NYC May Day march

July 27, 2012

New York—There was a large May Day rally and march in New York City—but you would not have known it from reading The New York Times. The march of around 10,000 was a convergence of individuals, organizations, and participants in actions earlier in the day, primarily targeting sites of labor disputes and financial headquarters.

Although the largest number of people seemed to be youth from Occupy, many others dressed theatrically with make-up and props, or all in black. But the masses of immigrant workers who had come out in 2006 and the large mainstream union contingents who had marched in October with Occupy were not there. Occupy Wall Street had called for a General Strike, which did not happen.

A small group of activist teachers with Occupy the Department of Education marched. There were educational theatrics by the Community Food Alliance, which supports the Coalition of Immokalee Workers who pick tomatoes in Florida. They have won several “Fair Food” agreements since last fall (see Sept.-Oct. 2011 N&L) and are now targeting Chipotle Mexican Grill.

There were small contingents of United Federation of Teachers, CUNY Professional Staff, Musicians Local 802, nurses, doctors, jornaleros (day laborers) and Hospital Workers Local 1199 had a small group.

A number of Latino groups were there too and some environmental groups, and a lot of individuals. There was one difference from traditional large marches: contingents were not cohesive. People seemed to be mingling a lot more.

—Susan Van Gelder

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