May 1 boycott

Our post on April 1, May 1. ‘Day without Latinos’ protest now has over 40 comments, one of the highest number of comments for any post here. New comments are added every day. Join in!

The May 1 Boycott is now looking to be nationwide and large. Friends who are doing phonebanking in Spanish for this tell me the word is already out, with the person on the other end telling them, yeah, our whole factory is calling in sick May 1, that’s the kind of response they’re getting. They don’t need to explain what’s happening, everyone already knows.


  1. We are all in this together, even if we are not illegal.
    I am incharge of importing ocean containers,and the buzz
    around the ports of Los Angeles, CA is great. All of the
    mexican truckers and port employees are not showing up.

  2. This is about doing what is right and finally taking a united stance against so much that is wrong in this country. Forget the flag issue. If it were up to me, there would be no flags at these marches. While we use them to affirm who we are, they truly are more representative of governments that have gone wrong.

    The marches bring together people from every walk of life. Students, Chicanos, immigrants, abuelos y abuelas, little kids, Asians, farmworkers,service employees, truckers, construction workers, folks from the docks, professors, lawyers, whatever, we have got them all in these marches. Finally!

    It is the example we want to set for every single one of the youngsters who are also leading the charge at the middle and high schools. Keep the pressure on this government and regardless of what happens, we will not forget these activities and this will only make us stronger in the future.

  3. At several recent immigrant rights demos in L.A., suddenly you hear loud drums, then see a contingent of Korean drummers marching in, often leading chants in Spanish. It’s quite dramatic.

    Yeah, it’s about all of us.

  4. As Latinos walked the street of major cities nationwide.
    a door was opened, an opportunity to have silent voices
    noticed and heard. We can not stop now the boycott will
    prove our impact on society, filling jobs no chad, Leroy
    chang or Mohammad will do. We are not a burden, we are
    an assett. So stay home on May the first and pray that our
    cry for equality as human beings are heard.

  5. I’m white. (Beige actually. Where did “white” come from? WW
    We’re all different shades of brown.) I think the new
    bill making being “illegal” a felony is barbaric and
    appalling and only a Republican could come up with such a
    a thing! I’ll be out protesting with everyone else on
    May 1 and not buying anything or working. For everyone who
    who can and has not done so already, register to vote! T
    This is vital. Vote democrat in November across the
    board. Almost all politicians are owned by big business,
    but with Democrats we all have a better chance.

  6. I am not in sympathy with the proposed boycott, which started out to be a boycott to show the United States how dependant it is on illegal immigrant labor, but that has now been appropriated by every group with an axe to grind against the US government and big business.

    Do you think that anyone who opposes this boycott is a lazy, privileged, and rich? My grandparents emigrated to this country from Hungary to escape poverty and oppression in their native lands. They came here in the bottom of a ship and entered the United States legally. They were not welcomed with open arms by the Anglo citizens. The US government did not provide them with much, if anything. My grandmother cleaned houses for a living, scrubbing floors and toilets for the well-off. My mother and her brothers sold newspapers on the street corners to help make ends meet. My father went to work as a meat-cutter apprentice at age 15 to support his sisters and mother after his father died. Neither my mother nor father was able to remain in school past eighth grade because their incomes were needed to support the family. My parents made many sacrifices so that I could complete high school and get a college education. Throughout high school and college, I worked at part-time jobs during the school year and full-time jobs during the summer, as did my husband, whose grandparents were also legal immigrants – maternal from Italy, paternal from Ireland.

    So, why would I not be in sympathy with the plight of the immigrant? The answer is that I AM sympathetic with their plight. What I am not sympathetic with is illegal immigration and the failure of the United States government to halt it before it reached epic proportions. The current situation – over 12 MILLION people residing illegally in the United State – is unfair to everyone – legal and illegal immigrants and non-immigrants alike. It is unfair also to those others who want desperately to come to the United States for a better life, but whose place in line has been preempted. And I believe that a boycott against the very country, which, however reluctantly, gave millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, the chance to make a better life for themselves. Hate big business all you like, but remember that without big business there would be far fewer jobs for a lot fewer people who want to work and make a better life for themselves.

