May 1 in Boston: March and Rally for Immigrant Rights & Workers International Day
As it has become a tradition in Boston, a rally will be held on May 1st. at the Boston Common Bandstand, starting at 4 pm. Immigrant and labor rights advocates will address the participants. There will also be cultural presentations with a special presentation by Bolivian folk-musician and composer Manuel "Papirri" Monroy. This will be Monroy's first visit to the United States. At 5:30 pm the rally participants will march to Copley Square to demonstrate their protest at the government policies against undocumented migrant workers, demanding an end to the raids and deportations and full legalization for all migrant workers and their families.
May 1 is a day internationally recognized in celebration of economic, social and political achievements of workers. In fact, in the majority of countries around the world May 1 is a legal holiday. What most people don't know is that this tradition begun in 1886 in the United States, in the midst of the struggle for the eight-hour workday.
In 2006, also here in the United States, millions of undocumented workers and their families took to the street to demand labor rights and respect for their human rights. The fact is that around the world there is now a new underclass of laborers, those "without papers". Undocumented workers are hired to do the most undesirable jobs in agriculture, construction and services. With their hard labor they have contributed greatly to the U.S. economy and to the profits of U.S. companies. Yet, they are persecuted, abused, discriminated against and treated with total disrespect for their rights as human beings.
May 1, also known as May Day, International Workers Day, is then the appropriate day to protest the abuses against undocumented workers and their families. The United States is building a monstrouos wall in the border with Mexico extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic. They have deployed thousands of armed guards, real soldiers to stop an enemy that only wants to contribute their labor to the U.S. economy. A specialized police, better known as ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) roams the cities of the U.S. in military-style raids detaining undocumented workers, and then deporting them. Those raids reached home, here in Massachusetts, and they have faced strong opposition from the community.
On May 1, 2008, we will again protest against repression of undocumented workers. Workers and students, documented and undocumented, citizens, permanent residents or not will hold a rally at the Boston Common at 4pm to then march to Copley Square at 5:30pm. The demands for the day are: 1) Stop the raids and deportations, 2) Full legalization for all migrant workers, 3) No militarization of the borders and no walls, 4) Stop the war on immigrants and the wars abroad. We further declare that no worker is illegal and we call on all workers of the world to unite in the struggle for migrant workers rights.
Over one hundred and twenty years ago workers did not enjoy the right to an eight hour workday. The “weekend” was a term not yet invented. International Workers Day commemorates May Day 1886 when nearly half a million workers stood up in a nation-wide general strike for these and other rights. The police repressed the strikers and in Chicago 8 anarchist labor leaders where falsely accused of attacking the police on what became known as the Haymarket Affair. In the end 1 of the anarchists, Louis Lingg killed himself in prison. 2 others, Michael Schwab, and Samuel Fielden, were sentenced to life in prison, while Oscar Neebe got 15 years; and the other 4, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel were hung. Oscar Neebe, Samuel Fielden, and Michael Schwab stayed in jail until released in 1893 by Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld, who acknowledged the injustice of the trial.
Their bravery, hard work and sacrifice gained U.S. workers many of the workplace and human rights we enjoy today. Union leaders across the country agree, however, that organizing in the workplace for undocumented and documented workers alike, has become increasingly more difficult in the past decade, making the lessons of International Workers Day more relevant than ever.
Endorsers as of 4/17/08 include(in alphabetical order): AFSC Project Voice, Allston/Brighton Collective for Popular Assemblies, Allston/Brighton Neigborhood Assembly, ANSWER, PSL, Bikes Not Bombs, Boston Anarchist Black Cross, Boston Anti Authoritarian Movement, Boston May Day Coalition, Boston School Bus Drivers Union, Brazilian Workers Center, Centro Presente, CISPES, Community Church of Boston, CSIO Boston, Food Not Bombs, Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition, Latinas/os for Social Change, International Action Center, IWW, Jobs with Justice, Lucy Parsons Center, Mass Global Action, MLK Bolivarian Circle, National Lawyers Guild - Mass., New England Human Rights Organization on Haiti, Sacco & Vanzetti Commemoration Society, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Students at Tufts Active for Immigrant Rights, Suffolk and Emerson Anti-Authoritarians, TJs Workers Collective.