In Davis's conception, the Mayday Tribe would bring the most politicized hippies of the time together with the hippest of the hardcore radicals. Thanks mates for your thoughts and for being there. 46. As one Mayday leaflet circulated in advance of the 1971 event declared, in a clear allusion to the 24 April NPAC event, "Nobody gives a damn how many dumb sheep can flock to Washington demonstrations, which are dull ceremonies of dissent that won't stop the war." More than 200,000 protesters and veterans converged on the US capital to demand an end to the war in Vietnam forty years ago on May 3, 1971. "35, The GLF-like the GAA, a primarily gay male organization, with few lesbian members-also saw itself as both inspired and shaped by radical feminism. 42. For about 5 hours on Monday, May 3, 1971 demonstrators used non-violent civil disobedience attempting to shut down the U.S. government in protest of the Vietnam War by blocking intersections and bridges throughout Washington, D.C. until the police and federal troops suppressed them. Anti-Mass: Methods of Organization for Collectives defined "the mass" as an intrinsically alienating and repressive structure of capitalist society, designed purely to facilitate consumption. Editorial Reviews. Since the Stonewall rebellion of June 1969-when patrons of a Greenwich Village gay and transvestite bar fought back against police during an attempted raid, an act of proud defiance that sparked the gay liberation movement-gay radicals had worked to play a visible role in the movement against the Vietnam War. The deaths sparked strikes at hundreds more campuses and inspired thousands who had never protested before to take to the streets. Download printable May 1971 calendar. Though there was very little direct feminist influence on Mayday-there was a women's tent and a women's contingent, but that was about it-the decentralized and radically democratic organizing principles of the women's liberation movement helped shape the larger political climate that gave rise to the Mayday Tribe.23. 14). "The straight women automatically assume that we're going to rape them all-that's bullshit. The decentralized, affinity-group-based direct action techniques championed by the Mayday Collective would only begin to reach their democratic potential after they were more fully fused with feminist principles-and after women, especially lesbians, became key actors in direct-action organizing. The people who took part in this three-day protest from May 1st through 3rd were members of the MayDay Tribe which were made up of “yippies” (radical youth-orientated anti-war individuals) . More than 7,000 people were caught in the dragnet that first day. If you prefer the European way of writing dates (Which is day-month-year) the roman numerals would be written XXVII • V • MCMLXXI. This approach seemed hopelessly establishment and uninspiring to radicals of the time. These were called "zaps,"37 and entailed boisterous and disruptive direct action of many kinds: sneaking into political events and interrupting them with well-timed harangues; occupying the office of a magazine (Harper's) to protest homophobic content; throwing an "engagement party" in the office of the New York city clerk after he bad-mouthed unofficial marriage services being performed in a gay church. Kauffman, L A. MAYDAY. May 3, 1971 is the 123 rd day of the year 1971 in the Gregorian calendar. "There were about five of us who were gay, and we sort of ran the office. A mass movement-or, to put it another way, a movement of masses-seemed to drown out difference in the name of unity, something that many activists could no longer accept. As one example of its dissemination in this period, see the lengthy excerpts in the 30 July-13 August 1971 issue of Quicksilver Times, a D.C.-based underground newspaper that wholeheartedly supported the Mayday actions. The lack of formal organization, however, tended to undermine the ideal of decentralization, as a result of what one radical feminist famously called "the tyranny of structurelessness. It was also the 139th day and 5th month of 1971 in the Georgian calendar. 64-65. These began on Monday morning, May 3rd, and ended on May 5th. Hawaii’s Finest presents their annual May Day event. I was there. And indeed, after the protest, Newsweek reported that "[t]he government's most serious problem was faulty intelligence. 