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The struggle for immigrant workers’ rights needs your active participation and solidarity. Remember May 1, 2006? Millions of immigrant workers from coast to coast walked off their jobs and rallied in just about every major city to demand full rights for undocumented workers.
The same thing is planned for May 1, or “May Day” 2007. Many of you who are reading this appeal probably have a good idea of why it’s important for you as anti-war activists to be involved in the movement for immigrant workers’ rights. Even so it’s worth reviewing just a little.
To begin with, while we march against the war in Iraq, it’s absolutely critical that we march against the war on the people right here at home. The level of institutional racism on the part of the capitalist system and government that resulted in massive death and continued suffering in New Orleans is part of a “war at home.” So are the police murders of 23-year -old Sean Bell in New York City and 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta several months ago.
When it comes to the government anti-immigrant raids that go on daily, calling it a war is no metaphor. No other word could describe it more accurately. Thousands of immigrant workers have been arrested over the past year alone. On the morning of March 6, an army of hundreds of heavily armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement and FBI agents raided a leather factory in New Bedford, Mass., arresting and terrorizing 350 workers, many of them women whose children were suddenly left stranded. It’s time that we UNITE and show by our actions that we are as angry about these raids as we are about the war in Iraq. When we do that, we are truly connecting the struggles against the war abroad and the war at home.
The main weapon that the government and the capitalist media are using to try to deter more people of all nationalities and races from demanding an end to these raids is anti-immigrant racism. When immigrants rally for their rights, and you look out at many of the big immigrant rights rallies and see a tremendous sea of people—including, however, very few people who are either white, or whom you usually might see at a big anti-war march—that’s a sign that the divide and conquer with racism strategy is being used.
On May Day 2007, it is up to us to make sure that the anti-war movement shows up to stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with immigrant workers against these terrorist raids.
Another point is that it’s so important that immigrant workers have chosen May Day as the day to boycott work and rally for their rights across the country. May Day is the day the workers in every part of the world rally and march to show their solidarity with the struggle of all workers everywhere. Even though May Day was born in the working class struggles of the 19th century right here in the U.S., up until recently May Day has not been widely observed in this country. But all of that’s changing, in large part because immigrant workers are bringing May Day back to the U.S., along with its message of worldwide working-class unity and militancy and anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-war solidarity.
The anti-war movement must get behind May Day 2007 and build for it with the same passion and energy that we put into anti-war marches. If we do that, we will not only be solidarizing ourselves with immigrant workers, we will be helping to revive worldwide working-class solidarity in the country where it is most needed.
Anti-war movement—all out for May Day ’07!
LeiLani Dowell, Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (FIST)
Teresa Gutierrez, May 1 Coalition, New York City
Larry Holmes, Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC)
John Parker, March 25 Coalition, Los Angeles