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May Day and the Haymarket martyrs
3martyrs_photos.gifMay Day - the real labor day

"The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you are throttling today."
- August Spies from the gallows.

May 1st, International Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States and Canada. This despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day.

In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal, since legislative methods had already failed. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. By April 1886, 250,000 workers were involved in the May Day movement.
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30 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / International : Labor : Organizing : Race : Social Welfare
Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
May-Day.jpgAccording to the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition, international immigration to the Commonwealth is responsible for both the population growth and the net labor force growth experienced here in the 1990s. An ever growing coalition of immigrant, labor, religious and community organizations that organizes the perennial ‘MayDay Rally for Immigrants Rights’ has had their finger on the pulse of the demographic shift in the state.

Since the mid-nineties Bostonians have intermittently celebrated May 1st, which since the late 1800s has been an international workers holiday, with an immigrants rights rally. In 2001 the annual rally received a boost thanks in part to a call out from the AFL-CIO for labor to highlight the connection between labor and immigrant rights. Since then the annual rally has just about become a staple of spring in our fair city. It is rumored that Mayor Menino might even make an appearance this year.

Regarding the mayor, Jason Pramas of Massachusetts Global Action, one of the key groups organizing the event, said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with his politics, ”It is extremely important for a mayor of a major urban center, especially one who has not been as strong on immigrants rights as he could be, to stand up and commit himself to meeting the needs of immigrant populations in Boston.”
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28 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race
Justice for Jeffrey Baez!
Jeffrey Baez was 22 years old on the early morning of December 4, 2002. He worked at McDonalds and as a freelance landscaping laborer, and dreamed of being a cartoonist. Jeffrey was born in New Jersey, and was living with his mother, Luz Minerva DiLones, a nurse's aide, south of Providence, RI.

But Jeffrey was unfortunate enough to be a young Latino man whose van looked, to Providence patrolman Merrick Cook, like one that had been reported stolen. Within minutes Baez had three police cruisers on his tail. After driving a few blocks, at what police admitted were low speeds, Jeffrey stopped the van at the corner of Potters and Dexter. The police radioed each other that he was about to "bail" out of the vehicle. Jeffrey stepped into the intersection and was knocked over the hood of Cook's cruiser. When he slid to the pavement, he was crushed under the wheels of officer Michael Otrando's police car.
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09 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
Springfield teachers fight back against control board
springfield1.jpgIn the midst of a Northeastern snow storm which eventually dumped over seven inches of snow on the area that day, over 800 teachers and their allies packed the Central High School auditorium March 1 for a public speak-out to tell the city's Finance Control Board: Hands off teachers and all city workers! The public forum, part of an ongoing campaign by the Springfield Teachers Association, exposed the control board's attempts to move money out of the already-strapped school budget to pay for other city expenses; its unilateral cuts in benefits that will cost city employees, including educators, thousands of dollars; and threatening even further cuts to the wages and benefits of teachers and other city employees.
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08 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Labor : Race
Springfield communities respond to police commission decision in Greer police brutality case
springfield_mass.jpgOnce again Springfield cops have been let off after brutally beating a Black man. But, as this outrage resonates in the community and more police terror is brought to light, a multi-faceted campaign led by oppressed communities and their allies are fighting back. The Springfield Police Commission voted 3-2 on Jan. 31 to let off four white cops accused of beating and choking Mr. Douglas Greer, a principal at a local charter school Nov. 4. According to Greer, principal of Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School, he was viciously beaten by the cops Nov. 4. Greer, who has diabetes, drove his car into a South End gas station after feeling ill. A worker at the gas station called police after he failed to rouse Greer, who had lapsed into the early stages of a diabetic seizure.
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26 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Race
Interview: Naomi Klein and her new Movie "The Take"
argentineLuddites.jpgNaomi Klein and Indymedia go way back to our beginnings in Seattle, where she was covering the nascent globalization movement as a columnist for the Toronto Star. Both Klein and Indymedia have grown since then, and maybe the tireless Klein has paced us. She has followed her book “No Logo” in 2000 with “Fences and Windows” in 2002, all the while writing hundreds of articles in publications like The Nation, The Guardian UK, Harper’s, The Toronto Globe and Mail and many others.

Now she and her husband, Avi Lewis, have produced “The Take,” a documentary about the occupied factory movement in Argentina. The film has graduated from the film festival circuit into the theatres, and it will be playing at the Brattle all this week (see http://www.brattlefilm.org for times). In her spare time (what little is left) she has been working on a new book about the Washington consensus and it’s effects on countries that are in transition to democracy.

In between writing her new book and promoting her new film at the Brattle’s opening night, she found a good chunk of time for an old media comrade, the amorphous Indymedia network.
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06 Feb 2005 | Filed under: Interview / Globalization : International : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race
Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
DCP_0001.JPGOn Thursday, January 20, the day President Bush was inaugurated for his second term and thousands marched in opposition in Washington DC, about thirty hardy souls braved the bitter cold to stand from 5:30 to 6:30 in Copley Square, protesting here in Boston. Although the protest was organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main local anti-war coalition, the signs people bore showed that they had a variety of concerns--not just ending the occupation of Iraq, but also domestic issues such as the attacks on civil liberties and reproductive rights and the destruction of the welfare system. Organizers with UJP that I spoke with expressed not only their opposition to the Bush administration’s policies, but their fears that the Bush administration is making a concerted, purposeful assault on what’s left of democracy in this country.
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21 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : Human Rights : International : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
WWMLKD: What would Martin Luther King Do?
luther.jpgLast year around this time, as throngs of protesters chanted and booed on the streets nearby, President Bush placed a wreath on Dr. King¹s grave in Atlanta. The President had said of King earlier that day that he wanted to "honor his life and what he stood for."

Now, as we usher in the President for a second term in office, it¹s time to ask whether he has lived up to Dr. King¹s legacy. On his watch working people and poor people, disproportionately people of color, lost ground.

"Every American deserves to be an owner of the American dream," said President Bush, but a great racial divide remains. If Bush wants to make this a nation where we can all be owners, he should be asking "WWMLKD?"
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14 Jan 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Globalization : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
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