Editors’ note: May Day rallies sprang from the US working class movement in the 1880s. In the heyday of the CIO,Â May Day was a mass event. But in theÂ US it became a casualty of McCarthyism and the Cold War, though left-wing groups valiantly worked to keep the tradition allve. In the last few years, spearheaded by immigrant worker groups, many of them Latino, May 1 has revived as a day of mass worker protest.Â Below is a statement issued by the May Day March and Rally in New York City.
NEW YORK CITY MAY DAY MARCH & RALLY
We refuse to pay for an economic crisis we did not create!
Who We Are
We are united Â the employed and the unemployed, the documented and the undocumented, the organized and the unorganized, the people of diverse races and ethnicities who live and work in New York City.Â We are the members of scores of labor unions, immigrantsÂ rights organizations and community groups. We are the great working-class majority.
Why We March on May Day
On this day of international solidarity among working people and of traditional struggle for immigrant rights, we celebrate our roots in the struggle for justice.Â May Day recalls both our immigrant histories and the ongoing struggle for the rights of working people.
We are marching on May Day as workers have marched on this day since 1886, when laborers, immigrants, artisans and merchants in Chicago waged a general strike to win the eight-hour day.Â Our demand today Â for the rights of immigrants and workers ÂÂ is as urgent and as transformative as the demand for the eight-hour day.Â Â
In 2010 we are facing the most acute economic crisis for the working-class majority in our lifetimes.Â The recession has led to a new wave of austerity policies for working people, as the banks are bailed out using our tax dollars, and the jobs and services on which we depend are being destroyed.
Our immigration policy is bankrupt. The current crisis has had a devastating impact on immigrant communities. And that devastation hurts us all.
Today we announce our commitment to fight the austerity imposed on the great working-class majority.Â We call for a radical shift of economic and political policy in the interest of working people Â all working people.
What We Are Fighting For
We will fight paying for a recession we did not create.
We will fight having the budget balanced on our backs.
We will fight allowing Wall Street to pay huge bonuses when the banks were bailed out with our tax dollars.
We will fight the disparity between the rich and the poor, which is greater in New York than in any other state.
We demand an economic policy in the interest of the working-class majority.
We demand that all workers have the right to unionize and bargain collectively.
We demand the right to a voice at work.
We will fight a jobless recovery.
We will fight 10% unemployment in New York State.
We will fight 46% unemployment of African-American men in New York City.
We will fight working more and earning less.
We demand jobs for all.
We demand jobs with fair pay, not poverty wages.
We demand no layoffs.
We demand that federal stimulus money be used to save existing jobs as well as to create new ones.
We will fight racist attacks on immigrants.
We will fight the scapegoating of immigrant workers.
We will fight workplace raids.
We will fight excluding the undocumented from healthcare, higher education and a path to citizenship.
We demand full rights for immigrant workers.
We demand humane and comprehensive immigration reform that includes rights to healthcare, legalization, citizenship and higher education.
We demand protection of the right of immigrant families to unity.
We demand pro-worker international trade policies.
We demand that New York be a safe place, free from raids on homes and workplaces, and free from the deportation of immigrant families.
We will fight the destruction of public services and the communities they support.
We will fight the use of this recession as a rationale to dismantle the public sphere and deepen the impoverishment of the working class.
We demand no cuts in public services.Â Â Â
We demand that every public school be a great school.
We demand the reinvestment of public funds in our public colleges and universities.
We demand restoration of mass transit and free travel for students.
We demand that New York City and State close budget gaps through progressive taxation, not through attacks on workers and destruction of public life.
We will fight an economic policy that starves working people and redirects billions of dollars to the banks and the cost of foreign wars.
We will fight the failure to provide adequately for healthcare, employment and education of veterans. Â
We demand that our city, state and country build our way out of this crisis, not cut our way out of it.