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May 1st "illegal" Boycott

category international | racism & migration related issues | news report author Monday May 01, 2006 21:25author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - Indymedia Ireland Internationale Report this post to the editors

Massive protests

Downtown Los Angeles echoes to the chants of mass solidarity on May 1st.

Already at 12:00 downtown LA has hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers displaying mass solidarity in protest against the republican sponsored "Sensenbrenner" bill. There was a lot of talk about possible backlashes against this boycott of work by mainly latin@ workers, with more "mainstream" organisations backing away and claiming that this was too radical.

Los Angeles is an immigrant's city with a vibrant mix of Korean, El Salvadorean, Senegalese, Irish, Vietnamese, Mexican, German, Brazilian, Thai.

Most people here at least know someone that's "illegal", whether that person came here as an adult or was born here.

We know what it means for a human being to be illegal. We know that it means that the guy that we work with or the cute girl at the coffee shop, or the hardworking student, or whoever is suddenly targeted by not just "la migra", but every cop and busy body.

The boycotting organisations have been careful to reach out to African-Americans and other groups potentially economically threatened by unscrupulous employers trying to drive down wages.

It's very weird being in a city which was originally inhabited by small bands of native Americans, then by Mexican Spanish and then by Yankee gringos [*]. As a popular poster puts it "I didn't cross the border ... the border crossed me".

Broadway Ave is now completely closed for blocks and blocks because of the size of the demonstration. Downtown LA is a seedy, decrepit echo of a city that was replete with Streamline Moderne and modernist architecture in the 50s. The upper stories of the buildings still show the original splendour of the architecture, while the bottom is more reminiscent of Moore St. in Dublin, with low-rent shops hawking cheap electronics, jewellery and clothing. There are people hanging out of the upper stories of the buildings, many of which contain sweatshops mainly involved in the garment trade (you can guess which ones by moving around in this district in the evening and seeing the lighs on in the upper stories of otherwise dilapidated buildings.)

* "gringo" which is a sometimes slightly derogatory nickname for "white" people supposedly comes from the English folksong "Green grow the rushes", which first line sounds like "gringo".

author by @publication date Mon May 01, 2006 21:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

no woman is a slave!
no person is an alien!
we are not great apes.

120 years ago, without posters or declarations or appeals to Bloody God Almighty, 5 anarchists whose names are forgotten died whilst demanding an 8 hour day at the hands of the state authorities in Chicago USA . Let us wait and see how many protesters for May Day 2006 in the USA are reported on RTE and the Irish commercial media.
will it be 300?
will it be 120,000?

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 06:37author email imc-ireland-editorial at lists dot indymedia dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Daily trash.
All images are (c) Our Los Angeles Correspondent but may be used providing permission is obtained from the IMC Ireland Editorial collective. They may/may not wish for a small recompense, I leave the decision in their hands.

On Immigrations Frontlines:  Perspective Shaped by Daily Experience
On Immigrations Frontlines: Perspective Shaped by Daily Experience

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 07:01author email imc-ireland-internationale at lists dot indymedia dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sensenbrenners bill would make it a crime to aid illegal immigrants, treating them in many ways similar to terrorists under the law. Again, anyone wanting to use any of the images I publish in this thread must negotiate with Indymedia.ie editorial collective. This (c) notice applies to all photos published by me. I'd expect that the collective will make them free to other non-mainstream media and charge a reasonable fee to those that can afford it. (c)Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationale

Trabajadores, No Terroristas! :: Workers, Not Terrorists!
Trabajadores, No Terroristas! :: Workers, Not Terrorists!

