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MAY DAY: A Call To Action

May 1st is shaping up to be quite a day of resistance, with strikes by the ILWU and other unions, plus immigrant rights rallies, and peace and impeachment activities. It's Mission Accomplished Day (5 Years!) It's Downing Street Minutes Day (3 Years!) It's Impeachment Off the Table Day (2 Years!) It's May Day, the original Labor Day (122 Years!) If you care about the future of our republic, we encourage you to visit your congress member's nearest office at high noon, local time, on May 1st, and ask for impeachment hearings for the Vice President for Torture, Dick Cheney. Let us know you plan to do it, and find others to do it with you at

Watch this video. Clarence Thomas, National Co-Chair of the Million Worker March Movement and Executive Board member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, spoke on April 24th, 2008, at the Iraq Town Hall meeting, in the Grand Lake Theater, Oakland, CA. The ILWU has committed to blocking ports on May 1st in opposition to the occupation of Iraq.

May Day, the First of May, 2008, is a Thursday. According to the Bush Administration it is Loyalty Day. Are you feeling loyal?

In case you aren't, FEMA has planned terrorism scare "exercises" on May 1st.

May Day is the real labor day, the commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre and the fight for an 8-hour day in Chicago – an American holiday celebrated everywhere except in America.

May Day had a long history in Europe as a seasonal celebration of rebirth and hope. It was also the first of a month, an ideal time for strikes in industrialized nineteenth-century America where workers tended to be paid at the end of the month. At its 1884 convention the American Federation of Labor adopted a resolution that all labor would strike on May 1, 1886, to demand an eight-hour day. The media, which in this country has always been completely fair and balanced, predicted a violent Communist insurrection. The Chicago Tribune reported responsibly: "Every lamp-post in Chicago will be decorated with a communistic carcass if necessary to prevent wholesale incendiarism or prevent any attempt at it."

As documented in "Labor's Untold Story" By Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, 62,000 workers in Chicago committed to strike on May 1, another 25,000 demanded an eight-hour day without threatening to strike, and 20,000 were given the eight-hour day before May 1. Meanwhile, the Armours, Swifts, Medills, Fields, and McCormicks (Chicago's royalty, people who would have adored Loyalty Day) mobilized the National Guard, the Pinkertons, and specially deputized police.

Workers marched down Michigan Avenue in Chicago instead of working on May 1, 1886, and 340,000 did the same nationwide. Albert Parsons and August Spies spoke at the rally in Chicago, which ended peacefully. The Communist insurrection proved as real as Saddam Hussein's long-range missiles. But two days later, Chicago police shot striking workers outside McCormick Harvester Works, and labor leaders organized a protest in Haymarket Square for the next day. In the meantime, thousands of workers all over the country were winning the eight-hour day and returning to work.

As the relatively small and peaceful meeting at Haymarket Square was wrapping up, 180 policemen marched on the crowd, and a bomb went off -- which many believe was thrown by an agent provocateur. The Chicago Tribune demanded that Parsons, Spies, Michael Schwab, and Samuel Fielden be hanged for murder. The police began smashing up labor offices and beating up innocent people. "Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards," said John Ashcroft - oops, I mean Julius Grinnell, Chicago's State's Attorney. The four men named above were indicted for murder, along with George Engel, Adolph Fisher, and Louis Lingg. Parsons, who had escaped, became a modern Socrates and turned himself in to face certain death. Testimony from "witnesses" who had been threatened with torture and others who had been paid turned out so contradictory that the prosecution shifted to a focus on the defendants' thoughts and politics. Fielden and Schwab ended up with life sentences; Lingg died in his cell; the others were hung. Parsons left behind a note to his children that included this:

"We show our love by living for our loved ones. We also prove our love by dying, when necessary, for them."

In the tradition of those who have gone before us and sacrificed so much for so many benefits that we take for granted, we are proposing a day of action on May 1, 2008, to include a general strike for peace, impeachment, and human rights. Here are proposals that have already been made from a variety of quarters:

I. Longshore Caucus calls for Iraq war protest at ports on May 1

Nearly one hundred Longshore Caucus delegates voted on February 8 to support a resolution calling for an eight-hour "stop-work" meeting during the day-shift on Thursday, May 1 at ports in CA, OR and WA to protest the war by calling for the immediate, safe return of U.S. troops from Iraq.

“The Caucus has spoken on this important issue and I’ve notified the employers about our plans for 'stop work' meetings on May 1,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath.

Caucus delegates, including several military veterans, spoke passionately about the importance of supporting the troops by bringing them home safely and ending the War in Iraq. Concerns were also raised about the growing cost of the war that has threatened funding for domestic needs, including education and healthcare. Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Linda J. Bilmes recently estimated that the true cost of the War in Iraq to American taxpayers will exceed 3 trillion dollars--a figure they describe as "conservative."

