No Cuts, No Layoffs, Fight for Our Rights
Voice of Revolution urges everyone across the country to go All Out for May Day 2011. Let all join in strengthening the fighting spirit and united actions for rights that have been taking place over the past two months — in Wisconsin, across all 50 states April 4 and more recently in anti-war demonstrations April 9 and 10. Everywhere workers are facing anti-worker and anti-immigrant budgets and laws. Governments at all levels are attacking unions, going after pensions and producing budgets that attack rights and pay the rich even more. While the federal government was practically brought to a standstill to justify a “compromise” of yet more cuts to social programs, war funding is increasing and wars expanding. Murderous drones are now being sent to Libya alongside bombers. Let May Day be a time when the resounding NO! of the working class to all these attacks is heard, and the fighting spirit that NO Means NO is expressed. Let the banners of All for One and One for All, Defend the Rights of All, Stop War Funding! Stop Paying the Rich! No Cuts, No Layoffs, Fight for Our Rights fly high across the country.
May Day has its origins in the struggle for the eight-hour day in the U.S. It is celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Working Class Unity and Struggle. Here in the U.S., the immigrant workers had the honor of re-establishing May Day as a day of demonstrations and action on May 1, as hundreds of thousands took action. In 2011, inspired by the struggles in Egypt and Wisconsin, organizers from many fronts of struggle, those defending immigrant and workers’ rights, anti-war and environmental activists, students and youth, women and seniors, as one are coming out for demonstrations and other activities May 1. We salute all those organizing and the broad efforts being made to bring everyone into the fight.
On the minds of many this year is the necessity to change the direction of the economy. It can readily be seen, indeed the monopoly media routinely slaps us in the face with news of yet more funds being handed over to the rich, while workers are told more sacrifice must be made. Every effort is made to humiliate workers, create an atmosphere where they are to become beggars and their just demands considered “too much,” in these “difficult times.” Again, We Say NO! The workers produce the wealth, it is clear that the country has an abundance of wealth, and what is needed is for workers themselves to decide — including deciding the direction of the economy and deciding governance. Workers, as producers, have first claim on the wealth. Their rights must be given a guarantee. Government, responsible for society, has second claim. They are duty bound to guarantee the rights of all. Let May Day actions this year hold governments to account for this duty by uniting to Defend the Rights of All.
The fight for decision making that is coming to the fore — as protesters in Wisconsin brought forward in occupying the seat of government and proclaiming, Whose House Our House, and as others have raised in actions, Whose Rights? Our Rights! Who Decides? We Decide! Everywhere the majority is making clear that the change needed is change that serves the working class and people. And as election 2012 already begins, with an expectation of more than $2 billion being spent, it is also clear that change for the people requires politics and politicians of, by and for the people. Political empowerment of the people is on the agenda and May Day is a time to advance this fight for rights!
No Work, No Shopping on May Day: In the Streets Against the Attacks on Immigrants, Unions, and All Workers
Imagine a world without workers.
You enter a grocery store to find the shelves lay bare with no one to pick, transport, or stock the food. You wait helplessly in the hospital with no one to care for you. School buses sit idle and classrooms empty. Fires burn without end.
Without workers, there is nothing.
Despite their need for our labor, the large corporations and their politician friends are doing nothing but demonizing unions, immigrants, and all workers. We are losing our jobs, getting our hours cut, watching our opportunities diminish, and we are criminalized based on the country where we were born. The racist show-me-your-papers law in Arizona is expanding around the country. Governor Walker’s extremist attack on public union workers in Wisconsin has become the model for states nationwide. The elites on Wall Street plunged the economy into crisis, decimating jobs and evicting families from their homes. But instead of paying for their crimes, the corporate executives looted hundreds of billions of dollars from hard-working taxpayers to enhance their profits and their multimillion-dollar bonuses.
Now, the resistance is here.
In Tunisia, the self-sacrifice of a street vendor sparked the rage of a nation. The movement born of garment workers struggling for fair pay and dignity toppled a seemingly invulnerable dictator in Egypt. With revolution spreading abroad, working families in Wisconsin have shown the nation that the sense of self-worth and fighting spirit of U.S. workers is alive and well. And who can forget 2006 when millions of immigrant workers and their allies poured into the streets from coast to coast with great spirit and energy to make May Day real again in the United States after decades of slumber.
