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May Day 2003 - Time to Start Organizing and Let's Keep it Radical!!!!!!!!!!

May Day 2003 Organizing Meeting Friday at 7 p.m. at Carpenter's Local 247, 2205 N. Lombard St., Portland.

Carpenters Local announces they will orgainize May Day March
Carpenters Local 247 has recently sent out a letter announcing that the local and Jobs With Justice will organize this year's May Day Parade. The first organizing meeting witll be 7 p.m. Friday at Carpenters Hall, 2205 N. Lombard.

While it's great that organized labor has finally decided to get on board with May Day, it is extremely important that the May Day Coalition remain diverse, radical and inclusive.

In the past, the May Day Coalition has operated on a consensus basis. This must continue.

In the past, the coalition has refused to ask for police permission in the form of applying for a parade permit. This must continue.

In the past, May Day has been a broad-based coalition, consisting of labor, environmentalists, anarchists, pagans, students, etc. This must continue.

By all means, let's welcome the Carpenters into the coalition. But let's also be cautious in maintaining the recent history of Portland May Day parades being radical, consensus-based, inclusive and non-permitted.

The letter sent out by the Carpenters does not seem to endorse these ideas, but they deserve a chance. Solidarity forever!
carpenters are not new to may day 18.Feb.2003 18:01

ilwu activist

I agree with much of this, but it is not true that organized labor has NOW decied to get involved. Many people from unions have been involved from the beginning-- but maybe not people who fit the description of "big labor" stereotypes. Carperters participated in the planning last year, as did ILWU, farmworkers, and SEIU members. In fact, the march was led out of the park blocks by a group of Carpenters from 247 with their banner. And three years ago, hundreds of union members joined the rally at Powell's where a labor dispute was in progress. It is an improvement to see labor showing some leadership among their own members and the labor community in taking the initiative to start meetings. Perhaps this will make the march bigger and better, if the different factions dont interpret taking this initiative as trying to control the event. Please dont be on the defensive before talking to eachother and have an open mind about the different goals for May Day this year that are not mutually exclusive.



we have been part of mayday from the start in 1882 the carpenters union called for a general strike on may 1 1886 if labor still did'nt have the 8 hour day. we were part of the mayday planning and march last year,so to say that labor is finally on board is a lie and a insult . our only intent in starting the mayday planning is to get more of labor involed.we will not turn any radicals away shit the founder of our union was a red. on the march issue we marched last year and the year before with out a permit will have no intent on going back on things we have won.

I agree, diversity is important 18.Feb.2003 20:19


I agree, diversity is important. Each afinity group or bloc should be able to represent it's own nature. This is why I'd advise the pagans to go off in the woods to sing about their dirt god and leave the urban setting to workers.

yay may day 19.Feb.2003 09:42


Thanks, labor folks, for getting this year's May Day planning started. And thanks, ILWU and Carpenters for pointing out the obvious, and for trying to encourage more labor participation and still keep it radical! Yup, the history of the Real Workers' Holiday is closely tied to the struggle for the 8-hour workday--also for the struggle to destroy the rule of capital and the state.

(And no thanks, creepy . person, for your insulting dig on pagans, who also have a (much longer) association with the May 1 holiday.)

Oh, excuse me... 19.Feb.2003 19:36


I should have said "neo-pagans" because there is no direct link between the originals and these little "new-agey" types today.

On the consensus issue... 19.Feb.2003 21:22


I'm very much in favor of consensus as a decision-making process in a group that has a certain level of affinity and trust. I think the folks working on May Day should build toward that level of trust (and respect!). But, as demonstrated by some of the above posts, we don't all have a large amount of affinity. Let's vote in this year's May Day planning.

That's not to say that we can't work together, and that we shouldn't try to reach agreement on difficult issues. If we vote, let's not use "Robert[a]'s Rules of Order." It's a very competitive system, not supportive of compromise or creativity. It's also very inaccessible to non-union folk.

I wish I could come to this first planning meeting. Please, y'all, keep us posted on how to get involved! The revolution needs all of us. Thanks for your hard work.