The union’s International Executive Board recently endorsed Barack Obama, citing his opposition to the War in Iraq as one of the key factors in the union's decision-making process.

Caucus delegates are democratically elected representatives from every longshore local who set policy for the Longshore Division.

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath has written letters to President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and President Andy Stern of the Change-to-Win Coalition, and to the presidents of the International Transport Workers Federation and the International Dockworkers Council to inform them of the ILWU's plans for May 1.

Other unions and labor groups are joining in, including:

Vermont AFL-CIO,

New York City Labor Against the War,

Unite the Union (Europe),

San Francisco Labor Council,

American Postal Workers Union - New York Metro,

California Federation of Teachers,

May Day 2008 Statement from the Iraqi Labour Movement to the Workers and All Peace Loving People of the World

May Day Message from the General Union of Dock Workers in Iraq to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the U.S.

The San Francisco branch of both APWU and NALC (Local 214) have voted to observe two minutes of silence on May Day in solidarity with actions being taken by ILWU.

Support from the South Carolina AFL-CIO and the South Bay AFL-CIO can be found on the website of US Labor Against the War HERE.

Iraqi port workers to stop work.

II. Call to Immigrant Rights Actions 2008!

May Day 2008 National Mobilization of Immigrant Rights!

Join the e-mail list:

or send e-mail:

A Day of Action for Immigrant Rights, Thursday, May 1st
Pickets at the RNC and DNC offices on Capitol Hill:
Gather at the Capitol South Metro at 12:30 pm
Mass Rally in Malcolm X Park: 4PM
March through the Community: 6PM
16th and Euclid Sts. NW Washington D.C.
Metro: Columbia Heights
With national elections underway, this is a critical time for advocates of justice for immigrant communities to raise our voices in solidarity. Raids and deportations continue to tear families apart, both across the country and within the Washington metropolitan region. We aim to challenge the climate of fear that these raids have produced and to show that the immigrant community will not be silenced. We invite all organizations committed to the struggle for social justice to join us in making this mobilization a success.
Our demands include:
* Immigration Reform with Justice and Dignity for All
* Stop the Raids, Deportations, and Use of No-Match Letters
* Rescind the Anti-Immigrant Resolution in Prince William County
* Declare the District of Columbia a Sanctuary City for Immigrants
* Establish Workers Centers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
* Support the Right of Return for Mount Pleasant Tenants Displaced by the Recent Fire
Sponsored by: The May 1st 2008 Coalition
Including Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, the Metro D.C. Interfaith Sanctuary Network, D.C. Jobs with Justice, the D.C. Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Tenants & Workers Support Committee, Virginia Justice Center, Casa de Maryland, The Virginia Immigrant Peoples Coalition and many others.
To Endorse or Receive More Information, email or call 202-640-5315

LINK: Rally planned in NYC for immigrants rights and Sean Bell.


Join PTI in building solidarity for the ILWU May 1 Strike. Carry the sign that helps organize an effective, legal, non-violent "work stoppage" in defense of our Constitution, our heritage, and our freedom.

LINK: North Carolina Impeachment Groups Plan Action.



LINK: DC Demands Statehood on May 1.


LINK: Rome, Italy, Joins In.

LINK: Diesel truck shutdown PDF.

LINK: May Day in Seattle.

LINK: Peace movement to block rail lines in Oakland.

Click to Enlarge Bay Area Poster:


LINK: We've got props and gear for you.

dieselshutdown.pdf35.58 KB

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Unfortunately, many of us in DC are stuck in jobs where we cannot strike and are reduced to being sick on these kinds of days. It truly does make one sick to think that our country is being run by genocidal war criminals who do not honor the Constitution or the rule of law.

Your ideas are great and what all the folks did last week and this weekend was inspirational. If we could just get the New Hampshire to stand up for the Constitution, we would be eternally grateful to the courageous people of that state.

Oops, I got unlogged in. Hope this gets accepted.

Wed., Apr. 2--In February, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Longshore Caucus adopted a resolution to stop work for 8 hours on the day shift of May 1st in protest of the war in Iraq, calling for the immediate and safe return of U.S. forces and demanding that war appropriations be redirected to domestic infrastructure and human needs.

Today Cynthia sent a letter to leaders of the ILWU International as well as to the Presidents of the locals representing dockworkers in the largest West Coast ports applauding their action. In her letter she stated:

Your powerful Longshore Caucus resolution, "For Workers' Action to Stop the War", and your decision to stop work on the West Coast docks May 1st, inspires all of us who have taken up the struggle to end the disastrous war and occupation of Iraq, foisted on us by the Republican administration, and continually funded without substantial objection by both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress. Sadly, the Bush-Pelosi war policy is a formula for endless global conflict, deterioration of the rule of law among nations, and growing impoverishment, indebtedness and evisceration of workers' rights and civil liberties here at home.

