This year Voces de la Frontera’s May 1st March will be in Waukesha for a good reason. Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson, in an attempt to expand his power, wants his department to function as an immigration agency. In protest and to publicize this power grab, Voces will stage its May 1st March in Waukesha.
The International Labor Day Marches promote labor rights and are a memorial for those who died in the May 1st uprisings in 1886 in Chicago and Milwaukee with workers demanding the eight-hour day. In Chicago several were killed in what has been called a “Police Riot.” The next day in Bay View, Wisconsin several were killed by the National Guard in their attempt to break up a march to the Bay View Rolling Mills. ‘Remembering the past’ is an important animating force in the present struggle. The experience gained is important in plans for action and a coherent explanation of goals.
Remember the 5th of May - Governor Rusk’s nefarious day
Fire at will he said – and soon 9 workers and a boy were dead
Waukesha has some important connections to the May 1st Labor Day celebrations. In 2006 Waukesha’s congressman, James Sensenbrenner promoted anti-immigrant legislation that caused community outrage. The response in Wisconsin was the first May 1st March in many years. It was the largest in the country with an estimated 70,000 participants. Large May 1st Marches have been held in Milwaukee every year since.
After the police rioting in Chicago labor leaders were arrested. Albert Parsons escaped to Waukesha and stayed with the Daniel Hoan family. (Daniel Hoan Jr. was to become the future mayor of Milwaukee.) After a few weeks, Parsons turned himself in to face trial with his comrades. Eight labor leaders were convicted of murder; seven were sentenced to death. Lucy Parsons (ne: Lucy Eldine Gonzalez) said goodbye to her husband:
My husband, I give you to the cause of liberty. I now go forth to take your place. I will herald abroad to the American people the foul murder ordered here today at the behest of monopoly. I, too, expect to mount the scaffold. I am ready.” LPAR p. 104
Lucy Parsons was evicted from her apartment in Chicago so she left her son with the Hoan family in Waukesha and her daughter with other friends while she traveled to several cities on a speaking tour.
Ms. Parsons traveled the country advocating workers rights until her death in 1942. She did talk about her husband’s unfair trial and hanging but she emphasized the rights of working people and pointed to the disgrace of hunger and unemployment. The basis for her talks was the Pittsburg Manifesto of the International Working Peoples Association written by a group including her husband Albert Parsons. The Manifesto demanded equality of the sexes and:
Establishment of a free society based on cooperative organization of production. LPAR p. 44
Immigrant workers struggling for Justice continues with the International Labor Day parade - May 1st, 2018, 10:00 a.m. starting in Cutler Park in the city of Waukesha, 321 Wisconsin Avenue.
Amazing Grace, William Wilberforce and the heroic campaign to end slavery, Eric Metaxas
The Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs, ed. Phillip S. Foner AHM
Black against Empire, Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin
Goddess of Anarchy, (Lucy Parsons) Jacqueline Jones
Laborem Exercens, John Paul II
The Labor Movement in Wisconsin, Robert W. Ozzane
Labor’s Untold Story, Richard O. Boyer, Herbert M. Morais LUS
Lucy Parsons = American Revolutionarty, Carolyn Ashbaugh LPAR p.104
Martin Luther, Eric Metaxas ML
The Making of Milwaukee, John Gurda MM
May Day – A Short History of the International Workers Holiday, Phillip S. Forner S. Forner MD
Movie: The Long Shadow, Frances Causey, film maker and investigative reporter