May Day is an international day of celebration to honor the labor movement. This year the Occupy movement has made a call for mass action—the May First General Strike (#M1GS): a day with out the 99%. Several cities have organized in solidarity with this call to action (see a growing list at the bottom of this post). A general strike is a way to build and demonstrate the power of the people. It’s a way to show this is a system that only exists because we allow it to. If we can withdraw from the system for one day we can use that day to build community and mutual aid. We can find aspiration and faith—not in any leaders or bosses but in each other and in ourselves.
If you are inspired by the day of action but don’t live near any organized events you can still take part. If you can’t strike, take the first step. We can work to shift the balance of power back into the hands of the people little by little in our everyday lives.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
1. Move Your Money: If you haven’t already, May Day is as good as any to move your money out of a national, corporate bank into a local bank or credit union. Support your local community and break up the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks that threaten our economic system. Learn more about moving your money here: www.moveyourmoneyproject.org
2. Have a Potluck: Share a meal with others and and talk about subsided agriculture and factory farming or make a meal with friends to serve to local homeless people a la Food Not Bombs.
3. Start a Personal/Community Garden: On May Day, start or pledge to start a personal or community garden. Growing our own food means independence from corporate farms. This is one more way to take your self out of a system bent on keeping us complacent.
4. Have a Free Store/Fair: Get together and share your unwanted items with others. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You could be helping someone who was about to go out and buy a (fill in your item here) anyway.
5. Ride your bike to work/carpool with friends: Ride your bike or arrange a carpool to work. When you do this you are lessening our country’s dependency on outdated, unclean energies.
6. Screen a Movie: Invite your friends or neighbors over to watch a documentary. After, have a discussion about how it relates to your values or the ideas of Occupy. You can watch political documentaries online at the following links for free:
7. Have a Skill Share: Give a free class to share your skills and knowledge. This could be as simple as giving a knitting demonstration or as complex as teaching someone a new language.
We have the power in our hands to change the course of our day to day realities if we are willing to participate and reach out to our neighbors and communities. In the words of Steven Biko, ”the greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Big business should not be in control of us, we are the many and they are the few.
We’d love to hear how you are planning to take part on this day of action. Please email your stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share them!
Find a nearby city with planned actions:
New York City, New York (http://maydaynyc.org/)
Los Angeles, California (http://www.occupymay1st.org)
Chicago, Illinois (http://occupychi.org/press/blog/2012/04/09/may-1-chicago-spring-mayday)
Denver, Colorado (http://occupydenver.org/mayday)
Phoenix, Arizona (https://www.facebook.com/events/381021661918003/)
Houston, Texas (https://www.facebook.com/events/204095203038238/)
Colorado Springs, Colorado (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colorado-Springs-Colorado/106270412737566)
Tucson, Arizona (https://www.facebook.com/events/279858558762880/)
Binghamton, New York (https://www.facebook.com/events/376669119029394/)
Boise, Idaho (https://www.facebook.com/events/360314060673941/)
San Antonio, Texas (https://www.facebook.com/events/214648721966010/)
Portland, Maine (https://www.facebook.com/events/339498516097708/)
Fort Wayne, Indiana (https://www.facebook.com/events/210492185718392/)
Columbia, Missouri (https://www.facebook.com/events/427509747274620/)
Seattle, Washington (https://www.facebook.com/events/367319329957786/)
Daytona Beach, Florida (https://www.facebook.com/events/283622265042365/)
Cincinnati, Ohio (https://www.facebook.com/events/124910487626652/)
Detroit, Michigan (https://www.facebook.com/events/133920430061332/)
*this is a growing, incomplete list