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May Day Coalition Meeting & Request

Mark your calendar! Get your group to endorse and/or sponsor before the first meeting: email  maydayoutreach@gmail.com to confirm endorsements.

May Day Coalition Meeting
February 7th, 6pm
Voz Office (1131 SE Oak St)
The first official May Day Coalition Meeting of the season! The loosely-knit May Day Coalition has been planning rallies and marches since 2006 around immigrants and workers' rights. With the help of Occupy and new energy to our forces, this will be the biggest May Day action yet. This year there will be many autonomous groups doing many wonderful things. If your group is planning an action on May Day, please keep us in the loop so we can coordinate and consider sending a representative to the May Day Coalition Meetings.


Sponsorship checks or random donations may be made out to VOZ with "May Day 2012" in the memo line. They have been good stewards of our money in the past, so send it in!

homepage: homepage: http://maydaypdx.blogspot.com/

Resistance or spectacle? 07.Jan.2012 18:20


Is this the same coalition that has applied for permits in years past? Applying for a permit this year?

Response to "same coalition" question 07.Jan.2012 19:15


First, yes it's the same coalition in the sense that many of the organizations and individuals from years past are coalescing around the same idea, but no in the sense that we anticipate a lot more people getting involved in the planning this year, which is great. Second, I have no idea if we'll apply for a permit this year. The first organizing meeting is February 7th.

Also, I'd like to point out the emphasis in the above announcement that many groups will want to do their own May Day events and we'd love to coordinate so that our efforts don't conflict. Many people will be engaged in many tactics on that day, for some people through multiple groups. I hope that our mass rally and march can help publicize other actions you might be organizing.

[My two cents is that if we're going to have a march with undocumented workers present, we should get a permit. That's what I'll argue for, just as I did for the December 17th immigrants rights march. I don't believe permits are any protection from the state, nor do I believe they should be necessary in any way, nor am I attempting to speak for the immigrant community, but permits are great for PR against right-wing attacks. I think getting people not to go to work that day is going to be the bigger point than whether or not we have a permit]

But let's evolve a day-long program with some parts organized by the May Day Coalition and other parts by other groups, in solidarity.

Let's model ourselves on Occupy 08.Jan.2012 09:55

Solidarity and Inclusion

I am going to stick my neck out here.

I've been a supporter of the May Day marches and rallies for over five years. Our family supports the peace and social justice community on a wide variety of issues, including immigrant rights, to the extent we are able (which usually is quite a bit). We are immigrants ourselves.

In difficult economic times and in times when people are seeking scapegoats, we need -- as modelled by the Occupy Movement -- to allow everyone to have a voice and to present a united front and a united voice. Sometimes this "having a voice" means we need to go beyond the comfort zone of our "single issues" or "pet projects" and find a point of common ground when asked to support a particular event.

May Day has historically been a Workers Day. Yes, immigrants are workers and workers are immigrants. I am a worker and I am an immigrant. I am an immigrant and I am a worker. Workers rights and immigrant rights are interconnected; you cannot have one without the other. The December 17 rally and march in support of the Day of the Immigrant was supported by many in labor. That is as it should be.

The last couple of years, however, it appears to me that the May Day rallies and marches have become more of an immigrant rights march -- specifically amnesty for undocumented workers -- than a workers march or at least that is the way it is being presented to the general public who rely on corporate media for its information.

Even more than immigrant rights, May Day the last couple of years appears to have become a Latino rights march. Beware of tokenism in organizing. Although Latinos are the largest minority undocumented worker, please keep in mind that immigrants in Portland also include Russians, Africans, Middle-Easterners, Asians, Caribbeans, etc., who, due to their smaller numbers and/or cultural differences in organizing, are having a more difficult time finding their voice.

Even though we may claim to not care what the general public feels about an event, I am assuming that organizers want to win the hearts and minds of the 99 percent, some of whom include the armchair critics who rely on what the corporate media tells them about the purpose of an event and who might not join in because, although they are workers, they're not quite sure where they stand on the rights of undocumented workers and amnesty. When times were "fatter," these workers might have been supportive of the rights of undocumented workers. In "lean" times, these workers might feel that the low wages of the undocumented negatively impacts their ability to support their own families. It becomes equivalent to the outsourcing of technical jobs to other countries. This is unreasonable thinking on the part of these workers, but when times are so difficult that it is hard to make ends meet and families are barely surviving, it is easier to blame undocumented workers than it is to take measures to strike out against the corporations that have created the situation (eg., participating in a general strike). These workers, part of the 99 percent, also forget that many of the undocumented workers are here as victims of U.S. policy in their homelands. The victims blame the victims, which is what the ruling elite wants because divide and conquer is their modus operandi.

