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May Day

Richmond IWW May Day Platform

By Joe Sabo - Richmond IWW, April 25, 2018

May Day in Richmond this year has been organized as a celebration of working people and worker’s power. We will meet at Abner Clay park in Richmond at 5pm for a people’s banquet, music, comradery and other awesome events! This celebration has been collectively organized by the Richmond chapters or Organizing for a Free Society, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Richmond IWW General membership branch.

The following platform was penned collectively by the various representatives of each of the aforementioned groups and has been approved via consensus:

May 1st is International Workers’ Day. Unlike other holidays, it is not a day to commemorate bloody wars for empire. It is not a day for shopping. May Day is a day for the vast majority of us who must labor for the profit of a tiny minority. May Day is a day without borders, where workers of all countries unite in celebration of our collective potential and power, recognizing the capitalist bosses and their state as our common enemy, and liberation as our common goal. May Day is a day to reconnect with a more sustainable form of existence, for workers to share in the abundant harvest that is the product of our collective social labor.

May Day is widely celebrated throughout the world with protests, boycotts, sabotage, and strikes against a system of exploitation: it is a day without work. May Day is not recognized as a holiday by the rulers of the USA, though it originates in our country. However, despite this lack of “official” recognition, working people have always celebrated May Day. Before the capitalists kicked the peasantry off the land and privatized every aspect of our lives, May Day was a day to celebrate the fertility and abundance of the earth with communal singing, dancing, loving, eating, and drinking.

After capitalism began to spread its reach throughout the world, May Day became a day of working class resistance: on May 4, 1886, immigrant workers in Chicago went on strike for the eight-hour day, better working conditions, and higher pay. In response, the government arrested and executed 7 working class activists – the Haymarket Martyrs – in 1887. Since then, anti-capitalist workers have chosen the 1st of May to commemorate and continue their struggle for liberation. On May Day 2006, when millions of immigrant workers went on strike against workplace injustice and racist immigration policies in the USA, we were once again reminded of the real spirit of May Day.

May Day 2018 is a day of struggle against fascism and imperialism, and a day of celebration to affirm the value of life against the killers of the earth. We mobilize on May Day against white supremacy and in defense of Black Lives, Muslims, immigrants, and all indigenous people and people of color. We mobilize on May Day against mass incarceration and in defense of prison abolition. We mobilize on May Day against heteropatriarchy and in defense of queer and trans lives and reproductive freedom. We mobilize on May Day against the capitalist exploitation of the working class, against slavery and unpaid labor, and against the destruction of our environment. We mobilize on May Day because another world is possible.

Our goal is to foster collaboration among the multiple autonomous organizations and projects operating in the city of Richmond, Virginia. We hope that May Day can be an opportunity for horizontal exchange of diverse ideas and experiences, and to form bonds based on common affinities and commitment to revolutionary struggle.

One Class, One Struggle! Undocumented and Documented Workers Unite on May Day

By Patrick O’Donoghue - The Organizer, May 1, 2017; crossposted from iww.org

A Day of Resistance!

Today is May Day, or as we in the labor movement call it, International Worker’s Day- a day of celebration and resistance for working class people. It is a day not only of looking forward to the future, but also remembering the lessons of the past. May Day commemorates the struggle of the Haymarket Martyrs, a group of labor organizers, most of them immigrants, executed in Chicago for their work in the Eight Hour Day movement. The Eight Hour Day was the first time that workers around the world joined together in one campaign, supporting each other’s strikes and protests around a single demand- reduce the work day to eight hours, without a cut in pay. The movement faced violence and arrests from governments, but eventually won in country after country. The eight hour day became the basic work day for workers across the countries where the movement fought, with victories across Europe, North and South America, Australia, Iran, Japan, and elsewhere. Over a century ago, workers realized the power we have when we refuse to be divided by borders, industry, or race.

This May Day is also the Day Without Immigrants. It is the latest in a wave of of day strike by immigrant workers- not only to protest wages and work conditions, but also to protest the Trump’s plans to increase deportations. Under the Trump’s ramping up of the Obama administration’s already record-breaking deportations, ICE has increasingly targeted previously protected DREAMers and other undocumented people not otherwise criminalized by the state. ICE raids are becoming more regular even in “Sanctuary Cities”, and more of our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends are being captured, torn from their homes, forced through over-crowded detention centers and courts without due process.

In the Twin Cities, many of the actions today are organized by CTUL, the workers center for low wage workers of color, especially immigrant workers. Even more of the walk outs and sick outs are “wildcat” actions organized on the shop floor between undocumented workers, without needing the go-ahead from a union or organizer.

