The ongoing pandemic has put lots of annual events on pause, but activists from Massachusetts Peace Action still hit the concrete to make noise on May Day. This year, though, they hollered from their vehicles and gave each other space while briefly spilling out on Boston Common.
After meeting up near Herter Park in Allston early Friday afternoon, protesters from Mass Peace Action along with more than a dozen other organizations rolled out for what organizers billed the Boston May Day Car Rally: Global Solidarity in the time of COVID-19. Their demonstration came in a newfangled formation, but their messaging was consistent with pre-coronavirus priorities: “End Sanctions, Save Lives”; “Bailout People Not Corporations”;
“Fund Medicare for All, Not Wars and Militarism.”
“The impact of the [COVID-19] pandemic has been overwhelming in our country,” Mass Peace Action wrote in a May Day statement. “It has been especially devastating for the poor and for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. At the same time, wealthy elites value their profits more than lives.”
Yoav Elinevsky, a Mass Peace Action board member and organizer, added: “Now is the time to imagine and act together for reorganizing society around the needs of all the people, especially of the poor and working people, while protecting nature. … We invite the public to join us and magnify the potential impact of this message by distributing it and acting similarly locally and globally. This is the time for solidarity not exclusion. Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.”
“US sanctions are devastating in ordinary times,” the group’s statement continued. “But collectively punishing entire populations during a global pandemic is an even more ruthless form of barbarism.”
In addition to noting the aforementioned issues, protest signs—some of which were waved outside car windows, others which were taped on doors and trunks—specifically: “End US sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria”; “Fund the Green New Deal”; “No subsidies to oil and gas corporations”; “End the blockade of Gaza, the largest open-air prison in the world”; “Support immigrants and refugees – ‘No’ to detentions, deportation, and walls.”
The protest was endorsed by “Friends Meeting at Cambridge; Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security; New Democracy Coalition; Jewish Voice for Peace Boston; Our Revolution Massachusetts; Resistance Center for Peace & Justice; Witness for Peace New England; Latin America Solidarity Coalition of Western Massachusetts; Codepink of Western Massachusetts; Traprock Center for Peace and Justice; American Friends Service Committee; Boston Democratic Socialists of America – Internationalism Working Group; and the Veterans for Peace – Chapter 9 – Smedley D. Butler Brigade; Unitarian-Universalists for Justice in the Middle East; Massachusetts Jobs with Justice; Boston May Day Coalition.”