May Day 2022

Reflections from the Eugene May Day Coalition

One of the things most abhorrent about Capitalism is the way it not only adorns our bodies in hurt and harm but prevents us from having the time, space, sense of safety, and community support needed to ever dig that poison out of our bodies. Coming together to provide room to breathe and heal is an absolute must for us to survive and process the trauma inflicted on us by fascist and capitalist formations. We dream of solidarity and letting leftists know that many people can and will build power and class consciousness. A coalition of the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective, Eugene DSA, IWW, and the Student Insurgent started discussing and reaching out to other groups in January. This helped make the process collaborative because there was time for people to brainstorm and plan together, and these groups plan to continue in coalition.

On May Day, there was a mix of tabling, spontaneous and planned speeches, workshops, games, art, a reading of The Witch's Child, spoken word poetry, and live music. Lots of food was provided by Eugene Community Fridge, Food Not Bombs, Burrito Brigade, and Solidaritea, and an untold number of plant starts were distributed by Plant Swap and other community members. Around 300 people showed up, and people walking by learned of the history of May Day and working people from many different leftist tendencies. Many stayed to join in the efforts to build a better world. Adults and children laughed and relaxed while weaving a colorful May pole, and a laughing child wearing an ACAB button and holding a craft red rose popped bubbles a person in black block made by spinning in a circle. Loud punk music played in the middle of downtown. People in cars driving by looked on as if saying "What is going on?" Groups and individuals distributed hundreds of zines and stickers. A group screenprinted "Abolish Prison, Abolish Slavery" on over 75 patches and shirts people brought with them. People sat in the grass talking, reading radical zines, and eating burritos, and there were no disruptions from ideological opponents or from the state.

Our values are not merely political stances to be pursued within electoral, propagandic, and campaign arenas but our every day lived values. Living these values collectively helps them to seep into our bones and build our collective social forms. It felt like a faire and political education. People were there to relax and be together on May Day, to take a collective breath in solidarity and dream of how we can live after capitalism and the colonial state fall.These connections will be necessary in what we can only hope is a very busy Summer. This event wasn't intend to be a direct action like May Day's of the past, present, and future because it was designed to be a day of leisurely socializing. Our ability to act and react collectively in the face of ongoing threats will always be dependent on our ability to build trust with and within our community. In times of bravery, knowing you can trust those with you is essential to effective action and organization.

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