Occupy Wall Street has boldly called for a general strike of the 99 percent on May Day—May 1. “*No Work *No School *No Housework *No Shopping,” read the text approved by the OWS General Assembly. The action is scheduled to overlap with a day intended to call attention to the plight of immigrants. —ARK
Nathan Schneider at Waging Nonviolence:
The prospect of an Occupy general strike has been circulating for a while already. One of the several Facebook event pages devoted to it has more than 10,000 attendees. Occupy Los Angeles began calling for a May 1 general strike as early as last November, and Occupy Oakland joined at the end of January. Occupy Wall Street’s Direct Action group tried to take a strategic approach to the idea; though many of its members had little hesitation about calling for it, they took steps to ensure there was consultation, and therefore buy-in, among some of those whose participation would be vital. Since the beginning of the year, they’ve been holding twice-weekly meetings—with as many as 150 people crowded into a church or a union-office basement—which included labor organizers, immigrants’ rights groups, artists and anarchists.
Together, these stakeholders debated what a general strike could even mean in 2012, given the poor state of organized labor, and whether making such an ambitious call would turn into anything other than an embarrassment. “It has to happen on a huge enough scale that retaliation is unthinkable,” a person noted at one of the initial meetings on January 11. While one voice that night argued that “you use this tool to gain specific ends”—the tool of a general strike—another preferred to “not issue any demands, but rather take what is ours.” From these discussions, it was agreed that the more open-ended language of “a day without the 99 percent” should stand alongside that of “general strike.”