May Day 2009: International Workers’ Day and Montreal’s Festival of Anarchy

May 1st is International Workers’ Day around the world, known as May Day in many countries, arguably one of the first international holidays/days of demonstration produced by disadvantaged non-state actors. You can read more about the origins of May Day from the Industrial Workers of the World.

On this May Day we are subject to what we are told is the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Bankers are being bailed out, bonuses being paid, while workers lose jobs or are asked to cut back on wages and hard won benefits. We have witnessed a massive transfer of wealth from workers and from peripheral economies over the last three decades of neoliberal dominance. We are witnessing it again, as the agents of neoliberalism are being shored up with the privatization of social wealth, and the socialization of the losses of the private sector.

In Montreal, today, Friday May 1st, starting at 5:30pm, there will be a Demonstration Against Capitalism, starting at Parc Cabot (corner Atwater and Ste-Catherine – métro Atwater). The demonstration will march to the main offices of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in the heart of the business district (1000, place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, in Vieux-Montréal).

May Day 2009 in Montreal also begins this city’s Festival of Anarchy, which runs for the entire month.

The following series of videos comprise a documentary on one of the incidents that gave rise to International Workers Day, the Haymarket Square massacre in Chicago in 1886.

9 thoughts on “May Day 2009: International Workers’ Day and Montreal’s Festival of Anarchy

  1. Nullifidian

    Thanks for that post. It warms my anarchist heart.

    I’m also quite jealous of Canadians able to create and sustain a month-long festival of anarchism.

    I’ve wanted to ask this for a while, and I figure it might be tangentially relevant here: have you read David Graeber’s Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology?

    If so, I’d be interested to read your comments on it.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Thanks for posting today.

      I have read that book, and it’s been next to me for about the past 6 months — I wanted to do a series of posts on it, and then I get constantly sidetracked. In fact, in terms of books I wanted to write about on this blog, that stack is getting to be an almost impossible size (only the spiders seem to be benefiting from it).

      Just very quickly — there are several good ideas in there, that in some respects remind me of the Zapatista ideas of autonomy (or ontonomy as some call it). I thought it was actually a fairly “pragmatic” notion of anarchism, perhaps a bit too European-rooted. What I did not like were the unnecessary shots at John Zerzan, whose ideas I generally respect, even if I do not live up to them. David Graeber has since published at least two more books, and those are the ones I have done little more than skim. I hope that once this summer passes the decks will be clearer (as if).

    2. Tali

      Took the words out of my mouth, Nulli! Warms my anarchist heart, too :)

      Seems like I’m way behind on my reading. Max, a reading list is always appreciated by a young and under developed anarchist ;)

  2. Tali

    By the way, totally off topic, but you closed the comments on the Ayala posts and I think it’s too bad, because some people (*cough*me*cough*) come in a little late, but would still like to interject into the madness. I really wanted to take on Steph’s point about “knowing” Loyd, because I happen to “know” many murderers and repressionists. I thought a little wisdom from experience could add a new facet to the conversation.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Tali, at the very end a series of deeply disturbed and abusive comments began to come in, and rather than post filth, or agreeing to be insulted and returning the favour, I decided I had better things to do with my time. Too many individuals — disturbed by the absence of total uniformity across all English language blogs writing on the topic of Ayala — sought to target me rather than the issues raised. I tire easily these days and it was simpler to just shut down the comments.

      1. Tali

        I understand what you’re saying and I guess I can only try and off set it with letting you know that there are people out there who do appreciate your insight and thought provoking (and many times lyrical) work. We usually agree, Max, but it leads to interesting debate, when we finally don’t.

        Looking forward to disagreeing with you,

      2. Maximilian Forte

        Thanks Tali, at least our disagreements have been productive.

        I will be away from blogging for the next several days, so my apologies in advance if any comments are slow to appear.

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