For May Day 2011, there is only one just response to the escalating attacks on working families.
Everyone in the streets, No Work and No Shopping, for A Day Without Workers! We demand: The Right to Organize For All; Legalization for All; Good Jobs for All; and An End to the Attacks on Public and Private Sector Unions.
Join a May 1st action in your community and mobilize your co-workers, friends, and family to join you (see maydayunited.org for listing of actions).
This call to action has been issued by May Day United, a national network of worker and community-based organizations promoting dynamic actions on May 1, 2011 for jobs with dignity and true equality. May Day United is also providing legal assistance and Know Your Rights material to anyone who needs it. Call 646-535-MAY1 (6291).
Participating Organizations Include: Angeles Sin Fronteras; Applied Research Center; Arise Chicago, BAYAN USA; Bay Area Movement for a Democratic Society (Concord, Richmond, Oakland, & Vallejo chapters); Brandworkers International; CATA – Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas; Centro Guatemalteco Tecun Uman; Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco); Comité Laboral Sisa Pakari; Farmworker Support Committee; Center for New Community; Committee Honoring los Maestros de los 40 Años/Pueblos en Movimiento; Students for a Democratic Society (Napa Valley College, Diablo Valley College); Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment-Gabriela USA; Food Chain Workers Alliance; Fuerza Mundial Secretariat/Communications; International Labor Rights Forum; Industrial Workers of the World (NYC, Grand Rapids, and Tacoma General Membership Branches); Jornaleros Unidos; La Nueva Raza; Lansing Workers Center; La Raza Centro Legal/SF Day Labor Program; LCLAA, San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter; Long Island Jobs with Justice; Million Worker March; Movement of Action Inspiring Service (MAIZ), San Jose, CA; Movimiento de Trabajabores Independientes; National Lawyers Guild; NLG at the University of North Carolina School of Law; NLG Labor & Employment Committee; TUPOCC (The United People of Color Caucus) of the NLG; New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP); New York May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights; Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center; Oyate “The Peoples’ Land” (Indigenous Group/Nation in California); Peace & Freedom Party (Contra Costa and Solano Co.); Philippine Forum; San Francisco Living Wage Coalition; Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice; TIC/Pueblos en Movimiento (International Tribunal of Conscience).
May Day organizers in Richmond, Virginia are fighting efforts by the Richmond police to block their May Day March. The organizers report that the May Day event will feature a march through Richmond’s streets. They add, “We will stand united for working-class families this May Day in historic Monroe Park near the Virginia Commonwealth University Campus. This year’s demonstration will be a true a display of solidarity for the working class, centered around education, action and progress. It will feature workshops, speakers, food, music, theater and more. We invite all workers, employed and unemployed, to join us.”
Organizers applied for a march permit on March 21. According to city code, they were to get a response from police within five days. Police waited until April 11 to inform organizers that they would have to pay $296 for two off-duty police officers and two police cars. The organizers together with the ACLU filed a suit demanding a court injunction ordering Richmond Police not to block the May Day march. They brought out that police do not have authority to demand fees and that imposing them was an arbitrary action designed to block the May Day march.
Last year, May Day organizers were also told they would have to pay for off-duty officers in order to march. They resisted this demand then and police were forced to grant organizers a permit. The fact that police are repeating this same effort is further indication that it is the political stand of the May Day march, uniting all for progress, that is being targeted.
Organizers also emphasized, “The vicious attack on workers, in Wisconsin and statehouses across the country, has generated a strong response from labor to protect the right to bargain for wages, working conditions and benefits. As workers we refuse to be scapegoated for the economic woes of the state. We ask that all working families on May Day say no to work, school, and shopping and come march in the streets with all workers for dignity and respect.” As another worker said, “We marched in 2006 and every year since for immigrant rights and workers’ rights,” said Cesar Barturen, an immigrant worker from Peru. “We hope to see more people in the streets this year – all workers united as a single force in this country and across the world.”
For more information contact: www.maydayrva.org • Kenneth Yates 804-317-1938 • Lauren Vincelli 804-223-0791
Boston May Day Coalition
Let us commemorate International Workers’ Day this year with a rally at 12 noon at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Park, across from the Haymarket T Station, at the corner of Cross and Hanover streets in Boston.
After the rally we will take the T to East Boston to join in the East Boston March to the May 1 rally in Chelsea.
