From a dear friend –

By any objective measure, Mayday 2008 was an historic event. Not only did tens of thousands of immigrant rights activists take to the streets from Detroit to Chicago to LA, to demand legalization for all, but 25,000 dock workers on West Coast shut down West Coast ports for an entire day, to protest the ongoing war in Iraq! Rare are the moments in our nation’s history when so many working people take simultaneous actions demanding justice.


Regardless of whether the crowd was 10,000 or 30,000, the turn out last Thursday was the 3rd largest turnout for a Mayday march in at least the last 50 years of Chicago’s history. International worker’s day, born in Chicago with the events of 1883, was nearly forgotten in the city of its birth, for most of the past 125 years. For three years running, the immigrant rights movement has resurrected Mayday and recaptured the memory of our own history. It looks as if Mayday has come back to stay. But this was not the story reported in the mainstream press this Thursday and Friday. Instead the message repeated in almost every newspaper story and television news cast was the immigrant rights movement is in crisis and decline; that the movement has lost momentum. Never mind that tens of thousands who took a day off work to demand legalization for all despite the climate of fear created in the last year by what some estimates conclude is a 40% spike in workplace raids by ICE. Never mind that African-American organizations and individuals showed a greater level of solidarity with immigrant workers than ever before this Mayday (Operation Push was one of the main organizers of the Chicago march). Never mind that hundreds of thousands of new voters have been registered by the movement in recent months, and the media has at least acknowledged the Latino vote is likely to be pivotal this year. All that is conveniently forgotten and ignored by the mainstream press. Almost as if to blatantly to demonstrate a pro-xenophobic bias, the mainstream media’s message seems to be 2006 was a fluke and the new civil rights movement launched that year can now largely be dismissed.

Got any other May Day news? Let’s hear it. (Hi Jerry! Miss you.)