Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Day 2012 Afterthoughts

Personally, I'm rather glad that I and several other members of the local Occupy movement were given the opportunity to become involved with the planning of the May Day march this year. While I've been involved tangentially in the  past, this is  the first time that I've taken part in the actual planning and execution of the march from beginning to end. It was a lot of work and at times stressful, but the end result was well worth it.

As an Anarchist and someone who has been intimately involved in the fight for labor rights, May Day is a very important holiday for me in its own right. However, anyone that is genuinely interested in the professed ideals of the Occupy movements is or should become aware of the ways in which racism, homophobia, sexism, and nationalism are used to divide and set us against each other and to keep us fighting our fellow workers, with whom we actually have the most in common with, instead of uniting as the singular people that we truly are to eliminate abuses throughout the workplace and beyond.

Immigration laws and the police powers that the scare tactics associated with them bring, absolutely are an injury to all, even if the initial and most visible injury is perpetrated against a small minority. The undocumented worker that is blackmailed into accepting inferior pay and working conditions is also used as a threat against non-immigrant workers who dare to ask for better working conditions and pay for themselves. It's a vicious cycle that ultimately benefits no-one excepts the bosses.

Similarly, the cops in riot gear that we all witnessed tearing down Occupation tents, arresting, and abusing peaceful protesters were funded by budgets inflated through border controls and drug war justifications that primarily target minority communities with devastating effect. The creeping militarization of police starts at the borders, but it doesn't end there. Anyone that believes in the right to protest for basic human rights and common dignity needs to be in the fight, even if they haven't personally been affected by it yet.

May Day 2012 was a great success and I feel like Occupy Las Vegas brought several new and fun wrinkles to the march without distracting from the larger issues and goals of previous years. I hope that the other participants agree with that assessment and look forward to any other opportunities that might come along in which it would be appropriate for Occupiers to collaborate with UCIR, MEChA de UNLV, and the other groups/individuals who organized this important event.