1. Stop attacks on workers!
2. Stop the detention and deportation of migrant workers and their families!
3. Immediate permanent residency for all undocumented migrant workers!
4. No racist profiling Secure Communities programs!
5. Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!
6. Unity of all workers to defend our rights!
7. International unity for immigrant rights.
Special performance by the radical theater group Bread and Puppet
This event is initiated and sponsored by the Boston May Day Committee.
Endorsed by (list in progress): Boston United National Antiwar Committee, Centro de Trabajadores de MassCOSH, Chelsea Uniting Against the War, Circulo Bolivariano MLK, Dominican Development Center, Frente Uruguayo, Immigration Pastoral Center, Industrial Workers of the World, International Action Center, Mata Hari Eye of the Day, National Lawyers Guild - Mass. Chapter, NEFAC, Network for Immigrant and African Americans in Solidarity, Proyecto Hondureño, Resist the Raids, Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, Stop the Wars Coalition, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Women’s Fightback Network, Workers World Party.
On May Day, as millions of people around the world celebrate workers’ rights, a coalition of grassroots immigrant rights activists, anti-war organizations, rank and file workers and community members are calling on Chicago to march! We march in solidarity with all working people – documented and undocumented, waged and unwaged, those who labor and those who work in the home, students, the unemployed, in the U.S. and around the world. Together we march for justice, fair wages, decent working conditions, basic dignity, healthy communities, and full legal status for all working people. Solidarity forever must be for everyone!
May Day is celebrated around the world as the international day of solidarity among working people. This global celebration recognizes the historic importance of worker struggles in Chicago, as a city in which immigrant workers in the 1800s led the fight for the 8-hour workday.
In 2006, Chicago’s immigrant communities marched in protest and defeated the harsh anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill; it was this struggle for immigrant rights that breathed new life into Mayday and re-ignited the fight for the rights of all working people. This legacy continues in 2011 as a grassroots coalition calls for a May Day march in Chicago from Union Park to Pilsen, a Latino neighborhood of great international significance in the history of the struggles for worker rights.
Today the political and economic problems facing the nation are even more dramatic than in 2006. The attack on workers in Wisconsin, and the enormous nation-wide response of support, comes against the backdrop of copycat anti-worker bills around the Midwest. At the same time, deportations continue at historically high rates, and anti-immigrant legislation is being introduced around the country including a proposed bill here in Illinois. As two sides of the same coin, these dual attacks highlight the importance of solidarity for workers regardless of their legal status.
May Day is the largest show of worker solidarity in the world, in which teachers, workers, immigrants and students in Chicago will join their counterparts around the world to march.
Demands Of The 2011 Chicago May Day March And Rally:
1. Stop all deportations NOW — we demand an immediate Moratorium on Deportations!
2. Legalization and full status without conditions for undocumented immigrants NOW!
3. An end to anti-immigrant legislation and the criminalization of immigrants
4. Labor rights, employment, and a living wage for all workers
5. Funding for health care, jobs and education, not for war and deportation!
Governor Scott Walker is declaring war not just on union workers in Wisconsin, but on the civil rights of immigrants in our state.
In his 2011-2013 state budget, he is calling for the repeal of in-state tuition rates for undocumented youth in our state at both the technical college system and the public university system and the elimination of legal immigrants’ access to Food Stamps. In his bill, he is calling for the exclusion of all non-U.S. citizens’ (i.e. permanent residents) to access low-income health care available through Badger Care and other programs such as Senior Care, Family Care and Medicaid. He is also eliminating the only sliver of health care benefits available for the undocumented besides emergency medical care: denying pregnant women prenatal care, endangering both the life of the woman and child.
Republican State Representative Pridemore is now circulating an Arizona copycat bill for co-sponsorship in the State Assembly. Governor Walker has already said during his campaign that he will sign a similar Arizona bill if it comes to his desk. It is clear that his intent is to pass a similar law in Wisconsin.
Walker and Pridemore are working to pass an Arizona type bill in Wisconsin. Despite claims to the contrary, Pridemore’s bill would “legalize” racial profiling by requiring law enforcement officers to question someone if they have “reasonable suspicion” a person is undocumented. A person would have to show documentation within 48 hours in order to prove their legal status or risk being arrested, jailed, and deported. The bill is unconstitutional because it creates its own rules for federal immigration enforcement, violates the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure, due process rights in federal immigration court, and its promotion of discrimination.
