May Day 2012: The Only Way Forward May be to Stop

The global demonstrations of May Day have long been ignored in America.  A day set  aside for the voice of workers has been replaced by a day, recognized four months later on the calendar, of sales, BBQ’s, and a time to stop wearing white pants.  The Occupy Movement, along with many others fighting on behalf of the 99%, seems bent on changing that in 2012.

Growing awareness of the plight of the workforce, decimated by the outsourcing of predatory capitalism, devalued by the union-busting of corporations, and impoverished by Wall Street greed, has awakened a sleeping giant.  When the fastest growing sector of the workforce is the unemployed and underemployed, Americans are waking up to the nightmare that has become their reality.

May Day provides a time for workers, and the middle class, to reflect on the common cause they share, and the combined power they have.  The vast majority of our planet has been convinced of their need to struggle, and to have to earn their right to survive, while creating profit for a very small, non-productive, elite minority.  This social conditioning, reinforced through our communities, schools, places of worship, and places of employment, needs to be challenged.  The power of the 99%, in solidarity, needs to be realized.

The greatest barrier to the emancipation of the workforce has always been the individual worker’s fear of acting solitary, rather than in solidarity, and being vulnerable as a result.  The courage to act is often insufficient to assuage the fear of acting alone.  Being alone, or part of a small number, creates the very real possibility of losing ones livelihood and failing to affect any change.  However, modern social media, instant communication, and the ability to organize en masse, has changed the rules of the game and shifted the odds in our favor.

The over-reach of the global financial elite; the increasing debt burden heaped on the shoulders of the middle and working class; the rising unemployment and underemployment; the lack of confidence in our corrupt government and corporate politicians; and the privatization of global resources, necessary services, and utilities, has created a very angry majority… and provided them with an undeniable, desperate motivation.  The advent of social media; the ability to organize across any distance; and the access to immediate communication, have provided the means to act on that motivation.

From Tahrir Square in Egypt, and the uprisings in Spain and Italy, to Madison, Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street, and the subsequent global phenomenon of the Occupy Movement, internet organizing and communication has been the catalyst for growth, and success. Spontaneous actions have quickly organized into mass demonstrations, and organized actions have developed the ability to have a substantial impact.  As citizens learn to use these tools more effectively, future actions are developing the potential to make real – more than just a campaign slogan – fundamental change.

May Day 2012 is shaping up to be such an action.  A day without the 99% is becoming a reality.

National conference calls, internet discussions, and planning meetings among labor activists, community organizers, Occupiers, student organizations, advocates for the unemployed, immigrant rights groups, fair housing supporters, as well as a host of other civil rights and human rights defenders, have sparked a campaign to mobilize Americans, and join the rest of the world in raising their voices against the injustice imposed on all of us.  Global events now include almost two dozen scheduled for major American cities.

We enable and legitimize the system that exploits us through our daily acquiescence and  participation.  We give it power.  We have surrendered to economic apartheid.  It’s time to fight back.  It’s time to realize our collective strength.  It’s time to exercise that power.  It’s time to move forward, and, in order to do that, it means that we have to stop, even for just one day.


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