20. perhaps the most useful way to get it, and the way most people would read it, would be for it to be typed up as well. "40, As the action date approached, however, the atmosphere grew more alienating for some activists, especially women, who found little structure or opportunity for participation. "30, That said, there was a haphazard quality to the Mayday organizing; a lot of the action was put together on the fly. In fact, more protesters were arrested on the first day of the action than in any other single event in U.S. history. Brass recalls, "A lot of the people in that contingent were very happy to be included in something like [Mayday]. (Women's Health Action and Mobilization), would be inspired by the innovative tactics and techniques that GAA developed to pursue its goals. After SDS committed political suicide, and after the Jackson and Kent State shootings, one of the largest mass direct actions in US history took place under the slogan "If the Government won't stop the war, we'll stop the Government. ... Was there (Dupont Circle , #8) , Day 1 . For the most part, it was these sorts of activist initiatives that were labeled "political correctness" in the nineties. "While we do not question the commitment and courage of those who deploy such tactics, we feel that they are not oriented toward winning and mobilizing a mass movement." Jerry Coffin, who teamed up with Davis when Mayday was only an idea, recalls it as an attempt "to create a responsible hip alternative" to the Weather Underground: "merging radical politics, Gandhian nonviolence, serious rock and roll, [and] lots of drugs." But the Chicago 8 became the Chicago 7 after Judge Julius Hoffman ordered outspoken defendant Bobby Scale, a leader of the Black Panther Party, bound and gagged, charging him with contempt of court. "9 PCPJ didn't openly discourage people from attending the April 24 NPAC march, but focused its efforts on a multiday "People's Lobby," which consisted of sit-ins outside major government buildings. "People from the crowd got up to the microphone and said what was on their minds-sexism seemed to be on the minds of both women and gay men. 3. GLFers very much viewed themselves as part of the broader radical landscape of the time. Perhaps there was still a slight frisson of clandestinity attached to the use of affinity groups, given the sense among many that "Mayday was sort of the above-ground Weatherpeople," in the words of John Scagliotti, who worked in the office for the action. Sanford J. Ungar and Maurine Beasley, "Justify Arrests, Judge Orders Police: Total Sets a U.S. Record," Washington Post (4 May 1971); "Mayday Tactics: Report from Washington, D.C.," Northwest Passage (24 May-6 June 1971). "No one seemed to think the conference was functioning to resolve any political problems or effectively to plan any future actions," one attendee reported. A whole evening featuring culture and music. 24. "They couldn't infiltrate it, because we were all sleeping with each other," recalls John Scagliotti, "And we were doing a tremendous amount of illegal things, that they could have gotten us all for." Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone (New York: New York Times Books, 1973), pp. 19. (Apr. "[We're] not going to put our bodies on the line, we're not going to get our heads beaten, but we can at least support these people," she explained. wally martin. Says Scagliotti, "I remember being woken up by the FBI one morning and the guy saying, 'And what's her name? please respond to me this name at gmail. thanks. The term dates back to Spain in the late 1920s and 1930s, when small bands of militants from the Iberian Anarchist Federation (F.A.I.) 23. The city jail quickly filled, even though the police crammed as many as twenty people into two-person cells. 375-79; Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987), pp. alternately you can use an app like CamScanner, which is free in app stores to make a PDF of the account, then upload it here (or if you have any issues uploading here you can email it to us at libcom.org@gmail.com). Do recall the demo Shits torn and dipped in toilet as weak anti-gas measure ... Found small stream of cool fresh air near floor and rotated brothers to take turn in 15 minute ( ? ) 13. Its signature contribution to radical activism was the assertion that the personal is political, a proposition that was electrifying in its day. Damn close. 51. Even Rennie Davis, the Chicago 7 defendant and New Left leader who originally conceived the Mayday action, announced at a press conference that the protest had failed.2, But the government's victory, if you can call it that, came only as a result of extreme measures. The Gay Activists Alliance was far more conventional in its organization and politics. "Everything You Need to Know," Quicksilver Times (30 April-13 May 1971); Videofreex Mayday footage. 50. "Non-violence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering," Gandhi had declared. Sitting down and awaiting arrest increasingly seemed only to invite beatings from the police-and to accomplish little or nothing in the process; nonviolence had come to seem like passivity. Perhaps as many as 20,000 of the protesters were willing to risk arrest, including some members of Congress. This process of self-examination and collective discussion was best suited for small groups, which facilitated intimacy and internal democracy. 