Ways to Plug-In and Protest This May Day, Despite the Shutdown

Indypendent Staff Apr 29, 2020

May Day, May Day, workers of the world unite! 

There’s lots going on this International Workers Day. Many groups are suggesting a variety of ways to perform a general or “people’s strike.” Rent strikes have been in the works since February, and there are plans for one big rent strike on May 1. Other groups are calling for a day of no shopping or, at the least, boycotts of big companies like Amazon or Instacart that are not providing enough PPE or hazard pay to their employees. There are also calls for workers to organize sick outs. Workers at Target and  Whole Foods and Columbia grad students are already planning on it.  

Here’s a list of events on and in the run-up to the holiday of rebellion. Solidarity, everybody.

INTERVIEW: Rent Strike and General Strike
Lauren Steiner interviews Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilmember, Peggy Perkins, NY Communities for Change, and Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson, about their efforts to facilitate rent strikes and a general strike during the opportune time afforded by this pandemic.
WHEN: Whenever

INTERVIEW: America’s Town Meeting of the Air: “Will The Demands of Organized Labor Promote Recovery?”
Recorded live at The Town Hall on June 14, 1935.
Moderator George V. Denny is joined by Sidney Hillman (Labor leader; President of Amalgamated Clothing Workings) and James A. Emery (Attorney and private counsel for National Association of Manufacturers) for a debate on the demands of the Labor movement and if they would aid in economic recovery.
WHEN: Fri May 1
3 p.m.

PROGRAM:Radical May To Transform The World
Across the month of May we will enjoy #RadicalMay, a varied and multilingual programme of round tables, talks and debates about the ideas that will transform the world to come. Check out this month-long event!
WHEN: May 2020

ACTION PLANNING: Mayday Mass Action Webinar
May 1st will see a coordinated series of actions and strikes across the United States and the world, part of a new path forward through the COVID crisis. This builds on a diverse, growing set of labor actions that have been taking place in response to these crisis conditions and the backdrop of an already-unacceptable status quo. This is your invitation to join us — and help this resistance become what it needs to be. Hosted by CoronaStrike and People’s Strike.
WHEN: Wed April 29
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

CELEBRATION: MAY DAY: Virtual Rally & Workers’ Power Celebration
Join the Mayday Space crew for a “Virtual Rally & Workers’ Power Celebration” to mark our namesake holiday and uplift collective action as the only real solution to the multiple planetary crises we all face.
WHEN: Fri May 1
6 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

CELEBRATION: May Day Bookstore’s May Day Festival
Delhi’s only leftist bookstore is hosting a day-long celebration of worker’s rights on May 1st, with performances from all over the world.
WHEN: Fri May 1, TBD

STRIKE: Columbia Work Strike
Hundreds of Columbia graduate workers are on strike to end university austerity. Demands: 1. $6k for every grad worker for the summer 2. Cancel rent in university housing. 3. Extend funding+time to degree by 1 yr. 4. Protect international students.
WHEN: Ongoing 

STRIKE: May Day General Strike: Whole Foods and Target
Whole Foods and Target workers are striking on May 1st. Support essential workers! Don’t cross the picket line! Boycott these companies. Check out the Whole Foods Sick Out Announcement and the Target Team Member Sick Out Pledge.
WHEN: Fri May 1

CARAVAN PROTEST: Caravan for Our Lives
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the US, the complete inadequacy of the US healthcare system and the failure of the government response is on full display. Essential workers are put at risk every day with low pay and without necessary protective gear. Widespread testing is unavailable. Millions without work face the prospect or rent bills they cannot pay and evictions to follow. Prisoners and migrants in detention centers are at particularly high risk of contracting COVID-19, as social distancing and basic sanitary measures are impossible under prison conditions. Billions are spent on war instead of addressing the pandemic. Governor Cuomo has refused support to undocumented migrants.
The caravan will follow social distancing and other safety protocols, and is in opposition to reactionary demonstrations over the past weeks that have demanded people return to work, a policy that would result in completely unnecessary mass infection and death. The caravan will show solidarity with hospital and transit workers, and lay the blame for the crisis where it belongs: at the doorsteps of Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Governor Cuomo and above all Wall Street.
For all these reasons we will mobilize as a car caravan on May Day, International Workers Day to demand the following and more: 

  • Hazard Pay & PPE for All Essential Workers
  • Money for Healthcare not War
  • Rent Suspension Now
  • COVID Testing for All
  • Free Them All
  • Relief Fund for Migrant Workers

WHEN: Fri May 1.
12 p.m.

PLEDGE: Housing Justice For All Rent Strike Pledge
Millions not paying rent doesn’t build power by itself; we only build power by making our individual actions public and collective! By joining this movement, we are making a coordinated demand for relief. Are you considering striking, but don’t know where to start? Read the Rent Strike Toolkit.
WHEN: Fri May 1–ongoing 

STORYTELLING: Invisibilized Workers Rise Up
Join Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and nail salon workers, street vendors, domestic workers, cab drivers, and other workers for an hour of storytelling on May Day.
WHEN:  Fri May 1
5 p.m.–6 p.m.

DISCUSSION: System in Crisis: A Working-Class Vision for the Future
What is our vision as the working class for a different future, one free from exploitation and corporate greed, and how do we organize to win it? May Day, international workers’ day, is a time to honor and celebrate the radical traditions of the labor movement. In the midst of the current crisis it is more important than ever to build on the militant legacy of May Day and organize a fighting, working-class resistance that demands a better world for us all.
WHEN: Fri May 1
5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
COST: Free/Donation. This event is a fundraiser for Haymarket Books and Labor Notes.  

CONFERENCE: Rethinking Immigration: Vision and Strategy for 2021 and Beyond
U.S. immigration policy is a longstanding political flashpoint, one that may be further inflamed by the coronavirus crisis.  The Rethinking Immmigration web conference will feature movement leaders, academics, and policy experts who will discuss the roots of the crisis we face, progressive immigration policy goals, and strategies to achieve those goals.
WHEN: Fri May 1
10 a.m.–9 p.m.

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