveland. It is simply unprincipled to broadcast ruling class fabrications on forums like this.

The local petit-bourgeoisie is also circling-the-wagons and uniting to further demonize not only anarchists and the black bloc, but ALL radicals who were involved in the Occupy Movement.

Case in point: yesterday there was a four-alarm (a measure of the number of engine companies that responded) fire at the corner of Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue at the inner edge of San Francisco's Mission District. That area is so close to downtown that it's been ripe for gentrification for decades. The building on the corner was completely destroyed, while other adjacent buildings were heavily damaged. 37 people were made homeless.

A friend works just down the block and everyone in the neighborhood is saying it has all the signs of landlord arson to drive out poor working class people, grandfathered into the apartments with rent control, out of the area. The Palestinian family who ran the liquor store right on the corner were totally accepted by everyone on the block. But that whole stretch of Valencia Street is under attack by real estate speculators and there are already several brand new yuppie condominiums. Media outlets have been rationalizing gentrification as a cure for "blight" for decades, and are now using the smash-em-up along Valencia on April 30 to blame anarchists for ALL the problems in the neighborhood.

Yet I'm 100% sure that the pigs and press will start floating stories about anarchists having something to do with the fire. After I left the area in downtown Oakland near Oscar Grant Plaza late in the evening on May Day, comrades staying around there were detained by the Oakland pigs for suspicion of "arson." Had I stayed another half hour, I would have been arrested for suspicion of that too.

All this shit stinks. Don't post propaganda from the corporate media unless you can corroborate it yourself. Don't spread the lies of our class enemies.