Something New for May Day 2006
“First American National Strike” for Immigrant Workers Rights


The following report, edited for style purposes by Labor Standard, was posted on the Internet on March 30, 2006. It is followed by a statement issued by the March 25 Coalition (Los Angeles).

Strike to support undocumented people’s legalization

Los Angeles, U.S., March 30, 2006 (Notimex)—The March 25 Coalition, which called Saturday’s march in Los Angeles, has announced an “American national strike.” This is part of its mobilization to support the legalization of 12 million undocumented people in the U.S.

During a press conference, the leaders of the main Hispanic organizations stated that the Los Angeles historic march was only the beginning of a movement that will not be over until a wide and fair immigration reform is achieved.

While presenting their mobilization program, the activists announced that next April 8 there will be a great assembly of the organizations that represent all the immigrants, in order to call for the “No-Latinos National Day.”

They stated that the strike is scheduled for May 1 and it is called the First American National Strike. This will not be exclusive, since they will make a call [to all kinds] of organizations.

Having that in mind, they said that a delegation will travel to Mexico to meet union organizations in that country, in order for them to have banners supporting undocumented workers during the May 1 (International Workers Day) celebrations.

They stated that the strike, which they also consider a boycott, “will be cheap; workers will not leave their homes, children will not go to school, and there will not be consumption from certain companies that will be known, but they will only be those that have damaged undocumented workers.”

Raul Murillo, director of the National Mexican Brotherhood in Los Angeles, stated that a delegation of some 100 organizations that participated in Saturday’s march will travel to Washington and Mexico City, in order to get more support for the mobilization.

“The march that succeeded in bringing some one million people together in Los Angeles is just the tip of the iceberg, and we won’t give up or back up until the Congress and President George W. Bush have approved the legalization of the 12 million undocumented people,” he warned.

Murillo took part in the press conference, held at one of the Los Angeles offices of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), along with Nativo Lopez, leader of the Mexican Brotherhood Latin America and the Mexican-American Political Association (MAPA).

Also taking part in the press conference were Juan José Gutiérrez, director of the USA Latino Movement; Gloria Saucedo, from the National Mexican Brotherhood in San Fernando Valley; the March 25 Coalition’s spokesman, Javier Rodriguez; and Hispanic radio station host Ricardo Sanchez, one of the march’s promoters.

Sanchez stated that “during this achievement, no one looked for special recognition or individual publicity. We all assumed our responsibility and supported the march from the beginning, and we were inviting people every day.”

On the other hand, Gutiérrez stated that although some changes may be seen in the Senate and that the HR 4437 Sensenbrenner initiative is apparently mortally wounded, “this movement will not stop until we reach legalization, respect, and recognition for the immigrants who work in this country.”

The U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee approved a wide initiative for an immigration reform, which includes [complex arrangements for possible] legalization of some 11 million undocumented immigrants [over a number of years].

The initiative, which was sent to the Senate to be discussed, also makes provisions for the legalization of 1.5 million agriculture workers in five years, a temporary workers plan for the future arrival of some 400,000 immigrants a year, and the Dream Act, which grants special college support for the children of undocumented people.

Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee dismissed a controversial proposal that would criminalize all undocumented people in the U.S., as well as those people giving them any kind of aid, including religious, humanitarian, and community groups.

Congressional procedures require whatever version is finally approved in the Senate to then be reconciled [somehow, but how?] with James Sensenbrenner’s proposal, which was passed by the House of Representatives last December and which does criminalize undocumented immigrants and anyone who aids them.


WE CALL FOR AMNESTY AND FULL LEGALIZATION

The following statement was issued by the March 25 Coalition, which sponsored the historic march for immigrants’ rights in Los Angeles on that date.

The massive March 25 demonstration in Los Angeles of well over one million undocumented workers, legal residents, and their supporters—along with protests and walkouts throughout the United States—is irrefutable evidence that a new Civil Rights and workers’ rights movement is on the rise.

On the lips of every marcher, representing millions more, was the demand for equality and the rights that all working people should enjoy. Those rights cannot be realized with anything less than a comprehensive, all-encompassing process of full legalization for all immigrants.

The schemes being debated in Congress only aim to either criminalize the undocumented, and by extension all immigrants, or to provide an extremely limited possibility for undocumented workers to be able to live, work, and remain in the country they have adopted as their own.

The immigrants’ rights movement cannot be satisfied to accept “guest worker” or other repressive schemes from Congress or Bush. Some say that amnesty and legalization are not realistic, and that it is even dangerous to raise the demand for full equality. The lessons of history in the United States provide us with great examples of how the perseverance of a people’s movement is the only way to overcome brutal discrimination and achieve full rights.

Let us remember the 1955–56 boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, carried out by the heroic African American people in that city. It was the people, the domestic and hotel maids, gardeners, cooks, seamstresses, and the whole community, who said “enough is enough.” They demanded nothing less than full equality. By their persistence they were victorious and made history.

Today this new Civil Rights and workers’ rights movement demands amnesty, legalization, and full equality.