7. "We gave them food so they could put their bodies on the line and disrupt the government. If May 07, 1971 is your birthday you're 49 years, 3 months, 1 day old and you'll celebrate your next birthday in 8 months, 29 days. We took it to the max at the Days of Rage, and the price was too high, and everybody knew it." Your 50th birthday will be on a Monday and a birthday after that will be on a Sunday. It defined itself as a "one-issue organization," "exclusively devoted to the liberation of homosexuals," objecting to the GLF's activism on behalf of other radical causes. Brass and most of the hundred or so other Gay Mayday radicals gravitated to the GLF, whose name intentionally echoed the Vietnamese National Liberation Front. The group adopted a constitution, elected officers, and operated according to Robert's rules of order. “The only way to stop the war was to stop the government, and that was by putting your bodies on the road and blocking traffic.”. A gay man similarly described the gay caucuses as "really a high for me....I'd forgotten about the atmosphere of total personal openness, openness about one's deepest confusions, that is so lacking in straight-dominated meetings. As the camp grew, however, the open meetings ceased, and were replaced by announcements made over the loud-speaker system by a male voice." Hardly. It's about people being people; it's getting rid of the old heavy rhetoric kind of politics. Telephone interview with Warren J. Blumenfeld, 19 June 2000; Toby Marotta, The Politics of Homosexuality (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981), p. 92. It was a protest against the Vietnam War, but it wasn't part of the storied Sixties, having taken place in 1971, a year of nationwide but largely unchronicled ferment. You can create online monthly calendar May 1971 with holidays. For, they promised, "an army of lovers would not fight. Toward that end, NPAC put forth just one lowest-common-denominator demand, "Out of Vietnam now," rejecting any attempt to link the war to other issues, such as racism or poverty. ▶ Use the site private messaging system "16, The Mayday organizers hoped to tap into the revulsion many felt toward the tactics of the Weather Underground and other violent groups, while steering clear of the submissiveness and sanctimony radicals associated with nonviolence. PCPJ favored a multiissue approach to antiwar organizing and worked to build alliances with nonpacifist organizations like the National Welfare Rights Organization, drawing connections between the foreign and domestic policies of the U.S. government. As Scagliotti puts it, "[Mayday was] the end of that sort of male radical leadership, the Rennie Davises, the Chicago 7, all those guys, the whole world of the counterculture mixed with radical street politics. "Tribe" itself was a countercultural code word (the 1967 San Francisco "Be-In" that propelled hippiedom to the national stage, for instance, was known as "A Gathering of the Tribes"), and Mayday had a long-haired freaky flavor that was decidedly missing from either the Trotskyist or pacifist wings of the antiwar movement. And I would appreciate it if people would speak to me as a human being and not a freak object."42. And the straight men automatically assume that they're going to cure us-which is bullshit. 14. "If you've got no organization, what do you do? ... Light on 24/7 . May 3, 1971 marked the largest single day arrests in U.S. history as over 7,000 demonstrators were rounded up. Did we shut it down? (Many of these were uninvolved bystanders: as one protester noted, "[A]nyone and everyone who looked at all freaky was scooped up off the street.") The necessity for these relationships should be obvious at this stage of our struggle." And every major group that had a target had a radio and was in communication with our base. We got badly gassed and a lovely upper class lady brought us into her elegant home to wash the gas off and gave us tea and finger sandwiches. Doug Jenness, "The May Day Tribe: Where It Goes Wrong," The Militant (May 14, 1971). There were separate gay and women's gatherings beforehand, which set a consciousness-raising and identity-focused tone for the conference as a whole. For PCPJ's perspective on the dispute, see David McReynolds, "Guerrilla War in the Movement," WIN (March 15, 1971). But the outcry over this obstructive plan was enormous, leading CORE'S national director, James Farmer, to suspend the Brooklyn chapter; in the end, very few people went through with the highway action (though civil disobedience protests inside the fair led to three hundred arrests).12, The Mayday protest, with its goal of blockading the nation's capital, echoed the CORE plan in mischievous tone and disorderly intent. Dept . Some months later, one anonymous Weather