  7. Hello Mary. As a US Citizen you must know that in 1848 the US Army illegally took half of Mexico. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada were all part of Mexico before that. The border crossed the Indian (Mexican) peoples’ lands. They have a right to be here. They were here long before Columbus got lost and landed on Hispa~ola. It is you a I, the Europeans, who are the illegal immigrants. We were not invited to come here. We brought our guns, disease and racism to take what was never ours.

    It is time to embrace the fact that we live on stolen land and welcome the people that come here to make this economy the strongest in the world. By legalizing people that come here all workers will have greater bargaining power with the 5,000 guys that own all of the major corporations in our country and therefore control our politics, media and economy. If this is truly to be a democracy then people with the same economic interests must organize themselves to demand what they deserve: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  8. When it comes down to it who deserves to be in America?
    Yes most of us are here from European ancestors who
    either came soon after the land was stolen from natives
    or who came a century or so ago through Ellis Island.
    But y’know I have no ability to change the events of the
    past. Was Mexico and Arizona stolen? No doubt. Lands
    are taken from people and have been through all of time.
    Does that change the fact that today there are people
    waiting in line to get a chance in this country? Does
    it change the fact that there are so many who are here
    illegally? Nope not a bit. And for those like John
    Mccain who say that illegal immigrants do the work
    that legal Americans would do–that’s nothing but BS. I
    live in a depressed area where the economy has bottomed
    out. There are people working 2 and 3 part-time jobs
    just to get by and I’ll tell you any one of us would be
    more than happy to earn $50 an hour picking lettuce in
    Mexico. Pull a caravan of busses in and we’ll fill
    them! Look the answer is simple. If you want in this
    country there are regulations to follow…maybe those
    regulations need to be eased a bit. But y’know what
    there are laws for a reason and if you want to change
    the regulations then lets change the regulations. But
    I don’t understand why illegal immigrants from Mexico
    should be treated any differently from illegal
    immigrants from say Ireland. Explain to me the

  9. Hello my name is Luis Alejandro Verdadez
    I have been here illegally for the past 15 years I
    work, and I do pay my income taxes. I speak English
    and I do want to become an American. (As many of you
    think we dont). This is my home and I love my home.
    I am in favor of the May First Boycoot and I will not
    go to work. I urge you all Legal or Illegal to take a
    stand and let our voices be heard!

  10. If you really want to show the impact of illegal immigration on the American Economy, I suggest you: Stay out of the Emergency Rooms, Keep your kids home from school and not collect your food stamps. It is unfair that illegal’s expect the American taxpayer to pick up these expenses. We are not a country of unlimited resources. Our school systems are now overcrowded; we are required to have ESL classes thus no assimilation, and additional expense. 45 million Americans cannot afford health insurance yet illegal immigrants walk into emergency rooms and receive free care. Now we have hospitals going bankrupt and closing their doors. We are a country of laws. Laws were created to protect all of us. Don’t you think that people in every impoverished nation in the world wants to come here. We have rules and laws to guide us in immigration. It is not fair to those that follow the immigration laws and come here legally. They have to wait so that the economy and society can accommodate them. I am the granddaughter of Irish Immigrants; yes they too took the jobs that nobody else would do. They too worked two and three jobs to provide the American dream to their children the difference is they did it and followed the law. The employers of the illegal immigrant do not want to hire Americans because then they would be required by law to pay a fair wage. Americans will do the work; the American Economy would not crash if these jobs went to unionized workers. Yes things might be more expensive for example fresh produce might cost the American Family $10 more a year (Neil Borsht). I am the voice of the Lower Middle Class that is tired of being squeezed on all sides. Tired of having opportunities taken away from us, because employers will hire illegals before hiring us.

  11. Karma has a way of catching up with you, doesn’t it?

    I fully agree with Cebolla’s post that America needs to embrace the fact we are living on stolen land, that we obtained ILLEGALLY, and yes, no one can change the events of the past , like racism, genocide, etc. The truth is no Mexican has EVER made $50 an hour picking in the fields. (More like $50 a week)and if Americans want these dirty, low paying, dignity robbing jobs, have them line up with the Mexicans in the morning, work 10 hours straight without a break, get your twenty bucks (minus taxes)and come back and do the same thing the next day, and the day after that, and so on.

