Regular 5FF readers know I commemorate it every year, but since we finally seem to be embracing Kate McMillan’s dictum that “Not showing up to riot is a failed conservative policy,” I figured it deserved a whole column (for the benefit of the uninitiated).
There’s still a lot more I want to tease out one day, but anyhow:
The paucity of photographs contributed to the event’s relative obscurity, and video of the event is even rarer. Most stuff you’ll find actually depicts nonviolent, union-authorized hard-hat demonstrations later that month, in places like Buffalo and, again, New York City. Videofreex, a hippie alternative-media collective, shot one of these May rallies, interviewing participants on both sides, but their footage is behind a paywall.
The Videofreex had been gifted their A/V equipment from CBS, which briefly assigned them to shoot radical subculture goings-on. (Surely this was Paddy Chayefsky’s inspiration for Network’s Mao Tse-Tung Hour, no?)
But if Videofreex possessed the means of media production but not distribution, the hard hats (and the era’s populist right, generally) had neither, barring the odd (in every sense) right-wing talk-radio show.