Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day!

Happy May Day, one and all.  I was searching online for a demonstration I might have attended, but all I could find more or less locally was an effort to obstruct the traffic in lower Manhattan — which accomplishes about as much as leaving the tap running during a flood.  As is inevitably the case with Occupy, "nobody" was in charge.  Unless some protester is run over by a city bus, I doubt the so-called "general strike" will make the local evening news.

General strike?  Well, here's the unofficial logo of the May Day action — unofficial given that "nobody" is in charge.  It's a nice design, with striking colors and appealing symmetry.  That "solidarity fist" has been overused, but it still has its appeal.  Let's look at the specifics, pentagonally arrayed around that hoary old fist.

NO WORK • Over in Paris and some other parts of Europe, it's a national holiday, so lots of workers will be staying home and rallying for Hollande and his fellow "socialists."  In Manhattan, I would be very surprised if a single Starbucks barrista failed to show up for work without arranging a substitute.  The job market still is very rough.

NO SCHOOL • Cutting a class or two never was that big a deal, albeit finals are approaching rapidly.  Some of the lucky ones will be joining their instructors in the streets for extra credit.

NO SHOPPING • I don't suppose there'll be much impact on Neiman-Marcus, nor, even, on Bloomy's or even Macy's.  For that matter, I figure Wal-Mart and Target are pretty safe as well.  The DOW, the NASDAQ, and all the rest of the markets will chug along through their irrelevant ups and down as though nothing special were happening — primarily because nothing special is happening.

NO BANKING • These days, most banking happens kind of automatically.  If your automatic deposit or automatic payment is scheduled for today, you don't even know how to stop it — and if you're out of cash, well...  does the ATM really count? :-}

NO CHORES (???!!) • Do they really want 11-year-olds to refuse to take out the garbage, clean the cat box, or (in extreme circumstances) slop the hogs?  I think, perhaps, another "NO" was needed for the fifth space on the pentacle, and that was the best the unofficial designer (and his or her "working committee") could come up with.

Americans might have been able to pull off a general strike soon after the first May Day — the day of the Haymarket Massacre.  (Note: you can tell the political slant of your American history text by checking the index:  Haymarket Riot = right wing; Haymarket Affair = neutral; Haymarket Massacre = left/labor.)  Today, though, the only ones who might inspire a general strike in the USofA might be the French or the Italians — and just how likely is that?

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