Friday, April 27, 2012

May 1st Rally -- Speakers Line-up

This years May 1st Rally will feature an array of local community activists & radical organizes.
The March & Rally is a product of the combined dedication of United for Social Justice, Revolutionary Students Union, SLC Industrial Workers of the World, Wasatch Socialist Party & many more.

The event will start around 5pm at the Utah State Capitol & will be hosted by Christine Leaming

Speakers will include  

Mindy Hatch -- community activist from United for Social Justice

Victor Puertas -- community activist from United for Social Justice the Anarchist Black Cross

Buddy Beck -- A long-time Socialist & Labor activist, who played a crucial role in helping the largely undocumented Co-op Mine workers, while they were locked-out and fighting for Union Representation back in 2003.
Josh West -- Has helped to build the Revolutionary Students Union at the campus of Utah Valley University.

Bryan Gutierrez & Raymi Gutierrez -- with the Salt Lake Dream team & Campaine for the American Dream.

Gregory Lucero -- With the revolutionary Students Union SLCC; Which is now engaged in a fight to keep the Cosmetology School from being cut from the curriculum at the Salt Lake Community College. 

Josh Belka -- From the International Stage Hands Union, local 99 & the Wasatch Socialist Party.

Daanish Khan
-- University of Utah Student from Pakistan and member of RSU
Justin Kramer -- Crucial in helping to organize Occupy Salt Lake and working with the A.L.E.C. Welcoming Committee.
Music By local radical song writer -- Kyle Wulle

Friday, April 6, 2012

Salt Lake City's MayDay Convergence group... a coalition of the Occupy SLC, Industrial Workers of the World & the Revolutionary Students Union Will host a rally and march on May 1st to commemorate International Workers' Day!

Come Join us 4pm @ the Salt Lake City & County building.

We will march up to the Utah State Capitol Building, where there will be a rally featuring lively speeches form local Radical Activists.

Bring the whole Family! This event is Free!
Speakers will include:
Mindy Hatch
Victor Puertas
Josh West
Gregory Lucero
Justin Kramer
Bryan Gutierrez
Josh Belka

Hoodies for Humanity

Approximately Six-hundred community members, activists, and students attended a March and rally March 31st in Downtown, Salt Lake City Utah. The title of the event was “Hoodies for Humanity” and was in support of justice for Trayvon Martin; a Florida youth who was brutally murdered by a racist vigilantly.

The march took place coincidentally on the same day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “Mormons” held their annual general conference; a day when many out of town Mormons converge on Salt Lake City as part of their faith in the LDS religion (a religion with shameful history of racist anti-black bigotry). The route for the march went directly around the Mormon Church head-quarters/Temple Square then ended at the Salt Lake Downtown public library Amphitheater for a rally.

“Justice for Trayvon”, “No Justice No Peace”, and “Prosecute Zimmerman” were the main themes of the march.  Speakers at the rally focused on the struggles of the oppressed, and the fight against institutional racism in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


May Day Convergence:

We are an informal group of radical activists in the Salt Lake area looking to expand and nurture local radical movements and communities. Because OccupySLC fights against the 1%, we would like to invite you to help plan and participate in a radical convergence happening April 28th-29th, 2012. This convergence is for radical groups around Salt Lake to come together and share their ideas and projects, network with each other, and to open the doors to people who have not been involved in radical politics or activism before. The convergence will be followed by a city-wide day of action on May Day.

May Day is a day of importance because it originally marked the end of the unfarmable winter in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often rambunctious celebrations. In the past hundred years May Day has become a day of commemoration and solidarity of working people, radicals, and the oppressed. After the Haymarket Affair (1886), 8 political dissenters were falsely accused and put on trial which ended with four anarchists being hanged. Opposition against the trial had international support, and the outcry against the injustice led to the creation of May Day in 1890. Today, as in the past, oppression takes many forms, and only a unified struggle across many groups will lead to total liberation for all.

