May Day in Bay Area:
Cynthia McKinney at Antiwar & Immigrant Rights Actions
[May 1, 2008, was a historic day
as 25,000 members of the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union (ILWU) shut down 29 ports up and down the entire West Coast to
demand an immediate end to the
[Clarence Thomas, of ILWU Local 10, was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Could you imagine if this shutdown were duplicated...in all the major sectors of the economy? It would send a message that this war must end. It’s killing our children and diverting resources from domestic needs.”
[Among the keynote speakers at
the rally was independent presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who canceled
a long-planned international trip to be able to participate with the longshore workers in the May Day actions in the
[Here are a few of the salient
points made by Cynthia McKinney in her presentation at the
[She said she was proud to have
participated in the rally with the longshore workers
in support of their central demand to end the war in
[She said she was proud to be
speaking at a rally in support of immigrant workers in the United States, and
in particular in support of their demands for unconditional amnesty and full
labor rights. She added that as a Black woman, she understood full well the
meaning of the discrimination, oppression, and hatred that are being heaped
upon immigrants coming from
[She said that as part of the
struggle to defend immigrant workers, it is necessary to repeal the “Free Trade”
agreements that are destroying millions of jobs throughout the
[We have to support the right of people south of our border not to emigrate, she added. They don’t want to leave their families and break up their communities. They are forced to leave their countries to feed their families because of the policies imposed by our own government and corporations.
[She said she was proud to have
stood side by side with Andrés Manuel López Obrador and with 10,000
women “Brigadistas” only a few weeks ago in
[She concluded by stressing the need to build a powerful movement for immigrant rights, anchored in the combined struggles of Black and Latino workers. We must build the Black-Brown alliance, she insisted.]
Hello! Today was a beautiful day. Longshore and warehouse workers all up and down the West
Coast, from the border with Canada to the border with Mexico, refused to go to
work for eight hours and rallied against the war instead. This work stoppage
Grassroots members of the
Democratic Party are unnerved at reports that Speaker Pelosi is planning yet
another “blank check” war-funding bill for President Bush’s signature. Today’s
action of resistance marked a distinct signal in the heart of a core
constituency of the Democratic Party that something is about to change. A
representative of the Freightliner Five in
Remarks at ILWU Rally (
May Day, 2008
It’s a beautiful
One day off to put peace and justice on the table! Today’s action is as historically significant as the decision of four young university students who sat in for justice.
The strong, proud men and women of the ILWU have drawn a line in the sand. And I am proud of you!
By your actions here today, you too have declared your independence: from the policy makers now responsible for every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every dream deferred.
Your line in the sand is a demand for public policy that reflects your values.
Your line in the sand:
A livable wage,
Repeal of the Bush tax cuts,
Repeal of the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Commissions Act.
The right to unionize,
Single-payer health care,
Repeal of NAFTA,
An end to the Bush-Pelosi war.
Military Recruiters out and more teachers in our classrooms!
Nancy Pelosi wants to sneak another war-funding bill to the President.
She thinks we don’t know. She thinks we won’t care. She thinks she can bushwhack and bamboozle us from the Speaker’s Chair.
We see you when you choose to spend $720 million a day for war and yet teachers are being laid off in your district!
Speaker Pelosi, we see you when you remain silent on torture that violates the law; irreparably harms and sometimes even kills the innocent, and robs us all of our dignity as Americans.
Speaker Pelosi, and my former colleagues, how can you continue to give a half-trillion dollars annually to the Pentagon — an institution that’s “lost” $2.3 trillion, and that didn’t even protect itself on September 11th?
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower told us that every dime spent on war was in a very real sense a theft from those who are in need of food, shelter, and clothing.
Senator Feinstein was forced to leave the Military Construction subcommittee because she was voting on public policy that directly benefited her husband — and hence, her own bottom line.
The ILWU and all of us gathered here today want our young men and women to come home now, alive.
All of us gathered here today
Snipers’ bullets and assassins stole my generation of true patriots.
One of them said, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” Our representatives can betray our values only so long as we continue to give them our vote, because it is our votes that give them their position of power over us.
Another of my generation’s true patriots said, “Some see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say ‘Why not?’”
With our vision, values, and our votes, we can make real our dreams that never were. Why not?
(I travel next to