Saturday, April 23, 2011


1:30 P.M. Sunday, May 1, 2011 Gather at Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S 5th Street to march to the Milwaukee Lakefront – Veteran’s Park.


4:00 P.M. Sunday, May 1, 2011 Busses leave from Veteran’s Park for the rally at the site of the Bay View Massacre.

The goal of neo-liberalism is to negate any outside influence over capital. The destruction of the labor movement is key in this neo-liberal quest. In 2001, a World Bank report on Mexico entitled “An Integral Agenda of Development for the New Era” was presented to the Mexican government of Vicente Fox. The report had specific recommendations on labor policy stating that collective bargaining and other labor rights should be eliminated.

The devastating poverty now experienced in Mexico points to the failure of neo-liberalism. Workers who migrate to the U.S. to earn a living, face a repressive immigration system and an attempt by neo-liberal politicians to deliver a death blow to U.S. organized labor, the only hope for just wages and working conditions. In protest and to demonstrate political solidarity with organized labor, we march on May 1st.

Besides public service workers, many sectors of society are adversely affected by Governor Scott Walker’s program for Wisconsin. A racist Arizona copycat law has been proposed by a Walker supporter. Dairy farmers are well aware of the damage this law could cause to the dairy industry. Other groups such as the faith community, various labor unions, the L.G.T.B. and political advocacy groups will march on May 1st in solidarity.

Although the principle of solidarity was best articulated by John Paul II in his encyclical “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis -1987, “solidarity” has been basic to Catholic Social teaching since “Rerum Novarum” 1891 and “Quadragesimo Anno” 1931. Marquette professor, Paul Misner in 1986 noted that the first two encyclicals objected to the extreme individualism of liberal capitalism. Misner wrote, “The traditional phrase, ‘one for all and all for one’ sums up the basic ideal. A Latin expression for it is solidarity.” Long before the solidarity, “solidarnosc,” movement in Poland in the ‘80s, the term was used for cooperative action to achieve social change.

Besides demonstrating political solidarity, May 1st marches are a memorial to workers who were injured and murdered in demonstrating for the Eight Hour Day and worker rights in 1886. On May 4th Chicago Police Captain Bonfield defied an order by Mayor Harrison and sent his mounted police to break up the meeting which was about to finish. A bomb was thrown, a policeman was killed, and several were wounded. Police opened fire. At least one worker was killed and many were wounded by gunfire. Several labor leaders were rounded up and blamed for the incident. Four were condemned to death by a Chicago judge and went to the gallows the following year. William Howells, dean of American letters, called the sentences, “the greatest wrong that ever threatened our fame as a nation.” George Bernard Shaw spoke at a rally in London protesting the arrest of the labor leaders.

The next day, May 5th, in Milwaukee the German immigrant workers’ demonstration for the Eight Hour Day was attacked by police. Several workers were injured. On the south side, Polish workers were gathered at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church to march to the Bay View Rolling Mill to demand the eight hour day. They were met at the Rolling Mill with a spray of bullets from the Wisconsin National Guard. Several were killed including a young boy trailing along for the fun of it. The orders to fire were from the Wisconsin Governor. When questioned, Governor Rusk responded by saying, “I seen my duty and done it.” (This is Milwaukee, Robert W. Wells, Doubleday, New York, 1970. The Making of Milwaukee, John Gurda, Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1999.)

May 1st Memorial parades to commemorate the Bay View and Haymarket martyrs have been held since the late 1800’s. May 1st rallies in the U.S. have been suppressed as communist until the recent May 1st marches for immigrant worker rights.

To resist is to remember. Memories of the social encyclicals, the Haymarket Riot and the Bay View Massacre have been suppressed. The Zapatistas in Mexico responded to the neo-liberal North American Trade Agreement, N.A.F.T.A., by occupying several municipalities. Zapatista leader Marcos wrote, “The war begun on the first of January 1994 was a war to make us listen, a war for understanding, a war against forgetting, a war to recapture our memory.” (La Revuelta De La Memoria, Marcos, Ciach, Mexico, 1999.)

Such is the Sunday, May 1st March in Milwaukee.

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