Happy May Day, San Francisco


Happy May Day, comrades, and what a fine May day it is even if the urgent mayday spirit on this International Workers Day doesn’t seem as strong as some recent years past in the Bay Area.

While Russia seems to be rediscovering its previous practice of massive May Day marches marked by anti-Western propaganda, spurred on by renewed nationalism from the standoff in Ukraine, May Day has never been very big in the US.

The holiday celebrated throughout the world with workers showing their strength and demanding their fair share of our collective wealth marks the anniversary of a labor demonstration that turned violent and triggered a harsh crackdown in Chicago in 1886. While the socialists of the Second International adopted the May Day holiday in 1889, the American holiday of Labor Day was adopted as a bland alternative meant to take the radical edge off of workers movements.

But many leftists in the US retained an affinity for May Day, and it was infused with a renewed spirit and radical energy by supporters of immigration reform and an end to deportations that divide up families, with massive marches in major US cities in 2006 catching the media and political establishment off-guard.

 Then, two years ago, fresh off of the Occupy Wall Street (and Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland, etc.), some young anarchists rampaged through the Mission District, breaking windows, spray painting luxury cars, attacking a police station, and generally targeting what they saw as the forces of wealth and gentrification, albeit in a misguided and widely condemned way.

Today’s big May Day march in San Francisco starts at the 24th Street BART Plaza, again strongly emphasizing the need for immigration reform, but also marrying that cause with the anti-displacement and anti-eviction activism that are roiling San Francisco these days. [The poster for the event even features a photo of a recent Google bus blockade CORRECTION: The photo is actually of immigration activists blocking a deportation bus.]

Meanwhile, in the East Bay, the main May Day march begins at 3:30pm at the Fruitvale BART Street, also with a focus on social justice and immigration reform. So get on out there, comrades, you have nothing to lose but your chains.  


And for a very simple reason. America doesn't do socialism.

In fact, Labor Day is our MayDay, i.e. a day that celebrates the hard work that we all do ever day. So why doesn't SFBG make a big deal about America's very own Day of the Workers?

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:11 am

9/11 was an inside job booth at the event.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:26 am

Comrades endorsing Gavin Newsom, nice.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:27 am

Shouldn't you be cupping Chris Daly's balls or something?

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

blocking an ICE deportation bus, not a tech shuttle bus.

Your publication reported on the event at the time.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:45 am

My mistake, now corrected in the story, thanks. 

Posted by steven on May. 01, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

"The poster for the event even features a photo of a recent Google bus blockade."

The most recent polls on the subject show that a whopping 18% of residents have negative view of tech shuttles. It doesn't take a genius to ascertain that based on this, Google bus protests are really a good means of promoting your cause.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:49 am

Wait, I'm confused. We're celebrating workers day? I thought that the SFBG hated people with jobs. They create an uneven economic playing field for those who don't work. We should recast May day to be a day for protesting workers.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:49 am

No, neoliberals hate people with jobs, as they don't think that wages for American workers are falling fast enough, they want to fast track the importation of low wage workers to force wages down faster.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 1:36 pm

wages are higher here than elsewhere.

Artificially high pay is not sustainable.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:07 pm

Then it's perfectly sustainable.

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

If they wish to divert more of their funds into compensating top talent, then I fail to see why that is anyone else's business.

In any event, being a CEO carries little job security and you are always vulnerable to losing your job to someone better and cheaper.

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

What time is the march in SF?

Posted by Dahlia on May. 01, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

What you say is not true. On May Day in 1945, over million people marched in New York City. It's time you guys stop defending the Nazis and Fascists in Kiev.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

Wow. You have to reach all the way back 60 years to help your point. Psst. There was something else going on at that time too. It was called World War II and the Soviet Union was our ally. Care to name a large march since then?

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

When SFBG gets excited about a protest, it is usually a few dozen people blocking a bus or a small rabble on Market Street.

Same with the rest of the US - even NYC or DC cannot manage much in the way of a protest. Has more than 0.01% of the population ever showed up for one?

Go look at the major European nations to see what a rotest really looks like. tens or even hundreds of thousands take to the streets. There are general strikes. And it can change a government, like in France in the 1960's.

Can anyone imagine this rabble changing a government?

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2014 @ 12:40 am

That is 300,000 Americans? I am quite sure that over 300,000 people protested the Gulf War in San Francisco back in 2003. Over 1M protested in NYC a week before that.

You must have moved here very recently.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 06, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

few hundred people at a protest.

That's out of a Bay Area population of five million. so 0.01% seems about right.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 1:15 am

Life is beautiful and today is hot, so let's eat sushi.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

Workers of the world unite! Against the other workers who happen to take buses to work....hmmmmm

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

Workers of the World, Untie!

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

May Day should be treated as a day of remembrance for all the death, suffering and atrocities committed in the pursuit of Marxist ideals. Communism is responsible for more pain and suffering in the past century than organized religion, and it's not even close. Those who romanticize the collectivist world view are too naive for words.

Having grown up in a family that experienced first hand the dehumanizing reality of a communist regime, it truly is difficult to understand how people are capable of such ignorance and self deception. It's sickening and sad and the body count backs it up.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

Get back to Russia, libertarian capitalist!

If you really like libertarian authoritarian capitalism, Putin's the man for you.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:12 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

Get back to Russia? Zing! You really told him, marcos! Foolhardy lamentations for the murder of millions so brilliantly and pithily silenced with your razor sharp wit. Never before in the history of comedy has the provocative yet politically insightful material of Yakov Smirnoff been so seamlessly integrated with impeccable stylings and delivery of Andrew Dice Clay.

Get back to Russia, indeed.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

while choosing to live in the world's leading capitalist and anti-communist nation

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 7:39 am

I was born here and I choose to move from the most libertarian state to one of the most taxed and regulated regions in one of the most taxed and regulated states.

