Peace Now Celebrates MayDay
by Joe Sacco Monday May 02, 2005 at 07:08 PM
On Sunday, May 1st, 2005 the Las Vegas grassroots organization known as Peace Now celebrated MayDay on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
A group of about 30-45 people marched down the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate International Worker's Rights Day, also known as MayDay.
The energy was unbelievable as people sang songs of solidarity and expressed support for unions and dissent of the occupation of Iraq.
The Clark County Green Party, Progressive Democrats of America, Coalition to Prevent the Erosion of Human Rights, and the Las Vegas Valley Solidarity branch all endorsed the MayDay action organized by Peace Now.
There was also a diverse presence of union membership at the action. Members of SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the Cullinary union, and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) were all represented at the protest.
Gary Peck and Allen Lichtenstein, Nevada ACLU's general counsel were present at the action in an effort to protect our First Ammendment rights, constitutionally-protected rights. Peck helped negotiate with the police when organizers of the march protested the use of six horseback police. The police agreed to not have the horses present, but later broke their promise and rode the animals down the street.
Peace-keepers, legal observers, and video-camera activists were present throughout the march to help ensure a safe space for everyone to express themselves.
The police presence was once again overwhelming for such a relatively small group of protesters. The number of officers almost outnumbered the number of union and peace activists. There were no arrests.
MayDay 2005 marks the 119th-year anniversary of the date set forth by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to establish the eight-hour working day. In addition, U.S. children are protected by child labor laws. Minimum wage, overtime and protection of workers from hazardous conditions are also a result of labor unions' hard work and determination.
The local group of Food Not Bombs youth also endorsed the event. They served food to the protesters at the beginning of the event.
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by Dave Peter Monday May 02, 2005 at 09:41 PM
What an energetic and positive group Las Vegas Peace is. Power was generated from this dedicated group, the power of belief in peace, freedom, and worker rights. As a participant, I felt the police presence was a little large for this peaceful group. The march gathered more support from the people walking and driving up the strip than negative comments. I know the the dedication of the people in groups like Las Vegas Peace is contagious, the numbers will continue to grow as this unjustice war of agression continues. I am a veteran and my son is on active duty as a RN in the US Army today, he just returned from one year on the Afghan border. My son has two daughters, 1 and a half and 3, who stayed at home with their mother also a RN in Army asking where is Daddy for a year. The US Army being so committed to its troops decided that my daughter in law also needed to leave my grandchildren to do a year in Iraq before my son returned from Afghanistan thus leaving my grandchildren with two parents in war zones. My story is just one of hundreds of thousands of stories from the families of our GI's put in harm's way to satisfy the war mongering desires of Bush.
This is one the reasons I marched yesterday for peace and the withdrawl of our occupation of Iraq.
My personal reasons aside, as a veteran I don't like seeing the young working class people who were sold a bucket of lies about the military being a way to make a better life (if they survive) being used by the Bush Cheney adminstration as the pawns for Bush's personal agenda. I don't see Bush's daughters volunteering to "serve their country" in the war zone.
My second reason for being at the march is the rememberance of those in the labor movement who sacrificed all to better the conditions of working people. I was born and bred union, my father taught me never to cross a picket line, never to be a scab, never to abandon the union and to look for the union bug on everything. I am a union activist today, fighting to maintain the things my father and grandfathers fought for pensions, health care, lving wages for all, justice in the workplace, and collective bargaining. The state of unionism in this country is sad today, only 8% of workers in the private sector belong to unions. How did this happen - multinational corporations have been influencing congress to weaken labor laws, the Department of Labor is in the pocket of big business, and no one in the government will stand up for the workers. Unions are the answer and organizing the unorganized is the method. I support the struggle of all workers to find justice through collective bargaining. Remember the workers create all wealth.
I am looking forward to continuing to participate in future actions by Las Vegas Peace and watching the movement grow.
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May Day March, No Local Coverage
by One Legal Observer Tuesday May 03, 2005 at 11:34 PM
To the Local Media:
All local media was notified of the May Day Peace March. And there was still no local coverage. What a shame that the local media doesn't care?? about local news.
Whether you agree with "all" their ideologies or not, you have to give them credit for their sincerity and their constant voice against the Iraq occupation; their constant voice for the worker, the homeless, and the oppressed; and their constant struggle to expose the injustices of racism, ageism, classism, sexism, anti-Semitism, etc.
