Happy May Day! Mourn, celebrate and organize!

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lagatta
Happy May Day! Mourn, celebrate and organize!

Happy May Day, International Workers' Day to one and all! And yes, that includes people out of a job, injured workers, those retired and otherwise not actively working. We remember the Haymarket martyrs of Chicago http://rabble.ca/babble/news-rest-us/mayday-look-back and all the other martyrs of working-class struggles throughout the world.

We also celebrate our victories. And not only organize unions as we always have, but struggle to find new ways of organizing in a worldwide labour market which is more and more precarious and means more and more of us in "atypical" or precarious work.

Here in Québec, there is a call for "Grève sociale", social strike, with many actions to spotlight and unify a broad range of demands by unions, popular associations and social movements.

Unionist

Over 400 organizations are holding actions of every kind imaginable. The CÉGEP teachers in Sherbrooke are defying the decision of the Commission des relations du travail and holding an "illegal" strike today. Students are holding anti-austerity initiatives. FTQ workers are slowing down traffic this morning on some autoroutes.

It's a beautiful day. Everything is changing!

 

lagatta

More from here:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/activist-toolkit/2015/04/on-may-1st-join...

Just hearing on Radio-Canada that CÉGEP Rosemont and evidently CÉGEP St-Jérôme have called off classes, between student and faculty protests.

The coalition site: http://nonauxhausses.org/

So many events! 

https://grevecontrelausterite.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/actions-et-manife... I'll probably take part in the "family" march this afternoon. I do have to work today (freelance, eh?) so I can't spend the whole day demonstrating.

onlinediscountanvils

Peter Cole: [url=http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17894/may_day_police_brutality]On May Day, Longshore Workers Stop Work to Protest Racist Police Brutality[/url]

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Happy May Day to you all. I hope you will understand that I am reserving a little of my celebratory mood for Tuesday - I am beginning to think that Cinqo de mayo may have particular significance this year.Smile

duncan cameron

May Day in Paris is a special memory. Les muguets (liiys of the valley) are worn and widely available. Cafés are open, but not all. Some restaurants stay open, ethnic mostly, but most businesses are closed. The book sellers along La Seine are open. Taking the left bank side, walking the river, and browsing books in the stalls was my favorite way to spend the afternoon. Spring is in full bloom by May Day. 

The significance of the day is marked by the spirit of sharing flowers, and with widespread holidays for workers.

Enjoy the day one and all, as we remember what international solidarity with working people is all about on every day.

NDPP

Techno-Financial Capital and Genocide of the Poorest of the Poor  -  by James Petras

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/05/techno-financial-capital-and-genocide-...

"...While workers in the First World cannot even register these 'facts' under their own noses, let alone express any form of solidarity..."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Whose streets? Our Streets! Massive May Day Street Party

Estimates vary to as high as a 15,000-30,000 turnout last night for a take back the streets May Day event that had Vancouver Police seriously outnumbered. The VPD tried to set up containment lines as soon as the crowd moved onto Commercial Drive around 10pm. They managed to push and shove a number of people and pepper spray a few more, but couldn't contain the crowd.

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/whose-streets-our-streets-massive-ma...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Montreal event was brutally tear gassed by police. Children were tear gassed.

Startling images CBC

Unionist

ikosmos wrote:

The Montreal event was brutally tear gassed by police. Children were tear gassed.

Startling images CBC

These fascists will pay one day. Soon.

Meanwhile, teachers at 9 CEGEPs defied the Commission des relations de travail ruling declaring strikes illegal, and they "paralysed" their schools yesterday. The Minister of Education has said they will be "punished". Tear gas, probably.

lagatta

The only reason I didn't get teargassed was because my arthritis was too bad, even though I was walking my bicycle. I had to leave before we hit Sherbrooke (top of the slope to the city centre and old Montreal, for non-Montrealers) and cycle back home. Some of my friends got a bit but fortunately none of them were among the most affected. The police could see that families were there with small children, and seniors. It was an utterly unthreatening "family" march from Jarry into the centre.

Ironically, the police were all wearing their protest camouflage trousers and many had on "red squares" about their own contract demands.

 

Unionist

lagatta wrote:

Ironically, the police were all wearing their protest camouflage trousers and many had on "red squares" about their own contract demands.

I don't think it's "ironic" at all. Police are just doing what they're told. It's not "ironic" either when workers in the arms industry demonstrate against war. Somehow, the real culprits always get away with murder.

 

Slumberjack

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Manifestations et actions surprises partout au Québec

Le 1er mai a pris une couleur particulière au Québec cette année et, plutôt qu'une traditionnelle grande marche pour les travailleurs, ce sont de nombreuses manifestations de plus petits groupes et des gestes d'éclat qui ont été organisés à Montréal, à Québec et dans toutes les régions.

Et cette Journée internationale des travailleurs déborde des seules questions de conditions de travail pour aborder plus largement les questions de justice sociale, de choix politiques et de ce que les nombreux manifestants ont qualifié de «politiques d'austérité du gouvernement Couillard».

À Montréal, ces «actions surprises» ont été entre autres l'occupation d'une tour de la Banque Nationale dès 8 h au centre-ville.

Et avant cela, c'est le chantier de construction du futur Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) qui avait reçu la visite de manifestants.

Peu après 8 h, un autre groupe de manifestants a bloqué les nombreuses entrées du Centre de commerce mondial, dans lequel plusieurs ministères ont des bureaux. Les policiers se sont vite placés devant ces entrées pour en libérer l'accès pour ceux qui voulaient entrer au travail....

