Why May Day?
The following text was printed on a flyer that was handed out and thrown about at this year's May Day Anti-Capitalist March
The world that we live in is absolutely horrifying. This horror is normalized in many ways and we are supposed to get used to the fact that we should expect the police to murder black people with impunity, that we should expect to be displaced from our homes so that tech workers can live our their fantasies of an emerging urbanism that is built on the forcible removal of poor people and people of color. We are expected to forget that our friends and families are locked in prisons. We are expected to get used to the fact that the instruments of our distraction are built with minerals mined in slave labor conditions.
We are expected to go about our daily lives as if these things don’t exist, to make responsible consumer choices to ease our guilt at our unavoidable complicity in this hellworld. When people become widely aware of the consequences of living in a barely-veiled fascist police state, the available answer is that we should vote to elect a candidate to manage this horror. We are expected to vote for Bernie Sanders because “he’ll change things”; we were also expected to vote for Obama for the same reasons. And yet the drone strikes continue, the prisons are still full, and who can afford rent? We are expected to say, “at least he’s better than Trump.”
Let’s refuse to get used to it.
May Day is an opportunity to express the rage and sorrow that accumulate daily as capitalism wrecks the earth. It is a yearly tradition of attacking those responsible for this daily misery. It is a tradition of attacking the police that protect a world where more black men are in prison than were ever held in slavery. It is a tradition of making sure that those who benefit from exploitation, patriarchy, and white supremacy know there are knives at their backs. This hellworld is a many-headed monster and we cannot hope to kill it—but we can twist our knives at every opportunity.
Each year the media and the police decry the injustice of a few broken windows while ignoring the millions of lives broken by the people who own those windows. The newspapers discuss “random and meaningless” property destruction as if it is unthinkable to want to fight back against destructive institutions. This denial of reality is possible because the daily violence of capitalism is experienced by homeless people, poor people, people of color and people in the global south whose realities are separated by borders, oceans, and the effects of racism, colonialism and globalization. Whether the targets of attack are a new condo block being built after the previous residents were evicted from their homes or a row of high-end, plate-glassed businesses, the message should be clear: capitalism has us in a chokehold and there is no reason to be sorry for fighting back.
Revolt neither starts nor ends on the first of May. There are constant reasons to be in the streets, to attack capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy. From our personal lived experiences of gentrification, surveillance, and the police to all the ways this particular society uses total exploitation of brown and black people here and in the global south to fuel its tech boom and supply its commodities. From U.S. prisons to mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from every racist police shooting to the exploited workers building a Trump golf resort in Dubai for $1.50 an hour, let’s remember what violence really is, and why it is important to strike back in any way possible.
Let’s have each other’s backs. Let’s take care of each other so we can fight this horrifying world together.