No local coverage. Instead reports on people from Georgia, So. Carolina, Pahrump; monorail, taxes, George Carlin, Hard Rock, etc.
Is it not important to cover our community's social problems and also important to give a little coverage of the folks who are trying to improve our community?
Be Patriotic, BRING OUR TROOPS HOME!!
Peace Now Celebrates May Day
For my part Sunday, I used my daughter's video camera. Not being familiar with the camera, I got a lot of footage of the sky and ground-- when I thought the camera was off.
I walked behind the group, sometimes in front of the two police walkers (including the Metro cameraman) and sometimes behind them. Sometimes in front of the horses and sometimes behind them. I made it down to the Frontier, 1.1 miles. I hopped a bus back to the Sahara to get my car. (The bus from across the Frontier was late; I waited about 45 minutes.) Traffic was heavy on the Blvd. After I got my car, I drove past the group at the Bellagio and headed into the Bellagio garage. There was a security checkpoint at the beginning of the road leading to the parking garage. All trunks were being searched including mine.
Okay, thank you, ma'am. Got into the garage and parked. Security van pulled up and told me I could not park there because security check point said I had "sign making materials" in my trunk. OMG!! Okay, thank you.
Left Bellagio and headed for the Bally parking garage 3rd floor. By then I decided I didn't want to walk anymore. I know I shouldn't have given up that easy but I think by the time I got home, the vigil was over or close to over.
But now I'm more familiar with the camera. And next time I will volunteer to meet half-way thru the march- or 1 mile before the end of the march. I was really looking forward to the peace vigil!! I'm now looking forward to the reviews.
One last note, no matter how small the group is/was, I really respect you all for your efforts and sincerity. And for now, don't worry about the media. Someday they'll get a clue. I have faith!! And it won't take a Kent State. With good planning, determination,
perseverance, and peaceful persistence- in the public's eye, a change of heart will occur--one heart at a time.
And Rick, we now have something in common. ;) re: the Bellagio. Now that's the 3rd casino that I've been kicked out of-- as conservative and reserved that I am. LOL
Great job everyone!!
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by Lance Murdoch Thursday May 05, 2005 at 03:06 AM
May Day is being celebrated in Las Vegas, excellent. I've added you to my list of national May Day celebrations, the link to which is clickable right next to this comment.
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by Workers Power Sunday May 08, 2005 at 01:16 PM
Good article, Joe, but I do have one disagreement that may seem picky but I think is a fundamental issue at heart. Mayday is usually known as International Workers Day, not International Workers Rights Day. "Workers Rights" is a thoroughly bourgeois concept used to hamstring the real focus of Mayday. Mayday is about workers power, workers control, and taking it all back from the bosses and bankers. To reduce it to "rights" sells that out and puts it back on capitalist terms with trade union economist. The whole lie of capitalism and the free market is that is that if we can just define and respect each other's "rights" we can all compete in the market fairly . . . bosses can just respect those loosely defined "rights" and workers can then respect the bosses "rights" to private ownership, and capitalism can just flow along and we'll all be happy- the whole foundation of great protestant American democracy. Unfortunately, even most unions in this country buy this whole lie and are willing to sell out both genuine workers power and international solidarity in exchange for just a few crumbs from the masters' table- even when those crumbs are the fruit of super exploitation of other less fortunate workers the world over.
But all that pro-capitalism shit is a lie. No system of supposed rights and reformist changes, whether voting rights or the 8 hour day or any other, will change the true nature of capitalism- which is one of oppression, inequality, and suffering. The ONLY way to change that is to change the whole system and put workers directly in control of their world and the means of production.
Worker's POWER, not just worker's "rights!"
And, through worker's power, forward to a world without these class distinctions!
We need to turn this whole thing upside down!
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International Worker's Day
by Joe Sacco Sunday May 08, 2005 at 04:40 PM
You are absolutely correct!
I apologize for mistakenly writing "International Worker's RIGHTS Day". I was running late for work and rushed the article onto the website.
MayDay is: International Worker's Day.
I agree that workers should not simply accept the parameters of "rights" we are afforded by our unions. It is not enough. Therefore constant organizing of workers, by workers is necessary in order to keep the fight for equality alive.
Struggle is part of the labor movement and we must never forget that.
Thanks for the post,
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