Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May Day 2014

Here's my yearly inspirational post on May Day. This is crossposted from the Kasama website:


It's May Day, the international workers' holiday, the communist holiday. (And you can read about the origins of the holiday here.)

It's not a holiday to give gifts, to eat a big meal with the family, to contemplate a trip to the beach. It's a holiday to remember what we're in this for, a holiday to go outside and shout about what's wrong with the world and what should be, can be, must be, fixed.

It's not a day to talk about which lying and cheating candidate to vote for in the next election: it's a day to talk about less voting and more revolution.

It's not a day to talk about begging the bosses for a few more crumbs: it's a day to talk about a world without bosses.

It's not a day to settle for a slightly higher minimum wage: it's a day to proclaim the principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

It's not a day to think about taxing the rich, it's a day to envision ending the system that perpetuates inequality once and for all, and shaking off that 1% for good.

It's not a day to be locked down by the pain of racism, of sexism, of heterosexism, of transphobia: it's a day to be proud of who we are, knowing that by struggling together we're building a better world in our own image; it's a day to treat each other with respect.

It's not a day to question the right of people to live where they want, on this day nobody is illegal. Or maybe, everybody is illegal: we're all rejecting the rotten terms of "citizenship" in this society together. It's a day to embrace our sisters and brothers regardless of documentation, to walk together in solidarity, to speak our many languages openly and equally, to demand a home for all.

It's not a day to fear the police and the government snoops and snitches. It's a day to remember our vast power as the majority, aware of our right to fight, conscious of the righteousness of our cause. It's a day for us to own the streets, a day for us not to fear the shadows behind us.

It's not a day to be locked inside: it's a day to talk about smashing open the prisons and freeing our loved ones, about re-imagining how a truly just world might wipe away injustice and heal selfish hearts.

It's not a day to listen to the words of our so-called leaders as they try to trick us into supporting — and fighting in — new wars. It's a day to call them on their bullshit, to openly oppose them, to denounce their plans for world domination. It's a day to talk about a different world free of imperialism.

It's not a day, here in the belly of the beast, to decorate with red, white and blue. It's a day to remember that the proletariat has no country — has all countries — and the troops we need to be supporting are the liberation warriors fighting in the forests and mountains of India, of Nepal, of the Philippines.

It's not a day to shoot down our dreams as unrealistic, it's a day to proudly proclaim our struggle for a just society liberated from capitalism once and for all. It's a day to unleash those dreams.

It's not a day to be silent, it's a day to talk about what we want and to plan how to get it; it's a day to demand what is right.

It's not a day to talk about hoping things get better, it's a day to fight to make things better.

It's not a day to be only a radical or a leftist, to moderate our language or worry about what people think: it's a day to be a communist, a red, a revolutionary fighter for human liberation.

It's a good day to raise a red flag. It's a good day to link arms with your comrades, to take the streets, to act like we own those streets, which, in fact we do. It's a good day to talk to your neighbor about what needs to be changed in the world. It's a good day to help open the eyes of a friend to the reality of the world we live in. It's a good day to recommit to the struggle's long haul, to remember the martyrs we have lost, and to remember the words of the brilliant thinkers who help us to make sense and strategy of the world and its challenges. It's a good day to be inspired and reinvigorated.

As the dawn breaks red on the horizon, wake up and celebrate. And may tomorrow be as good as today. It's right to rebel!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#myNYPD #ftp

Had some great fun this week participating in the hijacking of the #myNYPD hashtag on Twitter. In a PR move, the NYPD issued an innocuous call to submit pictures of kindly cops helping out New Yorkers by submitting photos under the #myNYPD tag. Activists quickly took advantage of the NYPD's offer, and flooded Twitter with tweets and pics of police terrorism. The hashtag quickly trended, rocketing to the top after thousands and thousands of tweets.

I've written up the story on Kasama: "#MyNYPD: The people turn the tables on the pigs": "This was a victory for the people. This act of rebellion showed creativity and spontaneity, and more than anything it showed how corporate social media can be co-opted and harnessed to our own purposes. It may have been a minor skirmish against the armed thugs in blue, but we won this one." Head over there to read the whole piece.

Here are some of the tweets I sent out. I tend to tweet only on special occasions, but you can follow me @CahokianISH. The first pic was a random incident I witnessed walking through the 42nd Street Subway Station.

This one was from the one-year anniversary of OWS, S17 2012. The cops were pretty brutal that day. I also wrote about it on Kasama.
This was from a big demo in November of 2011, I think right after Zuccotti had been retaken by the cops. This was a moment when the crowd started to throw down all the police barricades. It only lasted a minute but it was exhilarating.
Michael Stewart was a graffiti artist killed by the cops in the early 1980s. Somewhat randomly I mentioned him here on The Cahokian