Tag Archives: May Day

Fight Back! News coverage of May Day events around the U.S.

Banner of Freedom Road Socialist Organization at May 1 march in Minneapolis.

15,000 join Tucson May Day march, say, “No to Arizona Apartheid” 

Tucson, AZ – Around 15,000 people took to the streets here May 1 to celebrate May Day and to demand an end to racist anti-immigrant attacks at all levels of government, including an end to the hated SB1070 (the harshest anti-immigrant law in the nation), an end to border militarization and in support of immigration reform that is humanitarian rather than punitive. (Read More) 

Over 250,000 march for immigrant rights in Los Angeles, denounce Arizona’s SB1070: Photo Essay 

250,000 immigrant workers and allies marched for immigrant rights here today, denouncing Arizona’s racist SB1070 law and demanding “Legalization now!” The march on International Workers’ Day demanded that the Democratic Party and President Obama live up to their election campaign promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Read More)

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Jose Maria Sison on May Day: Intensify the Struggles of the Proletariat

Jose Maria Sison presiding over the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought in 1993

The following statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson of the International League of People’s Struggle, is being reposted here from the website of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the militant and anti-imperialist labor center in the Philippines:

 Intensify the Struggles of the Proletariat Against Imperialism and Reaction

On this glorious day of the international proletariat, we, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, join the workers and peoples of the world in celebrating their struggles, sacrifices and victories. It is of the greatest importance to raise the banner of proletarian unity and struggle against exploitation and oppression by imperialism and all reaction. Once again, we renew our resolve to dismantle the monopoly capitalist system and replace it with a just, democratic and peaceful new world in which socialism prevails.

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Nepal: Maoists rally for May Day, call indefinite general strike to topple gov’t

The following article is from the Associated Press:

KATMANDU, Nepal — Tens of thousands of former communist rebels and their supporters rallied in the capital Saturday demanding Nepal’s coalition government be disbanded and replaced by a Maoist-led government.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal refused to resign and instead called on the Maoists to resolve the Himalayan country’s political crisis through dialogue.

In response, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced to cheering supporters they would launch an indefinite general strike from Sunday.

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Nepal’s Maoists announce indefinite general strike

The following article is from Asian Tribune:

Kosh R. Koirala Reporting from Nepal
Kathmandu, 27 April. (Asiantribune.com):

Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) has announced indefinite general strikes starting May 2 to topple the current Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government.

The former rebel party said it would stage a mass rally in the capital city Kathmandu on May 1 and go for indefinite general strikes from the next day if the prime minister did not step down.

The party has threatened to shut down vehicular movement, industries, businesses and academic institutions and bring the Himalayan nation to a complete halt starting May 2.

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Network to Fight for Economic Justice: ‘March on May Day’

The following statement is from the Network to Fight for Economic Justice: 

The Network for Economic Justice (NFEJ) is calling all members and affiliated unions and groups to mobilize for the May 1st immigrant rights marches and rallies across the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of working people, mainly Chicano/Mexicano – but all sorts of working people who want justice – will be out in the streets with signs and chants demanding “Legalization now!” and “Stop the raids and deportations!”

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May First: High Noon in Nepal

This eyewitness reporting by Jed Brandt  first appeared on Jed Brandt’s blog:

“You must come to Kathmandu with shroud cloth wrapped around your heads and flour in your bags. It will be our last battle. If we succeed, we survive, else it will be the end of our party.”

— General Secretary Badal of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

APRIL 21 — There are moments when Kathmandu does not feel like a city on the edge of revolution.

People go about all the normal business of life. Venders sell vegetables, nail-clippers and bootleg Bollywood from the dirt, cramping the already crowded streets. Uniformed school kids tumble out of schools with neat ties in the hot weather. Municipal police loiter at the intersections while traffic ignores them, their armed counter-parts patrol in platoons through the city with wood-stocked rifles and dust-masks as they have for years. New slogans are painted over the old, almost all in Maoist red. Daily blackouts and dry-season water shortages are the normal daily of Nepal’s primitive infrastructure, not the sign of crisis. Revolutions don’t happen outside of life, like an asteroid from space – but from right up the middle, out of the people themselves. 

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May Day 2010: Time to Build the People’s Fight Back!

Members of Teamsters Local 743 marching for immigration reform in Washington D.C. March 21st 2010.

The following statement is from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

May 1 is International Workers Day, a day to celebrate the struggle of the working class and oppressed peoples and nations against exploitation and oppression. All around the world, millions of people will be marching against the capitalists’ policies of austerity and war. In the socialist counties, like Cuba, China and Democratic Korea, the achievements of working people will be celebrated. Here in the United States, May 1 is also a day of struggle for immigrant rights. This May Day, cities across the country will see a renewed spirit of activism as the undocumented and their supporters take to the streets in this fight for justice full equality.

While the bankers’ obscene bonuses are back, unemployment is still in double digits. Across the globe, the big capitalists, the politicians that they own and the corporate media are saying that now is the time for workers to tighten our belts so that the ‘economy’ – that is their profits – can continue to grow. From Greece to Spain and from California to Illinois, governments are slashing spending on social services, raising taxes on working people, cutting government workers pay and cutting schools and college.