We make it easy to divide-and-conquer when not everyone feels included in the march or we don't try to find common ground that we can all agree on. When the only languages are English and Spanish and the only signs are English and Spanish (and some of speeches in Spanish is being haltingly and painfully spoken by a white organizer, who has taken Spanish 1 and feels that they are now "bilingual"), it does not include the other immigrant groups in Portland. When it appears that most of the speeches at the rally have to do with the rights of undocumented workers to hold jobs and earn amnesty and less to do with the disappearance of living wage jobs for ALL workers, INCLUDING immigrants and undocumented immigrants, it sets up the community for divide-and-conquer. People who might ordinarily feel that they are part of the 99 percent, and who should be participating in a march celebrating the worker, might decide to stay home because, again, they're not sure where they stand on immigration. If these individuals showed up, dialogue might miraculously happen and consciousness raised. Until you get both groups to the table, though, there remains distrust.

I agree with "Mer" that the march should be permitted -- primarily to protect those undocumented workers from possible police reprisal. This is common courtesy and respect to those people who are taking great risks by speaking out and should be supported in their courage. I am hoping that organizers will also be doing outreach to the other communities of color, whether native or here because of the legacy of slavery or immigrant. This would be genuine outreach. These groups may choose not to participate because their numbers are smaller, their cultures approach organizing in a different way, and their voices still are shakey. However, an invitation would at least mean they are welcome. If you are interested, I can post some groups that could possibly be contacted. A notable one that comes to mind is Center for Intercultural Organizing.

Thanks very much as well to being open -- again an influence of Occupy -- to community groups that are hosting solidarity events so that a place at the table can be open to everyone.

This coming May Day is very good opportunity to bring the 99 percent together and educate those who are not that aware of the interconnection between U.S. imperalism and elitism, immigration and workers rights.

Solidary and inclusion!

No Permits! 09.Jan.2012 12:03


Why ask for permission, especially on May Day? Occupy Portland has shown that we don't need permits. We've advanced here. Let's not go backward and apply for a permit.

Beyond symbolism. 09.Jan.2012 19:55


May Day has traditionally been a militant day of action. This year should see a return of that militancy. There are plenty of other days, 364 to be exact, that folks who want to have permitted marches with strollers can get together to waive signs and make speeches. To say that militancy is alienating to immigrants or other marginalized communities is patronizing and dishonest. Here's to hoping for a May Day that refuses to be limited by the conservative imaginations of self-appointed protest managers.

permit 09.Jan.2012 22:32


Since 2006 the VAST majority of May Day marchers are risking being deported from the United States just by being in public. Lets not give the ultra-right wing police any excuse to deport ONE person during May Day. 2006 was a MASSIVE march with revolution in the air and wouldn't have happened without a permit. Vulnerable populations deserve to feel safe as possible, especially when they live in constant fear of being deported.

Why get a permit? 13.Jan.2012 16:17

anarchist organizer

Because the organizers who are Latino immigrants say that their community will not show up unless they know they won't risk being arrested and deported. Wouldn't make much sense to have an immigrants rights solidarity march without any immigrants would it? I'd like to point out 2006 had a permit as well. There's this little thing called strategy, where you actually consider the context of events and decide what is the most beneficial course of action. As opposed to mindless adherence to a single tactic and condemning everyone who doesn't agree with using your tactic in every instance regardless of it's appropriateness.

Anyway this post didn't say anything about getting a permit, it was merely an invitation to the first planning meeting so that the community can decide what kind of actions we want to do on May Day. There has been talk among some of us who have planned this a few times about having two marches, one safe one earlier in the day and a rowdier Occupy style march later, so that everyone can be able to participate at their own comfort level. Since this wont be a typical May Day there should be a whole lot of other actions as well, student walkouts, strikes, debt strikes. That's up to us to decide at these planning meetings, which you're invited to.

Plan on the spontaneous. 13.Jan.2012 20:13


These "organizers" are claiming to represent a broad community of people with varying opinions. Obviously, such claims should be rejected outright. Speak for yourself, don't speak for others. While I think that a critique of borders and racism is essential, allowing the dialogue to devolve to vague liberal demands for immigrant rights doesn't move the conversation forward, it just plays into the hands of Democrats and liberals who want to shift the focus to reform and working through electoral channels. If you think that approach is beneficial to undocumented immigrants, or the broader working class in general, then the burden is on you to show how.

As far as tactics, the double speak employed here is pretty hilarious. The only people who I see trying to restrict tactics are these same "organizers" who under the pretext of safety have worked to exclude those who would like to take a more confrontational or aggressive stance. The fact of the matter is that, permit or not, the only guarantee of safety is to stay home. Is it beneficial or strategic to allow May Day to be dominated by liberal rhetoric and inaction? According to these "organizers" the answer is yes. While I hope all sorts of actions happen on May Day, I also hope that the march isn't the same passive spectacle that it has been in years past. People should be encouraged to come with their own plans, and to respect a diversity of tactics. Don't like what somebody is doing? Then don't take part in it! What tactics participants choose to use will be planned within the context of affinity groups - your planning meetings are largely irrelevant to how the day will develop.