On Tuesday, May 1, in an impressive show of numbers, and a gathering of young and old, workers, students, community people and retirees, New Yorkers welcomed May Day 2012.
Labor was represented by contingents, and Occupy Wall Street was represented, as were Art workers, transit workers, musicians, along with those calling for the US government to stop its harassment of Iran, and advocates of immigrant rights.
Gathering at Union Square in Manhattan, the march set off for Wall Street.
It was unusual in recent years to hear labor songs like “SOLIDARITY FOREVER” ring out from the microphone at Union Square, even though May Day, the traditional workers’ day of celebration and struggle began in the US in 1886, over a century ago.
The Transit Workers Union (TWU) who gathered in the Union Square then led the march. They were protesting the insulting contract the MTA was offering with 0 for wage increases in the first 3 years of a five year contract.
Demonstrators carried signs protesting abuse by the banks, abuse by big corporate powers, and abuse by capitalism.
How the mood of resistance to abuse by the big corporate entities in the US will be reflected in the coming weeks and months is not yet obvious, but the squeeze on the 99% in order to protect the power and privileges of the 1% is no longer being tolerated in silence by New Yorkers.
While there was a noticeable absence of signs recognizing the origin of May Day as Labor’s Day of celebration and struggle for shorter hours of work, the spirit of May Day as the day belonging to all who labor to celebrate their quest for a better world was back in the streets of New York.
The tradition of May Day being celebrated as a labor holiday is returning to New York. This was good to see as just recently a neighbor showed us some photos her husband had taken of the 1937 May Day demonstration in Union Square with signs at the time in favor of shorter hours and protesting Nazi activities in Europe.
May Day, Welcome back to New York.