FREE SPEECH ZONE | Immigrant workers in Minneapolis will once again march on May 1st

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A little history about International Worker’s Day through an opinion of a Mexican immigrant worker

Free Speech Zone
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It’s been a really long time; it’s been so long that the memory is being lost. The struggle has been too long and we are still in it. In 2012, May 1st will once again be a day for immigrant workers and workers from all around the world to collaborate and celebrate, remembering what we share and fighting for our common cause. Immigrants in Minnesota will not be an exception; in Minneapolis, we will march to recall how real changes are made in societies, being aware that it is possible to come together to improve our living and working conditions. 

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world! Immigrants and workers in general, we must stay united because in disunity the exploiters easily crush us. We have something very important in common: we are all workers!

Since 1886 –when eight anarchist leaders in Haymarket became symbols and initiators of International Worker’s Day–, immigrant workers all around the U.S have and still demand: “dignity, respect, fair wages, recognition, legalization, better working conditions, no to being exploited and no to being criminalized for seeking justice.

We the current immigrants don’t forget that before us (today’s new immigrants from Latin America, Somalia, and other areas), the European immigrants came looking for freedom and opportunity. They struggled too: workers that gave their lives to improve their working conditions, workers that were obligated to work 16 hours a day or more, with very low wages. The employers hired strikebreakers and even thugs to try to eradicate the organizing process, but that generation of workers were always so conscious of their conditions, always so willing to make a sacrifice. The result of so much repression energized them to organize, to unite and form a strong and diverse worker’s movement. One of the relevant accomplishments in those years was the establishment of the eight-hour day as something official.

But it was not easy, often (the popular media was on the employer’s side), the press humiliated immigrant workers, calling them dirty, starving and abhorrent, thieves and scoundrels. However, workers did not give up; they continued to put pressure on employers and the government, sometimes by refusing to work shifts longer than eight hours, and sometimes protesting against exploitation, bad conditions and miserable wages. An injury against some workers soon became an injury against ALL workers. Immigrants and workers in general started uniting under the same chants, causes and common demands. There was a slogan that said: “eight hours labor, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation”.

This May 1st (2012), once again, immigrant workers in the United States will remember, honor, and recognize what the previous generations of immigrants have accomplished since 1886. The establishment of the eight-hour day was done at the expense of blood, bruises, humiliations, and even loss of human lives. 

Continue the May 1st tradition! Remember by coming:

– March on INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY

– For IMMIGRANT & WORKERS rights

– Gather starting at 3:30pm at Lake St & Nicollet Ave (Minneapolis)

– Rally at 5:30 pm — speakers / music / information…

Organized by the May 1st Coalition

For more information: 651-389-9174 / MIRAcMN@gmail.com /May1Minnesota.wordpress.com