May Day 2009
Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.
I am back home, footsore, throatsore, exhausted and happy. The marcha was awesome. I hope there will be some pictures and some video soon. Unfortunately it leaves me absolutely no time at all to prepare one of my usual May Day orations. In its place, I offer you this, from my 2006 May Day post, which I made at the beginning of the current explosion of the immigration freedom movement. I hope that it offers some idea of what this day for LIBERTAD and SOLIDARIDAD SIN FRONTERAS is all about.
May Day is and ought to be a Day of Resistance, of defiance against the arrogance and exploitation of the bosses — whether corporate or political. A day to celebrate workers’ struggles for dignity, and for freedom, through organizing in their own self-interest, through agitating and exhorting for solidarity, and through free acts of worker-led direct action to achieve their goals. So what a real joy it is to see May Day 2006 honored through general strikes across the country, demanding freedom and respect for immigrant workers…
Of course, there’s no actualextortioninvolved in refusing to work for a day; workers are not your servants, not even immigrant workers, and declining to freely give their work for a day is not forcing you to give up anything that was yours to begin with. But you’re damned right that this is about confrontation, and you’re damned right that it’s about defying the law.
You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. … One may well ask:How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are unjust laws. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine thatAn unjust law is no law at all.
— Martin Luther King Jr. (1963-04-16): Letter from Birmingham Jail
And it is an unjust law: neither you nor the government has any right to commandeer the lives and livelihoods of innocent workers to satisfy your Law-and-Order hang-ups, or your theo-national power trip. …
What we are witnessing today, and have been witnessing for the past few weeks, is nothing less than an explosively growing freedom movement. A freedom movement bringing millions into the streets, bringing together labor militancy and internationalism. And it is being done in defiance of the violence of La Migra, the bullying bigotry of the nativist creeps, and the condescending hand-wringing of thesympatheticpoliticos. It is exactly what May Day was made for. And exactly what the kind of creeps behind theLoyalty Daysof the world — whether state-communist or state-capitalist — fear the most: ordinary people standing together, celebrating together, free, happy, irreverant, and unafraid.
There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!
–Last words of August Spies (1887-11-11), immigrant, anarchist, and Haymarket martyr
Happy May Day, y’all.
Roderick T. Long /#
Spies’ other great line:
Though nowadays it might sound too much like Stormfront.