Greater Denver Area: Call for an Anarchist May Day

So far the IWW has called for a “General Strike” in Denver, the website denver general strike has actions posted, but not even the Denver IWW, which launched the idea, has any of its own public plans for marches, rallies, parties, etc. on the site yet. I hope that they come up with some, preferably coordinated with the migrant community.  I have no illusion that the general strike will succeed in a significant portion of the population joining, or doing much to shut down the city. Currently the one and only event listed is the Occupy march at 12:30, and a possible address from political prisoner Siddique Abdullah Hasan at the same march and rally. However, many anarchists do not feel safe at Occupy events and see it as a place of heavy surveillance, political co-optation, and social repression. Furthermore, after Denver ABC’s official withdrawal of legal support, supporting Occupy feels to many of us autonomous anarchists as a form of betrayal to part of the anarchist community. Finally, the Occupy movement does not represent, although it may have certain affinities with, the vision and values of many anarchists. Supporting the Occupy movement can leave a dirty feeling for many of us.


I will not elaborate on the history of May Day, it’s undeniable anarchist (and Pagan) roots, nor its state-leftist cooptation. Rather than focus on the history, anarchists, especially in the US, should look at May Day as our most important holiday. It’s a time when we assert our ideals, not just our opposition. It should be a time of wholeness, combining celebration with mourning, love with anger, and hope with criticism. On May Day we should assert ourselves as individuals, unite with our communities, and display our vision to the rest of society. Too often our tone has been solely critical, “anti”, almost reactionary – in its literal sense. Such concerns are valid, but must be balanced with more rounded, circumspect understandings. There was an attempt at this in the recent march of the elves in Denver, but even there the tone was still more of a critical attack than a self-assertion, if not in the full rage of anti-police brutality marches. Past anarchist attempts to join the Occupy marches in the fall also had a more convivial tone, which was both playful and creatively disruptive. However these were basically unorganized in their messaging as well, and ended differently than they began.


Secondly, throughout the US as well as in Denver, many recent actions, by anarchists and also many by Occupy itself, have almost always tended to be single-issue based.  Such actions may be strategically useful, and important.  However, these attract a core group and a target demographic, but play too easily into party politics, non-profit co-optation, and general pressure-group pluralism of liberal “democracy”. As already mentioned, they are generally negative rather than positive, and often attack issues that other left-leaning political non-profit organizations already acknowledge as problematic. These actions seek media attention, and are often misrepresented as part of a larger state-based lobbying, if not electoral agenda. As anarchists we acknowledge the existence of a common enemy, but also a systemic web of power, the particular institutions of which cannot merely be replaced or reformed piecemeal. It must be confronted as a whole, and so too we must present a comprehensive alternative.

 

  It's time that we also took steps to promote our own vision and critique the dominant construct in a similar manner.  For at least one day, let’s take a break from engaging in political campaigns, and work more on building community. Let’s confront power but also build our own dual power. Whether we have a party, a march, a parade, a rally, a concert, a festival, or a riot, let it be empowering. We should do this for ourselves, but also to attract others. We're more fun, more cohesive, more organized, more coherent, more committed, more interesting, and often more knowledgeable than the alternatives on the left. Denver doesn’t have the setup to really have a comprehensive, multifaceted, highly resourceful and broad-based anarchist community organization ready to educate and transform the lives of masses of people anyway. Nevertheless, we can make a case for our dedication, our passion, our unity, the beauty of our vision and the strength of our convictions that needs to be re-asserted for ourselves just as much as to show others.


If people still only want to join the Occupy march, let’s have a unified, cohesive, organic anarchist section to that march. Obviously in the unlikely event that the police make such a setup impractical, we should reconsider. But otherwise, if we do join Occupy, let’s at least try to stick together, create a somewhat safer space for at least ourselves, and begin to present an image of insurmountable imagination.

