May Day Across North America

  • Posted on: 30 April 2016
  • By: thecollective

May Day is an anarchist holiday against capitalism. Following demonstrations in the wake of strikers being killed by the police in Chicago in 1886, which left scores of workers killed as well as several police, the state rounded up several anarchist organizers and militants, Samuel Fielden, Albert Parsons, Louis Lingg, George Engel, Adolf Fischer, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, and August Spies, and sentenced them to death despite any evidence connecting them to the violence. In the wake of the execution of the “HayMarket Martyrs, ” militant working-class formations began to mark May Day as a holiday to remember the slain anarchists as well as to honor their fight for a world free of capitalism. Meanwhile, many others were radicalized by the events in Chicago and became anarchists in the process of supporting those executed by the State. Others such as Lucy Parsons, a former slave who was married to a former Confederate soldier, Albert Parsons, who was executed, went on to play a huge role in the anarchist and wider labor movement. By honoring May Day, and moreover, by connecting it to struggles happening now, we build a link to the past; to others who fought and died to make these ideas a living, breathing reality.

The events at Haymarket square did not fall out of the sky; the anarchist movement in Chicago had been growing for many years in working-class areas. In the years leading up to Haymarket, anarchists both involved themselves in working-class struggles and also organized a counter-society that included everything from raising money for political prisoners, learning how to use weapons, and the publishing of anarchist ideas. Sound familiar?

In 2006 in the United States, immigrant workers took to the streets to beat back HR-4437, again tying May Day to workers struggles. This year, prisoners across the US are also calling for actions and work stoppages in various prisons and for those on the outside to organize rallies in solidarity. Meanwhile, a strike by tens of thousands of Verizon in the US is starting to gett out of the control of union bosses and a boycott of Driscoll’s berries expands in solidarity with a strike in Mexico.

What follows is a partial list of May Day events happening across the US, Mexico, and Canada called by anarchists and other revolutionary autonomous anti-capitalists. We recognize this list is incomplete and will be adding events as they are announced. Please feel free to contribute your May Day event.

Happy May Day!

may day

New York City, NY:
WHAT: Noise Demo in solidarity with prison strikers and Akai Gurley
WHEN: 6 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC, the federal prison in downtown Manhattan); Pearl Street, between Cardinal Hayes Place and Park Row (J to Chambers Street or 4/5/6/ to City Hall)
BRING: Noisemakers, air horns, drums, anything that is loud!
EXCERPT: American society’s core is predicated on slavery. When outright ownership of human beings was abolished, the prison system eventually filled the demand for a free labor force. However, while labor arrangements changed from chattel slavery to a wage labor system, the pervasive social context in the US has rested on the negation of person hood for Black people.


Seattle, WA:
WHAT: Anti-capitalist March
WHEN: 6 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: West Lake Park – 400 Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98101
BRING: Black clothes, awareness, resolve, and running shoes.
EXCERPT: It is a time to remember those who sacrificed their lives to give workers less hours, better pay, and safer working conditions. This is an annual event where we march in rage against capitalism and the oppressive forces that seek to gentrify our communities and force the poor into everlasting homelessness, or death.


Seattle, WA:
WHAT: Music Festival
WHEN: 10 am, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: West Lake Park – 400 Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98101
BRING: The little ones, the older ones.
EXCERPT: A family-friendly festival featuring anti-capitalist bands, various organizations and groups tabling, and presentations from groups about their various projects. The idea is to provide space for radical folx who may not be able to attend the Anti-capitalist March later in the day, be it due to children, priors, or anything else, and connect people to the wealth of organizing projects in the area. This is also an opportunity to showcase some local bands who refuse to shy away from their anti-capitalist leanings.




