On May 1, 2012, two weeks from now, cities across the United States and elsewhere will see a new dimension of the Occupy movement: a general strike. Whether it achieves its ends—and those vary from city to city—depends a great deal on one’s view of the Occupy movement itself.
Natasha Lennard writes:
Of the many questions that the Occupy movement faces before its May 1 general strike, the most important may be who exactly will be striking. Due in part to restrictive U.S. strike laws, organized labor has not endorsed the action. And many of the protesters from which the Occupy movement has drawn its energy are the under- and unemployed who have been victimized most by the economy—people who are not exactly in a great position to withhold their labor.
That’s where the Precarious and Service Workers Assemblies come in. These groups have been popping up around the country to try to forge links between unorganized laborers with tenuous employment. Last month, the first such meeting in New York drew 60 some people from an odd mix of professions—writers, adjunct professors, bar backs, dog walkers, baristas, sex workers, movers and designers. Despite their very different backgrounds, they discussed the one thing they all shared: a precarious earning situation. This was more than just an occasion to share their fears. It was, as the event invitation noted, an organizing platform to “engage together in upcoming actions like the May Day General Strike.” [...]
No one is working under the impression that May Day in New York will resemble the general strikes of 1946, for example, or even contemporary general strikes elsewhere, like last week in Spain, when two powerful unions called a general strike and 3 million people took to the streets. [...]
However, questions still remain about the specific challenges facing different precarious workers who might be interested in involving themselves in May Day. How, for example, can someone leave work or call in sick for the day if they know they will be fired and lack a union to defend them? Or, how might someone strike if they work flexibly and don’t need to turn up to an office that day anyway? And how do unemployed people strike at all?
All these questions rely on a traditional notion of strike (withdrawing labor as leverage against an employer) or even general strike (that the majority of workers in a country or region walk off the job in solidarity with each other). Occupy organizers, though, are planning a very different type of general strike. Calls include a consumer strike (“No Shopping! No Banking!”), student debt strikes, school walkouts, a data strike (leave the smartphone at home), slow work days and, of course, calls to take the streets. The idea is that, given the variety and vulnerability of working situations, there’s no one catch-all way to strike—so a strike will need to have many diverse elements if it is going to be general.
From Occupy Wall Street:
On May 1st, 2012, we are creating a new kind of holiday—A People’s Holiday—One that’s not just yet another flavor of consumerism, but is explicitly about imagining a world beyond consumerism.
We ask you to do one of two things to commemorate this day:
Don’t like what you do? Don’t do it. Take one day to do something you love, instead.
Love what you do? Do it for free. Take it to the next level, and bring it to the public.
This is what it means to strike today. Join us, as we imagine another way of living.
These General Assemblies, the non-hierarchical, consensus-governed bodies that make decisions for each Occupy organization, have approved May 1 strike activities:
Occupy Atlanta, GA • Occupy Albany, NY • Occupy Amherst, MA • Occupy Baltimore, MD • Occupy Bellingham, WA • Occupy Boston, MA • Occupy Bozeman, MT • Occupy Brooklyn, NY • Occupy Buffalo, NY • Occupy Burlington, VT • Occupy Bushwick, NY • Occupy Chicago, IL • Occupy Cleveland, OH • Occupy Dayton, OH • Occupy Delaware • Occupy Detroit, MI • Occupy Durango, CO • Occupy Ft. Lauderdale, FL• Occupy Fullerton, CA • Occupy Honolulu, HI • Occupy Huntington, WV • Occupy Indiana • • Occupy Irvine, CA • Occupy Las Vegas, NV • Occupy Long Beach, CA • Occupy Long Island, NY • Occupy Los Angeles, CA • Media Consortium • Occupy Melbourne, AU • Occupy Miami, FL • Occupy Minneapolis/Twin Cities, MN • Occupy Mira Monte, CA • Occupy Naples, FL • Occupy New Jersey • Occupy Oakland, CA • Occupy Ottawa, ON, Canada • Occupy Oxnard, CA • Occupy Pasadena, CA • Occupy Philadelphia, PA • Occupy Phoenix, AZ • Occupy Portland, OR • Occupy Providence, RI • Occupy Richmond, VA • Occupy Riverside, CA • Occupy San Diego, CA • Occupy San Fernando Valley, CA • Occupy San Jose, CA • Occupy Santa Cruz, CA • Occupy Schenectady, NY • Occupy Seattle, WA • Occupy St. Louis, MO • Occupy Sydney, AU • Occupy Tacoma, WA • Occupy Tampa, FL • Occupy Venice, CA • Occupy Ventura, CA • Occupy Washington, D.C. • Occupy Williamsburg, NY • Occupy Wall Street
You can also check out DKos Occupy May Day.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007:
Sure, all the news reports are coming out today on the various presidential candidates and their quarterly FEC filings, but one of the nice things is that you don’t have to depend on all that to find the information of interest to you. The law required Presidential and House candidates to file these reports electronically by April 15, and they are all available to you,right now, to do your own sleuthing and reporting.
Here is the link to the FEC’s website. If you want to find all the Presidentials, just select “presidential” for committee type, and “APR Quarterly” for the report. Or just type in a name of a Presidential or House candidate.
Click on “view” next to the report filed on 4/15/2007, and you’ll see something like this, with a summary chart and a list of links. (We’ll stick with Sen. Biden as an example.) There, you’ll easily see lines like “10. Cash on Hand at CLOSE of the Reporting Period” and line 17(a), “Contributions (other than loans) From: Individuals/Persons Other than Political Committees”. That’s all the individual contributions.