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 09:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Future voters
Future voters

Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church

Latin@s (the 2 guys didn't want their faces seen)
Latin@s (the 2 guys didn't want their faces seen)

Stop Slavery
Stop Slavery

Dia de Acción
Dia de Acción

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 09:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Filled with some of the most wonderful people. The march was always going to be big, but I can't judge just how massive it was. Watching down Wilshire from Vermont back to MacArthur Park (the start point) for over 2 and a half hours there was no sign of the end of the march. The march started at 3pm officially but there were hundreds of early protests and demonstrations. Over 27% of the kids in LA Unified school district ditched class despite the presence of "lockdowns" in their schools.

But most of the people on the march were older.

Latinos and Latinas have a lot to be proud of and deserve better than being criminalised for their hard work, hospitability and massive contributions to culture in the USA. If I were latino I'd have felt very proud today at seeing this march.

Lower gas prices
Lower gas prices

Voice of youth
Voice of youth

Being human is not a crime
Being human is not a crime

We want immigration reform
We want immigration reform

La Raza
La Raza

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 09:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Filled with amazing people. There were easily 1 million people on the streets in two separate marches. My photos are all from the later march on Wilshire.

Proud Mexicans
Proud Mexicans

Human Rights have no borders
Human Rights have no borders

If you think she's "illegal"....
If you think she's "illegal"....

OK for him to fight your wars but not stay?  And she's NOT your slave!
OK for him to fight your wars but not stay? And she's NOT your slave!

Whole families and lives would be ripped apart by HR4437
Whole families and lives would be ripped apart by HR4437

Related Link: http://la.indymedia.org/uploads/2006/05/5.jpg
author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 10:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

in the sad "Minutemen" and "Save Our State" organisations. Looking at the marchers there's no question who'd make the better citizen.

Front of the march
Front of the march

All we want
All we want

March stretches back past Hancock Bldg., back to McArthur park
March stretches back past Hancock Bldg., back to McArthur park

I wonder who picked the fruit I'm eating
I wonder who picked the fruit I'm eating

March just keeps coming
March just keeps coming

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 10:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are the guys who hang out in front of building supply / hardware megastores and hope for a chance at some work. People come by and pick them up in trucks. Sometimes it's a suburbanite from the valley that needs some help, sometimes its a labor contractor that delivers them to a site. Sometimes they get paid ok. Sometimes they're ripped off and can do nothing about it. They're desparate for work and when a gaucho like me walks past a hardware store they get excited until they realise that nothing's doing. I have friends whose relatives do this work, day-in, day-out with no worker's rights, no health-insurance. It's great to see a public show of strength, dignity and beauty like this. Si se puede!

Let Day Laborers Live the American Dream
Let Day Laborers Live the American Dream

Proud marchers
Proud marchers

Legalisation NOW!
Legalisation NOW!

Zapata's revolutionary spirit lives on
Zapata's revolutionary spirit lives on

Whose homeland?
Whose homeland?

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 10:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I got sore standing up on top of various things to get pictures and moved around. People were generally very happy to be photographed although some people were upset by it. I made sure to go after them and let them know I wouldn't use their picture. Their thanks was almost painful to receive. I've been on a lot of demonstrations and this was one of the nicest and friendliest and funnest ever. It's sickening to think of the 12 million people caught in a legal limbo, exploited and deprived of the right to go to college, to vote and now if HR3347/Sensenbrenner is passed, the right to basic aid from churches and charities. Anyone helping them would face severe penalties.

Gay Latin@s,  Immigrant and non-Immigrant WORKERS UNITE!
Gay Latin@s, Immigrant and non-Immigrant WORKERS UNITE!

We pay taxes too!
We pay taxes too!

We are workers, not criminals
We are workers, not criminals

Multi-ethnic, united
Multi-ethnic, united

Amnistia General
Amnistia General

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 10:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The power of this block in Los Angeles, California and the Southwest shouldn't be underestimated. The streets were quiet, quieter even than on a Sunday.... except for down around the march where they reverberated to drumming, percussion, chanting and whistling. There was an in credible Brazilian samba band, there were innumberable groups chanting "Si se puede!" (yes, we can!) and jumping in the air. The republicans, in searching for another distraction, have made a big mistake in antagonizing this power group. Yes, there's lots of "illegals", but there are plenty more "legal" immigrants who see a callous, reactionary attack on their fellow humans when it happens.