Boston, MA:
WHAT: Black Rose/Rosa Negra Love and Rage contingent (Rally and March)
WHEN: 3 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Chelsea City Hall – 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150
BRING: Love and Rage.
EXCERPT: We have rage against the rich and their lackeys, for the pain, oppression, exploitation and fear they bring. We have rage against the police for targeting and murdering Black youth and incarcerating generations of people of color. We have rage for the prisons that hold our loved ones, stealing lives while perpetuating poverty, addiction, and trauma.


Oakland, CA:
WHAT: Rally / March
WHEN: 12 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Fruitvale Bart. 1 pm March to San Antonio Park
BRING: Food, picnic items, and plan to stay at San Antonio Park!
EXCERPT: UPHOLD WORKER AND STUDENT RIGHTS! No More Raids! No More Deportations! No More Gentrification! No More Police Violence – Black Lives Matter!



12986960_826799147463880_2155203417758204008_nSan Francisco, CA:
WHAT: IWW Contingent in larger ILWU Port Shutdown and March Against Police Violence
WHEN: 11 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: UNION HALL – ILWU, Local 10, 400 North Point Street, San Francisco CA.
BRING: Red and black flags, noise makers, banners.



bike_strike_may_1_flyerSan Francisco, CA:
WHAT: IWW Bike Courier’s Strike
WHEN: 5pm
WHERE: Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market Street, SF
EXCERPT: On Sunday May 1st 5PM at Justin Herman Plaza in SF the Bay Area IWW Couriers Union will be hosting a Bike Strike rolling picket line against courier companies that are exploiting their workers such as Postmates who illegally is mis-classifying their workers as independent contractors to pay them often below minimum wage and deny bike couriers workers compensation and Sprig inc. who’s bike couriers recently went union with the IWW were illegally laid of in mass in retaliation for organizing. Bring your bike!!! We will have music and different speakers who will talk about different exploitative delivery companies and how to fight back against your boss to build union power in the Bay Area and beyond.


Chicago, IL:
WHAT: Anarchist Black Cross Noise Demo
WHEN: 7 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Douglas Park – Garden on Ogden
BRING: Noise Makers and Friends.
EXCERPT: Since 1886 May Day has been celebrated as an important anarchist holiday. It is especially relevant in Chicago, because it began here! We’re calling on all anti-capitalists to come out, reclaim the streets, and show solidarity with those behind prison walls. Wear your finest articles of black clothing and your snazziest black mask. Bring noisemakers and friends. We will meet in Douglas Park in the Garden on Ogden at 1 and step off at 2. See you in the streets!

11070546_708056615977863_1786695468085940910_nLos Angeles, CA:
WHAT: “General Strike
WHEN: 12 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE:1st & Main St. Downtown Los Angeles.
BRING: Food and Friends.
EXCERPT: Join us in Solidarity park for an open mic people’s assembly and pot-luck lunch. There are several May Day marches planned.
12 NOON arrive south lawn of LA City Hall
1:00 PM open mic people’s assembly
TBA (2,3 PM?) lunch served
4:20 pm Sunshine’s Daydream Garden memorial
7:30 PM film screening
9:00 PM begin clean-up
10:00 PM depart park


Pittsburgh, PA:
WHAT: May Day Eve Commemoration
WHEN: 8 pm, Saturday, April 31th
WHERE: 449 W 8th Ave Homestead, PA. Bulgarian Macedonian Cultural Center
BRING: Solidarity.
EXCERPT: All members of the working class are invited to come join Pittsburgh IWW as we recognize the true Labor Day, May 1. May Day, or International Workers’ Day, is a commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago and the fight for the eight-hour work day. Wobblies in Pittsburgh decided to mark the incredible historical significance of this day by having the Pittsburgh IWW chartered on May Day 2002. There will be working class music, a cash bar, potluck food, and an IWW literature table. If possible, please bring food to share.




