Yesterday we showed our support for a Global General Strike on May 1st, and we thought we’d better make a more photocopy friendly poster. We’ve also been thinking a lot about William Benbow’s 19th Century call for a Grand national Holiday and how sadly relevant the opening lines to his famous treatise still are:
LIFE, when good for any thing, consists of ease, gaiety, pleasure, and consequently of happiness. All men enjoy life but do not enjoy it equally. The enjoyment of some is so very limited, that it does not deserve the name of enjoyment; that of others is without bounds, for they have the means of procuring fully ease, gaiety, and pleasure. Thus happiness is circumscribed, and is becoming every day more and more so, that is, the numbers who are deprived of it are hourly increasing.
Benbow argued that a month long General Strike would lead to a full scale uprising and force a change in the newly established capitalist political system. During this month-long holiday the working class would have the opportunity “to legislate for all mankind; the constitution drawn up… that would place every human being on the same footing. Equal rights, equal enjoyments, equal toil, equal respect, equal share of production.”
The idea of a Grand Global Holiday is not only beautifully inclusive – who doesn’t want a holiday! – it would also be a very powerful economic weapon. Yesterday British television news was filled with the woes of economists who complained that a single Bank Holiday Monday costs the economy billions… what then would a whole month do?!?
Fuck the economically minded… let’s head for the beach!