By striking, these undocumented workers are showing how important they are to making the world run. How many restaurants are shut down today because the back end staff didn’t come in? How many landscapers and construction companies who rely on day laborerers are not making money today? How many farm fields aren’t being worked? Every day, undocumented immigrant workers do some of the toughest jobs in America, and the country starts to grind to a halt without immigrant workers. Deportations crackdowns have already left millions of dollars of produce to rot in the fields in Alabama, Georgia, and California as farmers dependent on exploiting undocumented workers can’t find Americans to work for as low as $10,000-$12,000 a year. The four industries with the most undocumented workforce- agriculture, cleaning and maintenance, construction, and food preparation and service- are all expecting labor shortages if Trump’s deportation plan is carried out. American companies and bosses need our immigrant fellow workers- but the administration and parts of the press try to tell workers who are citizens that undocumented workers are hurting American working standards. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Climate Movement to May Day Strikers: "We've Got Your Back"

By Deirdre Fulton - Common Dreams, April 27, 2017

Just as labor leaders are standing firmly behind this Saturday's national climate mobilization, the environmental movement has declared its support for workers who plan to strike as part of Monday's May Day demonstrations.

May 1st, International Workers Day, will see rallies, marches, and strikes around the country and the world; in the United States, acts of civil disobedience, work stoppages, and boycotts will target the Trump administration and support immigrants who have experienced an increase in raids and racist rhetoric since the election of President Donald Trump.

"May 1st is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States," said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson from Movimiento Cosecha, which is part of a coalition organizing the actions. "We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, the right to travel freely to visit our loved ones abroad, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect."

An open letter signed this week by more than 80 environmental and climate justice groups recognizes that these demands and those of green groups have many points of intersection. 

"Today, workers face unprecedented attacks on wages, benefits, workplace safety, and the right to organize free from fear and retaliation," reads the letter, whose signatories include 350.org, Greenpeace, Rising Tide North America, and the Sierra Club. "But we know that we are all stronger when workers in our communities have safe, fair, and dignified employment with which they can support their families without fear of deportation or violence."

What's more, the letter continues:

The effects of our fossil fuel economy fall first and worst on working class communities, communities of color, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples who have not only contributed the least to climate disruption, but have the least resources to shoulder the burden of a transition to a new, climate-friendly economy. It is these frontline communities who are also at the forefront of change and whose solutions and leadership we most need.

[...] As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color.

This language dovetails with that of Mary Kay Henry, international president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who declared Wednesday, "Every day SEIU members and our communities experience the impact of toxic pollution in our air and water and the catastrophic impacts from climate change that are made worse from this pollution."

Of Saturday's Peoples Climate March, Henry said: "We march because we are on the frontlines. As working people, people of color, and immigrants, we march because our families are disproportionately hardest hit by pollution and climate change's impacts. We march because as service and care workers we are on the frontlines of caring for and responding to impacted families and communities."

The letter from eco- and climate-justice groups calls on employers not to retaliate against workers who choose to go on strike, and pledges to defend workers who face retaliation.

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

By Climate Workers and Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project - Originally posted on Climate Workers, April 28, 2017

An Open Letter from Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations on May Day

Worker power, immigrant rights, and racial justice must be at the heart of environmental and climate movements

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we declare our support for protests planned for International Workers Day (“May Day”), May 1st, 2017 and for workers who choose to participate by honoring the general strike.

International Workers’ Day was first established to commemorate the deaths of workers fighting for the 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. It has long been a day to uplift the struggles, honor the sacrifices, and celebrate the triumphs of working people across the world. The day has taken special significance in the U.S. since May 1st, 2006 when 1.5 million immigrants and their allies took to the streets to protest racist immigration policies.

Today, workers face unprecedented attacks on wages, benefits, workplace safety, and the right to organize free from fear and retaliation. But we know that we are all stronger when workers in our communities have safe, fair, and dignified employment with which they can support their families without fear of deportation or violence.

The effects of our fossil fuel economy fall first and worst on working class communities, communities of color, immigrants, and indigenous peoples who have not only contributed the least to climate disruption, but have the least resources to shoulder the burden of a transition to a new, climate-friendly economy. It is these frontline communities who are also at the forefront of change and whose solutions and leadership we most need.

As organizations working to transition our economy away from profit-seeking resource extraction toward ecological resilience and economic democracy, we know that worker power has to be at the heart of that transition.

