May 1 thoughts

The L.A. Times has excellent coverage this morning. They’d seemed somewhat opposed to the marches during the buildup, however today they have comprehensive reporting. There were two marches in L.A., police estimates for the combined marches was 550,000-650,000, so it’s fair to say one million marched just in L.A.

Immigration dissent sweeps L.A. and the nation

Excellent blog-style commentary on the demos.

Throngs show their potent role in economy

At the nation’s largest seaport complex, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as few as 10% of the truckers showed up to haul freight.

Overall, it was apparently the biggest agricultural work stoppage on record in the state.

This is an unusual protest movement. There’s little precedent in American history for a simultaneous combination of consumer boycotts, demonstrations and work stoppages. And there’s none for a labor rights struggle that is cheered on by many employers.

“I don’t remember hearing a single major business group complaining about today’s actions,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

Employers haven’t suddenly grown more compassionate. In this era of low unemployment, they are eager to have sources of cheap labor. And they fear the sanctions that would accompany a serious crackdown on illegal hiring.

That’s a crucial point. Employers understand how important immigrants are to them. That’s why immigration reform needs to be just and fair, and not just a guest worker program that makes immigrants into indentured servants with few if any rights.

– 400,000 rally for immigrant rights.

Wow, the March 10 march in Chicago is what started the wave of huge marches too. Organizers were expecting 30,000 and hundreds of thousands came. Now they’ve done it again.

There’s been lots of yap-yap from the Right about how they can not countenance anything illegal (I guess they forgot about Abramoff and the cesspool of corruption that infects both parties in D.C.) When Rosa Parks refused to get out of her seat in Montgomery, she did something “illegal” by opposing the racist laws of those days. When Martin Luther King performed nonviolent civil disobedience, that was “illegal” too. Yet the civil rights movement eventually prevailed. Sometimes the law is an ass. Sometimes the law is nasty, vicious, and must be changed. MLK also said, “never forget everything Hitler did was legal.”

Also, 99.99% of those participating are not movement people. Sure, we’re there. However the marchers are mom, dad, and the kids – working-class people. This movement is coming straight out of the grassroots. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. One of the main organizers, Jessie Diaz, spoke the press conference before the historic March 25 march, saying, I’m a servant of the people, I’m following you. Precisely. The people are leading this movement.

And from our pal, Wood in Wales, “Bob! Bob! Have you seen this one?”

  • An interesting article about the two LA demos here, with a nod to ANSWER-LA.

  • Bob

    From the article, “The “boycott” march, which demanded “nothing less than full amnesty” and “full rights for all immigrants,” had virtually no institutional support, except for small left-wing groups like ANSWER-LA.”

    The boycott march was called by the March 25 Coalition, the group that organized the historic march of that date last month. Yet without “institutional support” they’ve put on two monster demos. More proof that this movement is guided by the people, not institutions, a good thing indeed.

    I am startled to hear ANSWER LA described as an “institution.”

  • Really!

    Here’s a comment I posted on the Marxmail list. Since I did, I’ve received an email from The Nation magazine touting the two scurrilous pieces I mention in what follows:

    Just say NO to Mumia (and anything else “radical”)

    So sayeth the repulsive Marc Cooper about Monday’s march:

    “No need for the usual paraphernalia of your standard lefty march. No giant puppets. No freaky costumes and face paint. None of the self-indulgent counter-cultural poses and postures. No Radical Cheerleaders, thank God. Not a single Free Mumia poster. No sad sacks hawking copies of the Revolutionary Worker. And, best of all, no endless roster of professional activist speakers on the dais shouting out their single-issue slogans, nor a gaggle of frustrated and self-righteous movie stars hogging the mikes.”


    See also Nation writer Jon Weiner’s attempts to minimze the boycott and associated rally here:

    After informing readers that “The “boycott” march, which demanded “nothing less than full amnesty” and “full rights for all immigrants,” had virtually no institutional support, except for small left-wing groups like ANSWER-LA,” he then proceeds to assert that “the hundreds of thousands marching in LA today probably didn’t care much about the different politics of the two marches” and to explain the 300,000 people who showed up at a march which not only had “virtually no institutional support,” but was actively denounced by the establishment, by claiming “when the mayor and the cardinal tell kids not to boycott school for the day, many find it hard to resist defying authority, especially for this cause.” As if most of that 300,000 were students skipping school. Well, I don’t know about L.A. per se, but I can testify that of the people who were in San Jose throughout the day, the vast majority were adults (but there were, of course, many young people as well).

  • This is all good stuff. Yay for civil disobedience!

    I’m surprised you haven’t done anything about Stephen Colbert this week, mind.

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