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


Redwinged Blackbird
May 8 2012 00:17
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.


May 8 2012 03:55
Black Badger wrote:
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.

I was with you right up until you said that "any attack against any" teacher is "self defense"

May 8 2012 12:50

A quick summary of May Day around East Asia:

Cambodia: (link 1)
China - Hong Kong: (link 1)
East Timor: (link 1)
Indonesia: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11)
Malaysia: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4)
Philippines: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6)
South Korea: (link 1) (link 2)
Taiwan: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3)

May 8 2012 16:24

I didn't see this posted yet. It's David Graeber's article in the Guardian:

Occupy's liberation from liberalism: the real meaning of May Day

The US press seems to have decided that the Occupy movement is no longer a story. Pretty much no matter what we do. In New York, on May Day, something between 50,000 and 100,000 people marched through the streets – we don't know the exact numbers because most papers didn't report the event at all, and therefore, didn't bother to make estimates. In California, there were blockades and walkouts. In Seattle, one band of protestors relived the famous Black Bloc actions of November 1999, smashing many of the same corporate windows – and even that didn't make national news!

But in a way it hardly matters. Occupy is shedding its liberal accretions and rapidly turning into something with much deeper roots, creating alliances that promise to transform the very notion of revolutionary politics in America.

During the first two months of the occupation, camps emerged in every city in America, there was an explosion of press attention, and, at the same time, a vast influx of money (at one point, OWS in New York was sitting on over $0.5m, almost all of it from donations of under $100 each). Those months also saw a veritable invasion from liberal groups, ranging from Rebuild the Dream to Before long, occupiers realized the help was threatening to destroy them; meetings became bureaucratized as they turned into endless squabbles about money; paid organizers with agendas often very different than the original occupiers were infiltrating and trying to turn the movement towards much more conventional political or electoral campaigns.

Then came the evictions.

There is a traditional terms of alliance between liberals and radicals in American social movements: through civil disobedience and direct action, the radicals create a fire on the liberals' left that makes them seem relevant as a moderate alternative; the liberals keep us out of jail. In this case, the liberals spectacularly failed.

Over the winter, rather than making an issue of the extraordinary illegal violence of the evictions, they chose, instead, to create an almost histrionic moral crisis over a few broken windows in Oakland months before. But when OWS re-emerged in the spring, the abandonment of the liberals, the drying-up of the money, have become an almost miraculous blessing. Activists have honed and polished their street tactics and democratic process. New alliances have been created, with community groups, immigrant rights organizations, and, increasingly, labor unions.

One reason OWS agreed to forgo mass civil disobedience in New York on 1 May was to solidify those alliances. Instead, occupiers working within the coalition pushed – with the boisterous support of many rank and file, despite the initial hesitation of some union leadership – for a joint solidarity statement that called not just for the usual battle against austerity, but to the revolutionary transformation of society:

"For centuries, May Day has been a time when the stirrings of spring lead people of good will towards visions of revolutionary renewal. The powerful wish to take these dreams away from us. They never will. And so it is on this May Day, in the wake of a growing planetary uprising for justice, we dare to look forward to a world when the borders that divide us will be made meaningless, to the birth of genuinely democratic culture of communities managing their own resources for the common good, and where the value and dignity of no human being on this planet is considered inferior to any other."

For representatives of New York's Health and Transit Workers, not to mention its Central Labor Council, to sign on to such a statement is epochal. America is one of the few countries where May Day, the International Workers' Day, is not even a holiday – ironically enough, considering the fact the date was chosen to commemorate events that occurred in Chicago, during the struggle for the 8-hour day in 1886. During the cold war, the idea of unions signing on to a statement like this would have been inconceivable: in the 1960s, unionized workers were known physically attack Wall Street protestors in the name of patriotic anti-communism. But the collapse of state socialism has made new alliances possible, and, in making common cause with occupiers, and the immigrant groups that first turned May Day into a national day of action in 2006, working-class organizations are also beginning to return to their roots—up to and including, the ideas and visions of the Haymarket martyrs themselves.

The words might be diplomatically chosen, but there's no mistaking what tradition is being invoked here. In endorsing a vision of universal equality, of the dissolution of national borders, and democratic self-governing communities, nurses, bus drivers, and construction workers at the heart of America's greatest capitalist metropolis are signing on to the vision, if not the tactics, of revolutionary anarchism.

May 8 2012 16:35
I was with you right up until you said that "any attack against any" teacher is "self defense"

Next time a copper, a capitalist, or a school gets shot up I'll be sure to tell all my friends that teh anarchists thought it was 'self-defense' guv.

Idiotic, consequentialist, violent stuff like this is absurd and counter-intuitive in the current climate where revolutionary organisation is limited to sectarian cliques in a few western countries with almost zero popular support. Sure, there might be a time where violence against some individuals is needed, but I hardly think we're in that place right now, and I'm sure most of you would agree with that even if you don't agree with anything else I've said.

Small acts of childish rebellion at an A>B march achieves nothing but an escalation of violence, maybe a few years in prison for that kid, and when everything carries on being the same (or worse) the next day, week, year, completely disillusioning. If violence is the only element of radical behaviour then they'll get burnt out verrrry quickly. And if the only thing anyone outside of this incredibly small circle remembers of this year's May Day marches are that kid's sucker punch and the Cleveland bunch then we move backwards not forwards.

I also don't think getting beaten up/ beating up someone is a way to radicalise yoof or further the anarchist cause, personally.

I'm also a bit troubled by some of the 'tit for tat' 'eye for an eye' justice bs some posts whiff of, but I think I've derailed the thread enough for now.

Down vote times a million!

Black Badger
May 8 2012 17:26

At last I appreciate your superior knowledge and ability to reliably decide when conditions will be appropriate for radicals and regular people to resist. With such self-assurance, I will now happily retreat from my fire-breathing desire to defend myself and my loved ones from oppression. Your chastising has been successful; I will wait for the word from you to let us all know when the time and place are ripe for non-symbolic, effective, and empowering resistance. Not until then! What a refreshing relief from being forced to look at the world according to my own experiences and understanding! Thank you Crow, for allowing me to return to quiet and private grumbling.

May 8 2012 18:28

This is a bit late but South Wales Anarchists had an anarcho picnic in Cardiff city centre and picketed Poundland and Primark re: workfare. We also launched our new web portal!

Juan Conatz
May 8 2012 22:21

So I think if May Day showed anything here in the U.S. is that Occupy cannot draw people like it did last fall and that the numbers have fallen but the militancy has risen quite a bit. One only needs to look at a couple years ago in Asheville and Santa Cruz at the targeted property destruction there and how much controversy it generated in not only the broad radical left, but even within American anarchism. This year, people were blockading, doing unpermitted marches and smashing shit in a lot of places.

Talking with a comrade, he said the same thing happened during the antiwar movement...that eventually tactics became the ideology with the more militant tactics becoming more prevalent as numbers declined. From my experience in Iowa and to a lesser extent some of the rest of the Midwest, I think he's right.

Another thing I noticed, and it seems common to some other Occupys too, is the tension between those who want to hold public squares and those who want to do more than that. Here in Minneapolis, most of the good organizers have moved on to Occupy Homes' anti-foreclosure work. The reoccupation of a park mainly involves some homeless people and really lumpen, maybe runaway white/biracial/Native kids with drug and alcohol problems. The reoccupation is known among the rest of Occupy as an unsafe place where money gets stolen that is meant for Occupy, drugs are rampant and violence is somewhat common (there was a sexual assault two weeks ago there). Maybe you heard, but the police have also been using the reoccupation in their Drug Evaluation program, in which they pick people up, give them drugs and then test their reactions, and then drop them back off at the reoccupation.

Going back to the tactical question, within Occupy Homes, I've been told there is two wings, with one more leaning towards institutionalization as a nonprofit and the other ready to risk arrest and confrontations with the police. The latter wing seemed to highlight the numbers VS tactics thing by apparantly currently setting up lockdowns with concrete and chains to prevent the police from evicting but hadn't talked to the rest of the neighborhood at all about what is going on at that house.

Standing on the sidelines in all this are all the people who came to the original occupation or are interested in being involved, but do not want to have anything to do with the reoccupation (and what that represents) or Occupy Homes, which they see as less relevent to them or Minneapolis because we're in an urban area, where renting is seemingly way more common than owning your home.

Despite the specific situation here, I imagine the sideline group of people exist nearly everywhere. Basically...people who came to the original occupations, might have been radicalized, but there's nothing for them to do with what is actually left going on locally.

May 9 2012 10:28

Anarchist Federation speech at Manchester May Day ( despite attempt by Labour thug to silence it!!)

May 9 2012 12:43

Nottingham AF and other anarchists confront Sir Alan Meale, Labour MP at MayDay in Nottingham

May 9 2012 21:56
Harrison wrote:

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

God I fucking wish. (we could always just say it was me, I don't mind taking the credit). It is quickly becoming an SLSF staple though.

Crow, stop being a cretin. 'Oh if you support a cheap shot at a armed cop wearing armour, then you must also support murder or whatever ever such ludicrous equivalence I can think of'. if you want to carry this discussion on, why not start a thread about it? As it happens it is cluttering a pretty good roundup of May Day actions across the globe.

May 10 2012 00:59
Battlescarred wrote:
Anarchist Federation speech at Manchester May Day ( despite attempt by Labour thug to silence it!!)

"You've no right to be speaking here!" Wow, talk about missing the reason and history behind IWD. Lovely leftist "solidarity" shown there. The following video was great as well.

May 10 2012 04:23

Here is why I have no fucking sympathy for piggies

By all means, smash cops on the head with drums (or bricks, or rocks, or bottles, or lead pipes, or batons) when you can get away with it.

