We’ve been having a hard time shaking the sick feeling in our stomach after yesterday’s post about May Day in Nizhniy Novgorod. Even where the akaby (as in A.C.A.B.) didn’t resort to such tactics, the holiday was, as in recent years, an excuse to line and encircle the boulevards, sidewalks, rooftops, and squares where the sparsely attended marches and rallies were held with thousands upon thousands of beat cops, riot cops, and God knows what other kinds of cops. The message was clear: all those who wanted to reaffirm the real values of May Day are marginals and a potential threat to public safety. May Day, after all, is really just a good excuse to celebrate the return of spring.
This, apparently, is what May Day should look like.
Los Angeles Marches Against Racist Arizona Law by Manuel Alderete Saturday, May. 01, 2010 at 6:29 PM firstname.lastname@example.org
The air was electrified by a presence not felt since the Gran Marcha of 2006. At least 100,000 people marched through Downtown in solidarity with Arizona’s victims of a new law that legalizes racial profiling. It is a law that has been denounced by President Obama, DHS Head Janet Nopalitano, the Mayor of Phoenix, the Sheriff of Pima County (Arizona), and even some Republicans who see it as draconian legislation.
Many of the protest signs carried bold statements calling the Arizona law “racist”and “Nazi”-like. There was a sense of urgency in their voices, demanding to “Boycott Arizona” and overturn Arizona’s SB 1070 law on the grounds that it was racially discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Unlike other marches where several other “niche issues” are brought into the march, this May Day march was focused like a laser: Arizona’s new state law is a modern-day version of legalized White Supremacy, smacking of the Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany and Apartheid “Pass Laws” in South Africa.
As usual, the march began at Olympic and Broadway and continued north about a dozen blocks, ending near City Hall. The crowd surged with optimism as music played and ralliers chanted to Boycott Arizona and pressure President Obama to take swift action against Arizona’s legalized Apartheid.
It should also be mentioned that Los Angeles Police Department had a very light footprint at the march, with only a few officers monitoring from the sidelines. And just as well: the march was peaceful, upbeat, and a proud statement of civic resistance to “legal” fascism.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of protesters in the crowd. There was a noticeable amount of White, Chinese, and African-American protesters who all felt that they also had a reason to stand up against what SNL’s Seth Myers labeled as “dry fascism” on national TV.
This is a reminder to us all that there are non-racist Whites out there who are willing to speak out against White Supremacy. They see that this is a Human Rights issue (the humanity of Mexican and “Central American” people is being totally violated) and the human part of them also feels violated by Arizona’s law.
Walking to the march, I happened to get flagged down by a European-descent couple vacationing from Australia. They asked me to explain the march and the issues. We had an excellent conversation about the ongoing legacy of European colonialism and how that applied to “wild west” Arizona. Again, I was reminded that truth and logic will prevail in this struggle. But we also have to summon the courage to demand that our rights be recognized. Those of us Mexicans and “Central Americans” are NOT immigrants to this continent. We are Indigenous (mixed and full-blood) people of this land. Our blood is native to this soil, and has been spilled over and over on it, paying for this land many times over. We absolutely cannot remain dehumanized as we have been during the last 500 years since Europeans invaded and colonized our continent. This is OUR time for CHANGE (to borrow a phrase).