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Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 2
brocktonkids.jpgSunday, May 1st BOSTON- Felix Arroyo, Maria Elena Letona of Centro Presente, and many others spoke in front of a damp but festive crowd of more than 500 representing immigrant communities from all over Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts this Sunday in Copley Square. For this one day a year and, as one young speaker expressed, hopefully for the other 364, widely disparate immigrant communities joined together to address and rally around the issues that affect them all.

Counter protestors did show up, but were largely ignored at their spot far to one side of the rally, save for the corporate press who can’t resist portraying every political story as a perfectly evenly balanced battle of wits. Sorry, not this time.

What I saw was a building of community. People who, usually divided by neighborhood, disparate needs, cultures, or languages, came together to address some issues common to all.
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03 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Race : Social Welfare
Solidarity shines through on a rainy May Day, Part 1
mayday1-1.jpgSUNDAY, May 1st- A rainy May Day kept many marchers away but a small and jubilant crowd of celebrants gathered for a march called by BAAM in downtown Boston. (http://baamboston.org/)

To the peal of a bugle call, marchers waving Anarcho-syndicalist Black and Red flags, beating on plastic drums, and chanting took to the streets. The crowd left the Boston Common, wound around the public garden, and enthusiastically sounded out chants down Newbury.

Along the way standers-by were handed informative, well written flyers about the history of May Day and the Haymarket Martyrs. One group of men, looking haggard and dusty from a morning’s work, read the flyers intently while waiting for a bus. They each admitted it was the first time they had ever heard of the international labor day.
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02 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
Anti-Vivisection Activists Had A Busy Month
P4150039withbanner.jpgOn Saturday, April 16 and Saturday, April 30 members of animal rights groups such as The Animal Defense League of Boston (ADL), The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) marched, rallied, chanted and otherwise expressed their disdain for the animal experimentation that happens with help from their tax dollars in their own home state.

viv·i·sec·tion - n. -The act or practice of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals, especially for the purpose of scientific research. [from dictionary.com]

Harvard Medical School's "New England Regional Primate Research Center" or NERPRC was the focus of these protests although many universities and private companies in Massachusetts experiment on animals, including M.I.T., Tufts University, and Charles River Laboratories.
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02 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
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
Transgender Law in Massachusetts and Beyond
How are trans people treated under the law in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S.? This is an audio recording of a talk by attorney Cole Thayer at the Harvard Law School from Tuesday, April 26.
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28 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : GLBT/Queer
Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this.
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27 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Politics
The Emerson Student Strike
Tremont.jpgLast Wednesday and Thursday, Emerson students went on strike in support of our faculty union, struggling to keep their union contracts and shared governance. The professors have had a union for thirty years, but now as the administration takes steps to move the college towards becoming more of a corporation and less of a place of education, the administration is trying to bust the union. On Wednesday and Thursday, a large portion of the Emerson student body boycotted class. We had a march and rally of about 300 on Wednssday, and slightly more on Thursday. From what I've been able to figure most of the student population went on strike, but there's really no way of knowing exactly how many did, as a lot of teachers didn't mark boycotting students absent.
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22 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Labor
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