On Sunday May 1st 2011, The Kentucky May Day Coalition in Louisville, Kentucky composed of labor unions, religious groups, civil rights and immigrant/worker rights organizations, sponsored a walking tour in downtown Louisville. The tour, called a March of Resistance, assembled at 3:00 p.m. at 4th and Jefferson and marched through the downtown area in remembrance of the people who died, were killed, or jailed for protesting 12-hour working days.
The walk ended at the Fountains of Witherspoon, where soapbox speakers and local performers shouted and sang about social justice, Unfortunately last year’s rally ended up with many attendees being detained by police for defacing buildings in the area, instead of focusing on support for workers rights, which is the point of May Day occupation, as it is now called. Due to these events, plans for this year’s rally were cancelled and no march is scheduled.
However, 125 cities around the country, including Chicago, New York, Seattle, and California’s Bay Area, are taking to the streets on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 to support an International Worker’s Day General Strike. They all stand together for economic justice, an issue which has grown in popularity during the recession of the last five years.
For over a century, May Day has been known as International Workers Day, a day where the 99% workers throughout the world have united to fight their common exploitation by the 1%. It serves as an important historical message that the 99% is not just the worker, but also all those displaced, mistreated and exploited by a cruel economic and political system: students, immigrants, the unemployed, the invisible, the homeless, women, the LGBT community, precarious workers, the incarcerated, etc.
“When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted - people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we'll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day” (Eric Chase, 1993 The Brief Origins of May Day)