Studying May Day and the General Strike (Pilot Course)

In response to the calls for a general strike on May Day (May 1, 2012), this course will create a space to ask and discuss questions like:

What is the significance of May Day?
What does it mean to call for a general strike in the 21st century?
What would a day without the 99% look like?
What are our contemporary labor conditions?
What does it mean to be a worker these days?
What is the role of immigrant labor, unemployment, mass incarceration, domestic labor and precarity in our collective struggles?


Open to all, free, with food provided by OWS kitchen!

Guest speakers will include: Immaneul Ness, Stanley Aronowitz, Michelle Holder, Jeremy Brecher, Ruth Milkman, Gigi Roggero, Barbara Bowen, Paddy Quick, Premilla Nadasen and the OWS Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group.


Studying May Day and the General Strike
A public, 8-week course

Facilitated by OccU in the spirit of Horizontal Pedagogy


Sundays in March and April, 12pm-2pm

Introductory Session: 3/4
Class dates: 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29
(no class on Easter, 4/8)


Union Square – Southside Stairs

Backup location: 60 Wall St.


On February 14, the New York City General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street passed the following proposal:

May Day 2012
Occupy Wall Street stands in solidarity with the calls for a day without the 99%, a general strike and more! On May Day, wherever you are, we are calling for: *No Work *No School *No Housework *No Shopping *No Banking. TAKE THE STREETS!

Topics to be covered:
General Strikes in History
Histories of May Day
Labor Conditions Today
Immigrant Labor
Struggles in the Global University

Tentative Schedule:




March 4 OWS May Day Planning Committee Introductory Session – What Does May Day Mean to You?
March 11 Immanuel Ness & Jeremy Brecher What Is the General Strike? – Pillaging the Dustbin of History: What Can We Learn for Occupy May Day?
March 18 Paddy Quick & Barbara Bowen How Can We Fight Austerity?
March 25 Ruth Milkman & OWS Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group Can Immigrant Workers Revitalize the Labor Movement?
April 1 Michelle Holder & Premilla Nadasen What Does Labor Look Like Today? – How Are Informal Workers Redefining the Labor Movement?
April 15 Stanley Aronowitz What Can We Learn from the History of May Day?
April 22 Gigi Roggero Occupy Precarity, Occupy the Crisis : How Can We Overthrow the Global University and Organize the University of the Common?
April 29 TBD TBD

Recommended Readings


  1. Mike

    No sorry, we are not fighting for the continuation of debt slavery and military industrial complex, you have us mistaken with the neo-liberal globalization movement.

  2. jellobiafra

    Oh hi, lunatics. Just want to let you communists know that I will be shopping till I drop in NYC on May 1st. Do you realize that if you get what you want politically that you rich, entitled college students will be the first to be killed? Then they’ll come for your families. Never spent a day in history class, did you? Pathetic.

  3. Däv

    I’m curious as to if the content of this course will be put up on Youtube for all of us not in NY to share with folks in the month up to May Day.

  4. ral

    Theres lots of bogus lawsuits flying around now. important to get a grounding on how they are illigitimate
    Bob Boyle, attorney who represented many activists and political prisoners targeted by the COINTELPRO program

  5. Palma Ryan

    I am a member of Occupy Maine/Portland. We could put together a group to watch the series if you can live stream it to us.
    Good Luck.

    • Occupy University

      Hi Palma,

      What a great idea! We’ll work on it. We did tape our first session today, and hope to have it up soon. Please send us your email ( so we can coordinate.