May 3, 2012
This is the second round reports and photos from May Day demonstrations around the US contributed by Solidarity comrades who participated. Feel free to add your own report in the comments section below! Check out the first installmnent here.
Activist May Day in Portland OR. Two to three thousand people, mostly young and willing to get out in the spring rain showers and the cold, marched in the official march May Day afternoon. A large and energetic contingent of Latino students chanted “up, up with education, down, down with deportation” marching behind a banner that said “undocumented unafraid.”
Some unions were represented, but it seemed that most did not mobilize members for the May Day events. Earlier, three anti-eviction groups organized around 200 activists and neighbors to put a foreclosed homeowner back into her home. And beginning at 7:00 am, two to three hundred high school students organized their own march to protest huge cuts of teacher jobs, confronting first the schools superintendent and then the mayor, before marching to a high school which the principal put on lockdown. Of course, there were the usual arrests when “unpermitted” marchers before and after the main march dared to take the street.
Report from Johanna Brenner, a veteran activist and Solidarity member in Oregon
Detroit’s May Day was a four-mile march punctuated with three short rallies. It began at noon in Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, the center of the Mexican American community. This turned out to be particularly appropriate beause there had been a high school student walkout the previous week and 150 students were suspended. A group has set up a Freedom School and these students participated in the march and rally as their “field day.”
Three schools face Clark Park. Maybury, the grammar school, has been slated to close by Emergency Manager Roy Roberts despite the fact that it is one of the few bilingual schools left in the public school system. The speakers at the Clark Park rally opposed Maybury’s closure and heard from the suspended students, whose list of demands included not only revoking of their suspensions but an end to harassment and humiliation of students, better school supplies (including toilet paper and hand soap) and stabilizing schools through respecting teachers and their unions. They also addressed the harassment that the community faces with the witch hunt against undocumented workers and how companies take advantage of the shadowy world in which the undocumented are forced to live.
The march was led by One Michigan, a youth-led group that organizes in the community around the slogan of “Undocumented, unafraid and unapolegeti” as well as by the suspended students. Its route went through the neighborhood’s commerical areas, where bystanders indicated their support.
The first stop was the old train station, an iconic image of a devastated Detroit. It is owned by Manny Maroun, one of the city’s richest men. Speakers discussed the need for jobs and environmental justice.
The march continued to the Federal Building where speakers addressed the state takeover of Detroit and its public schools, the attack against gays and women, and how the wars and wars on terrorism effect Detroiters.
The final leg of the march was through the downtown area and into Grand Circus Park, a traditional site for demonstrations of the workers’ movement since the 1880s and the site of last fall’s occupation.
Occupy and the Wobbly Kitchen fed the marchers and homeless as bands played, rappers performed and a short rally took up the questions of foreclosure and the city crisis, which will result in outsourcing, privatizing and the projected layoff of 2,500 city workers.
Approximately 20 occupiers planned to set up tents and stay for a 24-hour occupation, but the police were determined that no tents be set up in the park. Occupiers decided to stay the night, particularly since fans from the Tigers’ game would be coming through the area after the OccupyDetroit’s 62nd General Assembly concluded. Over the course of the day, about 500 people marched and or attended the rallies. Over a dozen organizations sponsored the event, including the Sierra Club, Autoworkers Caravan, One Michigan, the local peace groups, Students for Justice in Palestine and UNITE HERE Local 24.
Dianne Feeley reports from Detroit
Milwaukee had a turn out of around 10,000 people. Marching across town, ending at the lake front. There were speakings at the start and end of the march, with the main focus on immigrant rights.
May Day was a collection of the Madison left. Meeting on the steps to the capitol, the rally was about 200 people. The speeches and music carried on for about 1 and a half hours, each group getting a chance to stand at the mic. It was a wonderful sunny day to remember our histories of struggle.
Milwaukee and Madison reports from Tessa
Around 30 students were in a protest at UCSC campus. Near the book store
there was a table of the “Condom Co-op.” (Over a hundred were at the 4-20
marijuana “smoke in.” Please explain all this, Adam!)
Later in the afternoon around 50 from various groups marched down the main
downtown street — with a FRIENDLY escort of police cars! The police PR
person is running for the county Board of Supervisors. (All much better
behaved than in SF and Oakland!)
Then after 5pm the students and other protestors (many labor leaders & R&F)
joined up in front of the post office. Good historical overview of May Day
by leftie teacher, labor news, and poetry and rap by one latino re immigrant
rights and one black transexual student about discrimination on many levels.
Then to the Reel Works movie, “Brothers on the Line” about the UAW Reuther
brothers, following last week’s “Finally Got the News” about the League of
Revolutionary Black Workers.
Yes — Keep the Santa Cruz movement – weird!
Report from Barri