Monday, May 15, 2006

May 1 Resistance Reports

The following three articles are from A World to Win News Service. The views expressed are those of their respecitve authors, and may not represent WPRM-Winnipeg. AWTW News Service is accessible at or

1 May in the US: Over a million immigrants and allies take to the streets

8 May 2006. A World to Win News Service. Following is an article from the 14 May issue of Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Risking life itself to cross the border.
Hounded by La Migra (immigration police) and treated like criminals.
Crowded into decaying neighbourhoods.
Slowly dying in backbreaking fields and suffocating sweatshops.
The few rights you have are under assault.
They want to take away your very humanity.

May First 2006 in the United States of America: An undeniable force of over a million immigrants and their allies said ¡Basta Ya! Enough already!

People filled the streets in big cities, small cities, and rural towns – emptying factories and schools, closing restaurants and shops. More than half a million in Los Angeles. 400,000 in Chicago. Tens of thousands in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Milwaukee. Many thousands more from coast to coast, including small towns and rural areas in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Texas. The crowds were overwhelmingly Latino, but there were many different immigrant groups as well – from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Ireland.

This was a massive outpouring of resistance to government's efforts to intensify the persecution and exploitation of undocumented immigrants in this country.

At great personal risk, many hundreds of thousands of immigrants, overwhelmingly proletarians, came out of the shadows and lifted their heads in defiance. Such an outpouring of resistance is something to uphold and celebrate. Such a heroic spirit is something to support and spread.

An upsurge of protest among immigrants has grown over the last several months. And it is changing the political landscape in this country. It is drawing millions into struggle against the government, against the system. And it is raising big questions about the nature of this system, how to fight, and what it will take to actually put an end to exploitation and oppression.

The actions of a minority are inspiring and opening the minds of many more. And for all those angry about the direction the Bush regime is taking this country, and the whole planet – there is an important example here.

Various anti-immigrant bills are being proposed in Congress. Fascist politicians like Congressman Tom Tancredo want to deny citizenship to the children born in the US whose parents are undocumented immigrants. And vigilantes like the Minutemen are patrolling the border with guns, hunting immigrants who they call a threat to the “fabric of America”. In such a situation this new movement of immigrants is not being paralysed by fear and driven deeper into the shadows. People are stepping out and saying: “¡Bush escucha! ¡Estamos en la lucha!” and “¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” (“Bush, listen up! We are in struggle!” and “The people united will never be defeated!”).

It is truly exciting and significant when hundreds of thousands of proletarians take to the streets, right here in the United States. And it was very fitting that these protests took place on May First – the revolutionary holiday of the international proletariat. Many of these demonstrations were billed as “A Day Without Immigrants” and the bit of truth this hit on was hard to miss as factories, restaurants, construction, landscaping, transportation and many other industries and services ground to a halt.

Significantly, this outpouring of protest found _expression in small towns and rural areas where there have been dramatic demographic changes over the last few decades. In many of these places, which have rarely, if ever, seen any kind of political protest, meatpacking plants and other industries have systematically recruited workers from Mexico and Central America. The Latino population of many of these rural counties has gone from zero in 1970 to 10-45% in 2000. In Dodge City, Kansas 1,500 immigrant proletarians marched down the main street and all five of the major beef packing plants in Kansas (which employ more than 12,000 people) were closed. In Emporia, a Kansas town of 25,000, which is 20% Latino, more than 1,500 people protested at the county fairground near the Tyson meatpacking plant where many immigrants work. Immigrants protested in Storm Lake, Iowa, where 20% of the town's 10,000 people are Latino. Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, was forced to shut down for the day. In dozens of other small towns, immigrants also took to the street on May First.

To the U.S. ruling class, the millions of immigrants who come across the border are something to fear and attack. But the revolutionary proletariat and its allies, welcomes these immigrant sisters and brothers, who are a strategic strength in the struggle for revolution.

There were lots of American flags at these demonstrations – reflecting widespread illusions about what the United States is all about and what it means for the masses of people here and around the world. In the midst of this, the red flag was taken up by thousands – including people who consciously see this as the flag of proletarian revolution. Some people carried the American flag and the red flag – reflecting the fact that this movement has not broken out of the bounds of acceptable bourgeois politics as well as the motion and potential in such a situation – and the need for revolutionary leadership.

