Listen to the Episode — 44 min
REBEL GIRL: May 3, 2018: General strike in Puerto Rico, right-wing reaction to May Day on the West Coast, an interview about May Day in Paris, and much more on this May Day round up episode of…
The Hotwire. A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker. With me, the Rebel Girl. A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast. You can subscribe to The Hotwire on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can listen to us through the anarchist podcast network Channel Zero, or on your radio’s dial in… Eugene, Oregon every Sunday at noon on KEPW 97.3, Fairbanks, Alaska Saturday mornings at 9 on KWRK 90.9 and in Tacoma, Washington every Friday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1. Every Hotwire is radio ready, and in our shownotes you can download a twenty-nine and a half minute version of this episode for standard radio timeslots. If there’s a story or upcoming event you’d like us to include in a future Hotwire, just hit us up at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. Next week’s May 9 episode will be our last for the season. If you want more Hotwire in the fall, we’ll have a listener survey that you can fill out it with next week’s episode’s shownotes so you can let us know how the show can best serve you.
And now for the headlines…
While workers, immigrants, prisoners, anarchists, and the oppressed of all kinds demonstrated or celebrated on May Day, we were digging digging digging for all the stories we could find, and to be honest—we just couldn’t get it all. There were dozens of actions in the US, 70 cities in Spain alone saw demonstrations, and reports are coming in from all over the world. But we’re still proud of this roundup we have for you, which we think features the best highlights of what went down on the 131st year since the Haymarket Martyrs were executed.
Also, we just want to say that while we were trawling for the best and the rest of May Day reports, we kept coming up against the stupidest of internet censors. Twitter and YouTube kept telling us certain content might contain “possible offensive content,” when it was literally nothing more than a photo of anarchists in Bangladesh holding a flag and teaching a class, or another of an anti-fascist rally in Union Square, New York City, in 1933. This is the new censorship, where perhaps who makes the media is now decentralized, but who hosts that media will determine what gets through. In case you didn’t catch it, for May Day we released a very special episode with the best of anarchist news reporting over the last few centuries, and between that and the BS censorship we kept running into on May Day, we just want to drive home how important supporting anarchist media projects is. So big thanks to everyone with a website who covered May Day actions and everyone who submitted their reports to us directly. On the streets or on the interwebs, let’s talk to each other directly and bypass their filters.
Ok, NOW for the headlines…
In Santiago, Chile, two marches stepped off from Plaza Los Heroes. Looking at their routes on a map, the reformist march headed right, while the combative and class-conscious march headed, well, left. The metaphor was not lost on us! The combative march ended in front of the University of Chile, a historic site of resistance, where the crowd enjoyed speakers and musicians… that is until police water cannons came and broke it all up. Well, not all of it—a ska band continued to play from the stage and cheer on the people hurling stones at police tanks and erecting barricades in the streets.
In the northeastern region of Sylhet, Bangladesh, anarcho-syndicalists held a march in the countryside and held a teach-in on anarchism with local youth.
One report from Tehran, Iran, states that seven were arrested while thousands of “workers, retirees, and other deprived members of society” demonstrated against the government, chanting, “Arrested workers should be freed,” “Bread, housing, freedom, are our inalienable rights,” and “Death to oppressor, hail to the workers.”
Police attacked demonstrations in at least three other parts of Iran.
In Sri Lanka, thousands of workers defied a government order postponing May Day due to a Buddhist festival on April 29 and 30. The government wanted to defer the rallies for up to a week, but workers and farmers from as far as 100 miles away gathered anyway.
In Bandung, Indonesia, an anarchist black bloc of at least five hundred people marched behind a banner with a circle-a and a heart that translates to “destroy capitalism,” spraypainted the streets, and sang anti-authoritarian songs.
But at other demonstrations throughout Indonesia, solidarity with anarchists seemed to be a four-letter word.
In Jakarta, a squad of the reformist Confederation of All Indonesian Workers’ Union attacked anarchists in the streets. Obviously, however, they don’t represent all of Indonesia’s workers. Those attacked were comrades of the Persaudaraan Pekerja Anarko-Sindikalis group, who quickly denounced the attacks from, and this might not be a perfect translation, “rancid bastards from a yellow union” aligned with the “bourgeois opposition.”
