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News :: Labor : Organizing
Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
02 May 2005
SUNDAY, May 1st- A rainy May Day kept many marchers away but a small and jubilant crowd of celebrants gathered for a march called by BAAM in downtown Boston. (http://baamboston.org/)

To the peal of a bugle call, marchers waving Anarcho-syndicalist Black and Red flags, beating on plastic drums, and chanting took to the streets. The crowd left the Boston Common, wound around the public garden, and enthusiastically sounded out chants down Newbury.

Along the way standers-by were handed informative, well written flyers about the history of May Day and the Haymarket Martyrs. One group of men, looking haggard and dusty from a morning’s work, read the flyers intently while waiting for a bus. They each admitted it was the first time they had ever heard of the international labor day.
Others, who did not come close enough to get the flyers, were left curious. One Ms. LaMarche, who stood by to watch the spectacle near Emerson College, almost guessed it, “May day, I know… I know it’s something, but I can’t remember, what is it?”

After passing through the crowd of chanting anarchists, a group of kids carried a stack of May Day flyers and handed them out to everyone they saw in pure imitation. When asked if they knew what they were doing, they replied, “No!” in unison. When asked if they knew what people were marching for, one offered, “Is it because they don’t want to work?” Needless to say, those kids suddenly found themselves in an urgently needed history class.

Police seem to have given in to rallies on May Day. In years past as few as 20 revelers have taken to the streets with no problems, at other times hundreds have shown up making an impressive spectacle. Even when this year’s march halted and about faced to avoid a construction crane, no effort to curtail or guide the march was made. In contrast to the recent March 20th anti-war protest where they pushed a protestor and sparked a short melee and four arrests, police were well behaved.

At the end of Newbury St., near the Hynes convention center the marchers thoughtfully disbanded so that many among them could attend the Immigrants rally without bringing a big crowd of cops along. Towards the end of that event, some of the same anti-capitalist marchers, many from NEFAC (http://www.nefac.net/) helped break down the stage and load it onto waiting trucks.

(Pictures will follow soon)

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day
03 May 2005
If this is about solidarity shining through, why is the immigrants' rally a mere footnote told entirely in terms of how folks from the anti-capitalist march participated? I think that it's great that folks were careful and strategic about not bringing cops, and it's cool that folks helped break down the stage. But why is there no mention of the many immigrant voices that were at the rally, organized it, etc?
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
That's because nothing really happened at the rally. Immigrant voices, as always, were manipulated and betrayed by white liberal groups like "Mass Global Action," which have cozied up to Menino and the churches instead of providing resources to immigrant workers to organize themselves. At the anti-capitalist march, by contrast, people were speaking for themselves, including many immigrant voices there too! That was the real story of May Day this year.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
can't we have solidarity on a story about solidarity. what about the ole diversity of tactics line?
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
word to diversity of tactics and solidarity, but that doesn't mean we aren't free to criticize each other.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
I have to say that the one cop at the front had to be the nicest police man ever. I don't know if that's why he was specifically chosen to escort us, but indeed he was smiling half the time and seemed to be having a great time himself. Maybe we can request him next time too!

Also I loved the fact that the PD was kind enough to provide six horses for our parade. Not just that but the police riding them were courteously dressed all in black in solidarity. If you add the police presence, and include the horses, we most certainly numbered at least a hundred. :)

In all seriousness though, the cop at the front was cool, and the others at least were not mean. This is not meant as an endorsement of the BPD, but to point out that cops and activists can coexist, and need not be portrayed as mortal enemies as papers like the Herald are wont to do. Let's hope we also impressed upon them that anarchists are not bomb-throwing hooligans bent on wanton destruction...
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
"Immigrant voices, as always, were manipulated and betrayed by white liberal groups like "Mass Global Action," "

And MIRA, and the Brazilian Workers Center, and IUIR, etc.... oh wait.

Umm, seriously, I think you're giving MGA a bit too much credit in organizing this and determining how things went, and you seem to be implying that everyone involved in the movement who isn't "white" and "liberal" is a completely gullible dupe who's had no say in the matter. While it's good to critique cooperation with the state and so on, your description really doesn't do anything besides show how far removed from the immigrant rights movement you are.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
Yeah, it's just the same old story, over and overa again... a vibrant, militant, mass social movement being captured and absorbed by the left wing of capitalism. I talked with a couple kids (I think they were Haitian or something?) who said that the evangelical church group they came with had originally wanted to hook up with the anticapitalist march, but as a condition of having Menino speak, MGA had to ask all the groups who were participating to stick entirely to legal tactics. The hardest thing about it was that you could see how much they'd been yearning to get out and raise a ruckus (one of them even showed me a black bandana she wanted to wear across her face), but when it came down to it they were just resigned to basically saying "well, the organizers probably know what's best strategically..."
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
I took one look at copley plaza and all I could think was "Spanish revolution all over again."
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
Another reason for legal tactics might have been that many of the rallying points had to do with undocumented immigrants. duh.

Criticizing with knowledge is one thing, but its hard to have a leg to stand on when you weren't involved in the pulling together of all these groups, you can't pull the same crowd, and you haven't any evidence that illegal tactics actually produce results for immigrant communities.

For protest, civil disobedience, and direct action to work you need massive numbers of people. And by 'work' I mean actaully improve daily life and conditions for immigrants. You can't blame these groups for taking the legislation road when they do occasionally get results.
Solidarity disapates on indymedia
03 May 2005
MGA is comprised of a multi-racial group of committed radicals. "Oh Please" may disagree with their strategy, but it's rude to post false claims anonyomously on the net about a group which has gone out of its way to make bridges between Boston's often segregated activist groups.

Hammy claims that the immigrant rally "captured and absorbed" a "vibrant, militant, mass social movement". What mass social movement are you talking about? The anti-capitalist march which decided to attend the rally, or the immigrant movement which is made up of the very groups which sponsored the rally? While it's unfortunate that the kids from the evangelical church you talked with felt dissuaded from attending the anti-capitalist march, I doubt that was MGA's intention.

Sunday I saw nothing but solidarity between activists of various movements and beliefs. Congrats to all who participated. Lets see if we can spread this contagion of solidarity and respect to IMC as well.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
hear hear mk. why not focus on the positive, like the fact that so many people's pre-mayday concerns about people messing up each others' demos were totally unfounded? personally i'm happy to have been involved in the much more fun anti-cap march. if we keep up the energy, i think we'll go far in convincing the more sheepish to join us in less packaged and scripted demos.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
I think Oh Please works for BAAM.

I spoke with Jason Pramas after the event and asked him what is up with Tree Monkey's big tirade against MGA. He said he didn't really know there was one. Apparently this disgruntled Cambridge person is player hating.

I think Jason deserves credit for organizing a stage for people to stand on and a PA system to use. Also Vibewise was a hit.

I will never cease to be amazed how people who were essentially hiding at the far back of the event complained before and after the event that someone else organized it, and that this person is a better organizer from Cambridge. It's petty.
Report, and link 'the Red & Green of May Day"
03 May 2005
http://slash.autonomedia.org/print.pl?sid=02/05/02/1029240

Plenty of the May Day marchers also showed up to support the immigrants Rights rally. I thought this year's unpermitted march was strong, festive, and not as safe as it looked, given recent events. About 70 people, drums, flags, and great banners. Disarm The State. One friend looked back, and was surprised at the amount of cops. At one point, we passed the giant sign, 'Thank You Walkers", at the Walk for Hunger. (it's nice to be appreciated)

Above, is a link to Peter Linebaugh's "Red and Green of Mayday" pamphlet. (minus the original's Solidarity of Labor graphics, etc).

Also, here's another article about class war and resistance, Mayday and the Magna Carta.
http://www.counterpunch.org/linebaugh05032005.html

p.s. TROLLS -- DON'T FEED ONE -- DON'T BE ONE
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
03 May 2005
I've noticed that Tree Monkey tends to take any disagreement or criticism as an attack on BAAM and anarchists in general--even when it comes from other anarchists (like Pramas). I've learned that his claims other groups have attacked BAAM need to be taken with many grains of salt, although I don't know the specifics of this case. I'd really like to hear both sides of the story--Tree Monkey's and Pramas'. Don't know if they'll post it here.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
04 May 2005
i personally thought that the police were better than they have been before, but i didn't think they were that great. there was an enormous police presence and i thought that cop at the front was a real jerk. sure each cop isn't our enemy, but the system of police is an enemy.
also, to "me"... works for BAAM? right, cause people work for BAAM... i think it's lame to let people like menino speak at such rallies, because he's terrible for labor and isn't great for immigrants. it's may day, he has no place there.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
04 May 2005
Pardon my kindness for saying that someone "works for BAAM." there are a number of things I could have said which would have insinuated that what they do is not properly called work. You should not try to blow everything out of proportion. BAAM is getting a rep for being hysterical.

Nonetheless, what really matters is passive aggression by the multitudinous factions that I enumerated above.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
05 May 2005
Hope someone - somewhere- mentioned that the Haymarket Martyrs ( after all this was Mayday) were not only anarchists - but with the exception of Albert Parsons, all immigrant workers.

Just thought I'd mention it.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
06 May 2005
I don't get why chose to march so close to the most upscale shopping district?

Easier to have a nice lunch and go shopping
afterwards?

AND

Farnsworth Billington:
"Let's hope we also impressed upon them that anarchists are not bomb-throwing hooligans bent on wanton destruction..."

Anarcho-Liberal? LOL!!!
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
08 May 2005
Pramas an anarchist?
Please. He is a manipulative, arrogant, control freak. Maybe he calls himself an anarchist. Lot's of people do.

And just a sidenote, claiming MGA is run by Immigrants, people of Color, and Radicals and then having Pramas cited as the lead oganizer leaves this reader unconvinced...

And Menino? Has he stood up to homeland security and profiling, detentions and special registration against Arabs, South Asians and Muslims? Or was this rally more intended for the "non-terrorist" immigrants.
Re: Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
10 May 2005
Unfortunately I can think of several good examples of anarchists who are "manipulative, arrogant, control freaks."

But honestly, "laugh," if you're that upset, you should look into the coalition that ran this protest. Believe it or not it wasn't Pramas and a bunch of little Pramases following his bidding.