Legalize! Organize! Unionize!

We want to be heard! We need to be heard! We will be heard!

We are here to celebrate May Day. We are here to celebrate our power as people who have found unity of purpose. Today we assert our power as working people. We declare our solidarity with all people of the world. We affirm our rights to economic security, to meaningful work, to health care, to public services, to safe and healthy communities, to free, quality public education from pre-K to college, and to civil liberties. Today, we stand in solidarity with all who take popular action to secure such rights, as we begin to form genuine alliances that challenge a system that breeds inequality.

We are here to decry the rampant growth of social, political and economic inequality. We seek an end to an era wherein a handful of political and economic elites govern in the name of democracy. We want an end to assaults on our human rights. We want an end to tax breaks for the rich. We want an end to the attacks on our right to organize. We want an end to the mass incarceration of people of color. We want an end to all wars and an end to the militarization of our foreign policy. We want an end to our current political system that is bought and paid for by 1%- ers. We want legalization, equal rights, civil rights, and a path to citizenship for immigrant working families. And we want citizenship to mean, as it should, that all people are to be treated justly and equally by their government.

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Read more: May Day Declaration of Solidarity

Ever since this occupy “movement” began, it has surprised me. Like a package I didn’t order appearing on my doorstep, gifting me some sweet little zines written by a near stranger I met long ago. And just when this occupy thing seems to stall or become tired—or as Take Back the Land’s Max Rameau put it so well recently, begins to feel like the film Groundhog Day—it surprises me yet again. Another package unexpectedly arrives, this time with hand-screened political posters from some anonymous friend.

May Day was one of those surprises.

Truth be told, though, the day itself was underwhelming.

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Read more: May Day Matters

Dedicated to all those who, upon encountering the slogan "freedom isn't free," interpreted the phrase not as an immutable law, but as a fantastic challenge.

Table of Contents:

Foreword The Problem: A Nation is Led to Decline

Our Problem: There is a Member of the 1% Inside All Our Heads‚

The Solution: Whose Freedom? Our Freedom!

Building the Solution: The Beginning is Near

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Read more: Manifesto of an Occupier

The boy who knew where there was a tree, or, Going a MayingMayday was a rite of passage custom that marked an important seasonal transition in the year. Putting a maypole up involved taking a growing tree from the wood, and bringing it to the village to mark the oncoming season of the summer. Mayday used to be a period of great sexual licence. People would go off into the woods to collect their trees and green boughs, but once there, would enter into all sorts of temporary sexual liaisons which society did not normally accept.

Why isn't it like that now? It was tamed and redirected. In the seventeenth century, Mayday "The Great Rite" came under severe attack by the bloody puritans who banned it and made it illegal by an act of Parliament in 1644. In Philip Stubbe's "Anatomy of Abuses", which was a puritan tract against all kinds of merrymaking, there is a section called 'Against May', where he actually tries to measure the degree of sexual licence. "Every parish town and village assemble themselve's together. Men and women and children, old and young and go off, some to the woods and groves, some to the hills and mountains, where they
spend the night in pastimes. In the morning they return bringing with them birch-boughs and trees to deck their assemblies withal. I've
heard it credibly reported by men of great gravity, credibility and reputation. That forty, three score, or a hundred youths, going to the
woods over night. They have scarcely the third part of them, returned
home again undefiled."

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Read more: You may Call it May Day or you can call it a Beltane

From Peaceful Protest to Police Brutality

On May 1, 2012, thousands of students and other protesters took to the streets for the Anti-Capitalist rally in downtown Montréal. I attended the protest with a couple friends, and having read the “news” emanating from the “stenographers of power” (the mainstream media), it’s important to set the record straight about what happened here in Montréal.

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Read more: What Really Happened at the Montréal May Day Protest?

The encampments we created showed on a small scale what a society not geared around making profits for the 1% could be like. Did we charge people for the food we served? Did we charge rent for tents? Did we make people pay for gloves, coats, and first aid? No! Everyone was fed, housed, and given clothes despite our limited means.

We didn’t use markets, we used common sense.

And we did it without creating bosses or rulers from our own ranks, without creating our own armies or engaging in police brutality of our own making.

Why not replicate that on a bigger scale?

Why not replace capitalism and markets with something a lot more efficient and humane: commonsense?

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Read more: Why Not?

What are the Spending Priorities of the Government?

In the debate raging over increased costs of tuition in Quebec, increased debt loads of the federal and provincial governments, the need to reduce costs – impose “fiscal austerity” – and find “solutions” to these problems, very little context is given. As students fight back against increased fees, the counter argument simply states that people must pay for their education, that governments must reduce their deficits, and therefore, cuts in spending and increases in tuition are necessary, though undesirable. But how necessary are they? Where is the government putting its money?

The question really comes down to one of priorities and approach. What are the spending priorities of the government, for people in need or for the benefit of the rich? What is the government’s approach to spending in terms of addressing a major social and economic crisis, to treat symptoms or address the cause? A great deal is revealed about the moral, ethical and humanitarian considerations of a state in terms of how and where it spends its money. Canada is no exception.

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Read more: Canada’s Economic Collapse and Social Crisis: Class War and the College Crisis, Part 5

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