    Now I don’t know about you, but in the Department of Social Services office where i work, you cannot collect food stamps, medi-cal, or general relief, AFDC, etc. unless you have a valid social security number, and state issued ID. I will tell you though that the majority of welfare recipients who come into our office are white, addicted to meth (the new poor man’s drug)
    and have no compunction whatsoever about “abusing the system”. They actually think it is their right to collect these “taxpayer funded” benefits, without having to contribute to society in any functional way. Do you think they would work in the fields, clean hotel toilets, do yardwork in the sun, etc. for a few bucks a day? No way! It is much easier to wake at noon, watch TV, give the kids a few “stamps” for dinner and party all night. Why not? They get PAID to do

    What hospitals give anyone free emergency room care? Please let me know. I will take everyone in my family and neighborhood there and claim we are illegal and cannot pay. As far as i know, no one gets a free ride without a Medi-Cal card. Hospitals always ask for cash at time of servie, or get as much personal information on you as they can (with proof)to sue you if you cannot pay your bill. And this is BEFORE they will see you. Been in an emergency room lately? The majority of people who do not have health insurance pay CASH at the hospital. Especially true for illegals who do not want to bring attention to their undocumented status.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love America. Where else can you be at war with a country yet allow their sympathizers free citizenship in order to maintain political relationships? Once here, give them interest-free government loans so they can buy 7-11’s, donut shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, etc. Help them with housing and offer free citizenship workshops. Push their papers through ahead of everyone else. If their families back home in Terrorist-Ville blow up parts of the US, arrange to send them to a “safe Haven” courtesy of the taxpayers.


  12. I’ve seen alot of fliers come around today calling for the boycott, no school, no work, no purchasing/running business, I’m not sure where I stand on this, but if it’s pro
    latino, and pro latino rights, I support it.

    Observer in Stockton, California

  13. Today I decided that I would really have a much better
    life living with the Hualapai Indian tribe in Arizona
    because they live a simpler, cleaner, more natural life.
    So, do you think they will welcome me if I simply move
    onto their land and tell them it’s okay – I just want
    a better life and I am willing to work hard at jobs that
    they don’t weant to do. Of course, I will also tell them
    that I am bringing my family and we will need the use
    of the Hualapai medical centers and schools. And, just
    in case I don’t speak their language, I will tell them
    they need to bring in some English speaking nurses and
    doctors and school teachers, and, of course, because I
    wamt to fully participate in tribal life, they will need
    to have an English translator at their tribal councils
    so I can vote on tribal matters. Now, tell me, do you
    think the Hualapai will welcome me? Should they? Why?

    I have enjoyed reading the many thoughful comments above
    I would like to ask, if you hate the United States so
    much, why do you want to live here? You should boycott
    everything on May 1, 2006 if you believe that the United States of America should cease to have borders and thus,soon cease to be.
    You say this land was stolen; therefore it is right to
    take it back, but it is not land that draws so many
    to want to live in this country. What attracts so many
    is what was made of this land. The land that comprises the
    the southwestern United States differs little from other
    lands to the south; in fact, much of the land of South
    America is richer in natural resources than much of the
    United States. No, it is not the land that brings you.
    What brings you is the opportunity to live a betterlife.
    There are jobs to be had in the United States; there is
    education. These things – jobs and schools and a system
    of government that is by the people – did not spring
    from the land, but from the hearts and minds of those
    who came to this land – however they came and wherever
    they came from. This country was built by good and bad
    people who had only one thing in common and that was the
    knowledge that to live together they had to live united.
    And to live united, to preserve the Republic, the
    citizens of the United States have to have the ability
    to say who joins them – just as the Hualapai do.

  14. If you want to be heard and felt, write your congress on May first. Send stamps to school with your kids on Monday and have them write letters instead of walking on freeways. If you really want to make an impression flood their offices with mail!!! As much as possible. Buy as many stamps as you can and be heard after the physical protests end!

  15. TO MARY – the person who used the Hualapai analogy – you are describing exactly what Anglos did to the Native Americans – and guess what? The Anglos from Europe stayed whether or not the Native Americans agreed to it or not.

    This is exactly what will happen again – whether you agree to it or not.

    Immigrants who are participating in this boycott do not HATE the US. They love it and that is why they are demanding equal rights. Just as the African American community did during the civil rights movement.

    I encourage you to inform yourself – and don’t make silly comments if you are seriously not understanding the issue.


    Breaking the Cycle of White Dependence: A Call for Majority Self-Sufficiency

    By Tim Wise

    I think its called projection. When someone subconsciously realizes that a particular trait applies to them, and then attempts to locate that trait in others, so as to alleviate the stigma or self-doubt engendered by the trait in question.