Posted by marcos on May. 04, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

CA is a right-wing state by the standards of many other places and you freely choose to live here, knowing that.

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

I was born here and I choose to move from the most libertarian state to one of the most taxed and regulated regions in one of the most taxed and regulated states.

Posted by marcos on May. 04, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

Russia has not been communist for 25 years now, get back to Putin's libertarian capitalists' paradise!

Posted by marcos on May. 04, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

communism doesn't work.

I suppose you could make the case for Cuba. But the major communist nations like Russia and China have now embraced capitalism, business, profits and inequality. That's the kind of communism I can relate to, i.e. workers taking over the emans of production by buying shares and mutual funds!

Posted by Guest on May. 05, 2014 @ 1:26 am

I would just caution you not to extrapolate your own personal truth and generalize it to others so much that you proclaim it as The Truth. Many people's experiences under communism do not mirror your own family's, and many would argue today that the reality of capitalism is far more dehumanizing than communism.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 10:28 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 7:02 am

There is a name for people who had positive experiences with communism. They are called "party members" and they are the fuckers responsible for the misery of others.

You know NOTHING about communism in reality. I'd advise YOU not to extrapolate your one semester of political economy at city college to the "we'll get it right this time!" mentality.

You'll notice that no one immigrates TO a communist regime. People aren't hopping fences, dodging bullets and swimming huge distances to break INTO North Korea.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 9:15 am

They either claim that communism is perfect but we just haven't yet had a perfect implementation of it


They claim that they aren't really communists at all but rather, say, anarcho-leninist socialists.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 10:33 am

I know more than you think about the reality of communism. Perhaps more than you. But I don't really want to get into a pissing contest here. I'm just saying it's not so one-sided.

A lot of people in places like eastern Germany and Russia actually do long for communist times. You cannot dismiss them as being just party members. There are far too many of them. You cannot dismiss them as being ignorant of the realities of communism, because support runs highest among those who are actually old enough to have experienced it for themselves, and lowest among those who grew up with only pro-capitalist propaganda. The real reason is that unbridled capitalism has proven to be in many ways more dehumanizing than the system it replaced. So dehumanizing that for some people, even dictatorship is preferable. Not because they like dictatorship, but because there is something attractive about a system where everyone is taken care of, even if it's at a basic level.

I'm not defending the worst communist dictatorships any more, I'm sure, than you'd defend the worst capitalist dictatorships. I prefer mixed economies, where freedom and economic justice and security coexist. And those societies can exist. I wouldn't even mind capitalism as long as it has a human face -the kind of societies we see in places like Sweden or The Netherlands. Ideally, though, I'd like to see something even more transformative. It's not impossible. I think they had the right idea in the Spanish Republic, Allende's Chile, Czechoslovakia when the reformists took control... of course many of these experiments didn't last. But they didn't fail either. They were snuffed out by one power, or the other. And they were snuffed out because the threat of a "good example" is too much to bear for either of the two major powers, heavily invested in their own dehumanizing power structure.

I think, however, that the world is changing. I see a lot of hope in places like Argentina with its occupations of failed capitalist enterprises turned into worker collectives, the rise of the left in Chile, and of course the Chavista program in Venezuela. Of course world's last empire is fighting popular movements any way it can, but ultimately I think they will succeed and the empire will fail.

Posted by Greg on May. 02, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

Definitely in the "we'll get it right this time!" camp.

Like a boner in sweatpants, you've exposed yourself. You prove you know NOTHING of communism. You're more likely to win Mega Millions on the same day that scientists discover Big Foot and Unicorns exist in Atlantis, than you are of ever seeing communism successfully executed.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

Again. You fail to answer the question Greg. If communism is so great, why is it everyone is trying to flee from communist countries into capitalist countries? I don't see many people from Florida getting into homemade boats and risking their lives to get INTO Cuba. Or South Koreans willing to brave guard towers and minefields to get INTO North Korea.

As for your thinking that some people long for the old days of communism. So what? Some people long for the return of slavery and Jim Crow too. Doesn't mean you should listen to them too.

But why am I trying to explain this to you? You think that the Bay Guardian's politics are more in line with the majority of San Franciscans than are the Chronicle's. You cling to this belief even though you have no proof and ignore the fact that BG-backed candidates and propositions lose much more often than they win in this city.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 9:51 pm

But you do not have the slightest intention of relocating to any of these communist nirvana's. And talk is cheap.

The empire will fail? You are hilarious.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

Not because I can't answer them. Because I've answered them several times on this forum alone. I wrote a thoughtful response to a well, less than thoughtful but not trollish post. My purpose was not to turn it into a back-and-forth with bona fide trolls. If you want to respond intelligently, then please spare me the bot-generated soundbite crap. If you insist on being trolls, I'm just not interested in engaging that.

Posted by Greg on May. 02, 2014 @ 11:26 pm

"I lost."

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

claims to have already refuted all the points he cannot refute.

And then ducks with some snide throwaway dismissal.

Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2014 @ 11:59 pm

Their bots are boring compared to mine.

Posted by marcos on May. 04, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

Communism can go fuck itself.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

It was a brief flirtation. and it didn't work.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

Well yeah, those May parades in Russia have always been a tourists attraction... marching along the streets with colorful posters and flowers... this is what International Workers Day is all about!

Posted by Angeline on May. 04, 2014 @ 11:30 pm

in the Siberian Steppes. It all makes so much sense.

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2014 @ 11:56 pm

All i care on May Day is whether i stocked enough meat and beer for my BBQ party! What Workers Day now?!!

Posted by Mark on May. 05, 2014 @ 12:14 am

banging her while helping her feed her family.

Posted by Guest on May. 05, 2014 @ 1:05 am