--> HOME <-- | Home mayday | Why Mayday | What's On | Press Area | About Us | Contact Us

US, Seattle M1, IWW Labor/Neighbor May Day In Seattle

Date Sun, 7 May 2000 06:16:42 -0400

Here is a rough first hand report from Seattle for May Day;

The event consisted of DJ's, a few bands, under a tent with a banner
in the back that read, "Capitalism cannot be Reformed", the much
accredited banner seen during WTO, so there was no confusion as to
what we were about. At the same time, we weren't there boring folks
with speakers after speaker, but at the same time the politics were
there. We got the tent set up at about 4ish (it rains a lot here) to be
sure that the equipment donated by neighborhood folk would be
protected by the rain. About three dozen people were present at any
one time during the warm up, where the DJs played music and we
handed out red "Fill this out when you need a union" postcards. The
weather held out fortunately. At about 6:15, about 100 bicyclists
came through (including folks from the sort of informal bike
messenger association) with about 6 cop cars following them. At that
point, the first band was setting up, and we kicked things off. I gave
an introduction, and then Arthur Miller gave a pretty hard-core
speech about what needed to be done (and he pulled no punches as
the pigs grew in numbers in the parking lot across third street). Then
the first band went on, and folks were having a pretty good time
dancing around the basketball court. Locals came out of their
apartments across the alley and were enjoying the show, and the
kitchen workers from Mama's Mexican Kitchen took turns watching
from that back all night, tapping their toes.

At our peak there was probably 200 or so people in attendance, and
with the comings and goings, probably up to 300.

During the first band, Omari Tahir from the African American
museum came through, and agreed to speak impromptu (I was going
to go a head and spreak, then gave up my time, since he's better at it
then I am and we were pretty tight for time as it was). Whenever I
have seen someone speak on Black politics, I always notice a pattern
in the crowd; about half pay no attention, and a little less then half
are paying attention somewhat, and then a handful at the front that
are listening intently to the words. Omari's speech was no exception,
and it was good to see faces that I didn't recognize hearing his
message. He also addressed directly the politics of crack cocaine,
which was the reason we had decided to help Belltown take back the
park, as it is a haven for crack and heroine addicts (and the pigs who
rough them up); Omari hit just about every point, from an anti-
capitalist perspective, and even was able to recover the crowd with
WTO references when there was a distraction near third street.. In
the meantime, the second band was setting up, and then the
organizer for the bicyclist contingent announced the winner of the
contest they were hiding amongst their group (best bike butt,
featuring gift certificates for Left Bank, Vain (a local hair salon, and
also a record store in Belltown).

At about this time we were trying to figure out how to deal with the
fact that our permit was going to expire in 20 minutes, and we still
had one more band to go, and the cops were waiting in the wings.
We had applied for a permit until 10pm, and it was verbally
confirmed that we would have the park until 10. When the permit
was issued (48 hours notice) they shaved it down to 8pm, which
fucked us big time. We decided to keep going to see what would

At about 8:05, the pigs walked up and began to hassle the sound
man. He pointed to a wob and said to talk to him. the pig asked him
if he would take care of getting people to disperse, and he said of
course (since the pigs didn't say do it now). We kept in
communication with the sound man (most of the equipment was his),
and he agreed to keep going. Five minute later 3 different cops went
up to the outlet to try to pull the plug. About 4 wobs went to
investigate, and the pigs insisted we had to leave because they knew
our permit expired at 8. He was told that we applied until 10, and the
pig retorted that it was too late and were disturbing the community.
Another wob asked if anyone was complaining and they didn't
answer. I then informed them that wasn't possible, since it was the
community that organized the event! Another FW said "I want to see
your copy of the permit", and that delayed them another few
minutes, and they left the area where the plug was. The band kept
going, people knew something was up, but stuck around. At that
point we still had about 150 in attendance.

A FW came back and reported that the pigs said the would begin arresting
and citing unless we dispersed immediately (by then we were *20 minutes*
past our permit). I asked around to see if people were willing to
challenge the pigs, and in particular, the sound guy.  He wanted to
continue, and I went to talk to the pigs. People weren't into fighting the
pigs, which was pretty smart, as we were not prepared to do so, and we
didn't want to bring the shit into Belltown, and undermine our legitimacy
as not being scary wobblies bringing riots into the neighborhood (the
Seattle pigs are well prepared these days, as they averted a squat at the
"shoe" building where the artists are getting tossed out for ".com" office
space, in cooperation with the Washington Stae Patrol)  The pigs told me
that they "had talked to the permit holder"  and I told them it was
impossible, since it was *my name* on the permit.  More cops were coming
around, and I managed to negotiate that the band could at least finish
their song, as they simply were not hearing anything from the person whose
name was on the permit, claiming they had already been "cool with us". I
talked to the sound guy, and he figured now was the time to bail. The band
finished up and I made an announcement, making it clear as to why things
were getting shut down (everybody at this point already knew). No one was
arrested, the only people that had to deal with the pigs were the
organizers, and we were successful in avoiding a confrontation that we
would have lost. Once again, the pigs spoiled everybody's fun, to their
own future demise.

In all, the event was a success. Locals are talking about future events in
the newly reclaimed public space, and in spite of the pigs we had a
fucking awesome and festive mayday.



From:  http://www.ainfos.ca

Back to the front page

Selected Links: RTS | Guerrilla Gardening | Mayday Conference | London Mayday | Primal Seeds | PGA | IndyMedia USA