sympathizer calling herself "a daughter of the Amerikan Revolution" published an essay on affinity groups in the spring 1970 issue of the radical Berkeley Tribe, endorsing their use for armed struggle. Also enjoy the culture with Hula and numerous local vendors. We grew by loving each other." "A lot of [GLF activism] was sensitivity groups, tea groups: meeting in church basements and storefronts and people's homes to look at the ways we had been injured in a homophobic, racist, heterosexist, classist society," remembers Warren J. Blumenfeld, who was part of the Washington D.C. ▶ Start forum discussions, submit articles, and more... about | donate | help out | submitting content | other languages | a-z | contact us | site notes, Ending a war: Inventing a movement: Mayday 1971, Ending a war, inventing a movement Mayday 1971.pdf. Police descended on West Potomac Park and shut down the encampment, evicting the groggy radicals en masse and arresting those who refused to leave. One anarchist wag made a sign proclaiming the football field, without much overstatement, "Smash the State Concentration Camp #1." 8. The protesters' nonviolence pledge did not preclude building barricades; nobody felt "that because we will be nonviolent that we could not also be militant and creative." 329-74. "33 Local affinity groups might choose their own targets and tactics, but a small group around Rennie Davis wrote the organizing materials, controlled the finances, called the press conferences, did the big-picture planning, and spoke for the action as a whole. Smith, "Campers Ousted, Still Planning to Snarl City Today," Washington Post (2 May 1971). We immediately became very close and out of that was Gay Mayday. Some three hundred of the group's followers converged on Chicago, where they literally went on a rampage: battling cops, smashing windshields, running through the streets, and creating mayhem. I was there when the soldiers threw their medals over the barricade. 43. The Mayday protest was to entail "action rather than congregation, disruption rather than display." The author would like to thank the Institute for Anarchist Studies for its support. The history of this practice, though, is little known. The phrase "qualified martial law" was used by William H. Rehnquist, who was assistant attorney general at the time and later named to the Supreme Court. Unlike any national demonstration before it, this action was to be created through a decentralized structure, based on geographic regions. To add to the confusion we lifted hoods of cars stopped for lights and let air out of tires." The radical women's liberation movement challenged mass or national organizing even more directly. By the end of May 1970, it's estimated that half the country's student population-perhaps several million youth-took part in antiwar activities, which "seemed to exhaust the entire known repertoire of forms of dissent. It was going to Washington." Much of the rest was done by mail, thanks to a pot-smoking hippie who had figured out a do-it-yourself way to reset postage meters. ... FOUR DAYS in the Black Hole of the Capital . A force of more than 14,000 police and National Guardsmen was mobilized to remove the radicals from the streets, and a staggering 13,500 people were placed under arrest. intervals . "Although government repression had something to do with its demise, the main cause of its death was its failure to confront honestly [the] problems of sexism, racism and ego-tripping in general." According to one of the few historians to have studied the event, Mayday so unnerved the Nixon administration that it palpably speeded U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The government reported conflicting arrest totals, ranging from 13,245 to 14,164; a discussion of these figures is in the same report, pp. Both calendars will be exactly the same. White House aide Jeb Magruder said that the protest had "shaken" Nixon and his staff, while CIA director Richard Helms called Mayday "a very damaging kind of event," noting that it was "one of the things that was putting increasing pressure on the administration to try and find some way to get out of the war."4. Civil disobedience, the coalition's leadership believed, accomplished little while alienating many from the cause. "-expressing the desire to be part of the often homophobic New Left, a desire that partly motivated Gay Mayday. 38. Perry Brass remembers the scene as one of "high hippieism": "People were dropping acid all over the place, smoking marijuana all over the place, just having a wonderful time with a political context to it." They 're going to cure us-which is bullshit the tactical decisions within the discipline of nonviolent civil disobedience in. But, real change takes generations – and generations do die off – leaving future. 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