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/201505/01/01-4866045-manifestations-et...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Nice to see some of the labour friendly media today make reference to Labour Day as a "bosses' holiday" in reference to the anti-May Day campaign - when they could not obliterate all working class celebrations - that saw the creation of Labour Day as a boss-approved labour holiday.

May Day is the real Labour Day.

lagatta

While I agree, there is nothing wrong with labour unions using any chance they get to put forth their demands and speak out against the bosses.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Why the real Labour Day is May 1.

Quote:
Tracing Labor Day’s conservative roots, we’re reminded that the holiday was established in 1894, by President Grover Cleveland “as a way to de-escalate class tension following the Pullman Strike, during which as many as ninety workers were gunned down by thousands of US Marshals serving at the pleasure of railway tycoon George Pullman, one of the time’s most hated industrial barons.”..... Labor Day marks our historic defeat, not our triumph.

 

lagatta

I decided to bump last year's thread, which has some very interesting comments, and the Couillard government's austarity push - and opposition to it - go on unabated.

One development is the emergence of the $15 demand, throughout North America. Here in Montréal, as the holiday falls on a Sunday, it will get underway at 1p.m. at Parc Lafontaine, and march to Parc Jeanne-Mance beneath Mont-Royal. Not a very long walk. There will also be an "anticapitalist" march in the evening (as opposed to the main union and popular group sponsored event) but info on that wil come out just before it gets underway.

In the meantime, today is La fête du croissant, and croissants are $1 apiece at participating bakeries.

The mild winter meant that the muguet (lily of the valley) has emerged in time for May Day. In France, it is traditional to offer sprigs of it (and other spring flowers), as Duncan Cameron has related upthread. Often it comes out a bit later here.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In the Village I live in we celebrate May Day with a Parade and a Bean Dinner. The bean dinner is a longstanding tradition in honour of a historic Miner's Strike and the food they had to eat. My wife and her sister are at the hall now making the beans.

Quote:

May 1, 2016

International Workers Day and May Day are celebrated in Cumberland with an old fashioned community bean supper featuring a tasty plate of working class food; biscuits, baked beans and slaw!

Share a meal with friends and enjoy live music by Gordon Carter, a reading of scenes from ‘The Ballad of Ginger Goodwin’ by playwright Elaine Avila, directed by the accomplished, Nanaimo based Gerri Hemphill, drinks from Cumberland Brewing Co, stories, photos, and more.

...

Also on May 1 – Bring your banners, costumes, picket and protests signs and join in the Cumberland May Day parade: a joyous, radical celebration of all working people and those who struggle for a better world.  Gather at the village square at 5pm. The parade will move west along Dunsmuir to the parking lot behind the Museum. From there, you’ll have a chance to get your seats for the annual Bean Supper.

http://www.cumberlandmuseum.ca/events/workers-day-bean-supper/

lagatta

That is great. When I was in Amsterdam, the International Institute of Social History showed us their vast collections, not only books, leaflets and other publications, but also things like banners from workers' movements in many countries. Miners have an especially rich history of those, as often it was an entire town or village turning out.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Our Village still celebrates its rich labour history especially the murder of the anti-war, socialist, union organizer Ginger Goodwin who was murdered prompting the first general strike in Canada. Here is a picture of his funeral procession down the main street. The street looks very similar still and it will be the place for tomorrows May Day parade. Our little museum has more labour history on display than arguably any other similar museum in the country.

Quote:

The 1918 Vancouver General Strike was the first general strike in Canadian history and was held 2 August 1918. It was organized as a one-day political protest against the killing of draft evader and labour activist Albert "Ginger" Goodwin, who had called for a general strike in the event that any worker was drafted against their will. The strike was met with violence from returned soldiers who had been mobilized and supplied with vehicles to storm the Labour Temple at 411 Dunsmuir Street.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_Vancouver_general_strike

NDPP

Fewer than half of workers in the GTA and Hamilton are in permanent, full time jobs with benefits. And this precariat majority is growing. Happy May Day...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

That ii so true. Has there ever been a time when the majority of workers had full time jobs with benefits?

 

lagatta

I doubt it. What has changed is the undoing of the great victories of the industrial unions in the last century, when for the first time workers in steel, auto and other core industries finally earned a decdent wage and enjoyed some job security. Then post-WW2 (here in Québec, starting with the so-called "Quiet Revolution", but even more in the great general strike of 1972, many public sector workers also achieved such benefits. There have always been many, many ill-paid jobs, but now the precariat is really becoming the norm, even among highly-educated workers.

kropotkin, nice town!

May Day here was not spectacular - a few thousand people - a few years back we were 100,000 here, from throughout Québec, even some workers flying in from the Far North and Far East and taking heroic bus journeys - but it was a good ambiance and above all fuelled by the push for "minimum 15$" and pretty much all the union leaderships have signed on, as well as community groups including those specifically defending low-paid, non-unionised workers.

I actually arrived a bit late and found the demo on avenue du Mont-Royal - these marches never leave on time, but I think they took of at 1p.m. sharp as it was starting to drizzle. It had taken me longer to wash my hair than I thought... damned tangles. There were a lot of people leafleting about minimum 15...

Unionist

lagatta wrote:
It had taken me longer to wash my hair than I thought... damned tangles. 

My sympathies. Because, as they say: It aches, too, to tangle.

 

lagatta

More than anything else, it is a sign that I really need a haircut.

Too bad Péladeau didn't stand down before the march; a lot of people would have had a good laugh.