by Paul Bowers
Walid Hakim, an Occupy Columbia member who is running for a state House of Representatives seat in Lexington, told Al Jazeera recently that he supported and would participate in a general strike of the type being advocated by Occupy Wall Street for today, May 1.
"I encourage everyone that is non-emergency personnel to participate in the general strike on May 1," Hakim said in the interview. "I believe that a strong message needs to be put out, and the people aren’t going to listen unless we bring the economy to a screeching stop for at least one day.”
Hakim, a Marine Corps veteran, served as interim executive director of the S.C. Libertarian Party in 2003, but he later rejected the right-wing ideology. A Salon profile of the more than 2,012 Occupiers running in local elections nationwide explained Hakim's conversion this way:
People had told him libertarians didn’t care about the poor, and after ruminating on the policy goals he was pushing, he couldn’t help but agree. He joined Occupy Columbia on day one and was arrested with 18 others during the eviction — substantial movement bona fides.
The May Day strikes, which take place as Occupy Wall Street heads back outside for a summer of protests, occur on a date set aside as a workers' holiday in many countries. In the United States, the aim of the planned protests include a planned shutdown of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Occupy Charleston members are participating in the Mary Street CARTA budget protest today, although member Brandon Fish says many of the members who are students at College of Charleston are in the middle of exams this week.
In other recent Occupy news, the group released a video on Sunday of its actions so far, including nighttime footage from the November arrests in Marion Square. It is set to the tune of "Dear America," a song by local band Company.