Re: Excuse you 20.Feb.2003 02:03

Red N. Green

Hey, anonymous dot dude, just so you have a clue - some of us Pagans are workers, and some of us workers are Pagans.

Come play in the dirt with us some time, and I'll see your sorry ass on the streets at the next rally, too.

Clarification of original post 20.Feb.2003 08:20


Whoa - let's all take a deep breath and remember we are all up against the same stinking system.

To clarify, I think there is an important distinction between individual labor activists being involved in planning May Day and union locals actually endorsing the event. Unions have been notably shy in offering official endorsements in the past. I did say "it's great" that there now seems to be offical involvement.

My only concern is the statement in your letter that the carpenters local and JWJ "will organize" this year's event. Maybe that's not what you meant, but that's what you said.

I didn't mean to insult anyone. A careful reading of my post should indicate that nobody was insulted. The insult was in the interpretation. The English language is a wonderfully fluid system of communication. I will attempt to use it more judiciously in the future and would respectfully suggest others do the same.

As far as consensus goes, my individual belief is that a process of voting is easier but less inclusive than the consensus process. As someone who was highly involved in organizing the 2001 May Day, I can attest that our commitment at that time to using consensus made very difficult and tortuous meetings. It also led to us eventually developing a much better understanding of one another's concerns, backgrounds, styles of organizing, etc.
I, for one, was confronted with aspects of my style that others perceived to be patriarchal. I had to take a long hard look at that and have tried to do better since then.

While it wasn't at all easy, the hard work consensus required was very rewarding in the long run.

Luckily, I am a new father and my main form of activism for the time being is to nurture my son - in whom I invest a lot of hope for all of our futures - and my involvement in more visible forms of activism must be limited. Sending off some computer posts now and again may be the most I can do.

I regret it if my comments have set off a firestorm before things really get started. I only intended to start a dialog that I still believe can and should be constructive.
If we all lower our level of defensiveness and remember who our enemies really are, we should be able to discuss our differences in a healthy way.

nobody is excluded 20.Feb.2003 13:17

pete psavageubc@yahoo.com

As a member of local 247's Myday committee I can assure we in no way are trying to plan Mayday alone we are merely offering our resources to help. All are welcome! if we wanted to go with a strictly labor coalition we wouldn't have sent the letter.

concecensus and pagenism 20.Feb.2003 13:44


first, on concensus

I stoped going to mayday planing meetings because of the process. It drove me away. I got tired of wasting my time.

I got tired of entertaining bad ideas that were encluded because a small minority of people had a platform to stand on that was not supported by the masses.

as may day gets bigger, mass organizations (like the unions) will hopefully be involved. It is important that the perspectives of the membership is reflected in planning.

it is not democratic to have a small group of "activists" that have time to go to planning meetings (when working class people have jobs, and kids to raise) decide the nature of an event.

roberts rules of order certainly has problems. i'am not advocating using it in full. but direct vote on motions is good.

the issues surronding pagenism are a prime example of this. pagenism is a pre-christen european religion that has historicly viewed may day as a furtility rite. I don't know enuogh about the historical foundation of beltane to know exact dates, or why may first is the date for the holiday. I belive that it came before the

now, i think that religion is every ones personal business. i don't think it belongs in a political context. I'am opposed to using religion as an organizing tool. I am very concerned with one religion having dominance in a political event.

religion, all religion has been used historicly by reactionary social elements. I'am not saying that all people that subscribe to a faith are right wing, but the record is there.

the fact of the matter, is that pagenism is also used as a tool of extreme right wing groups to organize. Nazi's marched last may day in germany. i'am not accusing all pagens of being nazi's at all. I know plenty of left wing pagens. but it underlines the point of the murkyness that developes around religion and politics. examples of facist faces on all religions abound, i'am not singling out pagenism here.

i think religion is devisive. it undermines cross cultural working class soliderity. enshrining one (european) religion in the context of an international working class holiday is a mistake. a big one.

if pagens wish to express their faith on may 1st, thats certainly their right. i don't see why it should to happen at a march that all workers around the world celebrate. i think it's eurocentric, and insensitive to diversive cultures.