Denver, CO:
WHAT: IWW May Day Celebration
WHEN: 2-6pm
WHERE: 2199 California Street, Denver
EXCERPT: International Workers Day commemorates the fight for the 8-hour day in 1886, which led to a general strike in many U.S. cities on May 1st. In Chicago, worker militancy was met by police gunfire, killing two workers on May 3rd. Workers in the city revolted, not unlike the reaction in Ferguson to the shooting of Michael Brown, the Arab Spring sparked by the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia, and most recently the Nuit debout uprising against labor law gutting in France.

13062051_1049509041787743_6375216006296545608_nDenver, CO:
WHAT: Denver Anarchist Black Cross hosts Paul Z. Simmons discussion on the autonomous Kurdish regions in Rojava.
WHERE: Whittier Community Center, 2900 Downing St, Unit 1
WHEN: May 1st, 6:30pm
EXCERPT: Anarchist author, Paul Z. Simons, will share reflections and inspirations from the scene. After the fall of the Syrian Government and in the midst of the current crisis, Kurdish organizations have been setting up regions free from domination by capitalism and state authority, attempting to put to rest feuds between different religious and ethnic groups, and challenging patriarchal domination over women and relating communally to the land.




Albuquerque, NM:
WHAT: March and Community Meal
WHEN: 12:30 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: San Mateo and Central. Community meal at 2:30 – Yale Park
BRING: Solidarity, Black Flags, Banners.
EXCERPT: Stand with fellow workers in solidarity here and across the globe in solidarity to uplift the working class and to live in harmony with the Earth. Haymarket remembrance.






Alabama (Prison):
WHAT: Strike / Outside solidarity
WHEN: 12 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Holman prison
BRING: Solidarity
EXCERPT: Believe it or not, the entire country is looking at Alabama. Specifically, the Alabama Prison System and its Leadership. Right Now- We have a spotlight on the National stage to show & prove the Effects of: Alabama’s draconian Habitual Offenders Statute, Alabama’s Mandatory Life without Parole Capital Offense Statute, Alabama’s arbitrary Parole Board,
Alabama’s parasitic policy of Warehousing & Economical Exploitation rather than Education, Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness.

May 1 – May 31… 30 DAYS OF NOTHING!
… No Work No Talk!

Kansas City, MO:
WHAT: Commemorative Picnic
WHEN: 6 pm, Saturday April 30th
WHERE: Prospect Plaza Park






montrealMontreal, Canada:
WHAT: Protest / Economic Disturbance
WHEN: 3 pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Entrance of McGill University (corner of Sherbrooke and McGill College, McGill metro station) & Square Phillips (corner of Ste-Catherine and Union, McGill metro station)
BRING: Solidarity, black clothes, accomplices.
EXCERPT: Against Imperialism, Racism, Borders and Colonialism: Together Let’s Smash Capitalism! Workers, the unemployed, students from everywhere in the world must unite against capitalist power. Against these attacks we must answer with solidarity.


Hamilton, Canada:
WHAT: March & Block Party
WHEN: March @ 2 pm | Block Party @ 4:30 pm, Sunday May 1st
WHERE: Beasley Park
BRING: Friends, fun, noise
EXCERPT: The Hamilton May Day Coalition, in the tradition of May Days past, in the spirit of anti-capitalism, in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and in support of local struggles, invites you to a festive march and block party on Sunday, May 1st.




Toronto, Canada:
WHAT: No One is illegal march
WHEN: 1pm, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Yonge-Dundas Square
EXCERPT: Highlight the struggles of resistance to anti-black racism, police brutality, and issues deeply affecting black communities.


Cuernavaca, Mexico:
WHAT: March
WHEN: 9:30 am, Sunday, May 1st
WHERE: Barranca de Amanalco – Morelos, Mexico
EXCERPT: Porque tenemos memoria no olvidamos a nuestros compañeros caídos en mayo de 1886, hace 130 años, en Chicago. Conocidos como los mártires de Chicago, un grupo de trabajadores anarquistas que fueron condenados a la horca por reivindicar las demandas obreras.

Lxs compañerxs del Tianguis Cultural Zapata Vive nos unimos a la marcha independiente y junto a lxs trabajadores en lucha saldremos a las calles este primero de mayo día internacional del trabajo.