In Yogyakarta, anarchists and students in black bloc held the streets outside a local university. Behind makeshift barricades, they held cops back with fireworks and took advantage of the relaxed temporary autonomous zone to politely practice their Molotov-throwing skills against an apparent police substation…that is until another crowd on the streets, some with red flags, attacked them and aided in handing some of the anti-authoritarian students over to police. No big surprise that the [same union]( https://kumparan.com/tugujogja/kspsi-merasa-dirugikan-atas-demonstrasi-rusuh-di-simpang-tiga-uin-yogyakarta) that attacked anarchists in Jakarta also denounced the black bloc in Yogyakarta and described May Day events there as, “marred by the anarchy.” Again…perhaps not a perfect translation.
While the heat got turned up in Paris and Indonesia this year, many parts of the world observed a somewhat traditional level of confrontation.
In Turkey, thousands of workers’ groups, anarchists, and Kurdish youth did what they have done for the past four decades—tried to beat the police and reach Taksim Square, the historic site of resistance in the heart of Istanbul.
In the capitol of the Phillipines, demonstrators burned an enormous and demonic looking effigy of the president.
Anarchists threw stones and Molotov cocktails at riot police outside the Polytechnic University in Athens, Greece—another historic site of resistance since the 1970s.
In cities and towns across the Spanish state, like Mataro, Granada, and Vallés, not to mention Barcelona, the syndicalist CNT held marches and rallies against exploitation and for workers’ self-determination.
In Warsaw, Poland, anti-fascists successfully blocked an attempted march by neo-Nazis intent on co-opting May Day under the slogan “National Workers’ Day.” Despite being aided by police, who dismantled barricades, the Nazi marchers eventually gave up.
During the syndicalist May Day demonstration in Gothenburg, Sweden three Nazis tired to interrupt the event but were swiftly chased away by antifascists. One of the Nazis were left behind by his comrades was sent to hospital. No antifascists were arrested and continued to celebrate the heritage of workers struggle.
In Manchester, England, McDonald’s workers went on strike at the stroke of midnight for a 10-pound hourly living wage.
August Spies and the gang were rolling in their graves during the state sponsored May Day celebrations that took place in Havana, Cuba; Caracas, Venezuela; and in other countries this year as a way to rally support for their self-described leftist governments. In Havana, loudspeakers blared “These are Fidel’s and Raul’s people, and today Diaz-Canel’s people,” referring to the island’s newly chosen leader. In Caracas, pro-government unions rallied for President Maduro’s re-election.
In Nicaragua, however, no May Day events took place Tuesday—despite the presidency of Daniel Ortega, the leader of the 1979 socialist Sandinista revolution. For the last month, Ortega has faced a people’s movement in the streets over a proposed restructuring of the social security program there. After weeks of protests and occupations and dozens dead, the reform was scrapped. Neither the government nor pro-government unions called for any May Day events in the streets this year. However, the day was called for as a day of mourning to honor those who have died in the last few weeks of revolt. The day before May Day, members of the Sandinista Youth removed white crosses from a site of mourning, so on Tuesday people planted them back in the ground and occupied the into the evening in order to defend it.
Leftist governments and trade unions were not the only forces trying to obscure the anarchist heritage of May Day, the capitalist media got in on the fun too! The Washington Post ran the headline that “anarchists crash May Day rally in Paris.” Seriously, wtf. How can anarchists crash an anarchist demonstration on a day founded to memorialize martyred anarchists?
In more recent memory, 50 years ago, May in Paris brought about a month-long joyous, anarchic uprising that nearly toppled the state. While that hasn’t happened (yet) this year, Paris was once again the site of spectacular acts of resistance to capitalism and the state. Being frank, there was a lot of smashy smash. In extremely recent memory, the attacks on La ZAD signaled to radicals across France and Europe the need to show the French government that autonomous zones and realms of self-determination will be defended.
We caught up with someone on the ground to hear about what exactly went down in Paris.
