This is it; the eve of the day that the Occupy movement has been prepping for since last winter. Occupy wants to use May Day to get their mojo back. As New York magazine’s headline sums it up: Occupy Wall Street Betting It All on May Day With Big Targets
Ever since the NYPD raided Zuccotti Park at the start of last winter, robbing Occupy Wall Street of its symoblic home and constant visibility, the movement has promised a resurgence. In the months that followed, the loosely structured movement against income inequality and corporate corruption mostly idled, popping up sometimes, but gradually losing its hold on national headlines. Still, organizers continued to hype a bigger and better second act and the mobilization of thousands more, all of which is supposed to come to fruition on Tuesday, May 1. With so much riding on one day, they better have a hell of a plan.
“May Day will be the big kickoff of phase 2 of Occupy,” one organizer told Mother Jones today. “I think we will see a lot of people in the streets taking more militant actions than they had in the past.” Although Occupy started by calling for a “general strike,” labor unions are not legally allowed to participate, and so the language has been somewhat altered. The event intentionally falls on International Workers Day, which is celebrated in countries worldwide, although not officially in the U.S. Occupy is putting their stamp on it by calling for “A Day Without the 99 Percent”: no work, no school, no housework, no shopping. So what’s everyone to do?
New York Magazine hints at the situation; May Day is test of two things for Occupy — the support of the Unions and whether the Black Bloc is too afraid to do anything.
First, it will be an indicator of the amount of mainstream union support and coordination that Occupy has. The unions, which are mostly public service unions dedicated to featherbedding taxpayer supported jobs, are crucial to Occupy — they provide astroturf crowds, organizational prowess and money. They also are the glue that binds the Occupy movement to the Obama administration.
Of course, the unions have their own agenda and many of the real Occupiers are suspicious of their involvement; too establishment. Their concerns are overridden by the close alliance that the unions have with the old Left ‘peace and justice’ types who are running things.
Expect to see big turnout on May Day, because that’s what the unions are good at. The media will portray it as a popular uprising and won’t point out the obvious astroturfing. Even then, look for inflated numbers.
The second thing to watch for is whether the Black Bloc make it’s presence known or are too afraid of the police to cause any real mischief. The mask wearing cowards know that the police are expecting shenanigans, so it will be interesting to see if they actually do anything beyond their usual bluster. If the Black Bloc is out in force, expect a long hot summer.
What’s in store? A quick look at webpages for key Occupy locales like New York or the Bay Area show that one of Occupy’s main tactics is to delay commuters. Why they think this is a good idea isn’t clear; it’s a guaranteed way to create a lot of public hatred for them, but that’s their plan, with direct actions aimed at shutting down Subways and the Golden Gate Bridge.
As for their stated goal of a general strike that stops work, school and everything else — they have made these calls before. It never seems to happen, and tomorrow is no exception. That’s because at the end of the day, the goals of the Occupy movement are un-American and, so far, Americans haven’t gone for it. There won’t be any sort of general strike. No revolution will be sparked. Instead, count on run of the mill marches, speeches and a bit of commuter chaos.
Don’t worry, though. You can also count on Occupy and the complicit media to consider that a big success.