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actions & protests | immigration may day 2001-2006

Any Portland May Day Reportback?

it has been over a day since yesterdays march ended.
I couldnt get down to the rally and march yesterday, I listened to PDX IMC Web Radio (which was great), but i am curios about first hand reports of yesterday. Surely at least one person that went has to frequent PDX IMC and could write a report?

It would be a really sad day when I have to turn to the corporate media to find reports of actions and protests in Portland. And that night could be tonight, since the Oregonian has a large front page spread. Sad Sad day.
I was wondering that myself 02.May.2006 21:42

worker bee

People posted photos but no reports-what's that about?

When I was riding downtown to the rally I saw a group of high school age people marching over the Hawthorne bridge behind a banner or flag (couldn't see what kind). As soon as they hit the west end they began chanting slogans about workers' rights-they had definitely made the connection. And these were, it appeared, white kids. Maybe they'd walked out of school to come down.

As for the event itself I have not seen that many people march and stay strong and together ever before. And why have all forms of media diminished the number of people? There were so many that when I ducked out to have some food it was still going past when I got done so I hopped back in.
Many people were young (under 35?) and they stayed strong and spirited the whole way which was very long and wound around up through the Pearl district and back to PSU.
Saw two racist counter-protesters near PSU with signs that read "Send the burros home" and "Take your purple Dodge Aerostar van with you". I gave them the nazi salute and thanked them for bringing a lttle ray of fascism to our town. They were startled and mumbled something about it being "protest day".
Clueless gits-if they stayed they were soon surrounded by hundreds of people who were of a very different mind. I guess this isn't a very good survival skill. So much for intelligent design.
It was interesting to watch the people watching the march. Some were dismayed, some angry, some friendly. There were all sorts of construction workers in the Pearl who were mostly shaking their heads and I wanted to engage them, remind them that they'll never be able to live in the places they're building and won't be welcome in the neighborhood once the job is done. Why are they identifying with their bosses? Because they're white men? But the crowd carried me away before any significant dialogue took place.
While the crowd was mostly Hispanic there were plenty of other worker bees and supporters participating: Black Bloc, Unitarians, Freedom Socialists, Laborers union, etc.

I didn't intend to write this but nobody else has said much. Hope someone else can do justice to the telling.

sea of positivity 02.May.2006 23:03

pchy pchy@pchy.net

I thought the march was awe inspiring to say the least. I was near the front of the march... within the first block or so that is. It was a good spot b/c we really got to see the "whoa, this is still going?" reactions of on lookers. I had expected there to be a big turn out, but nothing like I had witnessed. On some of the small hills throughout the route, I had an excellent vantage point to see the thounsands of people in front of me filling the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. Turning around, I saw at least twice as many people behind.
The energy was incredible too... even as we approached the last turn, we were still chanting, clapping, shouting, and whistling. Flags were still being waved while we marched up Broadway towards PSU.

Black Bloc perspective 03.May.2006 08:33

MamaB

I traveled to the rally via MAX. The entire front car was full of people with signs and flags that were also going to the rally. We chanted a couple of "Si se puedes" - the first of 50,000 more rounds yet to come of that chant- and that kind of freaked out the people in the other cars. I answered some questions about why I mask up and if anarchists were coming to the march in support or opposition of immigrant workers. It was a great few minutes of comradary and solidarity.

When we got to the S. Park Blocks, it appeared a gigantic sea of U.S. flags. There were people SELLING U.S. and Mexican flags. Using capitalism to sell flags to workers on May Day during a general strike is obscene and we told them so. Conversely, there were people giving away bottled water, cookies, dinner rolls, etc. Food Not Bombs faries perhaps? Many thanks for that gesture.

The speakers were good, although there was nothing mentioned about the Haymarket Martyrs. I think a couple of speakers promoted the smashing of capitalism or at least giving it a stern lecture. About this time I saw military recruiters snaking their way through the crowd during the speeches. Any venue will do for those opportunistic predators of the state. They must have been for immigrant worker's rights (?). Probably, that way they can "legalize" them and send them off to die in a war or two.

