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May Days to Come

I’ve been grappling with ideas about “Precarity” and class for a while now. There’s not a whole helluva lot of thinking or writing going on around this in the U.S. that I can really identify with, but yesterday I got two things in my email box. One is a link to a pamphlet distributed at the Gleneagles Scotland G8 meeting called “Event Horizon” by a collaboration of folks in Leeds, Chicago and Scotland. I highly recommend it.

The other thing I got was a rather rough translation of a piece called a “Precarious Lexicon” from a Spanish group Precarias a la Deriva. The Lexicon is a solid bit of theoretical work, and the two pieces go hand-in-hand beautifully. The Spanish text (if you want the English translation I got, email me and I’ll send it to you) connects the discussion to the eruption of the May Day carnivals in first Italy and then now across 16 European capitals this past year.

In 1998, 1999 and to a lesser extent in 2000 a bunch of us got together around here and pulled off these “Reclaim May Day” parades and fairs that were really exciting and hopeful at the time. David Solnit and Alli Starr and the Art & Revolution folks were instrumental in making it happen, so when they threw themselves into Seattle organizing in 1999 it sapped the energy for the 2000 Mayday, and then the event petered out after that. But reading the two pieces above reminded me that I’d been feeling the urge to re-reclaim May Day in 06 with a radical parade/carnival… any takers?

I’m feeling the continuity of our local scene more strongly right now, after Punx Against War held a really great punk show at CounterPULSE on Friday night. It was an impromptu affair, since we hadn’t really been thinking we could or would be hosting punk shows there (now I think we’ll definitely want to make it happen at least a few times a year). But they got evicted from their squat across the street at the former Guitar Center a couple of days before their big inaugural concert there, and lo and behold, we had a sweet, artistic, inspiring evening. I had that delicious taste of past venues, old friends, echoes of my own youthful love of c. 1979 punk rock (esp. the Onion-Flavored Rings–yowza!). Some old Komotionistas showed up, and tons of new kids too, some of whom are organizing free events, concerts, discussions on Peak Oil, the Really Really Free Market in Dolores Park last Sats. of the month, and so on.

San Francisco ain’t dead yet! And I gotta say, I put a shitload of energy into helping CounterPULSE get open and wouldn’t have done it if it couldn’t at least resemble in a limited way the openness and serendipity and synchronicity of a Social Center in the European style… Friday night’s punk show was the best confirmation yet that we’re going to be able to pull it off.

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