Luckily the Democrats and Catholic leader's calls to have the march but not the Boycott were ignored despite the agonized worrying over "a possible backlash" by the democrat spinmeisters on National Public Radio.

My Cousin was SHOT defending this country.  We are ALL immigrants
My Cousin was SHOT defending this country. We are ALL immigrants

Yoooo-sti---seee---yaaaa!!!
Yoooo-sti---seee---yaaaa!!!

WARNING:  Another educated Latino!
WARNING: Another educated Latino!

Don't criminalize seekers of the American dream
Don't criminalize seekers of the American dream

FMLN  -- Political party that fought against US dictatorship in El Salvador
FMLN -- Political party that fought against US dictatorship in El Salvador

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 11:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll probably put the remainder up on LA Indymedia, but although they're good people they don't use Oscailt so it's harder to use than Indymedia Ireland.

Immigrants are the backbone of the economy
Immigrants are the backbone of the economy

Stop racist HR4437
Stop racist HR4437

Filipino Worker's Center
Filipino Worker's Center

Governor of California:  You are an immigrant too!  When did working become a crime?
Governor of California: You are an immigrant too! When did working become a crime?

Hard working people
Hard working people

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 02, 2006 11:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thanks for the report and pics. really good. i read in the irish times yesterday that the irish coalition wasnt supporting the actions, stay away from work school etc. what happened in LA? did a lot of irish participate?

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was no official Irish contingent but I saw two people with shamrocks. However I don't keep in touch with many other Irish people here, so I don't know if there was a larger contingent that I missed. I do have a photo of people with a french sign too.

There's been near complete silence on the radio about Irish "illegals".

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Ireland Internationalepublication date Tue May 02, 2006 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great piece in the NY Daily News about the success of the boycott despite the calls for "prudence" from the leadership of churches, unions, politics.

Related Link: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/02/1352223
author by pat cpublication date Tue May 02, 2006 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the "official" representatives of the irish "illegals" scabbed on the strike. todays IT : "the irish lobby for Immigration Reform opposed yeterdays boycott as counter-productive and provocative".

maybe they are looking for a special deal? they wont get it. right wing republican WASPs hate irish catholics just as much as they do mexicans. even the supposed irish american politicians like peter king have supported the anti immigrant legislation.

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondentpublication date Wed May 03, 2006 04:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An article from the LA Times by Anna Gorman, Marjorie Miller and Mitchell Landsberg, Times Staff Writers on May 2nd. A pretty good rundown of major events of the day including the "troqueros" boycott of the port facilities (over 90% stayed away). It misses out the absolutely major story though, which is that people decided to boycott against the advice of any of the leaders, whther clerical or political. That includes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who turned up supporting the march but not the boycott.

Related Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-main2may02,0,4600102.story
author by chicano na aztlanpublication date Thu May 04, 2006 22:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hey hey hÉireann, great photos, thanks for participating & being here in Aztlan.

one comment on this comment:
>>right wing republican WASPs hate irish catholics just as much as they do mexicans

not quite. not really at all, actually. I mean, right wing republican wasps hate EVERYone and EVERY thing human, including themselves, this is true yes. but while the Irish may be the "n-----s" of Europe, here in the US, white skin and European ties--even to oppressed, colonized histories within Europe--still translate to a vast amount of privilege compared to the peoples of color here. it's really a shame that there wasn't more support from Irish immigrants; I think it is probably a reflection of this eurocentric privilege.

author by Our Los Angeles Correspondent - IMC Internationalepublication date Mon May 15, 2006 21:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A nice essay detailing the subsumption of Irish words and phrases into common US usage as a result of the early criminal activities of Irish emigrants to the USA:

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/cassidy05132006.html
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