Millions of non-immigrant people in this country who oppose the discrimination and mistreatment of immigrants have been inspired by this growing struggle for immigrant rights, and there were important expressions of this on May First. In Chicago, social workers who treat rape victims greeted the march with signs that said “Gracias” and “Thank You”. White church members provided water to protesters under a sign that read: “Yesterday’s Immigrants Support Today’s Immigrants – Your Journey is Our Journey”. A multi-national contingent of medical students chanted: “Our patients will be treated, papers are not needed.” And there were others who came out to these demonstrations with a similar message: “We Are All Immigrants” and “No Human Being is Illegal”. Such seeds of unity are significant and, if nurtured, can grow into something necessary, powerful and beautiful in the struggle against the system, in the fight for a better world.

On May 1, 2006, right here in the belly of the beast, it is truly exciting and significant that over a million immigrant proletarians took to the streets, in cities and towns throughout the USA, proclaiming their humanity and determination to fight for their rights. The sentiment that “we workers make society run” reflects a real truth, and at the same time, is not yet and needs to become class conscious – to recognize and act on the fact that as a class, the proletariat is the only class that can and must lead the fight to free all humanity. The outpouring of resistance by immigrants that marked May First this year is truly something that should be celebrated and joined. And it needs to be built off of, in a way that brings forth the class conscious leadership of the proletariat, prevents this movement from being channelled into ineffective bourgeois politics, and contributes in the most powerful way to the revolutionary struggle to free this planet from all oppression and exploitation.

1 May in Berlin

8 May 2006. A World to Win News Service. On 1 May this year, Kreuzberg, a traditionally proletarian district in Berlin, Germany, continued to be at the centre of the celebration of 1 May and once again witnessed a mass outpouring of revolutionary sentiment and militant struggle clearly targeting the system of imperialist exploitation and oppression. Home to thousands of German and immigrant working class families and rebellious youth, Kreuzberg was the scene of the mass rebellion in 1987 that inspired the rebirth of a revolutionary 1 May demonstration in Berlin.

The mood of the district on this day was different than usual. Youth and other people were moving from corner to corner in groups of three, four, five or more, seeking to hook up with the demonstration. A massive force of police had already poured into the area. Some were stationed on street corners, while others travelled around in vans and police cars. Large groups of anti-riot cops stood around in thick bullet-proof jackets and other gear, while more circulated in plain clothes. The police had practically surrounded the district. Dozens of people had been arrested after clashes with police the night before.

At 1 o’clock many people had already gathered at Oranienplatz where the march was to start, listening to the speeches and messages delivered by various speakers and activists of parties and organisations. Among the messages were those from the coalition of this demonstration’s organisers, the Revolutionary Communists (RK) of Germany, the Maoist Communist Party of Turkey and North Kurdistan (MKP), the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan, the Turkish Communist Party (M-L) Maoist Party Centre, the 8th March Women’s Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan) and others. They condemned the imperialists and their alliance against the people of the world, especially the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of attack against Iran. The speakers also declared their support for the struggle of the people of Nepal and the people’s war there advancing under the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

More than 4,000 people were at the rally and more than 3,000 of them left with the march through the streets of Kreuzberg. At the front of the march was a big banner that said, “Fight Internationally Against Exploitation and Oppression, No Liberation Without Revolution!” A loudspeaker broadcast militant songs and attracted residents to their windows. Many waved their hands in a sign of support.

The large number of German youth and youth of many other national origins (including Turkish, Palestinian, Kurdish, Afghani, Iranian, Nepali, Indian and others) was a sign of the internationalist character of the demonstration – perfectly fitting for the International Day of Labour.

In an interview, a demonstration organizer was asked if they were there for a riot. The answer was that they were not looking for a riot, but that they had a message of struggle for the people, and they would not let anyone prevent them from delivering it. In fact, in a deliberately provocative act, the police did not allow the march to finish at the point where it was supposed to end, but blocked the way to keep the demonstrators from entering Kreuzberg’s main street. The organisers and the demonstrators tried to go ahead with their plan, but the police had prepared and concentrated their forces around that point. The bulk of the demonstrators staged a sit-in in the street. They sang the Internationale so powerfully that it could be heard several blocks away. There was at least one arrest.