On March 13th, the Journal of Commerce Online reported:

The president of the Pacific Maritime Association on Thursday said West Coast waterfront employers intend to turn down a request by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to call an eight-hour stop-work meeting on the first work shift May 1 to protest the Iraq war.

"Contractually, they've gone down the right avenue, but we are not going to agree to it," said James McKenna, PMA president. "PMA will respond to the union shortly."

The ILWU locals are permitted to call one stop-work meeting each month to discuss union business. However, the stop-work meetings must be conducted during the second work shift, when cargo activities at most ports are lightest. If the ILWU wishes to change the stop-work meeting time, the union must request permission. The ILWU has submitted its request in plenty of time to comply with the waterfront contract, McKenna said. Nevertheless, employers do not want all West Coast ports to be shut down for eight hours during the busy day shift on May 1, he said.

In her letter, she continued:

I want you and your members to know that at least one 2008 Presidential candidate is proud to stand up publicly in full and unqualified support of your resolution to celebrate International Workers Day by protesting the war and occupation where it counts: at the point of production. My campaign, the Power to the People Campaign, will stand with you on May 1st, all along the West Coast, and anyplace where working people take up your call to resist the war. We'll be with you on the picket line.

In campaign speeches over the last several months, Cynthia has often invoked the words of Mario Savio, of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, that sometimes it "becomes necessary to put one's body against the levers and gears of the machine" to bring it to a stop. Cynthia urges others to send similar letters of solidarity to the leadership of the ILWU as they stand up against the Pacific Maritime Association and the Bush-Pelosi War machine, and to explore how in their communities they too take this sort of bold and direct action to stop the war machine.

Those wishing to send their own letters of solidarity are urged to do so, addressed to:

Bob McEllrath, ILWU International President
Fax: (415) 775-1302

Melvin Mackay, ILWU Local 10 (Bay Area) President
Fax: (415) 441-0610

Mike Mitre, ILWU Local 13 (L.A./Long Beach) President
Fax: (310) 830-5587

Jeff Smith, ILWU Local 8 (Portland) President
Fax: (503) 224-9311

Conrad Spell, ILWU Local 23 (Tacoma) President
Fax: (253) 383-5612

Herald Ugles, ILWU Local 19 (Seattle) President
Fax: (206) 623-8136

Please cc copies to Jack Heyman and Clarence Thomas of Local 10's May 1st Committee.

Hmmm, gotta get a mammogram and a teeth-cleaning appointment real soon .



Why is "Immigrants Rights" piggybacking on the day we are trying to STOP THE WAR and RESTORE AMERICANS' RIGHTS?

It can only be for ILLEGAL ALIENS. Legal Immigrants HAVE rights and are on track to become American citizens.

We should be marching for the human rights and American civil rights of indigenous NATIVE AMERICANS on MAY DAY! That is a great legal, moral and ethical social justice issue within the borders of these United States of America, as well as other Americans' rights.

Don't mean to be a party-pooper, but I don't want to see this May Day PEACE RALLY being hijacked by illegals.



This regime is rounding up people and either holding them indefinetely or deporting them in

the dead of night.

We should stand with the people of the world, not behind american chavanism and love for the "fatherland."

The roots of this country are built on the blood of the people of the world. Why Do

Immigrants Come to the U.S.?

In the early hours of dawn or in the plain light of day, massive immigration raids at factories, fast-food chains, and neighborhoods have swept up thousands of people. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security) “removed”—that is, deported—276,912 undocumented immigrants just in 2007. These are the actions of a modern-day Gestapo, the fascist police that rounded up Jews and others in Nazi Germany.

This major intensification of raids has torn parents from their children. There are approximately five million children in the U.S. who have at least one parent who is considered an “illegal” immigrant by the government. Many of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants being rounded up and deported have children they were forced to leave behind. One recent study of ICE raids at three work sites where 900 adults were arrested found that 500 children were affected. (National Council of La Raza, “Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children”)

Why did these immigrants end up in the U.S. in the first place?

Manuel was 18 when he left his small town in the countryside of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. He traveled to northern Mexico. And then he risked his life to cross the border through the desert—where the heat and lack of water can mean painful death. He now works in a garment sweatshop in Los Angeles, living life in the shadows as an undocumented immigrant, wary every minute of being picked up in one of the raids by armed government agents.

If someone has come here without permission - aka illegally - then they are subjecting themselves to the very distinct chance that they will be rounded up and deported by ICE.

America is the kindest country in the world to "immigrants". Legal "immigrants" do not need to demand "rights" because they are inherently given to them when they have permission to live and work here and close to 2 million people do that every year in the US.

I have no respect for people who come here illegally and DEMAND rights. Try doing that in Mexico!

If you don't like this country so much why don't you move to RUSSIA, we're sick of hearing you whine about every little thing that doesn't go your way!!

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