May Day, an international day of celebration and protest, saw scores of workers take to the streets in cities around the world.
In New York City, the crux of the Occupy Wall Street movement here in America, thousands of workers — representing hundreds of different nationalities, industries and age groups — marched, spoke, demonstrated and shared knowledge with fellow members of the 99% in hopes that 2012 will finally be the year when corruption and social injustice will finally be exposed in America.
Yes, there were some who showed up at the rallies and marches with nothing more than violence and vandalism on their minds. They carried out their malicious deeds with no support from the majority of Occupiers who participated in the General Strike. Yes, as we saw in Seattle and Oakland, there were arrests, as police watched protesters like hawks, waiting for just one toe to slip out of line. In some cases, protesters were kettled suddenly and arrested en masse, with no idea what they had done wrong.
We must remember, this is a leaderless movement of the people: there are no rules, except a constant call for nonviolence and compassion. There will be those who heed the call, and those who don’t. Peaceful occupiers have no ability to control the actions of those who wish to put their own safety, and the validity of the movement at risk by becoming violent. They will face their own consequences, and the peaceful, productive work of the larger movement will continue.
Most importantly, May Day 2012 reminded the 1% that we are still here, we are still disgusted by their greed, and we will continue to fight for a society where people are treated with respect, regardless of their color, beliefs or economic status. We will continue to demand that our rights be honored, that our poor be cared for and that our children be guaranteed a future in which they can thrive — not merely exist to serve the rich and more powerful.
Did you participate in a May Day event this week? Please share your experience in the comments!