Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Observations from the Edge 5.1.1

I jumped ahead of a large march heading towards Washington Square Park so I could stop in at the apartment and grab some fresh batteries. There are three large marches moving in different parts of the city including the huge "guitar army march" led by Tom Morello that is marching from Bryant Park to Union Square, right through the heart of Manhattan.

I wanted to get back to the Fox News piece I saw this morning. The theme of the studio chat was that shutting things down is not how Democracy works, that strikes are counter productive. Well I beg to differ because if a worker hasn't the right to strike what right does she have? The right to quit? Mass strikes have happened repeatedly in American history, a small history lesson.

In 1877, during a deep depression and the destruction of trade unions, workers shut down the country’s railroads, factories in major cities, and battled police and militias. They were only stopped when the US Army killed more than a hundred participants.

In 1886, more than 500,000 joined a May 1st strike for the eight-hour day. The movement was broken by a reign of terror that followed a police attack that is usually referred to as the “Haymarket Riot.”  May Day became a labor holiday in honor of the “Haymarket Martyrs” who were tried by a judge so prejudiced against them that their execution has often been referred to as judicial murder.

More recently, in 1970, during the Vietnam War protests, the civil rights movement, and a widespread cultural rebellion, postal workers, teamsters, and others took part in a wave of wildcat strikes, while miners held a month long political strike in West Virginia to successfully demand justice for victims of black lung disease.

For the record, I happen to have an uncle who just happens to be a local union officer but I'm still fair and balanced.

Observations from the Edge 5.1

May Day arrived rainy and fairly quiet but as the weather cleared some things began to get a bit more interesting. If nothing else the morning gave us the return of the scooter cop posse and steel cattle chute barricades everywhere in the city. New York, it's a tourist friendly town.

Fox News did report this morning in which they scolded the Occupy movement for trying to rejuvenate itself at the expense of "normal" Americans. I think I saw their normal Americans huddled at the upper floor windows of the Chase Building while the entrance of the temporarily closed building was shielded by barricades and a phalanx of NYPD's finest. Fox opened its report with video of Stalinist era Soviet Mayday Parades and hinted that today's movement was communist inspired. As a public service here is a partial list of non-communist endorsements the general strike organizers received.

AFSCME DC37, AFSCME DC 1707, AFSCME CSEA Region 2, AFSCME Local 371 (SSEU), AFSCME Local 372 DC 37, AFSCME Local 375 DC 37, AFSCME DC 37 Retirees Association, AFT - PSC/CUNY, American Federation of Musicians Local 802, Anakbayan NY/NJ, Answer Coalition, BAYAN-USA, Brandworkers, CentroGuatemalteco Tecun Uman, Coalition for a District Alternative, Coalition for Public Education (CPE), Committees of Correspondence, Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, Community Farmworker AllianceCSEA 1000, CWA District 1, CWA Local 1180, CWA Local 31003 The New York Newspaper Guild,
NABET-CWA Local 16, Domestic Workers United, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Freedom Socialist Party, Frente Unido de Inmigrantes Ecuatorianos, GABRIELA USA, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition, Green Party of NYC, Green Party of NYS, Guyanese American Workers United, Honduras USA Resistencia, IBT Joint Council 16, IBT Local 808, IBT Local 814, IBT Local 210, IBT Local 272, Immigrant Workers Movement, Immigrant Solidarity Network, Industrial Union Council New Jersey, International Action Center, International League of Peoples Struggle, International Migrants Alliance, International Socialist Organization, Jersey City Peace Movement, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Jornaleros Unidos de Woodside, Kurland Group, Labor Network for Sustainability, La Fuente, La Pena del Bronx, Labor for Palestine, Left Labor Project, LIUNA Local 10, LIUNA Local 78, LIUNA Local 79, Long Island Workplace Project, Make the Road New York, May 1st Coalition, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), National Domestic Workers Alliance, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, National Immigrant Solidarity Network, New York Broadcast Trades Council, New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, New York City Labor Against the War, New York City LCLAA, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), New York Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, New York Communities for Change, New York Immigration Coalition, New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, Workers United, New York Taxi Workers Alliance,  NYS Nurses Association, Occupy Sunset Park, Occupy Wall Street, Operation Power, Organization of Staff Analysts, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, Philippine Forum, Radical Women, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, Retail Action Project, School of Americas Watch (SOA Watch), SEIU 32BJ, Senegalese Workers Association, Sisa Pakari Cultural & Labor Center, Take Back the Future TWU Local 100, UAW Region 9A, UAW Local 1981 National Writers Union, UNITE HERE Local 100, United Federation of Teachers, United NY, Veterans for Peace Chapter 3 NYC, Workers United, SEIU, Workers World Party, Writers Guild of America.