Nuestras demandas son por el respeto al espacio de trabajo de todxs los comerciantes en el territorio morelense en particular la de todxs nuestrxs compañerxs en resistencía, por nuestro derecho a trabajar, por la verdad y el castigo a los culpables de la desaparición de los 43 normalistas y en contra del Proyecto Integral Morelos, así como por todas las legitimas causas del pueblo mexicano.


13129013_1022657384482805_656244500_oOaxaca, Mexico:

WHAT: Demonstration
WHEN: 8:00 am, Sunday May 1st
WHERE: del Monumento a Juárez al Zócalo
EXCERPT: National Day of Struggle
United Struggle of All Exploited Sectors of the Country
For the valor of the working class of the country
For respect for labor rights
Against the structural reforms
Freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!
United and organized we will win!

13077044_838861076242551_7857573432813724158_nYucatan, Mexico:
WHAT: March
WHEN: 9 am, Sunday May 1st
WHERE: Santa Lucia
EXCERPT: May First (International Workers Day) is not for celebrating with the boss, but for commemorating the struggle of the workers who gave their lives and blood to obtain better working conditions, the same that were snatched away with the Labor and Educational Reform. We invite you to participate in the march called for by Retirees, Students, and Teachers, against all structural reforms that harm the nation and to express your repudiation of the Educational Reform and to against demand its repeal. People unite!




I am interested in Pittsburgh's leap-day of April 31st. Is this some sort of Wobbly magick?
A temporary temporal autonomous zone?

Comrades, please elaborate!


Burque wtf? "fellow workers" "uplift the working class" ah yes and "live in harmony with the Earth"...look around, unemployment rates here are abysmal and ecocide is everywhere you look so these references strike me as a bit misplaced. Don't understand why this doesn't seem more connected with the very palpable tensions around colonialism, policing, visibly abject poverty, homelessness and substance abuse, etc., but instead invokes a fetishization of "work" with a side dish of corny liberal environmentalism. (Although aren't there ongoing labor issues at Kelly's and the coop?) I think the "subject" that deserves a closer look is that of dispossession, abandonment and exclusion...what about the rapid bus project? It's obviously being set up as a vector of gentrification and the only case against it has been made by the up and coming petty capitalists of will directly impact a large and disproportionately Native population which already is exposed to a great deal of state-sanctioned violence. Etc etc.

Some heavy dose of workerism in there...

"Denver Anarchist Black Cross hosts Paul Z. Simmons discussion on the autonomous Kurdish regions in Rojava."

Wonder if Simmons will be talking about the construction of two military bases in Rojava by the United States government? Or of the recent deployment of at least 250 U.S. Special Operations forces to Rojava? All of which has the stamp of eager approval of the Democratic-Confederalists in Rojava.

U.S. builds two air bases in Kurdish-controlled north Syria: Kurdish report

If anyone going to be at the event in Denver this evening I hope that they bring to the fore such uncomfortable facts rather then act all humble like I've seen some decent anarchists who should know better do when confronted by the BS in the anarchist scene.

maybe he can also talk about his buddies form Rojava Plan who think the majority of refugees from Syria are faking it.

Why is "Topic of the Week: Gatherings" the very top article on this website? Shouldn't this article be at the very top? Who the fuck runs anarchist news? You people are slippin or don't give a fuck about the most relevant thing happening today. wtf?

bring back worker already. getting sick of all the 'edgy' teenage nihilist ninja turtles around here.

i, too, like how non-edgy worker is.

what does that mean?

