AUDIO FILE: May Day 2006.
An audio file featuring about 50 minutes of the powerful and engaging speakers from the May Day '06 Rally in the South Park Blocks in front of Smith Memorial Hall at Portland State University on May 1, 2006.|
The remarks delivered to the crowd, prior to their March through downtown Portland and back to PSU, are in both Spanish and English. Speakers include Ed Edmo, Native American Poet and Spoken Word artist; Carrie Dann, Shoshone elder and activist; a student speaking for students; a union member; a day laborer, and an African American speaker. Other spoke during this time and after returning from the March, but this is all I recorded.|
All spoke passionately for their Latino people and for America, their country. The Rally was flush with American flags and signs, some declaring that "no human is illegal" that "immigrant rights are basic rights," many reminding Americans that they too come from immigrant roots and that these Latino immigrants, despite being undocumented, have arrived with a strong work ethic and family values.
Think what you will about these people, "illegal" if you wish. Yet, if they don't speak up, if they don't remind us of our own roots, they will become a sub class of workers, not slaves, yet not free to the extent that others are free to bargain for a fair wage and contribute to American society. They are not the problem; they are a symptom of a greedy and corrupt U.S. foreign policy, that ravages and manipulates people, for the profit of a few, on both sides of the border.
How we respond to this "invasion" will determine, to a very large extent, the road that we as a nation will take towards a future we are just now in the process of defining. There is a myriad of arguments and facts to be jostled about on both sides of this issue. Ultimately, to my mind, the future will be determined either by our adherence to the rights of property or those of Humanity. These two disparities are slowly and inexorably moving into a collision course, a clash of cultures if you will.
The cultures are not necessarily the Latino and the American, no more than they are the Muslim and the Christian. These, cultures, religions, nationalities, are the interplay of shadows cast by the substance of the human spirit and it seeks to express itself and shake itself free from those individuals and groups who would circumscribe and subordinate human potential to material values.
Either we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave," or we are not and will not endure, as no civilization has endured.
Either it is "liberty and justice for all," or it is and will remain the sovereignty of the few over the masses, as it has always been, the divine right of priests, generals, and kings, usurping Human Rights perhaps only temporarily expressed and established by the Constitution of the United States.
If "all men are created equal...endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights......," then it is up to all the people to guarantee these rights to each other. A piece of paper cannot do that; a government cannot do that; and certainly a religion cannot do that. The wealth of our nation could provide much that is lacking in the world, if it wasn't bound up in military conquests, in ostentatious and pompous superficialities, ultimately in forms to protect the few from the righteous egalitarian demands of the many.
May Day 2006, REAL PLAYER
May Day 2006, MP3
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