San Diego Celebrates May Day With A Broad Coalition Of Unions And Community Organizations
by Carlos Huerta San Diego, California, Pictures by Nicholas Paget-Clarke
(Original article taken from www.inmotionmagazine.com, and can be found here)
It was almost 8 months ago, September 17, 2011, when New Yorkers took over the financial district where Wall Street is located and settled into Zuccotti Park. There they set up a kitchen, the people’s library, brought community members to provide educational teach-ins on different topics, and fed, sheltered, and nursed one another. In essence, they created a community from the ground up giving birth to Occupy Wall Street (OWS). A movement inspired by the uprisings in the Arab World, dubbed the Arab Spring, OWS voiced their collective grievances changing the conversation all across the US and sprouting Occupy communities across each state, including here in San Diego.
Under the banner of the “99%,” Occupy joined in solidarity the many existing struggles. Locally, Occupy stood against the big banking institutions and their illegal practices as homes were foreclosed which forced people onto the streets. Occupy helped organize National Transfer Day which added 650,000 new members to Credit Unions, raising awareness on helping support the control of local economies. Occupy has stood against giant corporations and their influence over politics which they control through lobbying and monetary power. Occupy has fed, bathed, and sheltered many of the houseless community. Occupy continues to participate in various autonomous self-sustainable projects including community gardens. Occupy has stood up and resonated the voices of workers and farmer’s rights. Occupy has taken a stand against the legalized death sentence of Medicare recipients through budget cuts. Occupy has taken the streets and stood with immigrant communities who are afraid of stepping out against ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), private for-profit prisons system and illegal deportations. Occupy has stood for justice and equality for all against the constant oppression from the police state in a worldwide struggle.
Deep in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Subcomandante Marcos wrote: “In the world of the powerful there is no room for anyone but themselves and their servants. In the world we want, everyone fits. The nation we construct is one where all communities and languages fit.” The struggles facing us now are nothing new, for years the current institutions have oppressed the people, they have silenced us, stolen our voices, instilled fear onto us, turned us against each other. They have made education out of reach through budget cuts and debt slavery, and they have taken people’s homes and jobs while their wallets continue to accumulate capital. Meanwhile, the people we have voted to positions of power do nothing but represent the interests of the rich corporations.
When do we say no more?
As we celebrate May Day, International Workers Day, it’s imperative to look around us with a sense of camaraderie, to put aside the dividing differences and focus on the struggles that bring us together. It is time to question the morality of the institutions, elected officials, and legislations that have brought us to this point. We do not need them, they need us. They need us to consume. They need our resources and our labor in order to hoard wealth. It is said that the masses make history, we are the people, we have the numbers, and the power to build the world we want; a global society that recognizes the universal rights of life, liberty, education, shelter, and healthcare. Such a world is possible through cooperation, community building, and tolerance, by getting to know each other and taking care of one another.
As we have taken and continue to take the streets let our voices empower each other giving birth to a voice once lost. As we continue marching let each step plant a strong seed of solidarity that will bloom and endure. Let May Day be much more than an annual gathering of our fight and continue joining each other’s struggles daily through our actions and interactions. Let’s continue having these conversations and public gatherings coming up with alternatives and solutions. Lets celebrate the richness of our differences because the struggle is far from over. From San Diego to Chile to Egypt and Greece, one world, one struggle. Occupy together.