On the significance of May 1st
Since the Haymarket Massacre of 1886, May 1st has represented a day of international worker solidarity. With the unprecedented mass mobilizations of 2006 in defense of immigrant rights, May 1st has been re-conceptualized to include the struggles of workers deemed “undocumented.” In recent years the veritable war on immigrants has only been escalated with the inception of the war on terror, as demonstrated with the increasing militarization of the Southern border, the proliferation of new deportation detention centers, and the unconstitutional raids perpetrated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. These intensifications are directly attributed to the
neoliberal agenda of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which seeks to maintain the fluidity of the physical geopolitical border for transnational capital but not for people. All of which is in violation of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, made after the Mexican-American War, where it was agreed that the freedom of movement of peoples between these two nation states would be protected and that the property of those already established in the newly conquered territories (including California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada…) would also remain respected.
In response to the aforementioned realities, the need for another mass mobilization is urgent. It is important that this day, in a community of academics, be a day of education; learning and sharing experiences, a day of raising consciousness and spreading awareness. And indeed, while the struggles exist largely within the realm of ideas, there exists the need to get out of the classroom and into the community to demonstrate a humanist dissatisfaction with global, federal, state, and municipal policies of exploitation (paying poverty/slave wages to all workers, the free trade policies and privatization), manipulation (via the popular media), and domination via fragmentation (the perpetuation of grouping, degrouping, and inter-racial antagonisms in the popular media, COINTELPRO counter intelligence programs of FBI).
To demonstrate our insistence on the respect for all humans and our fear of a future in which scapegoat politics continues, we must unite across ethnic/class/racial/gender