This is an excellent

This is an excellent proposal, and I think it makes a lot of sense for there to be a specifically anarchist celebration/honoring of May Day, for obvious historic reasons. I do take issue with the portrayal of Occupy in relation to anarchists: many anarchists may not feel comfortable there, but in fact the occupation has at least doubled the number of active, firetested anarchists in this city, and pretending that Denver's anarchist community is not immensely benefited from all the anarchists to have found themselves as such and found one another as well is pretty insulting and appears snobby. It's true, OD's May Day will not be specifically anarchist, and that by itself is a good reason for anarchist May Day, with or without the generalizations because anarchism is beautiful and deserves to be realized as often as possible. I look forward to see what becomes of this regardless, and will gladly be there.

I agree that Occupy has

I agree that Occupy has increased the number of self-described anarchists in the city, although I don't know if I would describe most of them as "firetested".  However, many may have also become more withdrawn and disengaged as a result.  I actually think that much of the anarchist community has suffered from Occupy... devoting time, energy, and resources only to be insulted, attacked, and taken advantage of.  I think the letter from DABC is a good start but is by no means comprehensive of everything that has happened to anarchists and other long-term radicals who tried to get involved at Occupy.  However, it all also varies from person to person, just as Occupy is full of diverse people, many of whom have only ever been supportive and friendly. 

The DABC letter is indeed an

The DABC letter is indeed an accurate portrayal of some of the problems that were raging round about December, though unfortunately problems that will be run into whenever dealing with a large, varied group of people. Since there have been many major improvements. It certainly was not ABC's obligation to continue helping financially or even to have shown up in the first place, and if any anarchist wishes not to go to occupy that's entirely legitimate. I just thought it was worth mentioning that though some may not want to set foot at civic center, there are at least an equal number that have found a community precisely because of occupy and not to sell that, or them, short.

And as far as firetested, I have a hard time understanding how anarchists taking part in the movement the local government has spent more time, money and energy on repressing than any other in this town since the beginning of the occupation don't qualify. Unless you mean literally surviving a state war on anarchists, in which case you got a point, but that applies to most anarchists in the US.

Either way, I didn't mean to take things off the topic of anarchist may day which is great in its own right. Let's go!

Occupy is dead.

Occupy took the ruling class by surprise and successfully used several anarchist principles to organize what could have become a mass revolt. Unfortunately the American propgandha system still has the average person thinking in terms of right wing/ left wing. Most members of Occupy do not understand yet that The State and Capitalism are hierarchal forms of oppression. The average Occupier is merely shocked that they are losing their unearned class privilege and wants to do just enough to get it back.

As anarchists we are opposed to all forms of oppression, including but not limited to Capitalism, The State, Patriarchy, White Privilege, Zionism, Religion, Psychiatry etc.

The "austerity" hasn't even really hit the United States yet. 10-15 years from now the average American may be open to the idea of general strikes, factory occupations etc. as viable alternatives to voting and protest marches. But they aren't there yet.

I have been insulted, threatned and pushed out by Occupy. I have heard the same complaints against Occupy from people of color, the LGBT community and the homeless community.

As an anarchist I see Occupy as a revolt of white people losing their privilege. There is nothing revolutionary or worthwhile in it. I suggest anarchists distance themselves from the white, middle class Occupy movement and work on organizing the most disenfranchised members of society. We need to rebuild society "from the base to the summit" according to the principles of free assocation and federalism.

It is imperative that anarchists realize that while we may share the average liberal occupiers belief in economic equality, we oppose their self-demeaning and parasitic dependence on The State. Likewise, while we may share the conservative tea partier's anti-statist beliefs, we strongly oppose their assinine faith in hierachal institutions like Capitalism & Patriarchy as well as their delusional belief in an anthropocentric Cosmic Father Figure.

We should never forget the wise words of the American Anarchist Labor Organizer Lucy Parsons -

“Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals.”

Our job is to enlighten the "bewildered herd." Once they know what is really happening, the revolution will happen organically.