The bill would also prohibit local governments from passing policies that prohibit a public employee from inquiring into someone’s immigration status. For example, if this bill passed it would repeal positive policies such as those in Madison, Milwaukee, and Whitewater that clearly articulate that police officers will not question persons about their immigration status unless it involves serious crimes. The reason for these policies is to promote public safety for all by building trust in the immigrant community to come forward to report crimes as witnesses or victims. Individuals would have the right to sue if they believed a local entity was not complying with this law. In effect, Walker is trying to erect a pillar of institutional discrimination that promotes racial prejudice and inequality against immigrants and people of color.
Walker Attacks Instate Tuition for Immigrant Students
The ability for undocumented youth who graduate from our high schools or obtain their GED to pay in-state tuition rates at institutions of higher education is an important civil rights victory that Voces de la Frontera helped achieved in Wisconsin in 2009. If Walker’s budget bill is not defeated, it would mean undocumented students would be charged out-of-state tuition rates, regardless of how long they lived in the State. This increases the cost by one third to double the tuition cost, while no assistance is available from federal or state financial aid or loans for undocumented students.
The idea that denying in-state tuition rates for undocumented youth will help the state financially is ridiculous! First of all, undocumented youth and their families pay the tuition out of their own pocket; there is no “savings” because they cannot afford to pay out of state tuition rates. They contribute as tax payers for the education of others in our public schools, so it is not as if they are receiving something they did not pay for. These are students who have grown up in our state, their families are from Wisconsin, and they have done all that society asks of them. Often they are caught in the backlog of our current immigration system waiting over a decade for their visas to be processed.
Walker Attacks Working Families and Democracy
Walker’s budget makes dramatic cuts to public education, health care, and government services. In the bill, he would grant the Director of the Department of Health Services the power to rewrite the rules, with no public input or legislative accountability, in order to deny crucial medical care for low income Wisconsin families and exclude legal immigrants’ access to medical care. A minimum of 70,000 people would lose health care. Programs like Badger Care are a lifeline for families who are still suffering from unemployment and foreclosures caused by the Great Recession.
Deficit Crisis is Not a Crisis
Walker is claiming there is a huge budget crisis in order to justify stripping public employees of their union rights, privatizing the public sector to sell it off to his wealthy corporate backers, and making working families pay for a debt that was caused by Wall Street and tax breaks for large corporations and the rich.
Walker himself has contributed to the state’s debt by giving away $120 million in tax breaks to large corporations in the state, and now he wants working families to pay for it. He returned $810 million dollars of federal dollars that would have created jobs in our state by investing in light rail, and will cost the state money in contracts that will be terminated as a consequence of his decision.
A Call To Action
We are at an important turning point. Walker’s attack on public employees has initiated a democratic uprising of rank and file union workers that has galvanized the state and the nation, and inspired international messages of solidarity. Walker has also declared war on the poor and the immigrant community. He is starting with cutting health care and in-state tuition to immigrants, but a copycat Arizona bill is next! Now is the time to fight! We must support efforts to defeat the budget through mass actions, education and organization, and support for recall efforts of elected officials to change the composition of the State Senate and the governor’s seat.
Voces de la Frontera has consistently mobilized tens of thousands of immigrant and working families every year since 2006. Our largest May Day march was more than 80,000 people! We must mobilize in these numbers again, to build and strengthen this democratic uprising of working families to defeat Walker’s plans.
Walker’s bill is like the story of the Emperor who has no clothes. It has revealed for all to see, the naked truth: Wisconsin is the frontline in a vicious class war, and we must hold the line for all our brothers and sisters in this state, this nation, and around the globe. The time is now.
Look for the Puerto Rican Flags! Bring Your Own Flag, Panderetas, Noise Makers, And Whistles!
We are calling for a Strong Powerful Puerto Rican Contingent to march in solidarity with all workers this May Day! Puerto Rican workers, both on the Island and throughout the Diaspora, have been fighting against privatization of education/social services, demanding new jobs, union rights, and housing; just like other workers' have throughout the United States, Latin America and the world!
For decades, Puerto Ricans have stood proudly and firmly with our undocumented brothers and sisters; demanding their legalization and an end to their harassment!
Let us continue in our proud tradition of internationalist solidarity with the workers' of the world!
Join The Puerto Rican Contingent For May Day 2011!