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Continuing the Struggle for Immigrant Rights in 2010

The following editorial is from Fight Back! News:

Continuing the Struggle for Immigrant Rights in 2010
Year One of the New Administration Saw Change but not Progress

By Fight Back! Editors | February 12, 2010

One year ago Chicanos, Mexicanos and Central Americans celebrated the end of the eight years of Bush administration. In addition to launching two wars and ushering in the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Bush administration stepped up repression against immigrants. Raids and deportations of workers by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) doubled, redoubled and then doubled again under Bush. The Bush administration implemented the notorious 287(g) program, where ICE teamed up with local police and sheriffs allowed racists such as Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio to harass Chicanos, Mexicanos and Central Americans. The October 2006 “Secure Fence Act” stepped up the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, contributing to the deaths of more and more immigrants trying to enter the United States.

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May 1 and the Fight for Equality and Self-Determination

By Freedom Road Socialist Organization

May 1, 2006 will be a historic day as millions of people, mainly Mexicanos (immigrants from Mexico), Chicanos and Central Americans, pour into the streets of United States to support the struggle for immigrant rights. Many have called this upsurge in protests a ‘new civil rights movement.’ We think that this is a very good description of the broad united front of labor, religious, community and youth organizations and the grassroots participation. Most importantly, this fight for equality and self-determination in fact represents a challenge to the monopoly capitalists that rule this country.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was more than a fight for civil rights; it was a Black liberation movement. It was a struggle of the African American people for full equality. For 75 years, Jim Crow in the South, the system of legal segregation backed by the death squads of the Ku Klux Klan and the systematic discrimination in housing, education and employment in the North and West denied African Americans equality with whites.

Today, the mass mobilization of Mexicanos, Chicanos and other Latinos shows the grassroots desire for full equality in the face of discriminatory immigration laws and practices. A key demand is legalization of the undocumented, which will help them to challenge exploitation and racism and aid in the reunification of their families. The Bush administration’s call for a ‘guest worker program’ to aid business would be a step in the wrong direction, as it would establish a group of second-class residents whose only right would be to work for low pay.

The Black liberation movement was also a struggle for self-determination. It is no accident that the movement began in the U.S. South, from the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott to the sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, for this is the home of the African American Nation. The African American Nation developed as slavery forged different African peoples with their own languages, cultures and religions into a single people with a common territory, economy, language and culture. After the end of the Civil War and slavery, the United States kept this new nation in chains through Jim Crow and the lynch mob. The Black liberation movement, by breaking the chains of segregation and the Klan, was a step toward both full equality for the African American people in the North and South and towards self-determination for the African American Nation.

Mexicans in the U.S. Southwest have also been forged into a Chicano Nation, as the thousands of Mexicans conquered by the United States in 1848 have grown into millions due to immigration from Mexico under conditions of legal segregation, economic exploitation, systematic suppression of their language and culture and theft of their land. Just as African Americans were denied their human rights through Jim Crow, so today are Chicanos, Mexicanos, and other Latinos denied their human rights through unjust immigration laws. These laws are chains on the Chicano Nation, not only affecting millions of undocumented, but millions more of their family members who are legal residents or U.S. citizens.

This wave of anti-immigrant legislation in the works at the national, state and local levels, and the rise of new white vigilantes such as the Minutemen is not just a tactic to try to build support for the right, the Republicans and the Bush administration, who are suffering from their debacles in Iraq, New Orleans and the attempted privatization of Social Security. Just as the right is trying to reduce the Black population of New Orleans – one of the most important cities economically and culturally of the African American Nation – so too would the anti-immigrant movement try to reduce the Mexicano and Latino population. This is a direct attack on the Chicano Nation, which is gaining strength as Mexicanos and their children who settle in the Southwest become a part of the nation.

The African American movement of the 1950s and 1960s drew support from all nationalities and helped jumpstart the struggles of Asian Americans, Chicano/Latinos, Native Americans and Native Hawai’ians. Today’s struggle for immigrant rights is also drawing support from other immigrants, especially oppressed nationality (African, Arab, and Asian) communities who share the unjust treatment by a racist society that Mexicanos, Latinos and Chicanos face.

Another similarity between the African American movement and the struggle today is the role of militant students and youth. African American college students started the direct action, which spread around the country, of sitting-in at segregated facilities and also spearheaded the drive for Black Studies on college campuses. Today’s Chicano, Mexicano and Latino youth, both immigrants and the children of immigrants, are walking out of their schools to join protests against the attempts to criminalize the undocumented and scapegoat immigrants.

African American workers were the backbone of the civil rights movement, from those who boycotted the buses in Montgomery to the garbage workers on strike in Memphis where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In today’s struggle Mexicano, Chicano and Latino workers have also been the backbone of the movement, not just swelling the ranks of demonstrators, but also as organizers of the protests. Thus it is quite natural that the immigrant rights protests will be on May 1, International Workers Day, which commemorates the struggle of American workers, many of whom were immigrants, in the 1880s for an eight-hour day.