May 10 2012 06:14

More on the Manchester AF speech - pics, video at The Commune site

May 10 2012 06:21

The AWL's shitty take on the Nottingham events where they totally (and toadily) back Meale and Labour

Chilli Sauce
May 10 2012 09:58

^^What a fucking piss poor analysis from the AWL, again.

Has Notts AF done a writeup?

May 11 2012 09:12

On its way, I believe.

the button
May 11 2012 10:25
Arbeiten wrote:
Harrison wrote:

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

God I fucking wish. (we could always just say it was me, I don't mind taking the credit). It is quickly becoming an SLSF staple though.

IIRC, it emerged spontaneously at our picket of Catford Holland & Barrett. We had the words, which we were chanting. Then the collective realisation, "Hey, this would fit the tune of 'Iron Man,'" dawned on the picket, and the rest, as they say....

Arbeiten did help by shouting "I .... AM .... CHRIS.... GRAYLING," before someone else started drumming on their placard. FWIW, I'm trying to come up with words that fit the other riff in the song. So far I have:

Holland & Barrett/We won't work for fuck all

.... any input appreciated. smile

Chilli Sauce
May 11 2012 11:46

that is fucking amazing.

the button
May 11 2012 12:01

There's also "Like a virgin" ("Like a worker/Not getting paid for my time", etc) and "Fire" ("I am the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, and I bring you.... Workfare (do-dee-do)/Grinding you down"), but these are very much works in process, and haven't had the public exposure.

Although we have used both of them on pickets without any clear idea of where we were going with them. grin

May 11 2012 12:59
the button wrote:
"Fire" ("I am the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, and I bring you.... Workfare (do-dee-do)/Grinding you down"),

Oooooooh! I forgot about this one! This should have come out on may day. wall

May 11 2012 13:05

this is all definitely going to form inspiration for the Hull SF picket tomorrow

could try Paranoid as well:
'Finished with my placement, cause it couldn't help me get a job'
'People think i'm earning because i am working all the time'

the button
May 11 2012 13:21
Harrison wrote:
this is all definitely going to form inspiration for the Hull SF picket tomorrow

could try Paranoid as well:
'Finished with my placement, cause it couldn't help me get a job'
'People think i'm earning because i am working all the time'

Yeah, I'd toyed with Paranoid too, except mine started "Finished with my placement/Cos they wouldn't pay me for my time," so it would rhyme with "crime," but that's as far as I got. grin

May 12 2012 07:19

Anyway, back to the Nottingham events. Nottingham AF statements below (click on the link - first article is directly on page, click on the right hand column, second article link down for other article)

Caiman del Barrio
May 12 2012 14:28

"You were working stacking shelves in Tesco Express/for your JSA..."

cut to chorus of "DON'T YOU WANT TO PAY ME?"

Caiman del Barrio
May 12 2012 14:30

I spent about 3 hours in the pub last night adapting EVERY SINGLE song to an anti-Workfare chant. i'd totally forgotten Springsteen...

May 13 2012 16:53

"Greetings from your Sisters in South-Africa as we embark on a very important day today for each and every worker that are in the struggle for improving the lives and conditions of the working class especially the vulnerable groups such as farm workers. We want to thank you for your support and contribution in bringing change in the lives of farm workers and their families. SAC have supported our struggle since 2009 and changes happening because of your contribution. We want to tell our Comrades in Sweden we love you and that we believe together we can make a change as we have shown our strength and the impact we can achieve by just supporting one another. We salute you our comrades in Sweden and know that we love you and are screaming “solidarity forever” all the way from South Africa” "

Patricia Dyata, secretary-general of the south african farm workers' union Sikhula Sonke at 1 may in stockholm.

May 14 2012 15:17

Anti-authoritarians celebrate Mayday in Cuba:

Homespun Anti-capitalists

klas batalo
May 14 2012 16:45


your experiences speak to mine. most of the people in my city who want a reoccupation are the more new lumpen/suburban working poor elements plus a few loose footed leftists.

the non-profits, and unions have mostly given up on it, though the move on "99% solidarity" buses should be bringing people to NATO.

the ISO still has a lot of connections to occupy but are i feel looking towards something beyond occupation. the anarchists were mostly involved with may day stuff, and are now looking towards more of a what next/ continuing with our previous organizing.

i think may day showed you how much occupy alone, and anarchists/anti-capitalists could draw out. i think it actually showed our raw capacity without a bunch of media hysteria and spectacle.

Caiman del Barrio
May 14 2012 16:56
wojtek wrote:
Anti-authoritarians celebrate Mayday in Cuba:

Homespun Anti-capitalists

This was actually for the #12M mobilisations not Mayday. I've met/been in touch with a couple of them, not sure if they can all be termed 'anti-authoritarians', rather a heretogeneous, small group moving to the left of oficialismo in Cuba.

First person reportage on their blog here: