May Day, 2021

It’s fascinating how the Gates Foundation has positioned itself at the intersection of very different vectors of rage over the years—anti-maskers today, copy-leftists last night, anti-vaxxers at one point, counter-Modiites before that. Though not all protests are created equal, this breadth of contention does share one feature: unmasking the feudalistic trials of strength that the neoliberal fairytale tells us it keeps at bay, just outside the city limits. This is what the gatekeepers were supposed to protect us from, but, alas, more of us are beginning to recognize that their rule of experts was founded on myth—this rule is not that much different from the fiefdoms of yore.

Today is #MayDay, an ancient festival with centuries of accretions, a living palimpsest of symbols and signification—pagan, Christian, anarchist—that also share a feature in common: a celebration of life’s persistence against all odds, whether through the vital force of labor’s struggle against the necrotic powers of capital, or in the militant flowering of the earth itself, in spite of death’s relentless drive across and into its surface.

May Day is a time to celebrate the web of life itself through our interdependencies—through our interlocking ways of knowing that the technocrats would prefer us to ignore. To reclaim this earthedness is to share this earth with many we would probably rather not rub shoulders with—there are plenty of more legitimate reasons to be here in protest than “showing your teethies”—but that’s the “one world” we inherit when we piece back together what has been artificially torn apart. When we knock down the city walls, we must be ready for all monstrosities—tentacular or otherwise—to walk once again among us.

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