    Its a well-understood concept of modern psychology, and explains much: like why men who are struggling with their own sexuality are often the most outwardly homophobic. Or the way whites during slavery typified black men as rapists, even though the primary rapists were the white slaveowners themselves, taking liberties with their female property, or white men generally, raping their wives with impunity.

    I got to thinking about projection recently, after receiving many an angry e-mail from folks who had read one or another of my previous commentaries, and felt the need to inform me that people of color are “looking for a handout,” and are “dependent” on government, and of course, whites.

    Such claims are making the rounds these days, especially as debate heats up about such issues as reparations for enslavement, or affirmative action. And this critique is a prime example of projection, for in truth, no people have been as dependent on others throughout history as white folks.

    We depended on laws to defend slavery and segregation so as to elevate us, politically, socially and economically. We depended on the Naturalization Act of 1790, to make all European immigrants eligible for nearly automatic citizenship, with rights above all persons of color. We depended on land giveaways like the Homestead Act, and housing subsidies that were essentially white-only for many years, like FHA and VA loans. Even the GI Bill was largely for whites only, and all of these government-sponsored efforts were instrumental in creating the white middle class. But it goes deeper than that.

    From the earliest days, “whites” were dependent on the land and natural resources of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Since Europe offered no substantial natural riches from its soil, European economic advance and expansion was entirely reliant on the taking of other peoples land by force, trickery or coercion. That, my friends, is dependence.

    Then these same Europeans relied on slave labor to build a new nation and to create wealth for whites; wealth that was instrumental to financing the American Revolution, as well as allowing the textile and tobacco industries to emerge as international powerhouses. From 1790 to 1860 alone, whites and the overall economy reaped the benefits of as much as $40 billion in unpaid black labor. That, my friends, is dependence.

    Though apologists for black oppression enjoy pointing out that Africans often sold other Africans into slavery, this too indicates just how dependent whites have been on black people: having to pay and bribe Africans to catch their own and deliver them to us so as to fatten the profits of European elites. We couldnt even do that by ourselves.

    Then whites were dependent on Native peoples to teach us farming skills, as our complete ineptitude in this realm left the earliest colonists starving to death and turning to cannibalism when the winters came in order to survive.

    We were dependent on Mexicans to teach us how to extract gold from riverbeds and quartz–critical to the growth of the national economy in the mid to late 1800s–and had we not taken over half their nation in an unprovoked war, the emerging Pacific ports so vital to the modern U.S. economy would not have been ours, but Mexico s. That, my friends, is dependence. Then we were dependent on their labor in the mid 20th century under the bracero program, through which over five million Mexicans were brought into the country for cheap agricultural work, and then sent back across the border.

    And we were dependent on Asian labor to build the railroads that made transcontinental travel and commerce possible. 90% of the labor used to build the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s were Chinese, imported for the purpose, and exploited because the railroad bosses felt they could better control them than white workers.

    In fact, all throughout U.S. labor history, whites have depended on the subordination of workers of color; by the marking of black and brown peoples as the bottom rung on the ladder–a rung below which they would not be allowed to fall. By virtue of this racialized class system whites could receive the “psychological wage” of whiteness, even if their real wages left them destitute. That too is dependence, and a kind that has marked even the poorest whites.

    The plantation owners in the South were surely dependent on blacks, and for more than field labor. We relied on black women to suckle and care for our children. We relied on blacks to build the levees that kept rivers like the Mississippi from our doorstep. We relied on black girls to fan our sleeping white ladies so as to ensure their comfort. We relied on blacks to do everything from cooking, to cleaning, to making our beds, to polishing our shoes, to chopping the wood to heat our homes, to nursing us back to health when we fell ill. We prided ourselves on being (or aspiring to be) men and women of leisure, while black and brown folks did all the work. That, and a lot more, is dependence; and yet we still insist they are the lazy ones.

    And northern industrial capitalism relied on black labor too, especially to break the labor militance of white ethnics by playing off one group of workers against the other. That also, is dependence.

    During the civil war, the armies of the Confederacy relied on blacks to cook for the troops and to make the implements of war they would use in battle; and likewise, the Union relied on black soldiers–around 200,000 of them–to ultimately win the war. That too, is most assuredly dependence.