PARISIAN: Hi. I’m just one of the thousands of individuals who took part of the festivities of this very special May Day in Paris, France. Of course, this is a short, personal and non-exhaustive account of these events. Anyway, after long hours spent in the streets, the least I can say is: What a day. What made the 2018 edition so special was of course the 50th anniversary of May Day 1968, the so-called revolution, that saw massive demonstrations, general strikes, as well as occupations of universities and factories across France. We all have in mind these images of riots, barricades, and intense confrontations where students threw cobblestones at police forces in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The thing is, like, for several weeks now, authorities, politicians and mainstream media have been talking about or commemorating this past cultural and social revolution that supposedly marked the turning point in French history. The height of the hypocrisy when in the meantime any current forms of experimentations, protests or disruptions are heavily suppressed. Like the recent evictions at the ZAD, or in the occupied universities in France. As an answer to this global political force surrounding May ’68, some radicals made a call to prepare and organize a great May 2018 in order to dethrone May ’68 and kill its myth once and for all.
It must be noted that anger is growing against President Macron and his reforms. For example, railroad workers, civil servants, students, professors, post office employees, hospital employees and many more have been either on strike and/or protesting the government’s policies lately.
As usual on May Day, several small morning gathering and marches were organized before the big collective afternoon demonstration. Among the morning events of this year, there was for example there was a music and noise gathering to support the ZAD, but also the traditional annual anarcho-syndicalist march. As a result, a lot of us joined the anarcho-syndicalist march. Already some friends and folks from Italy and Germany were on our sides. The march went well and smoothly, as police forces were almost invisible during the entire demonstration. Banks and insurance companies had their front windows smashed of course, and colorful messages appeared on the walls all along the way. In the end we reached the Place de la Bastille, the departure point of the afternoon procession, without even being controlled nor searched by the police.
As it has been the habit since the events of the Loi du Travail in 2016, anarchist, autonomous, appelistes, and other radicals and non-affiliated individuals were taking the front of the procession and leaving the end of the march to trade unions and political parties. At first the atmosphere was quite strange, like as lines of journalists were completely facing us to get some footage of the impressive bloc. Several times we tried to push them back with fireworks or firecrackers, but without any real success.
Then we decided to charge them and cross the Austerlitz Bridge, Then, things really accelerated. Someone climbed a post to destroy its camera, surveillance camera, some journalists’ cameras were broken or their lenses spray-painted. The first billboards were smashed and so was a bus shelter. The bloc finally found its pace and moved forward, until reaching McDonald’s. At this exact moment, the storm was unleashed. A dozen of us ran to the front windows and started to smash them one by one, while others were redecorating the walls.
Then as a final goodbye, someone just threw a cocktail molotov inside of it.
In the middle of a construction site that was on our left, an excavator was set on fire in support with the ZAD. The raging procession continued its route until reaching a car dealership, and again, some of us smashed the front windows to the ground, entered the premises, and did the same to the cars inside. Finally, one car and a scooter were set on fire.
But little by little, police forces were getting closer. Until they decided to fill the entire boulevard with tear gas. Our only option was to retreat, and as fast as we could, because the water cannons and police units were getting closer and closer.
But for the occasion a huge barricade was built to slow down the progression of police forces.
During this May Day demonstration, it has been reported that between 35,000 and 70,000 people gathered for the occasion. Among them, about 14,000 non-affiliated individuals decided to walk behind the black bloc. The black bloc itself was constituted of about 1,200 activists. Authorities said they had never seen a black bloc of this size in Paris before. Note that, due to the intense confrontations, trade unions have not been able to march at all during the May Day demonstration. Then, for the bad news, it seems that 276 individuals were arrested, among which 109 were already taken into custody on May Day night.
So far, it is difficult to corroborate these figures. So, while we are still waiting for the last updates of the situations after yesterday’s events, I will just conclude by saying: fuck May ’68, and fight now.
REBEL GIRL: As the militant demonstrations in Paris were preceded by the defense of the ZAD over the last few weeks, we caught up with some frequent visitors of the ZAD for an update on what’s been happening there.