However, the demonstrators went on to join other May Day events, such as the street festival with concerts and other performances. Even though this festival had been intended to prevent people from taking part in the march and transform 1 May into a peaceful day of entertainment, at the end of the day youth clashed with police and again dozens were arrested. It seemed that many people are in no mood to compromise with the oppressors.

1 May & other demonstrations in Canada

8 May 2006. A World to Win News Service. The following is excerpted from Arsenal-Express, the electronic newsletter of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (Organizing Committee) ( and an article by a supporter of the World People’s Resistance Movement- Winnipeg (

Close to 250 people answered the RCP(OC)’s call and took to the streets in Montreal to celebrate International Workers Day. Our organization called for a “revolutionary and internationalist demo” after having learned that the big trade unions had decided to move the May First demo to April 29.

The demonstrators gathered in the evening in the Park-Extension district. With its dozens of ethnic communities, the Park-Extension district is among the poorest in the country, reflecting today’s reality of the multinational proletariat in Canada.

Before taking the streets, the demonstrators, some of whom travelled several hundred kilometres to join to the march, listened to a speech from a Red Youth Front representative (RYF,, who denounced the fate that capitalism holds for young proletarians. Pointing to the example of French youth who mobilized themselves last fall in the cités and more recently against the provision allowing the firing of workers under 26 without cause during their first two years at job, the comrade stated that the youth are right to rebel and that they have a world to win in the struggle for socialism, if they side with the proletariat.

A representative from the Filipino Youth Organization, Kabataang-Montreal, then condemned the recent takeover perpetrated by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government in the Philippines and the illegal and arbitrary detention of Congressman Crispin Beltram, who is wrongfully accused of “terrorism” by the reactionary regime. The youth from the Filipino community actively support the revolutionary movement in their country of origin – a movement that fights for democracy and for ending imperialist domination.

Thereafter, a woman activist from the RCP(OC) read the May First statement from the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, in both French and English. Lastly, our comrade François Thibault, who took part in the First International Road Building Brigade in revolutionary Nepal, stressed the need for building the general staff of the revolution – our revolutionary communist party that will lead the struggle for socialism and communism. Underlining that “the task of organizing for the revolution belongs to the revolutionaries and nobody else,” the RCP(OC) spokesperson invited all the demonstrators to assume this responsibility and take part in the Canadian Revolutionary Congress next fall.

Although modest, the demo was significant for more than one reason: while marching under the banner of revolution and proletarian internationalism on the same day when million others are doing so everywhere around the world, we clearly expressed our determination to fight all the way to end capitalism and build a new society free from any form of exploitation and oppression: a communist one.

The World People’s Resistance Movement-Winnipeg held a 1 May demonstration in the context of a week-long series of protests against Operation Charging Bison, a training exercise for the Canadian Reserve Forces in Winnipeg, Manitoba (central Canada). They issued the following call:

“Will we accept the oppressing of the world’s people, through the armed forces of our government? Will we accept the ‘war on terrorism’ being fought in our name, which they say will last for generations to come? Will we accept the war in Afghanistan, propping up a theocracy clearly not in the interests of the masses? Or the overthrow of an elected government in Haiti? Will we accept the role Canada plays in the world? No! We must resist! Canada out of Haiti and Afghanistan! Walk out of school and work

One of the many protests against Operation Charging Bison was the 3 May Critical Mass bicycle ride. When the 50-plus biking contingent assembled in Old Market Square, the 12 police vehicles and numerous bike cops seemed to foreshadow what was to come. The group had only biked three blocks when three people were arrested for alleged traffic violations.

The ride coasted down Portage Ave, then headed north toward Camp Pioneer, where another series of confrontations would take place. As we rode within earshot of the troops the high-energy group chanted “Troops go home! Canada out of Haiti! Out of Afghanistan!”

At the camp protesters lined up in front of the fence and started agitating to the troops. Police outnumbered bikers, pinning them against the fence on the sidewalk. The police started pulling people off the sidewalk and off their bikes. They arrested four, and tried unsuccessfully to take others. People resisted by holding their friends and shouting at both the troops and the police.

Is this the type of democracy troops are being trained to enforce? Why, if it is freedom they are fighting for, would they not come to the aid of the protesters? Clearly it’s because they’re being trained to fight unjust wars against the world’s people – and not to protect people when they are being repressed by police.


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