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The only thing workers of the world, documented and undocumented, have to unite about is their chains. Across the globe, unemployment has skyrocketed. In the United States benefits and working conditions, wages and job security have been being attacked for decades with no end in sight. Then someone had a crazy idea to put up some tents near Wall Street, branding the idea with a picture of a ballerina perched on a bull.


A few short months later, in the depths of a figurative and literal winter, Occupy Los Angeles put out the call for a 'General Strike' of organized workers, precarious workers, immigrant workers, students, the unemployed, and everyone else in the ninty-nine percent. To take place on May 1st, May Day, International Workers' Day and Immigrants' Rights Day.

In just a few days, the actualization of this call will take place. Not, let us be clear, as the term "General Strike" used to be defined in days of yore -- back before the Taft-Hartley Act when labor unions could actually strike in support of their comrades and seriously threaten economic disruption. No, a new definition has been declared -- that of the ninty-nine percent coming together in mass action, regardless of their affiliations or lack thereof, to protest their collective exploitation by the one percent.

No one knows what will happen on May 1st. It could be the biggest demonstration of its kind since May Day, 2006 when hundreds of thousands came out in support of immigrants' rights. Or not. However it ultimately comes down, it's going to be interesting.


In New York City

... more than 100 activist groups, labor unions and other progressive organizations have pledged to participate in the rally and march. Rhadames Rivera, vice president of the SEIU Local 1199, told Downtown Express Monday that more than 12,000 union members are signed up to participate, and that number was likely to grow dramatically throughout the week.
Beyond that, high school students will be walking out of their classes. The City University of New York will be having a day of action. There will be a Wildcat March. There is talk of shutting down bridges and tunnels.

In Oakland, California, the call has gone out for the entire Bay Area to converge on the Fruitvale Bart Station and proceed to Oscar Grant Plaza for what is being called The March for Dignity and Resistance.

... communities from across the Bay Area will unite in Oakland... in a regional march for Dignity and Resistance... From San Jose to San Francisco to Santa Rosa to Sacramento to Stockton, we are inviting all workers, employed and unemployed, paid and unpaid, to join us...

Oakland has been a key site of resistance, from the vibrancy of recent struggles to the legacy of the Black Panthers and 1946 General Strike... This May Day we are therefore calling on forces from around the Bay Area to converge on Oakland for a massive show of solidarity, to celebrate our Resistance and lay claim to our Dignity.

Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Franciso are planning additional events throughout the day.

There are definitive plans for strikes in the Bay Area.

Northern California RNs will strike eight Sutter corporation hospitals Tuesday, May 1... Among the many concession demands at various Sutter hospitals:
  Huge increases in nurses' out-of-pocket costs for health coverage for themselves and family members.
  Eliminating all health coverage for nurses who work less than 30 hours per week.
There are not yet definitive actions which have rumors flying... possibly shutting down the Golden Gate Bridge for a time in an event that might go down in history along with other shutdowns of the span. Or maybe not.

Over the past year over 380 workers from 19 unions have been in tense negotiations with the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District... the workers current contract expired in July of 2011. Negotiations have stalled because the Bridge Board of Directors is currently taking an ideological position against providing quality affordable healthcare for workers with families...

Therefore on May 1st, International Workers Day, The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition is calling for a mass rally at the Golden Gate Bridge in order to unite with community members, other unions and the Occupy movement to show the Bridge Board that we are willing to stand up for our families, our healthcare and our jobs.

And there are strikes that hang by a thread.
Office buildings around the Bay Area may be facing a strike early next week by janitors and the sticking point is the cost of health care...

 5,000 janitors in the Bay Area and 10,000 more in Los Angeles say they're facing tough negotiations for a new contract... The union says the main issue is a $3,000 deductible for health care for individuals and $6,000 for families... The existing contract expires Monday at midnight and the union says it's prepared to go on strike early Tuesday morning.

Across the country, from Anchorage, Alaska to Miami, from Honolulu to Portland, Maine over 125 cities are participating in Occupy May Day events.

May Day is celebrated worldwide, but there will be little rejoicing in most corners of the globe:

Nearly one Spaniard in four is unemployed.

Greeks go to the polls on May 6th, at a time of unprecedented economic and political crisis. Unemployment is more than 20 per cent, and an austerity programme agreed with the EU and IMF for a second bailout has seen sharp tax hikes and deep wage cuts.

The U.K. slipped into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s.

From 1953 until 2010, Japan's Unemployment Rate averaged 2.60... The unemployment rate in Japan was last reported at 4.5 percent in March of 2012.

Is there hope?

Despite Paul Krugman's protestations, austerity measures continue to cripple the economies of many countries. There is little desire to try any other path on the part of our current gaggle of elected officials, joined as they are by the hip to people who think the untold misery of the sick, the unemployed and underpaid is preferable to a 0.1% increase in deficits or inflation.

No, what hope there is comes from the spark that the Occupy movement lit on September 17th, 2011, which itself sprang from the flame of  hundreds of thousands out in the streets in places like Tahrir Square, Barcelona, the United Kingdom, and Wisconsin.

By showing that real resistance is not necessarily futile; that their is no natural law that says that the one percent have to steal more and more of the world's wealth while the rest of us eke out survival from what's left; that if you make enough noise, for long enough, banksters and politicians may just be sufficiently scared to stop a foreclosure or two and tweak a tax rate or three; that unions and the rest of us do not have to play by the rules designed by the one percent to given them perpetual control over everything, we see that


another world is possible.

Or a revolution may be inevitable.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, SFKossacks, Dailykos Kossacks For Action, and Progressive Policy Zone.

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