The Tahoma Activist

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Friday, May 05, 2006

May Day Wrapup

This May Day was awesome. The Great American Boycott was a huge success all across America. We stayed in Tacoma and volunteered at Centro Latino to put together the Immigrants' Rights rally there, followed by the May Day Celebration over at the ILWU 23 Hall down in Fife. There were a lot of great speakers, and the Raging Grannies closed out the night with some great songs. Special thanks to all our Solidarity volunteers for helping put this thing together. We met some great people at Centro and we hope to do more work with them in the coming months.

I would encourage anyone who came to either event to send in their impressions of the event along with any photos and other material.

Below I've listed all the articles I can find about our region's response to the National Day of Action:

May 1 Coalition page
ANSWER Coalition homepage

Officials, country remain divided as immigration boycott occurs today
South Sound residents join Seattle rally
Immigrants Try to Extend Boycott Momentum
Tacoma marchers put focus on workers

And here's a quick and dirty explanation of the events leading up to the creation of May Day as a holiday, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times:

May Day -- traditionally May 1 -- has been considered the labor movement's holiday for more than a century. And it was launched in Chicago along the route of Monday's march: Haymarket Square.

In October 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions called a national strike for May 1, 1886, to push for an eight-hour workday. A few days after the strike -- on May 3, 1886, at a rally in Chicago -- police fired shots at protesters, killing two. The next night, in Haymarket Square, someone threw a bomb at police and a riot broke out. Seven police officers died.

Four men were later hanged. They hadn't killed anyone but were targeted for being leaders of the labor movement. In 1893, Illinois Gov. John Peter Altgeld pardoned the dead men and three others who were imprisoned.

The Haymarket incident enshrined May Day as an occasion to push for labor rights. In 1889, the socialist Second International declared it International Workers Day. During the Cold War, May Day was an important holiday in Soviet-bloc countries.

Eric Herman

Categories: Immigrants' Rights, Organized Labor, Local Events

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