May Day 2014

Same as it ever was, May Day is an international day of protest for workers rights.  Below is a picture of a march in Turkey, taken from Al Jazeera, which reports on protests around the world.

In the United States, where by design we have a different day for workers (Labor Day), May Day always seems like an opportunity to organize and demonstrate around a somewhat related cause, with or without the support of organized labor.

This year, organized labor has many issues, including raising the minimum wage which, not coincidentally, was killed in the Senate just yesterday–before it could be stalled in the House.  Occupy activists are once again trying to use the moment to reestablish visibility, holding meetings and events.  Perhaps most visibly, immigrant rights  activists refuse to let the issue disappear just because Congress can’t act.  In cities large (e.g., Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco) and small (e.g., Salem, Oregon), organizers are trying to use the familiar workers’ holiday to break into public attention–again.  Reporters are prepared to look for issues that are often otherwise neglected.

May Day is an opportunity to organize and say something, reminding the rest of the world that constituencies and concerns remain vital and potentially volatile.

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About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
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