MAY DAY 2020
UPDATE: WE FLEW OUR BANNER AROUND MANHATTAN TODAY AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Documentation coming soon. Thanks to all!
Thanks to all donors and collaborators! We made our goal. We’re rained out for Friday, May 1, but Sunday, May 3 is ON. Look for us in the skies. Solidarity!
Please help us LITERALLY launch this solidarity message in New York City on Friday, May 1, May Day, 2020. An airplane will haul this banner down the Hudson River in New York City, the center of the global coronavirus epidemic – and a center of the global capitalism pandemic. It will loop around Battery Park in southern Manhattan. The total flight time is approximately 3 hours. This action is weather-dependent. A rain date is scheduled for Sunday, May 3. Learn more here.
This project was a collaboration with Seeding Sovereignty.
The May Day holiday has two histories, one green and one red. It has been observed to celebrate Spring, Life, the Earth and Abundance as well as the struggle of workers around the world. As Peter Linebaugh has argued, this second ‘red’ history commemorates the ‘relationships to other people and the blood spilled therein’ — marking the power of international solidarity and social movements aimed at system change and wholesale revolution.
The history of May Day originates in the United States. On May 1, 1886 over 300,000 workers walked off their jobs across the US to demand an 8-hour work day. In Chicago, this demonstration was greeted by violent repression — and the clashes with bosses and police resulted in mass arrests, worker injuries and deaths, police casualties, and ultimately, the execution of activists. The event was adopted four years later as International Workers day and has been celebrated as a day of political action, strikes, marches, and demonstrations in support of INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS demands for political freedoms and in opposition to CAPITALISM’s devastation of the earth and peoples through exploitation, extraction, enslavement, and colonial occupation.
Whereas, the body is being, Whereas, preservation of the body demands rights to protect its well-being, Whereas, capitalism accelerated with the dispossession of land and the planned genocide of indigenous bodies, Whereas, capitalism asks working people to split amongst themselves on the very fault lines of colonialism, slavery, extraction, and war that capital produced, Whereas, the insidious Citizens United defined the corpus of industry as a person, Whereas, the state has subsidized those “citizens” and refuses the same to the people, Whereas, the bodies of working people ennobled by solidarity have been divided and conquered by state governments using the language of “right to work” to decimate unions, Whereas, these working bodies are at risk in a country with no safety net, Whereas, that net in so many nations across the Earth protects bodies, but not here, Whereas, representative bodies should ensure that education and health care are provided to all its people, Whereas, education and health care are both zones where short term valuation is an inappropriate analytic, Whereas, human labor is embedded in the exchange value of all goods, Whereas, money is the instrument of converting the energy of labor into surplus value, Whereas, workers have a right to enjoy the profits that accrue to that value that they alone produce, Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has, through the state’s insistence on “sheltering in place”, revealed how dependent the economy is on consumption, Whereas, the same pandemic has revealed the complete corruption of the federal government, Whereas, capitalism was meant to laissez faire its right to rise or fall according to market forces, Whereas, consumer demand has been expanded infinitely, propped up by consumer debt, Whereas, corporations in this stage of technology have perfected planned obsolescence by making products that will have to be bought over and over again, Whereas, the constitution states that rights accrue to “We the People,”Let it be resolved that today, May 1st, 2020 We the People send out a signal of Distress.
We declare that our comrades reject all transactions with members of the corporate oligarchy that has hijacked our working bodies and our society. We say, do more than PAUSE. We say, stop working, stop buying, unify under the banner of all workers to TAKE BACK what is ours. If Ideas are one thing and brawn another, then together we share material reality, its manifestation in the world. A union is precisely that. A body, an entity of common purpose, support, and community. These are not halcyon days. These are the days of emptiness and alienated certainty. Certain that until we refuse the terms of the oligarchy, it won’t bend. Put the energy of your labor and your attention to building a better world we deserve. Put your resources (your labor, your time, your savings, your earnings) exclusively into your communities. Sorry General Motors, sorry Chase Manhattan, sorry United, sorry Amazon, sorry Exxon Mobil. We’ve got work to do here, to grow the world we want to live in. You’re blocking the sun. The Green New Deal is a modest beginning. Single-payer health care is a no brainer. Reparations are a necessity. Liberate prisoners from the cells that were sick before the virus. We are planetary bodies. We work together, we dream together, we fight together.
Capitalism is the Pandemic is proud to partner with Seeding Sovereignty for this action. “In a time of climate crisis, Seeding Sovereignty; an Indigenous womxn-led collective, works on behalf of our global community to shift social and environmental paradigms by dismantling colonial institutions and replacing them with Indigenous practices created in synchronicity with the land.”
Citizens In the Present (CITP) is an ad-hoc group of friends and collaborators brought together by Buffalo-based media artist Jason Livingston in rapid response to the accelerated precarity of all working people. We believe that the current crisis lays bare the fundamental, foundational, and ongoing flaws of a capitalist system that puts the planet and its people at daily risk. We hope our action inspires others to be creative and determined in their resistance. We are truly citizens of the world.
Contact us: Capitalism_Is_The_Pandemic [at] protonmail [dot] com