May Day 2012: Occupy Wall Street Plans World 'Coming Out Party' From Sydney to NYC
Although the Occupy movement has laid low for most of the winter, it is planning a triumphant return on May 1, internationally known as May Day. Historically a day of labor protests, the movement is organizing walk-outs and strikes all around the world. In New York City, for example, students and teachers who walk out of class will attend a march and a “public university,” with several prominent speakers, in a park. In the words of some Occupy spokespeople, May Day is their “coming out party.” “We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” read an e-mail from organizers.
While many city officials are worried, the return of the Occupy movement to national prominence will be welcome. As both the healthcare debate and the presidential elections heat up, continued pressure from the left to match the Tea Party's influence will be undeniably a positive thing. Although we see Democrats and Republicans as fundamentally opposed to each other, American politics, compared to other countries', occupies a very narrow spectrum. Pressure from outside sources to diversify — and, more importantly, reform the system — is not only welcome, but necessary.
It remains to be seen whether the Occupy movement can regain its place in cities where governments have been less than friendly. One day of action, even if the turnout is good, may not be enough to cement the Occupy's place in national politics. That will take prolonged effort over a long period of time.
For now, it is encouraging that people as far as Sydney and Kuala Lumpur are also taking stands against their governments. Perhaps this new iteration of the Occupy movement will see an increase in global co-operation. Several student protests around the world, like in Chile, have been very successful, which bodes well for the planned May Day protests (which center around student walk-outs). Hopefully, this summer will see the Occupy movement cement its place in national (and international) politics.