In this spirit, we call upon workers of all nationalities to support their brother and sister Mexicano, Chicano and Latino workers, to fight for full equality for Mexicano and other Latino peoples and to uphold the right to self-determination for the Chicano Nation. This is because we share a common enemy – the capitalist class in general, and their representatives in the Bush administration and the right – that is behind the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, anti-black,and anti-union policies of the government and the big corporations.

Long Live May 1st, International Workers Day!
Full Equality for Mexicanos and all immigrants!
Self-Determination for the African American and Chicano Nations!
Workers and Oppressed Peoples Unite!

Solidaire Interiew with Tom Burke On the Immigrant’s Struggle in the USA

“May Day will see a unified national day of action for immigrants rights across the U.S. and more unions are planning to take part in this. Victories for immigrant workers are victories for Black and white workers. Bosses keep wages low, not immigrant workers.”

Tom Burke (*) from Chicago answers the questions of Solidaire 14-04-2006

What are the exact reasons of the immigrants’ movement in the USA?

Tom Burke: Millions of Mexican immigrants, joined by many other nationalities, are marching through the streets of every major U.S. city to protest the Sensenbrenner bill. This bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives makes being an “illegal” immigrant a felony crime with a prison term. Anyone aiding an “illegal” immigrant also faces jail time. A spontaneous movement of millions of workers in direct opposition to criminalization is shaking the whole U.S., even the White House. For decades, Mexican workers have faced racist abuse and super low wages.

What is the degree of mobilizations in different parts of the USA?

Tom Burke: Anywhere there is Mexican or Latino immigrants there are large marches. It started on March 10th, 2006, when 300,000 or more filled the Chicago Loop, stopping buses, subways, and even trains. Factories and restaurants shut down, students walked out of schools, babies in strollers and grandmas in wheelchairs clogged the streets. In Los Angeles over 500,000 filled the streets two weeks later and 30,000 marched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the home state of Republican Congressman Sensenbrenner.

On April 10th, cities where immigrants were unknown twenty years ago held large rallies—40,000 in Minneapolis, 20,000 in Indianapolis, 20,000 in Salt Lake City and 50,000 in Atlanta. In the historically Mexican states of the Southwest, the movement is large and strong with 500,000 marching in Dallas, Texas, 50,000 in Denver, Colorado, 50,000 in San Diego, and 35,000 in San Jose, California. Immigrants in the U.S. have been hiding in plain sight for twenty years, but now with the huge marches and rallies there is a new understanding of how much power these workers have.

What are the political, trade-unionist, social forces behind it?

Tom Burke: The political activists and trade unions are running to keep up with the movement of the people. For example, in Chicago, a Mexican immigrant school custodian and trade unionist, Artemio Arreola was one of the leaders of a small coalition that was surprised by the hundreds of thousands who thundered through the streets. He and others like him are organizing people from their villages, cities, and states in Mexico for over a decade now. The huge numbers of protesters is spontaneous, but working class and professional organizers provided the leadership and put out the message to oppose criminalization. Latino radio announcers broadcast the message far and wide. May Day will see a unified national day of action for immigrants rights across the U.S. and more unions are planning to take part in this. The grassroots activists are aware that their leadership will be challenged every step of the way by the forces tied to the rich and powerful, especially from the Democratic Party.

What are the demands of the movement?

Tom Burke: The demands are: to stop the criminalization of immigrants; to create an amnesty that leads to legalization of immigrants without papers; for equal rights for immigrants; for equality and justice for all.

What is the role of communists in the movement?

Tom Burke: The role of communists in the immigrants’ rights movement is small, but important. Many of the leaders were revolutionaries in their youth and some are influenced by Marxism today. There is a pressing need for unity in action, while maintaining principled political positions that advance the cause of the working class. Victories for immigrant workers are victories for Black and white workers. Bosses keep wages low, not immigrant workers. Capitalism is the problem. The profit system is the enemy.

What are the contradictions in the bourgeoisie, in the trade-union organizations?

Tom Burke: There are sections of the capitalist class that oppose immigration and want to deport everyone. There are other capitalists that pay low wages and few or no benefits to immigrants. Lower wages means higher profits. The Republican Party is now split on the issue and a tremendous backtracking is happening. The Democratic Party has done little because it is easier to look the other way while immigrant workers are abused.

Some unions are very supportive of the movement, like the largest U.S. union—the Service Employees International Union. SEIU puts a good amount of effort and money into organizing amongst immigrants because that is who works in their industries. The same with UNITE/HERE that organizes factories and hotels and restaurants. At first these unions were hesitant and cautious, but now seeing the power of the movement they are coming out to provide support and help lead. For other unions, it is a question of local leadership, so carpenters unions in some cities are out in front leading, welcoming immigrants as union brothers. In other cities the union leaders are sitting on their hands, hoping the immigrants do not organize into unions. These leaders run the unions like a business and are racist against Black and Latino workers. There are fewer and fewer of these unions as they are failing. The unions that want to fight for good contracts for the workers and oppose discrimination are the ones that are growing and leading a new movement for social justice.

Tom Burke is Organizational Secretary, Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Also from Solidaire on immigrant struggle in the US: