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May Day, May Day: All-purpose, left-wing grievance day; West Coast port shutdowns expected; in-your-face illegal aliens in Chicago; 29 ports down; Los Angeles fizzle

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 1, 2008 07:36 AM

1asoy.jpg 1:40pm Eastern. The illegal alien march in Chicago is underway. His t-shirt says: “I’m illegal. So what?” (Full photo at the Chicago Tribune site.) Live video coverage here.

Scroll down for updates…

Illegal immigration activists and anti-war activists will lead the parades today, but May Day attracts all grievance-mongers.

Here’s another all-purpose, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink “list of demands” (I feel like I’m at Oberlin again) from the “National Immigrant Solidarity Network:”

On May Day 2008, National Immigrant Solidarity Network is calling for a multi-ethnic, decentralized, multi-topic and multi-tactic national day of mobilization to support immigrant workers rights.

1. No to anti-immigrant legislation, and the criminalization of the immigrant communities.
2. No to militarization of the border.
3. No to the immigrant detention and deportation.
4. No to the guest worker program.
5. No to employer sanction and “no match” letters.
6. Yes to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
7. Yes to speedy family reunification.
8. Yes to civil rights and humane immigration law.
9. Yes to labor rights and living wages for all workers.
10. Yes to the education and LGBT immigrant legislation.

We acknowledges that there’ll be multiple call to actions from across the country to organize May Day 2008, and each coalition will present their sets of demands. We should respects each other organizing and encourage and supports everyone’s issues:

1) Multi-ethnic, Decentralized and Multi-topic mobilization: while everyone will pledge to support immigrant workers rights at May Day 2007, local groups can choose to includes any other topics for their mobilizations: civil rights, anti-war, Katrina, labor rights, health care…., etc.

2) Decentralized Multi-Tactic May Day organizing: We will encourage everyone to organize their actions at May Day, but will let local groups to decide what they want to do at the day: march, boycott, strike, lunch action, vigil, community event, conference or congressional lobby day, etc.Understanding the connections between our individual conditions of life and the lives of people everywhere in the word allows us to come together and organize across all borders. WE NEED to link the connections between: wars in Africa, south America, Asia, Iraq, Palestine & Korea with sweatshops in Asia as well as in Los Angeles, New York; international arm sales and WTO, FTAA, NAFTA & CAFTA with AIDS, hunger, child labors and child solider; multinational corporations and economic exploitation with racism and poverty at home–then we can win the struggle.Let’s all come together, on May Day 2008, to build a new immigrant rights and civil rights movements!

Their calendar includes the “Festival of Tolerance and Unity” in Aurora, CO; a nationwide call to walk out of school to protest standardized testing; and a protest by longshoremen in San Francisco.

Good luck to the law enforcement officers across the country–especially in L.A.–who will have to contend with the attention-craving, law-ignoring ruffians and thugs turning out today for the annual p.c. powwow. They’ll need it.

***

Update 9:30am Eastern (hat tip – reader William Amos): I mentioned the longshoremen’s protest in the SF Bay Area. Looks like a shutdown of ports is expected all along the West Coast. Via KING5 TV in Seattle:

May Day rallies are expected to draw thousands of protestors Thursday, and on the Seattle waterfront, longshoremen may join in.

KING 5 got late word Wednesday that longshoremen up and down the West Coast may not show up for work Thursday to protest the Iraq War.

So far, the local longshoremen’s union has declined to comment about a possible walkout. In fact, a union arbitrator has warned them that such a walkout violates union contract and is illegal, but Thursday is May Day when workers traditionally celebrate the labor movement.

Three separate marches are scheduled for Thursday which could cause major traffic delays – two during the noon hour, and the biggest one is expected to shut down traffic in downtown Seattle for almost 2 hours during the evening commute.

Starting at 4 p.m., it runs from Judkins Park on the north side of I-90 and makes its way down 4th Avenue to the Seattle Center, ending at about 6:30 p.m. Metro warned bus riders to prepare for a major disruption.

An arbitrator has ordered the union that represents dockworkers at West Coast ports to tell members they must report to work on Thursday and not take the day off to protest U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. A wide enough walkout could cause a slowdown at the West Coast ports – the nation’s major gateway for cargo from the Far East.

Arbitrator John Kagel issued his decision Wednesday after holding a hearing by phone with the employers’ group, the Pacific Maritime Association, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, according to a document outlining the ruling. The union previously asked employers to clear the way for members to skip out on the day shift to protest the war, but employers refused the request and were backed by the arbitrator last week. Despite that decision, word continued to spread on the Internet of a May 1 walkout by longshore workers and details of protests, including a march in San Francisco.

****
Update 8:30 Pacific, by See-Dubya: More about that port shutdown…the longshoremen’s union leadership was getting cold feet about shutting down the ports. ILWU officers weren’t going to bless work stoppage to protest the war:

ILWU executives had initially given their blessing to an eight-hour work stoppage during the busy day shift, which was suggested two months ago during a union caucus in San Francisco….

The union withdrew its support shortly after the Pacific Maritime Association denied the union’s request for the walkout. An arbitrator ruled last week that the union had to inform its members about the change in plans.

As a result, any work stoppage held Thursday will be initiated by the union’s rank-and-file members, not by union executives, according to Merrilees.

“In light of those developments, we hope that May 1 will come and go without disruption,” said Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the PMA, which represents the West Coast’s shippers.

Hey, don’t blame us, the union executives say. Blame… Cynthia McKinney!

***

Update 1:50pm Eastern. Things are heating up in Chicago. The Trib estimates about 2,000 have shown up to demand non-enforcement of our immigration laws. Many students are playing hookie to attend:

“We want to change the immigration laws. We have to support our parents,” he added. Marlene Rivera, 15, a Kelly High School freshman, boarded buses along with about 200 other students at the school.

She and others from a school club called Latinos United spent the last month preparing for the march. Standing with three friends who held Mexican flags, she said they wanted elected officials as well as the presidential candidates to know that youth supports changing immigration law.

“We want to help out and let them know that it’s just not the grown-ups, but young people too,” she said.

Elizabeth Quiroz, 14, another Kelly freshman, said many of her classmates have been born in the U.S. to undocumented parents and live with the fear their parents may be deported at any time.

“If parents get sent back to Mexico, then the kids are going to be on their own,” she said.

***

Update, 2:40PM Eastern–See-Dubya: Gerard Vanderleun’s observations and reflections on the May Day celebrations in Seattle are a must read: The Banality of Sedition.

Update 4:20pm Eastern. All 29 West Coast ports are down.

Update 6:04pm Eastern. Protest Shooter has a photo essay of SF’s circus. This one says it all:

1aflag002.jpg

Update 7:50pm Eastern. Freedom Folks file their report from Chicago.

Update 8:34pm Eastern. Slapstick Politics reports on the Denver rally.

Update 9:00pm Eastern. Los Angeles’s Grand March fizzles.

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