Voice 1: So the first thing to say is that the evictions on the ZAD haven’t stopped, they’re just paused, and the official reason for that is that the state is now considering applications, which it invited people to make, with the overall objective that what happens on the ZAD will eventually become entirely kind of legible to state power. Voice 2: And legalized. And the way that this is taking shape is that the state wants there to be individual contracts for individual parcels of land. Although there are very many differing opinions on how to approach that request on the part of the state, one thing that people are, for now at least, agreeing to is that there are not going to be any individual contracts, although some people are willing to make contracts that include the totality of their collective.
So, because at the end of the day, because the state is not getting the thing that they’re looking for, we’re likely to see another wave of evictions that will begin on the 14th, and we’ll probably be met with, like, a shit ton of violence.
Voice 1: And there’s been temporary police roadblocks obstructing everyone else’s movement. And there’s also been surveillance: drones flying around, a helicopter flying around, recording, ostensibly, gathering intelligence, and also I guess projecting the idea that no one can hide.
Voice 2: And one thing that seems to work pretty effectively to at least slow the police down is the building of these giant ditches in the road, which people are doing pretty much every night. And then again every morning, those ditches are pretty much immediately filled up again.
Voice 1: So in terms of the reconstruction efforts, there’s effectively nothing that’s been rebuilt that lasts more than a day. Sadly, that’s as far as it goes at this point. You’ll just be crossing a muddy field and then encounter what’s clearly a newly built structure that’s just been completely destroyed. Like, not only knocked to pieces, but the pieces have been cut into pieces.
So, what does the future hold for the ZAD? Well, obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen, but it seems likely that there’s going to be more evictions, more violence, and according to the state, this won’t happen until at least the 14th of May. Speaking more generally, we could say that maybe there will be eventually some kind of move toward legalization of activity on the ZAD.
But what we want to just focus in on is that the way that this has been carried out, that this position has been put forward, has firstly involved shutting out dissenting voices, then retrospectively accusing those dissenting voices of having nothing constructive to say.
Voice 1: So whatever happens next, we think provisionally that whether or not things unfold within this kind of template or outside of it depends on who shows up and how people show up for the fight. And it’s still a fight, there’s still a fight ahead, and people are already doing a lot where they are, people are already planning to turn up for the potential next round of evictions, and people are already doing a lot just by paying attention to what’s happening. Just not taking that attention away, continuing to make it a hell for the French state in whatever way they can. And by just showing up in those ways, creating a kind of disorder that makes it harder for whoever wants to to impose order on the situation.
Voice 2: To do so, yeah.
REBEL GIRL: One theme that stood out from demonstrations in the US was opposition to ICE and deportations. Marches and rallies in Chicago, Seattle, Santa Fe, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and elsewhere either went to ICE headquarters or featured significant signage against the agency. The numbers were smaller, but in a way it was reminiscent of the enormous “day without a migrant” actions of May 1, 2006–except this time the assimilationism of ubiquitous American flags was replaced by anger at the US government instead.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, anarchists greeted rush hour commuters with banners reading, “For total freedom—we are more than our labor” and “ICE outta Appalachia now.”
In the occupied Anishinaabewaki land of Grand Rapids, Michigan, an unpermitted immigrants’ solidarity march drew over 1000 people, including many young children, and blocked traffic in the downtown area for three hours. Cops threatened arrest and tried to guide the march, but the whole march broke through their line and determined their own direction. It was joyous, festive, and comparatively rowdy for your average weekday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In Chicago, Anarchists left roses on the memorials of the Haymarket Martyrs and Emma Goldman, as well as the tombs of Lucy Parsons and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Anarchists also participated in a march that featured a banner with one of our favorite slogans, “you don’t hate Mondays, you hate capitalism.”
In Lake Worth, Florida, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Reunión de Grupo de Mujeres Latinas y Más, South Florida Anticapitalists, and other groups held a march demanding full legalization for all, no wall of death, stop the deportations, end gentrification, and stop police brutality and police terrorism. This year, participants decided to take the streets instead of be corralled onto the sidewalks—which they did with no arrests. Woo! There were also free haircuts and burritos at a local church, that is until cops walked in and killed the vibe. Ugh.
In Arizona, hundreds of public schools remained closed as teachers continued the strike they began last Thursday.
