Warehouse E

May Day!
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Global May Day Strike Of Protest

By James Donahue

The posters have been appearing all over the web promoting a May 1 General Strike. The idea was hatched among the Occupy Wall Street people after they were driven by police from New York’s Zuccotti Park. Now occupy groups all over the nation, also facing confrontations with police in black riot gear, are picking up on the idea.

The call for a general strike picked up steam after police violently broke up a St. Patrick’s Day peaceful march and demonstration by occupy protesters back to Zuccotti Park and arrested 73 people. Several dozen activists later joined members of the New York City Council to complain about police tactics.

While there have been skeptics . . . critics suggesting that the movement is too disorganized to pull such a widespread event off . . . the occupy organizers have been mobilizing for months toward the May 1 strike. The connections through such mobile communication devices as Twitter and Facebook are buzzing with messages.

They are encouraging people to stay out of work and school, stay out of stores and refuse to spend money. In sort, everybody is taking a quiet holiday from everything on May Day.

Some voices on Facebook are suggesting that the May 1 strike go global . . . that everybody everywhere stay home from their jobs and whatever they are doing, and stop spending money for that one day.

Another more radical suggestion calls for a worldwide run on the banks.

Can they get enough people behind the movement to make an impact? Obviously there will be a block of blind souls out there . . . the kind that call themselves Tea Partyists and Conservatives . . . that will conduct business as usual and may even go out of their way to do more than normal business than usual on May 1.

And so far, the labor unions do not seem to be getting behind the idea. Without them, the strike will be somewhat hollow.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said the Occupy Wall Street group has not been working with the unions “nor are the unions working with them in a serious way. And it is the wrong strategy.”

But this is mid-April and planners still have a few weeks left to work out the bugs. And as black-booted police in riot gear stir more and more violence amid the mobs of peaceful protesters emerging for spring demonstrations, the call for the May 1 strike appears to already be getting even louder.

Last November in Oakland a daylong general strike brought abut a five-hour protest at the city’s port. Also in solidarity, hundreds of Oakland teachers skipped school forcing the school to close. Demonstrations of support sprang up that same day in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.

Can the occupy movement pull off a one-day strike on May 1? We think it can. And we think a day of that kind of national or even global protest might be just what the fat cats and sold-out politicians in their ivory towers need to see.

After all, the workers . . . the people who work on the assembly lines, clerk the stores, teach the children, flip the hamburgers and drive the cabs and subway trains . . . are the real backbone of American business and industry. If they can walk off their jobs and stand up against the banks and a government now operating out of control . . . if only for a single day, they might just send a powerful message.