Occupy Wall Street movement calls for a nationwide General Strike in the USA on May Day
By Special Correspondent
The Occupy Wall Street movement, in the USA, has called for a nationwide strike in the country on May 1st. Called A Day Without the 99%, the movement has urged workers, students, immigrants, union members, and the unemployed across the country to shut down the US economy for a day. The call which originated from Occupy Los Angeles quickly found echoes around the Occupy movement in the country.
The MayDayNYC.org, which serves as a national planning hub has urged people of America to show the world what happens when the 99% doesn’t show up for work. “This May Day, Occupy Wall Street, in coalition with numerous other organizations and occupations, calls for a Day Without The 99%: No Work, No School, No Shopping, No Housework, No Compliance. Let’s take the streets, reclaim our communities, and support each other. NOT the 1%.
“If you can’t strike call in sick. If you can’t call in sick hold a slow down. We know how to shut it down because we’re the ones that prop it up,” says the website.
There are several websites set up by supporters across US. “By general strike, we mean everyone from all walks of life halting their role in producing, consuming, and participating within the current system. We invite workers, unemployed, undocumented, students, and everyone to join,” says occupywallst.org.
In Los Angeles, the Occupy movement is organizing a People’s Power Car and Bike Caravan through the urban sprawl of the city on May Day. “After a day of actions and outreach that cripples capitalism in the city, Occupy Los Angeles will be hosting a special General Assembly at 7PM at Pershing Square. We will show those who claim power, where the true power lies — in our dedication to talking with each other and empowering ourselves to solve our own problems, the problems of the 99%,” says the Occupy Los Angeles website
In 2006, the country had seen a nation-wide strike of immigrant workers – “a day without an immigrant.”
Last year in November, Occupy Oakland’s had called for a general strike to support the port workers and protest against police action. But prior to this, the last general strike the country had seen was in 1946 when USA witnessed no less than eight General Strikes. In 1947, US Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act which prohibited political and solidarity strikes.
The history of celebrating the first of May as the International Workers Day, (decided in 1889) was to honor the historical eight-hour working day general strike in Chicago, USA. The journey to that day began in May 1, 1867 in Illinois when the law proclaiming eight hour day was to take effect. The companies however ignored the law and the struggle had continued into a general strike in the city which was brutally quelled by state militia.
Two decades later, the workers were still fighting for the law to be effected. In 1886, the Chicago Central Labor Union called for a strike on May 1st. May 3rd witnessed the death of six striking workers at the hands of the police at McCormick Works. May 4rth saw the brutal killings of workers in a public meeting at Haymarket.The leaders of the movement were arrested and executed by hanging.
In 1889, the Second International, an organisation of socialist and labour parties passed a resolution to celebrate May 1st as the International Workers Day.