In Beloit, Wisconsin, comrades dropped a banner in support of teachers’ unions and release a communiqué explaining how simple the action was, “All the materials we used for this were:
-Plastic bottles, some filled with small rocks
-A measuring tape
Banner drops are a time-tested method for expressing important ideas, utilize them even if you can’t go to a march or action.”
After a Sunday of sign making and hanging out in Tompkins square park in New York City, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Committee held a festive demo outside the metropolitan correctional center on may day, where they made noise for those inside, while anarchists down on the street burned an American flag
A small black bloc of anarchists marched in an anti-statist, Anti-Capitalist Bloc during NYC’s May Day march and sang some anti-cop shanties, with banners that read “eat the rich, feed the poor, this is class war” and “queer anti-fascists” with a big circle-a.
People also staged a 24-hour occupation of the cafeteria at the New School in response to a mass layoff of food service workers.
On Long Island, at least a dozen folks rallied on Resistance Corner in Port Jefferson Station, where banners were dropped and a picnic was held in which random passersby joined in and good conversation was had without any imposing, drawn out speeches. Many of the participants left work early and simply set out to “have a good time at the bosses’ expense.”
In what is the funniest straight-reporting we’ve read, the Olympian in Washington state ran the headline, “People in green masks dance as band plays anti-government, anti-police chantey at May Day gathering.”
The gathering was in Sylvester Park, included speeches, music, and croquet.
A U.S. bank branch was smashed for the second year in a row.
Thirty people also [gathered outside the Mayor’s home]( https://itsgoingdown.org/olympia-demo-outside-home-of-mayor/) with a banner that said, uh, “F your yuppie BS.” And they chanted, “F your yuppie BS.” They handed out fliers that said…. Just kidding, it said “Eat your pheasant, drink you wine. Your days are numbered bourgeois swine.” When cops arrived everyone dispersed and no one was arrested, but some hilariously overdressed riot police still tried to chase people.
So it seems like the calls in the Pacific Northwest for decentralized actions did not go entirely unheeded. In fact, some of the actions were so decentralized that one took place as far away as Garland, Texas! We received a report stating that multiple armed forces recruiting offices in Garland had their locks filled with super glue. And in New Orleans, somebody rang in the Day by spraypainting three four letter words that we’ll summarize as “F this S” on a confederate statue.
Rose City Antifa rang in May Day by putting up street art at significant sites in local Portland anti-fascist history, which they marked on an online map and printable zine. As we also observed May Day by getting into some historical nerdery, we just want to say that we LOVE this. Check it out at antifahistoryprojectpdx.com
The public face of May Day was a family-friendly picnic in Lents Park, miles away from the downtown that anarchists left their mark on last year. However, in the shadows, bandits still struck material blows against the state and capitalism. Very early May Day morning, some mysterious vandals covered 22 police cruisers in paint.
And very late in the night, four banks got their windows smashed. As in Olympia, three of the banks were also attacked on last year’s May Day. Could this be a new tradition? The reports of nocturnal mischief were uplifting, but one thing we loved about last year’s actions in Portland is the way people could publicly celebrate confrontation with the state even if they weren’t engaging in it themselves—like an invitation to the world, “you can fight your oppressors too!”
However, please don’t take that as shade because we totally understand that there are some serious safety considerations out there. One particularly dismaying aspect of this year’s events was the presence of neo-fascists in both Seattle and Los Angeles.
In Seattle, Patriot Prayer, The Proud Boys and other far-right goons marched through downtown to QUOTE, “take the streets back.” Of course, where fascist discourse and thinly veiled threats can spread, real attacks aren’t far off. In the evening, a motorist drove through an IWW picket of a Wendy’s, which was taking place in solidarity with a farmworkers’ organized boycott. No one was seriously injured, but that doesn’t absolve the police who didn’t just do nothing, but suggested that the incident was the picket’s fault, and that the driver may try to take the activists to civil court.
No anarchist-organized march took place this year in Seattle, but anarchists did form a bloc within the anti-deportation march that headed towards the ICE headquarters. During the march the IWW handed out fliers that read, “Migrants aren’t pushing down wages, it’s your boss,” and Immigration and Customs Enforcement was served the largest eviction notice ever, in the form of a banner drop. Later, there was an anti youth-jail block party, complete with black balloons that read, “no new youth jail,” and musical guests, including one of our faves—Savage Fam!
