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Where’s the Color in the Occupy Movement?

Posted: May 01, 2012

 In 1886, 300,000 workers, a great number of them immigrants and anarchists, went on general strike across the United States. That day, they took another step in the long march toward an eight-hour workday that had started in the 1860’s and didn’t end until well into the 20th century. That strike and the Haymarket Massacre that followed days later sparked a global tradition of celebrating unity among all workers, a tradition that never quite took hold in the United States with the same gusto as it did in other countries.

Over the last decade, the immigrant rights movement has revived May Day rallies and marches as a response to the waves of hate hitting immigrants since September 11, 2011. After something of a winter hiatus, Occupiers across the country have added their voices to those of immigrant organizations calling for massive marches and a general strike today. The strike includes no shopping, providing an action for those who can’t skip work or school for whatever reason.

There are also places where a partnership between Occupying and immigrant rights isn’t taking hold. In Los Angeles, there will be two events; a morning march led by immigrant rights groups, as has been true for a decade, and another in the afternoon organized by Occupy L.A. Michael Novick, a spokesperson for Occupy L.A. pulled up a generalist argument for the separation in an interview with CNN. May Day isn’t just about immigrants, he said; “It’s for labor rights, for economic and social justice, for economic equity, and for peace. And we think that will build a strong force downtown to say this is going to be a day that could change the world a little bit and hopefully for the better.”

It’s unfortunate that a march led by immigrants with those same messages doesn’t count as broad and inclusive in L.A.; that doesn’t seem to be an issue in New York, for example, where the immigrant rights groups and OWS have merged their major events. Read more here.

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