Just like other places around North America, May Day was a mixed bag in Bloomington. The police were more prepared to crack down at certain points than some organizers expected, but there was also more space for activity at other times. But there were also high points and some inspiring actions. This then is a scattered round-up reflecting what we saw or heard about around town, but doesn’t reflect what the present authors actually participated in.
Evening of April 30: Urban Outfitters was attacked and covered with anarchist graffiti. During the evening May Day demo, it was still clearly visible.
Early morning, May Day: Banners were dropped around downtown. Some of them read “Decolonize your mind” and “Stop the deportations.”
7 am, May Day: Occupy Bloomington attempted to claim a new outdoor camp at the intersection of Rogers and the B-Line (a bike trail/gentrification scheme) on city-owned land. The 20 people involved erected a large tent but were surrounded by superior numbers of police. A stand-off ensued for three hours, during which police slashed the tent, pulled guns and pepper-ball guns on people, and took lots of surveillance, but there were no arrests or serious injuries. Even when completely boxed-in, the occupiers remained defiant and masked, chanting “From Bloomington to Greece, fuck the police.”
10:30 am: The Occupy Bloomington crowd retreated down the B-Line, and set up a Really Really Free Market closer to downtown.
5:30 pm: More than 100 people assembled at the entrance to the university for a May Day march with an anti-capitalist theme. The crowd marched into downtown with the lead banners “Abolish capital,” “May 1st- Holiday Against Work” and “Interrupt the Work/Death Cycle (A).” Participants threw dozens of small banners and pennants over electricity lines and intersection poles, some of which read “No government,” “Gender strike,” and “Solidarity with immigrants.” The march wound around downtown multiple times, and took over College Street near the jail so that inmates could hear solidarity chants. After this, the demo turned back south towards the courthouse square.
Another theme of the march was solidarity for murdered and imprisoned anarchist comrades, and fliers explaining this history and that of the general strike were passed out widely. Two large side banners also conveyed this:
Awaiting the hour of FREEDOM: Eric McDavid, Jock Palfreeman, Marie Mason, Gabriel Pombo da Silva, Mandy Hiscocks, Eat and Billy, Zolo Agona Azania, Tortuga, Stella Antoniou, Rose Ann Scrocco, Jordan Halliday, Justin Solondz
Awaiting the hour of VENGEANCE: Carlo Giuliani, Lambros Foundas, Soledad Maria Rosas, Edo Massari, Punk Mauri, Alexi Grigoropolous, Claudia Lopez, Brad Will, Avalon
7:00 pm: The march turned into a dance party on the old courthouse square. A P.A. was revealed, banners were hung around the square, and the remaining 50 or so marchers danced for an hour while food was served and despite a hail storm that passed through for a few minutes. Police, who had remained mostly absent during the march, intensified their presence, presumably out of a fear that the party would turn into an occupation. They were wasting their time though, and were so clumsy in their surveillance that they also were unable to stop an unrelated jewelry store robbery just a few buildings away.
In addition to these actions, there were many other public events, including movie showings, discussions, and workshops at the public library, at Boxcar Books, and at the university.