[Marxism] Saturday's immigrants rights march in Los Angeles

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 26 06:45:33 MST 2006


The Los Angeles Times say half a million. People in the crowd were saying
that the police estimage was a million. Whichever it was, and, of course,
it wasn't possible to make a count, this was clearly the largest protest
of any kind in the history of Los Angeles. It was spectacular and it was
inspiring to be present. The L.A. Times captured something very central:

"The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived,
bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county." This we
saw none of the "anti-patriotism" which we often see at anti-war marches.
No one thought to burn the American flag, but rather it was carried, both
as a way of expressing a pride, and a hoped-for pride, as well as a way 
of seeking protection by carrying the flag.

Here are a few notes and personal observations on what I saw at the march.

The composition was overwhelmingly, probably higher than 95% or 98% Latino.
I doubt I saw fifty people that I knew during the course of the day, quite
different from last weekend's anti-war march of five thousand where there
were many familiar faces. These were newly organized, educated, mobilized
and motivated people. One look at the closing and the faces and this was
obvious, if the raw numbers didn't tell the story. Many people carried
Mexican flags. Smaller numbers carried Venezuelan, Colombian, Nicaraguan
or Salvadoran flags. But if anything, there were more American (i.s. US)
flags than those of any other nationality. There were organized groups
which provided excellent printed signs, from ANSWER, IAC, the Latino
Movement, USA and various others. Few found their ways to the ground at
the end of the march. People must have kept them for souvenirs and to 
be used at future marches. This is a population, a community, a people,
or more accurately a series of peoples who are being politicalized as
they watch the threat to their lives and ability to work from rampant
racism, particularly in the media. A truck from FOX NEWS, among the
most virulent of these, was surrounded and booed vigorously at one
point toward the end of the march, immediately adjacent to city hall
where the speeches (which I never heard) were scheduled to have ben.

Some of the hand-made signs I saw were ones saying things like: I'm a
Mexican, not a terrorist. California needs us to put the vegetables and
fruit on its tables. I'm Illegal: Where's my cell (this was carried by
a mother pushing her baby in a carriage). Some people carried large
crucifixes. The U.S. is made of immigrants. One sign (and there had to
have been others) showed dead U.S. soldiers from Iraq, in uniform. One
way some undocumented individuals have qualified for citizenship was by
volunteering for the military. (They qualify for U.S. citenship if they
are killed in combat.)Participants ranged from the aged and infirm in
wheelchairs to babies in their carriages. 

Trade unions, churches and other community organizations clearly pulled
out the stops for this mobilization. Beyond the local Pacifica affiliate,
KPFK, which has daily Spanish programming and which helped bring out the
crowd, I was struck by the role of the principal Spanish-language local
daily, LA OPINION, the largest Spanish-language newspaper published in
the United States. There had been school walkouts the previous day and
mass marches in Denver, Colorado and other cities. The Saturday edition
of LA OPINION featured a lead editorial calling on its readers to come
out for the march. It's a shame they don't have a PDF of the front page
since you cannot see that online and thus cannot get an idea of how
powerful the paper's appeal had to have been. I'll have to describe it
to you. LA OPINION is a full-sized six-column daily paper. The banner
headline was "A LAS CALLES! (To the streets!) an featured photographs
of the school walkouts in Los Angeles, the 20,000 in Phoenix, also in
Atlanta, Clevelana dnd Kansas City. These were smaller photos. Then a
photo showing a sea of people took up perhaps a quarter of the entire
front page showing the Phoenix march, a sea of humanity. To the left
of this was a diagram with the march route and where the buses parked.
This was strikingly reminiscent of the way people are mobilzed in Cuba
where a banner head indicating the purpose and directions for the march
are clearly indicated. To the lower right side, under the fold, was a
photo of Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez kissing the U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice under a headline "Mexican optimism".
Above the banner TO THE STREETS! was small and narrow story about the
Mexican president Vicente Fox saying he's looking toward an accord with
the U.S. about immigration.

I never heard any of the speeches. In Los Angeles the normal mode of
transportation, for those who can afford it, is the automobilie, but
we're learning now to get around using public transportation, which is
what I used to get to the march yesterday. 


Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
http://www.walterlippmann.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews

GREAT PHOTO GALLERY AT INDYMEDIA SITE:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/03/151463.php

Here's another excellent gallery of photos from the march:
http://actionla.org/Campaigns/GrandMarcha/photos/index.htm

FULL LA OPINION COVERAGE:
http://www.laopinion.com/primerapagina/

IN A FEW DAYS, TODAY'S PAPER WILL BE:
http://www.laopinion.com/archive/032606/

Cuba's Juventud Rebelde asks what next after the mega-march
Y, ¿después de la megamarcha? 
El senado de EE.UU discute este lunes la draconiana ley Sensenbrenner
http://www.jrebelde.cu/2006/enero-marzo/mar-26/index-despues-mundo.html

<http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-protest26mar26,0,3771225.story?coll
=la-home-headlines>
>From the Los Angeles Times
More Than 500,000 Rally in L.A. for Immigrants' Rights
By Teresa Watanabe and Anna Gorman
Times Staff Writer

2:51 PM PST, March 25, 2006

Joining what some are calling the nation's largest mobilization of
immigrants ever, hundreds of thousands of people boisterously marched
in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to protest federal legislation that
would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help
them and build a security wall on the U.S. southern border. Spirited
crowds representing labor, religious groups, civil-rights advocates
and ordinary immigrants stretched over 26 blocks of downtown Los
Angeles from Adams Blvd. along Spring Street and Broadway to City
Hall, tooting kazoos, waving American flags and chanting "Si se
puede!" (Yes we can!). The crowd, estimated by police at more than
500.000, represented one of the largest protest marches in Los
Angeles history, surpassing Vietnam War demonstrations and the 70,000
who rallied downtown against Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative
that denied public benefits to undocumented migrants.

The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived,
bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county.
---------------------------------------------
Many of the marchers were immigrants themselves — both legal and
illegal -- from Mexico and Central America. Some had just crossed the
border, while others had been here for decades. There were
construction workers and business owners; families with young
children and people in wheelchairs. Throughout the afternoon,
protesters heard speakers demand a path toward legalization and
denounce HR 4437, which would tighten border enforcement and crack
down on employers who hire undocumented workers.

The rally was organized by numerous unions, religious organizations
and immigrant rights groups and publicized through Spanish-language
media, which encouraged participants to wear white to symbolize peace
and bring American flags. The mostly peaceful march stretched over 26
blocks, shutting down streets and tying up traffic around downtown
for hours. Police estimated the crowd at 500,000, more than five
times the size of the 1994 rally against California's Proposition
187, which would have denied services to undocumented immigrants.
Participants said the massive mobilization shows that immigrants'
voices must be heard and that they are contributing to the country's
economy.





More information about the Marxism mailing list