Occupy Corvallis: May Day Labor Solidarity Fair

by Stephanie Hampton

What does a five-foot, blue and purple disembodied ear have to do with May Day? Quite a lot, according to Occupy Corvallis, who will be launching its Radical Listening Project on Sunday April 29 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Corvallis’ Central Park as part of the May Day Solidarity Fair in support of workplace rights and economic justice sponsored by a coalition of local groups. Organizers are holding the Solidarity Fair on Sunday rather than May Day, which is on a Tuesday, to allow workers and families to attend.

Corvallis style, the fair offers craft activities for adults as well as children with a collaborative maypole sculpture, Mexican tissue paper fiesta flowers, and a three-legged solidarity race. The Occupy Corvallis Radical Listening project will host a safe public space for citizens to relate their own personal working life stories. Educational exhibits will present re-enactments of historically important labor speeches and events and an interactive timeline of milestones in the labor movement. Speakers will alternate with music in the Gazebo by General Strike from Portland, Bodarc Bestvina, and the Raging Grannies. Mini-workshops will be conducted on Labor and Occupy (Occupy Portland), Women and Labor, Wage Theft (PCUN) and Basics of Organizing (IWW). Schedules of events will be posted on the Gazebo, workshop areas, and in fliers.

Emerging from discussions between IWW and Occupy Corvallis, the coalition quickly grew to over twenty groups which will host information tables: Amnesty International, Casa Latina, Coalition of Graduate Employees/AFT local 6069 (CGF), Corvallis MoveToAmend, Green Party, International Workers of the World (IWW), Linn Benton Labor Council, NAACP, Occupy Corvallis, Occupy Oregon State, Occupy Portland, OSU M.E.Ch.A chapter, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste/Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United (PCUN), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Rural Organizing Project (ROP), SEIU 49 local, SEIU local 503, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and Veterans for Peace.

Fairgoers are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs, sunscreen, and picnic lunches. A modest food-sharing table will be hosted by Occupy Corvallis. Fairgoers are requested to dispose of trash and recyclables properly to leave our Commons as we find it. In the event of rain, the Corvallis First United Methodist Church at 1165 Northwest Monroe Avenue has generously offered their community center behind the church as an alternative indoor space.

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