WOW! I just got back from watching about a dozen clips of seattle may day coverage and boy did the anarchists get their asses handed to them. That's what you get when people have been telling you for years to start a fuckin agency and you flat out refuse every time. You guys are so rebel, you attack organization itself and wonder why you lose every time. Hahaha lmao. Still, you probably won;t learn from your mistakes and will repeat them like a crazy people. It takes a real unit with orders and training with guys up at the from with people aid the front with weapons to push back an elite unit of riot cops. You just dont get it. Put the fuckin anarco philosophy book down and get into shape like the greeks. You see the guys how they look at the front line. they're all tall and muscles and probably eat right and know how to communicate and work as a team people in the back supporting the front line and rotating people like a football sport. Rip a chapter out of athens greece for once for fucks sake. YOU WILL LEARN AND FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE EVERY TIME UNTIL YOU DO! Today was a valuable lesson. Suck it up and chop it down to experience.

by Tough love from some anarchist

Hmm, five cops were injured, photos of one floating around with a bloody face. Molotovs thrown reportedly? Shit got smashed. Not too bad considering the cops had a massive show of force. I will say that if the banner had been reinforced it could have been used to push through some of those thin police lines so that they couldn't dictate the route. And the cops should be forcefully prevented from getting too close to the march, those bike cops shouldn't be allowed to flank the sides.

You're delusional if you think anarchists had control of the situation out there. You guys totally lost because you spend most of your time conflating organization with authority and anarchy with disorder. That's the problem with American anarchists. They're nu the everything in the world and don't want to hear when they are wrong about the way they go about rioting. They don't know how to work together as a tactical unit. They dont believe in the power of numbers and are entirely flat out against building a large movement, contingency, agency group that uses cells that know what to do without verbally planning it out and getting caught. You don't see a thousand black clad guys showing up with hundreds of rocks bottles in their bags and there was no effort to throw a molotov party like your friends in france and greece and everywhere else. You totally failed again. 5th year in a row. You did not have the power and force and will to push back and force them to retreat back in forth. you just took crap all day long and ran because you weren't ready and couldn't do anything if you tried. you need to be prepared for this shit and learn from your comrades over seas. . One of these days. One of these days.

You can stop now. Isn't there a toilet that needs cleaning there at the police academy?

That's not helping at all! Trying to import tactical methods from overseas when the real issue is the hoi polloi's willingness to participate should a breach in their popularist comprehension occur, and that's already occuring in the US via public relations propaganda and the innate American tradition of peaceful protest and electoral bypass democracy, a promise can go a long way, the deterrent factor of having the worst prisons in the world and the meanest trigger happy cops this side of the OK Corral goes a long way to subdue any insurrectional path to freedom. The US tactic must be the re-education via TV, and ultimately the invasion of Hollywoods intellectual and artistic elite, to bring about a paradigm shift in maybe 20 yrs. Get to work writing scripts for the future you wish to live in.
PS. I recently received an email from PB and he mentioned a producer from Hollywood paid him 10,000 dollars for part of his Creative Aesthetic Insurgency manuscript to be turned into some series. Shame on you leftists who drove him away from this site, you didn't realise or understand the intentional irony of his comments. He was fishing you for material to put the finishing touches to his masterpiece. Take out your pens and get to work, its mightier than the sword you moronic philistines!!

Yes, accept the mujaheedin way and/or stfu.

Thanks for such enlightened perspective... Bureaucrats towards the rev!

At least form an anarchist protest organization that is neutral on violence and if just meant to form a large mass for cover for the more hard core contingents within a contingent . Maybe more radical cells of fire may have the courage to form after that if they see an agency with large numbers ready to be of assistance ? ? ? You guys were terrible out there. Felt really bad.

Seattle May Day Report

Seattle May Day started with an open-air punk show outside the tourist-trap mall downtown. I found a couple of comrades from RATPAC (Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism) reading zines behind a Rojava solidarity group’s table. Progressively larger clusters of protesters started to appear. While I made a sign and chatted with my protest buddy about last year, we saw cops gather both on bikes and on horseback, glaring at the growing Black Bloc. Nearly every slogan I saw was explicitly anarchist, as were almost all of the organized groups; in fact, the entire time, only one person attempted to push a socialist newspaper on me. A few of the self-declared “real life superhero” vigilantes associated with Phoenix Jones hung around in spandex and body armor, carrying heavy sticks and stun guns. They’ve shown up for May Day rallies before, roughing up protesters alongside the police.