We urgently need the wisdom and skills of millions of workers to transform our food, water, waste, transit, and energy systems in order to live within the finite resources of this planet that we call home. But the Trump agenda only promises jobs building more prison cells, border walls, bombs, and oil pipelines. Workers deserve not only fair wages, but work that makes our ecosystems and communities more resilient, not destroys them.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. No significant social change in this country has come without tremendous risk and sacrifice by ordinary people – from workers who walk off the job to water protectors facing down water cannons and attack dogs.

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color.

To workers participating in protests on May 1st, we say: “Thank you. You deserve better. And we’ve got your back.”

To that end, we join with unions and worker-led organizations throughout the country in asking that there be NO RETALIATION against any worker – union or non union – who exercises their rights by taking time off from work on May 1. Further, should workers face retaliation, we pledge our strong support for efforts to defend those workers.

Momentum Builds for May Day Strikes

By Jonathan Rosenblum - Labor Notes, March 23, 2017

Shop steward Tomas Mejia sensed something was different when 600 janitors streamed into the Los Angeles union hall February 16—far more than for a regular membership meeting. Chanting “Huelga! Huelga!” (“Strike! Strike!”), they voted unanimously to strike on May Day.

This won’t be a strike against their employers. The janitors of SEIU United Service Workers West felt driven, Mejia says, “to strike with the community” against the raids, threats, and immigrant-bashing hate speech that the Trump administration has unleashed.

“The president is attacking our community,” said Mejia, a member of his union’s executive board. “Immigrants have helped form this country, we’ve contributed to its beauty, but the president is attacking us as criminal.”

Following the Los Angeles vote, union janitors elsewhere in California have also voted to “strike with the community” on May 1. As the meetings gathered steam, Mejia reports, workers in schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and farms started talking about joining the walkout too.

And the strike is going on the road: SEIU-USWW is partnering with the human rights group Global Exchange, worker centers, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, and faith groups to organize a “Caravan against Fear” that will tour California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in April, staging rallies, cultural events, direct action trainings, and community strike votes leading up to May Day.

May Day #ShutItDown Communique and Banner Drop Photos!

By x363464 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 29, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In preparation for May Day protests, a determined unionist dropped a banner early this morning reading "May Day #SHUTITDOWN!" at 17th and Broadway. This Banner was intentionally dropped near Latham Square, the site of the 1946 Oakland General Strike, in hopes to revive the tactic. We think it is the most effective tool for working class people to achieve their demands for a living wage, against police violence, and against austerity and gentrification. We hope to shut down the city this May Day to show the world that the workers are the ones that run the system and it is time to stop it's exploitation and stop the destruction of the working class, poor, and the planet we inhabit.

May Day ‪#‎SHUTITDOWN‬ Full Schedule and Posters!
https://maydayshutitdown.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/may-day-shutitdown-full-schedule-and-poster/

Share and invite your friends!

All around the world May Day has been a day for direct action, reclaiming the streets, speaking out against injustice. Systematic racism, police violence, environmental catastrophes, and economic inequality are some of the many oppressions that are destroying our lives and the planet we live on. May Day should always be the day to take it to the next level and #shutitdown. We cannot continue to live this way and May Day we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

EcoUnionist News #48

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 20, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

May Day:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Carbon Bubble:

Just Transition:

1267-Watch:

Bread and Roses:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

Radicalization of the May 1st 2015 Strike

By Quebec IWW - SITT-IWW, March 29, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

English Translation. Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici. 

A phantom haunts the province of Quebec. It is the phantom of the General Strike. Since 2012, our elites have known that the working class, the students, and all those who continue to decry injustice and repression have the power to take to the streets and impose their legitimacy in the face of the State. Despite this dread, the high-priests of capitalism, and especially those preaching its liberal vision, can not hold back from waging an open war against everything that isn’t merchandise, against everything that isn’t financially valuable. From budget cuts to over-arming police forces, and from underpaid jobs to public insults against the poor and the exploited, everything leads one to believe that Quebec is now the foreground of unbridled capitalism. This neo-liberal paradise, protected by the State and its minions, ruins our lives and those of our families and friends, quashes what little is left of our liberty, spits in the faces of those most hard on their luck and on the misery of its own creation.

We have long ceased to believe in the regulatory capacity of this system. By destroying itself, it will destroy us too. Each new day we are reminded of this programmed failure: environmental disasters, increased inequality, the deterioration of working conditions, institutional racism, systemic corruption of our political system, and harassment of women in their workplaces or at school. Generally speaking, it is all forms of domination that are dangerously increasing, pushing the most exploited and dominated to the breaking point, all in order to install our elites on a too-comfortable pedestal.

This is why we call the rebellious among us to insurrection. We hope that the spring will bring out the most angry, those who are disgusted at the system, in the streets and in actions. Because apathy just isn’t enough, we firmly believe in our common capacity to create a better world. More than a simple timely struggle against austerity, we see on the horizon the premises of a social war, of which the 2012 strike was only a beginning. Each government, left or right, has tried time and again to impose their rotten economic and societal concepts upon us. A single day of strikes is not enough to push back a government which dearly protects the financial assets of the most dominant in society. We believe that a global revolt of all society must emerge during the spring. This revolt must be planned on the long term: in Quebec as in Europe, there are too many recent examples that demonstrate the futility of punctual and singular actions against governments that are now used to and prepared for social discontent.

Against capitalism and liberalism, we reaffirm our right to manage our own lives, whether the people who rule us like it or not. Our daily lives belong to us, our cities too. We firmly believe that capitalism must be erased from Quebec. In this goal, we will always be in solidarity with those who struggle, and always at odds with those who remain resigned and prostrate. We will be alongside workers and students in their struggles, and we will oppose all police brutality with working class solidarity. In the streets, in our workplaces and schools, in our neighborhoods, we are here to struggle and help.

Let us not fear our utopias!

Let us dare to overthrow the established order!

It fuckin worked! A reportback from MayDay 2014 in Montréal

By the Stimulator - Coop Média de Montréal, May 2, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Another demo, another slaughter, another May Day, another kettle, some might say. "Not so!" say I! The media and naysayers have already rolled out the narrative that the SPVM and their SQ allies were in full control and managed to swiftly put down any attempt to take the streets during the anti-capitalist May Day demo. This is an account of what I witnessed and it's in no way a complete portrayal of what went down in the streets of Montr€€éal this 1st of May. I welcome corrections, additions and comments so that we can get a clearer picture of what went down, and so that we can further our analysis on how to re-take the streets.

The context: Following the five months of sustained social upheaval during the 2012 student strike, the powers-that-be dropped the gauntlet, a repressive law known as réglement(?) P-6 that gives the cops broad powers to mass-arrest people taking part in unpermitted marches. The police did not rigorously enforce P-6 during the first few months following the fizzling of the strike, but in 2013 and 2014, the Montréal police have successfully used it to detain and ticket over a thousand comrades with fines of $600+ dollars. The cops' preferred tactic of detainment is the kettle, basically bringing in enough police to round up protesters and create what amounts to a cop fence. Comrades are then processed on-site or at the cop shop, given a ticket, and released.

Chicago IWW Statement on May Day Arrests

Statement by the Chicago IWW - May 5, 2014

It is the official position of the Chicago branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) that the actions of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the marshals affiliated with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) at the May 1st March to Stop Deportations were grossly inappropriate and condemnable. In collusion with the CPD, these marshals singled out and physically restrained two activists, leading to their arrests. While the arrests occurred, the marshals attempted to surround and enclose members of the IWW’s Red and Black Brigade contingent of the march, blocking their freedom of movement. The marshals also directed other participants to move past the enclosed contingent, preventing the other marchers from showing solidarity with the arrestees.

Jose “Zé” Garcia and Anne Meredith Wooton, the activists arrested during the march, have the full support of the Chicago branch of the IWW. Zé was released without charges, and Anne Meredith is facing misdemeanor charges. Zé is an outspoken advocate against ICIRR’s reformist policies, and actively spreads awareness of their tactics against dissenters. They are currently in the midst of fighting their own deportation. These facts, along with witness testimonials, suggest that these arrests may have been politically motivated. ICIRR’s official statement is that it was not their intention for these arrests to occur, while SEIU has not, to our knowledge, commented on the incident.

The actions of the marshals enabled the arrests. It is important that public marches be open to all who wish to participate without fear of state harassment, repression, and persecution. Above all, no one should be singled out for arrest based on their residency status—especially at a march against deportations. Given the historical legacy of May Day, it is crucial that anti-authoritarian and dissenting voices not be silenced by the state or its collaborators. If organizers expect broad participation at marches in the future, they must ensure that marshals do not aid in arrests and that solidarity with anyone who may be arrested is allowed. The IWW will always stand by the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Zé has set up a GoFundMe page where you can read their personal account of the incident and donate to, in their own words, “help me fight my deportation so I can continue my fight against a brutal and illegitimate regime, my fight against the sellouts, my fight against EVERY deportation.”

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