Around 5:30 in the morning, “Happy May Day” and “$=Death” was found spraypainted on a Wells Fargo Bank; and by the time the immigrant solidarity march was over, one person was arrested for allegedly throwing a rock at an Amazon Sphere. Hilariously, just the threat of decentralized May Day actions forced at least one Starbucks to completely shutter its windows and close for the day. We hope the workers at whatever company puts up giant pieces of plywood enjoyed the extra income.
Neo-Fascists were also on the streets in Los Angeles. A small group of American-flag-waving white men, led by one of the participants of the fascist “Unite the Right” rally last year, harassed the May Day march, but there were not any serious attacks. In any case they didn’t come close to disrupting the over 50 labor and migrant solidarity organizations that marched downtown against deportations and ICE. The march featured a contingent of street vendors who have been organizing over the last four years and, last year, won the decriminalization of street vending in LA.
San Juan, Puerto Rico saw a bona fide general strike for May Day—responding most immediately to the manifestation of neo-liberal capitalism as laid out in an austerity-plan released at the beginning of April. The budget plan requires the closure of hundreds of schools and could include cuts to pensions and other benefits. All the while, the island is STILL recovering from Hurricane Maria. Just under two weeks ago electricity went out once again on the ENTIRE island. We caught up with some anarchists in Puerto Rico for a firsthand account of what happened Tuesday.
Medusa: Hola, I’m Medusa.
Unicorn: And I’m Unicorn. We’re anarcho-queers from Puerto Rico. We were invited to speak about the events yesterday on May Day. We do not represent any anarchist organization or any anarchist movement. We’re just anarchists from Puerto Rico, sharing our perspective.
Medusa: So, to talk about what happened yesterday, we think it’s important to give context of our sociopolitical status. Puerto Rico has been a colony for over 500 years, and during this time has faced consistent structural colonial violence, which has resulted in extreme, precarious living conditions for our people. The latest attack of the US has come with the PROMESA law, which creates the Fiscal Control Board. Under the law, this body has complete control over Puerto Rico’s budget. All of this with the intent of paying an illegitimate multi-million dollar debt to bondholders, at the cost of our education, our health, and other government services. In response, resistance here has grown, shown with many protests, and the popularization of the black resistance flag.
Unicorn: The passing of Hurricane Maria has only intensified our living conditions, and now the Fiscal Control Board is putting in effect its power, combining and even taking advantage of our situation. Closing schools, privatizing our services, dramatically cutting our universities’ budget, and threatening workers’ rights.
Yesterday, eight different marches were organized to meet at La Milla de Oro, PR’s financial district. However, police blocked access, not allowing the marches to meet with excessive police presence, meant to threaten the thousands of protesters. This shows a change in the police strategy. Last year’s May Day’s – May Day protesters took the offensive, targeting banks, multinational corporations, military offices, and other oppressive institutions. Breaking windows and police cars, destroying property, confronting police, and other direct actions.
Medusa: This year, with the police blocking access, protesters’ main objective became reaching La Milla de Oro, uniting the marches, and making visible our collective indignation. Different tactics were used to defend the protests, including the use of shields, slingshots, throwing rocks, and barricades. For over two hours, protesters clashed with police in riot gear. However, police refused to let them pass, and threw tear gas. It was so much gas, that hundreds of people were affected, including children and elderly people. More than 15 people were arrested with excessive force. They were tased, beaten, and abused. One compa who was recording the protest was even followed miles away from the march and brutally arrested by five fucking pigs.
Unicorn: However, many resisted, and prevented other arrests. Police were injured, and one of them got the crap beaten out of him. Unfortunately, there’s no video.
Medusa: Although there’s currently no organization that identifies as anarchist in Puerto Rico, anarchists were present across many of the different marches, and participated actively in yesterday’s events. Thank you so much for the time, and saludos desde Puerto Rico a les compas.
REBEL GIRL: In Gainesville, Florida, the local incarcerated workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) went to the University of Florida’s office of admissions, stormed the office with bucket drums and banners demanding that the University of Florida stop their use of prison slave labor. Flyers were thrown all around the office explaining the link between U of F and the prison slave labor system, before walking out and ignoring the cops.