When the Black Bloc started chanting “A-C-A-B, All Cops Are Bastards,” we moved. Within a block, the cops had already diverted us away from our initial trajectory. Even after the evening’s first violence – an officer pepper-spraying someone without provocation or warning – we stayed mostly calm and mostly peaceful.

Every protest I’ve attended in downtown Seattle has ended the same way. The police use a couple of basic kettling techniques – bike cops blocking sidestreets and plenty of pepper spray. They herd protesters away from downtown, towards the low-traffic warehouses and sports arenas in the district immediately to the south. The only difference in the script last night was the unusual intensity of the police violence. In addition to using enough pepper spray to produce a visible cloud hanging over the sidewalk, they threw flashbang grenades and broke out the wooden cudgels. I got bruised in the leg by some sort of projectile; I later found out they’d been using rubber bullets as well.

The demonstrators got to express a lot of cathartic anger, with plenty of signs and chants calling the police murderers and pigs and such. While most protest crowds in Seattle are disproportionately white, cisgender, and male appearing, this one was more so than most. The Black Bloc accounted for well over half of those present, and those who appeared to be people of color, trans, and/or female seemed to be concentrated in the non-Black Bloc contingent. Alongside “No Rest For Murderous Pigs,” Black Bloc taunts included “fuckin’ pussies!” and “I made your mom scream last night!” Among Seattle leftists, the May Day march has become stigmatized as glorifying confrontation for its own sake and toxic masculinity. Last night left that reputation secure.

Eventually, they corralled us where they wanted. While protester violence and property destruction remained sporadic and low-level compared with the sustained violence of the police, there were a few marchers throwing around small firecrackers and rocks. Someone broke windows at a Starbucks downtown and at a Bank of America branch. According to the mayor’s press conference later, five officers ended up injured (one of them apparently got bitten), and nine protesters got arrested. Of course, the number of injured protesters was uncounted and enormous. After we peeled away from the demonstration, my protest buddy gave homemade liquid antacid wash to a stranger who was screaming in pain in a parking lot after getting pepper-sprayed point-blank. His companion could only open her left eye partially, but had avoided the brunt of the spray. Others we saw leaving had blood, torn clothes, or burns from flashbangs; with a four-inch rubber bullet bruise, I got off easy.

In the end, the police outmaneuvered us with little difficulty. They picked our route and penned us, messed a few of us up, and then let us disperse through attrition (while making arrests and continuing to hurt us). We didn’t have a clear goal or plan – no route or destination worked out beforehand, and no target for disruption except “the system” or maybe “the pigs.” We could never have matched the cops in direct conflict, given their numbers, elaborate weapons, and virtual legal untouchability. Good strategy means setting a particular goal and coordinating with each other to reach it. Good tactics involve concentrating your strength against your enemy’s weakness. We did neither. We should have picked an intersection, a business, or a building to shut down. However, we lacked any intention more specific than wandering around with signs and flags. The only goal that most participants seemed to have was to confront the cops. Well, they got that – on the cops’ terms, leading to the cops’ chosen outcome.

The police used the same tricks they use every couple of months against the same regular demonstration attendees. By not having a strategy, we squandered the knowledge that their tactics are utterly predictable. We ought to have set a goal and planned together to achieve it. But instead, we got cathartic violence for “revolutionaries” with a deep investment in toxic masculinity. Next time, we ought to aim for something more productive than that. Both the traditions International Workers’ Day represents and the acute strain capitalism places on working, disabled, and oppressed communities here in Seattle demand better.


please don't generalize. and
why so cynical?

are you maybe projecting your doubt and denial onto the beautiful chaos, hmm?

PLZ\fuck off with that shit
we ought do better

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