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May Day – International Workers Day – is celebrated around the world, including in the United States, honoring the fighting spirit and struggle of all working and oppressed people. It is a time when workers show their strength, demand their rights and forge global solidarity. Its roots are in the struggle for the eight-hour day in 1886 in Chicago. Only in the United States, whose working class gave birth to May Day, have the powers that be managed to conceal that history, erase the memory of May Day, and suppress the class struggle that it represents. ILWU Local 10 shut down all Bay Area ports on May Day for the fourth consecutive year.
We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.
Dr. King devoted his life to struggle. The end of his career was characterized by a devout rejection of militarism, economic inequality, racism and imperialism. Yet state sponsored commemorations on MLK Day have consistently left out this narrative. In our first post-Ferguson MLK weekend, people around the country mobilized to honor Dr. King’s legacy the way he would have wanted it – through massive demonstrations, direct actions and shutdowns.
Beginning Saturday, Aug. 16, dock workers at the Port of Oakland honored the picket lines of thousands of people over a period of four days – and many months of organizing in solidarity with the people of Palestine – to block Israeli apartheid by preventing the docking and unloading of the Zim Pireaus liner anywhere on the West Coast. On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Zim Pireus left the Port of Oakland with its cargo untouched, unloaded, unremarked and unwanted.