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<nettime> May Day 2006 Report from NJCRDC
onto on Thu, 4 May 2006 09:54:29 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> May Day 2006 Report from NJCRDC


what a day...

more stories at: http://deletetheborder.org/node/1059

onto


-------- Original Message --------
From: njcivilrightsann {AT} lists.riseup.net

May Day 2006
Report from NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee

The first national general strike in US history occurred yesterday. It
was also the largest strike of any kind in the nation's history. At
least 1.2 million people participated in day-time rallies in the just
the largest cites, with many hundreds of thousands more in 100 or 200
events around the country. Although not all at the rallies were taking
off from work, undoubtedly many took off work and did not go to the
rallies, so between one and two million workers struck yesterday. This
is 10-20% of the entire immigrant workforce.

AP estimate of the biggest rallies:
400,000 in Chicago
400,000 in LA
100,000 in San Jose

55,000 in San Francisco
15,000 in Houston
30,000 across Florida

In New York City, estimates of size were all over the place, but the
3-mile long March could not have been smaller than 150,000

In certain areas and industries, the strike was almost complete.
Agricultural production across both Florida and California came to a
halt. Contstuction workers in Florida struck in large numbers. In the
Midwest, all three largest meatpackers war forced to close, knowing that
if they did not, their workforces would have walked out anyway. In Los
Angeles, the garment workers closed the huge garment center and the
wholesale food workers struck as well. The independent truckers shut
down the ports of Los Angles and Long Beach. Except for some of the
meatpackers, none of these groups of workers were in unions.

By comparison, in all of last year, labor-union strikes involved 100,000
people.

Workers have found the US in 2006, as they have found in other places
and at other times that there is another way to fight than traditional
union strikes: the political mass strike. What demands for wages or
working conditions alone could not do, an ambitious political
demand--for the legalization of ALL immigrants--has accomplished.

At the same time, the immigrant rights movement, now clearly a movement
of the immigrant section of the working class, has discovered that bold,
uncompromising demands--for Equal Rights, no deportations--and bold
tactics--a general strike-- can achieve unity , while timid "realistic"
demands and tactics cannot.

In New York the crowd was overwhelmingly Latino, so the sort of unity
achieved among various immigrant groups in Chicago has not yet come to
New York. Nor were many native-born in evidence, so the unity of the
peace movement and immigrant movement is also yet to be achieved. But it
was a joyous and militant crowd. The sure-fire applause lines were all
those calling for legalization for all immigrants and equal rights for
all. Those were the demands that unified everyone and that had brought
them there.



At the rally, Saleh Ajaj spoke for NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee on
the demand, adopted by the May 1 coalition, to "free all detainees". He
movingly spoke of being himself detained for 14 months. We then paraded
in the midst of the huge crowd with our "FREE ALL DETAINEES" banner,
which got into many photos.

Of course, the local English-speaking press declined to publish any of
the demands.

Importantly, the coalition passed out tens of thousand of flyers calling
people to a New York metro regional conference on June 17 and to the
next meeting of the coalition, tomorrow night,. Hopefully through these
flyers were will bring into a new democratic organizing process some of
the key grass-roots activists who mobilized this strike in workplaces
and communities. That will be the key to building an ever-growing
movement for immigrant and worker rights.



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