Click on the headline to link to Occupy Boston for reports and information on May Day in Boston 2012.
An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend All The Occupation Sites And All The Occupiers! Drop All Charges Against All Protesters Everywhere!
Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It, It’s Ours! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!
I have noted on several previous occasions (including in an article in the April 2012 “Boston Occupier, Number 7”) that due to the recent absence of serious left-wing political struggle (prior to the events at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square from October to December 2011anyway) that our tasks for May Day 2012 in Boston centered on reviving the international working class tradition beyond the limited observance by revolutionaries, radicals and, in recent years, immigrants. This effort would thus not be a one event, one year but require a number of years and that this year’s efforts was just a start. We have made that start.
The important thing this year was to bring Boston in line with the international movement, to have leftist militants and others see our struggles here as part of an international struggle even if our actions were, for now, more symbolic and educational than powerful blows at the imperial system. I believe, despite the bad weather and consequently smaller than anticipated numbers on May Day 2012, we achieved that aim. Through months of hard outreach, especially over the past several weeks as the day approached, we put out much propaganda and information about the events through the various media with which we have access. The message of this May Day, a day without the 99%, got a full hearing by people from the unions, immigrant communities, student milieu and other sectors like the women’s movement and GLBQT community. The connections and contacts made are valuable for our further efforts.
Some participants that spoke to me on May Day (and others who had expressed the same concerns on earlier occasions) believed that we had “bitten off more than we could chew,” by having an all-day series of events. While I am certainly open to hear criticism on the start time of the day’s events (7:00AM does stretch the imagination for night-owlish militants) the idea of several events starting with that early Financial District Block Party and continuing on with the 11:00 AM Anti-Capitalist March which fed into the noontime rally at Boston City Hall Plaza and then switching over to the immigrant community marches and rally capped off that evening by the sober, solemn and visually impression “Death Of Capitalism” funeral procession still seems right to me. Given our task –introducing (really re-introducing) May Day to a wider Boston audience we needed to provide a number of times and events where people could, consciously, contribute to the day’s celebration. Maybe some year our side will be able to call for a one event May Day mass rally (or better a general strike) but that is music for the future.
Needless to say, as occurs almost any time you have many events and a certain need to have them coordinated, there were some problems from
technical stuff like mic set-ups to someone forgetting something important, or not showing at the right time, etc. Growing pains. Nevertheless all the scheduled events happened, we had minimum hassles from the police, and a couple of events really stick out as exemplars for future May Days. The Anti-Capitalist March from Copley Square, mainly in a downpour, led by many young militants and which fed into the noontime City Hall rally was spirited and gave me hope that someday (someday soon, I hope) we are going to bring this imperial monster down. The already mentioned funeral procession was an extremely creative (and oft-forgotten by us) alternative way to get our message across outside the “normal” ham-handed, jack-booted political
Finally, a word or two on organization. The Occupy-May Day Coalition personnel base was too small, way too small even for our limited goals. We need outreach early (early next year) to get enough organizer-type people on board to push forward. More broadly on outreach I believe, and partially this was a function of being too small an organizing center, we spent too much time “preaching to the choir”-going to events, talking to people already politically convinced , talking among ourselves rather than get out into the broader political milieu. For next year (which will not be an election year) we really need union and community people (especially people of color) to “smooth” the way for us. We never got that one (although we want more than one ultimately) respected middle-level still militant union official or community organizer that people, working people, listen to and who would listen to us with his or her nod. Radical or bourgeois politics, down at the base, you still need the people that the people listen to. Forward to May Day 2013.