Through the radical convergence we hope to create a network of solidarity, support, and a foundation for future action. Some of the ideas for this convergence could include: lectures, workshops, Really Really Free Market, tabling, social events, parties, and shared meals in addition to a unified action to take place on the following Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Much of this is yet to be decided because we would like your group, as well as others, to participate and contribute in the planning process. Through this, we hope to foster an inclusive environment to create stronger alliances amongst Salt Lake City radicals while developing solidarity with the international global justice movement. Our hope is to create a healthier radical community that can support each other's struggles and movements on a consistent basis.

Thank you for inspiring us, and we look forward to working with all.

The Salt Lake City May Day Convergence Coalition

The Brief Origins of May Day

By Eric Chase - 1993.
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as "American" as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.
In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860's, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn't until the late 1880's that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.
At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services. Workers had seen first-hand that Capitalism benefited only their bosses, trading workers' lives for profit. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace, with life expectancy as low as their early twenties in some industries, and little hope but death of rising out of their destitution. Socialism offered another option.
A variety of socialist organizations sprung up throughout the later half of the 19th century, ranging from political parties to choir groups. In fact, many socialists were elected into governmental office by their constituency. But again, many of these socialists were ham-strung by the political process which was so evidently controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machine. Tens of thousands of socialists broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were "taken over" by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.
At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886." The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations. At first, most radicals and anarchists regarded this demand as too reformist, failing to strike "at the root of the evil." A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that "whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave."
Despite the misgivings of many of the anarchists, an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor. As more and more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for the 8-hour day, realizing that "the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction." With the involvement of the anarchists, there seemed to be an infusion of greater issues than the 8-hour day. There grew a sense of a greater social revolution beyond the more immediate gains of shortened hours, but a drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism.
In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:
  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World's misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.
Not surprisingly the entire city was prepared for mass bloodshed, reminiscent of the railroad strike a decade earlier when police and soldiers gunned down hundreds of striking workers. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public's eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.
The names of many - Albert Parsons, Johann Most, August Spies and Louis Lingg - became household words in Chicago and throughout the country. Parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets exemplified the workers' strength and unity, yet didn't become violent as the newspapers and authorities predicted.
More and more workers continued to walk off their jobs until the numbers swelled to nearly 100,000, yet peace prevailed. It was not until two days later, May 3, 1886, that violence broke out at the McCormick Reaper Works between police and strikers.
For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the "anarchist-dominated" Metal Workers' Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.
Full of rage, a public meeting was called by some of the anarchists for the following day in Haymarket Square to discuss the police brutality. Due to bad weather and short notice, only about 3000 of the tens of thousands of people showed up from the day before. This affair included families with children and the mayor of Chicago himself. Later, the mayor would testify that the crowd remained calm and orderly and that speaker August Spies made "no suggestion... for immediate use of force or violence toward any person..."
As the speech wound down, two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting that a speaker was using inflammatory language, inciting the police to march on the speakers' wagon. As the police began to disperse the already thinning crowd, a bomb was thrown into the police ranks. No one knows who threw the bomb, but speculations varied from blaming any one of the anarchists, to an agent provocateur working for the police.
Enraged, the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded was never determined, but an estimated seven or eight civilians died, and up to forty were wounded. One officer died immediately and another seven died in the following weeks. Later evidence indicated that only one of the police deaths could be attributed to the bomb and that all the other police fatalities had or could have had been due to their own indiscriminate gun fire. Aside from the bomb thrower, who was never identified, it was the police, not the anarchists, who perpetrated the violence.
Eight anarchists - Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg - were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred. The jury in their trial was comprised of business leaders in a gross mockery of justice similar to the Sacco-Vanzetti case thirty years later, or the trials of AIM and Black Panther members in the seventies. The entire world watched as these eight organizers were convicted, not for their actions, of which all of were innocent, but for their political and social beliefs. On November 11, 1887, after many failed appeals, Parsons, Spies, Engel and Fisher were hung to death. Louis Lingg, in his final protest of the state's claim of authority and punishment, took his own life the night before with an explosive device in his mouth.
The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first "Red Scare" in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.
Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs and those who established May Day as an International Workers' Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.
Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public's memory by establishing "Law and Order Day" on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still had the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!" at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.
Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:
Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted - people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we'll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.