In the early hours of May 1, 2018 an anonymous comrade in so called, “Maryland,” took the liberty of setting a dumpster fire in solidarity with Sean Swain and anarchist comrades around the world! We love Sean Swain, so hopefully this lights a fire in his heart.
In Asheville, North Carolina, anarchists had a waffle social and movie screening followed by a benefit show organized by Blue Ridge Anarchist black Cross that raised over $500 for a bail fund for black mothers.
In Durham, North Carolina, anarchists made up a noteworthy contingent of the larger May Day march, which rallied outside the Durham County Jail where prisoners held up signs of support to their cell windows. After a tense standoff with a few pickup trucks that threatened to drive through the demonstrators, an anarchist with a red and black flag skated circles around some boring commies with a clipboard, and everyone was reminded of why anarchy rules. Earlier in the day, a banner reading “amazon=displacement, tech yuppies are a plague on all of our houses” was hung on a local whole foods.
On April 30 in Hamilton, Ontario, tenants from 4 different buildings who have been organizing through the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network decided to launch a rent strike for May Day. "We’re all working class people here. We’re not rich.” “We’re not going on strike just because we feel like it or on a whim. We’re going on strike for our survival.”
In Montréal, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence started their demo at Parc Lafontaine. The march started off heavy—barely five minutes in anarchists attacked police with fireworks, flagpoles, and stones. Police responded, injuring some comrades, but suffering some injuries themselves.
There were also demonstrations in Vancouver, Santa Fe, Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia, Minneapolis, and dozens of other cities across North America.
All in all, there didn’t seem to be one city that took the cake, the way Portland or Seattle has in recent years. But there was generally a good spread of actions all across the country—and perhaps that’s what May Day should be, a time to exercise our protest muscle, to connect our networks, so that when it’s really time to shut it down, we’re ready.
REBEL GIRL: We’re going to make this week’s repression round-up brief, to account for all the May Day coverage.
First of all, we are thrilled to welcome Herman Bell back home. He was release in time to celebrate May Day with loved ones and comrades on the outside. Happy May Day Herman.
Secondly, we just want to remind all of y’all that June 11 is coming up, the day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. If you are still uneasy about how May Day went down where you are and you’re looking for a meaningful way to keep the anarchist movement going, take 15 minutes and write some letters to anarchist prisoners. Or better yet, organize a little get together with some friends, order a pizza, and do it all together. Make it a goal to have an ongoing correspondence by the time June 11 comes around. You can find a guide to letter writing and a list of political prisoners through the website for New York City Anarchist Black Cross.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
REBEL GIRL: We’ll close out our episode with political prisoner birthdays and next week’s news. And now, next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief continue their speaking tour on Communities in Resistance to Disaster Capitalism and Community Organizing as Disaster Preparedness. This week, you can find their tour… Tonight at the Universit of Minnesota UROC at 6 PM; and tomorrow May 4 at Walker Community Church at 1 PM.
On May 10 in Washington DC, ex-green scare political prisoner Daniel McGowan will be speaking in DC about countering state repression, especially in the context of the J20 case. The event is at 7 PM at St. Stephen Episcopal Church on 16th street Northwest.
For the rest of May and going into June, there will be a solid month of anarchy in Quebec. It starts with the Montreal anarchist film festival May 17–20, then there’s the Montreal anarchist theatre festival May 22–23, the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair May 26–27, the North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference is June 1–3 also in Montreal, and the grand finale will be the mobilization against the G7 summit, which will feature fierce anti-capitalist protests in Quebec City on June 8 and 9.
June 8–11 is the Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
We’ll have a full list of anarchist summer activities in next week’s episode, our last Hotwire of the season.
REBEL GIRL: And that’s it for this episode of The Hotwire. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music, thanks to everyone who wrote in and sent us their may day reports, especially Medusa and Unicorn from Puerto Rico, and the folks in France for the audio reports. You can get in touch with us by e-mailing podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful shownotes we customized for this episode at CrimethInc.com. Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into The Hotwire.