The march itself was uneventful for me, although the sheer numbers of people was awe inspiring. There was a chant calling for the Pearl District to burn, but it got "Si se puede'd" over. Funny thing was that some shoppers in the Pearl responded to "If you shop today, you seal your fate, you support a racist state", with thumbs up and massive cheering. Whoo Hoo, we are supporting a racist state, now quick build me an ugly condo!

Some youth in the 4-9yr. old range chanted into a bullhorn and that nearly brought tears to my eyes. Youth participation was huge this rally, I hope it continues.

Lots of cops as usual. I always enjoy being escorted to, from, and during marches. A riot cop wagon circled the park blocks leading towards the MAX line just for good old intimidation's sake. Same with the smattering of horse cops in the park. There was the obligitory sherrif's bus parked in front of the Justice Center. Same old, same old. I saw three bike cops sharing a smoke in a doorway. They must have been bored.

An anti-immigrant protester had a momentary screaming match with both Black Bloc and immigrant workers. Ice and cups were thrown and the cops played pushing games, but no one was arrested or hurt.

All in all, it was a nice day in the park.
Next year, more matches, less flags perhaps?

another black bloc perspective 03.May.2006 16:48

openly classist

I agree with most of what mama b had to say but, all in all I was disappointed with the march. The goal of joining with the immigrants rights coalition was to have show of workers solidarity. Which is a beautiful thing but solidarity doesn't go one way. I felt like a good number of the immigrant's present weren't their to question the state or capitalism. Frankly I feel like it was an attempt at conformity with the middle class. "look at us we love America too, see we have a million flags" . I can't speak for everyone but I feel that most of the immigrants that came out for the march don't care about workers solidarity or the threat of Neo-liberalism to all life on this earth. They don't the collapse of the system all they want is the chance to join the middle class. They want to drive the big car while sipping Starbucks espresso on the way back to their plastic suburban home. DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR HIRE! SO LET'S GO SET THE BANKS ON FIRE! "There was a chant calling for the Pearl District to burn, but it got "Si se puede'd" over." This happened with every single chant that we had. I felt that the black bloc was pretty sad site this year. No one new what was going on. People kept break off from the block and when asked to come back and regroup wouldn't listen or didn't understand. BLOCK UP! means slow down, stand together. I recommend that people who want to be in the bloc check this out before they try it again. http://www.infoshop.org/blackbloc.html It's time for us (anarchist and the like) to pull our heads out of our asses and start fucking fighting. Enough petty squabbling over who's green and who's red. Enough intellectual exercises. The time to act is now so get off your ass and do something. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH STAND UP AND FUCKING FIGHT!

WHERE IS THE REVOLUTION?? 03.May.2006 17:49

Plauger

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who was dissapointed with the march. When I first got there with my school (we organized a walkout) I wasn't expecting a sea of red, white and blue. I actually rolled up our black flag and put it away because it felt so out of place.
We should organize a day of anti-capitalism fun (if you know what I mean) in the near future, if there isn't already. If there is please post it!! Far to many of the past protests I have been to lately have been uneventful and geared towards liberals not revolutionaries.

um 04.May.2006 06:14

heck

That's coming next fall.

scary 05.May.2006 01:17

spinach=yum

So i was wondering if skipping out of work was worth going to the march, hmmmm....fuck yes (any day) but i wanted more. tHAT is completley my fault, if you want anything to occurr you have to start it yourself. But I will agree with a few of you that already have posted, there were way to may u.s. flags at the march. Supporting the country that is oppressing you is obsurd to me, well itS strange to me even though i'm not oppressed because i cannot stand for most things this country stands for, even though i have the privlage to write this without being feaful. What i ask for is now for fellow fellow foes, to seperate our differences and come together to UNITE! we need a stronger community basis to come up with strategies,
looking forward to the future <in a sense>

Direct Action/ Propaghanda by the deed 05.May.2006 11:46

Openly Classist

"We should organize a day of anti-capitalism fun"
Just do it- Direct Action isn't limited to just protest it can happen anywhere anytime. If you want so "anti-capitalism fun" plan it out with some friends who you trust and do it. Oh and don't post anything about it on this site the cops are watching