    And white dependence on people of color continues to this day. Each year, African Americans spend over $500 billion with white-owned companies: money that goes mostly into the pockets of the white owners, white employees, white stockholders, and white communities in which they live. And yet we say black people need us? We think they are the dependent ones, relying as we assume they do on the paltry scraps of an eviscerated welfare state? Now lets just cut the crap. Who would be hurt more: black folks if all welfare programs were shut down tomorrow, or white folks, if blacks decided they were through transferring half-a-trillion dollars each year to white people and were going to keep their money in their own communities?

    Or what about the ongoing dependence of white businesses on the exploitation of black labor? Each year, according to estimates from the Urban Institute, over $120 billion in wages are lost to African Americans thanks to discrimination in the labor market. Thats money that doesnt end up in the hands of the folks who earned it, but rather remains in the bank accounts of owners. That my friends, is dependence.

    Our dependence on people of color even extends to our need to have them as spokespeople for our ideologies and agendas: thus, the proliferation of high-profile conservatives of color who bash their own people for us, so we dont have to do it alone. Ken Hamblin, Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, Linda Chavez: all of them, walking, talking, lawn jockeys, shining their lights for white supremacy. And oh yes, our need for them is most certainly a form of dependence.

    Then, we rely on still more people of color to help further the agenda of white dominance: namely Asians, whom we proclaim to be “model minorities.” “See how hard the Asians work, whites love to say, why cant blacks be more like them?” Of course, we fail to mention the staggering poverty among Southeast Asians; or the fact that the most successful Asian sub-groups came to this country with both business experience and usually college educations; or the fact that despite hard work, Asian Pacific Islanders still earn between 11-26% less than their white counterparts, even when their qualifications are equal. Never mind all that: the model minority myth has a power all its own, and is one more way in which whites have become dependent on those who are not.

    Indeed, I am beginning to think that whites are so dependent on people of color that we wouldnt know what to do without them. Oh sure, some neo-Nazis say they would love to try, but in reality I doubt they could make it. If there were no black and brown folks around then whites would have no one to blame but themselves for the crime that occurred; no one to blame but themselves when they didnt get the job they wanted; no one to blame but themselves when their lives turned out to be less than they expected. In short, we need people of color–especially in a subordinate role–as a way to build ourselves up, and provide a sense of self-worth we otherwise lack.

    To be sure, our very existence as white people is dependent on a negative: to be white has meaning only in terms of what it doesnt mean. To be white only has meaning in so far as it means not to be black or brown. Whiteness has no intrinsic meaning culturally: can anyone even articulate what “white culture” means? Not our various European cultures mind you–which do have meaning but have been largely lost to us in the mad dash to accept whiteness and the perks that come with it–but white culture itself.

    In workshops I have asked white folks and people of color what they like about being black, white, or whatever they in fact may be. For African-Americans the answers always have to do with the pride they feel, coming from families who have struggled against the odds, fought injustice, persevered, and maintained dignity in the face of great obstacles. In other words, to be black has internal meaning, derived from the positive actions and experiences of black people themselves. Variations on the same theme tend to be expressed by Latinos, Asians and Indigenous peoples as well.

    But for whites, if they come up with anything at all, it is typically something about how nice it is not to have to worry about being racially profiled by police, or how nice it is not to be presumed less competent by employers, or discriminated against when applying for a loan, or looking for a home. In other words, for whites, our self-definition is wrapped up entirely in terms of what and who we arent. What it means to be white is merely to not be “the other.” And for that to have any meaning whatsoever there first must be an “other” against which to contrast oneself.

    And that is the most significant dependence of all.

    Tim Wise is a Nashville-based antiracist writer, lecturer and activist. He can be reached at

  16. 1848- The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed by the U.S. and Mexico on February 2, 1848, formally ended the Mexican War (1846-1848). By the terms Mexico recobnized Texas as part of the U.S. and ceded to the U.S. over 500,000 square miles of territory, including all of the future states of California, Nevada, and Utah, almost all of New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. In return the U.S. agreed to pay Mexico $15,000,000 and to assume the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico, amounting to $3,250,000. The U.S. became an enormous continental republic, but the acquisition of the new territory aggravated the dispute between slavery and antislavery forces. The war resulted in 1721 dead and 4102 wounded. In addition, some 11,155 Americans died of disease as a result of the war. The total cost of the war was estimated at $97,500,000.

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