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Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA) on the significance of May 1st
by MIRA – Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance
Sunday Apr 27th, 2008 2:47 AM
We are UCSC students and members of the Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance, M.I.R.A. Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance (M.I.R.A) is a coalition of community members and diverse organizations working together to build a unified voice for people with migrant backgrounds, particularly those labeled undocumented. We aim to raise public awareness about the rights and living conditions of immigrants who are continuously attacked and dehumanized by the media and public policy. Through dialogue, action, and reflection we strive to create a movement for human rights that transcends man-made borders.
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On the significance of May 1st

Since the Haymarket Massacre of 1886, May 1st has represented a day of international worker solidarity. With the unprecedented mass mobilizations of 2006 in defense of immigrant rights, May 1st has been re-conceptualized to include the struggles of workers deemed “undocumented.” In recent years the veritable war on immigrants has only been escalated with the inception of the war on terror, as demonstrated with the increasing militarization of the Southern border, the proliferation of new deportation detention centers, and the unconstitutional raids perpetrated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. These intensifications are directly attributed to the neoliberal agenda of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which seeks to maintain the fluidity of the physical geopolitical border for transnational capital but not for people. The complicity of all major presidential candidates for these policies is also seriously problematic. And let us not forget the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, made after the Mexican-American War, when it was agreed that the freedom of movement of peoples between these two nation states would be protected and that the property of those already established in the newly conquered territories (California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada…) would also remain respected.

On the purpose of organizing around May 1st

In response to the aforementioned realities, the need for another mass mobilization is urgent. We demand that:

1. Dream Act be passed in U.S. now
2. Stop the ICE raids now
3. The construction of a day laborer center in Santa Cruz now
4. Fair contract for AFSCME workers now
5. End the militarization of borders now

It is important that this day, in a community of academics, be a day of education; learning and sharing experiences, a day of raising consciousness and spreading awareness. This will be done by student, worker, and faculty speakers and also via the medium of art; poetry, music, drama. But most importantly this will be done by the conscious recognition of solidarity between all those present and the inevitable exchange of ideas and networks. And so, while the struggles exist largely within the realm of ideas, there also exists the need to get out of the classroom and into the community to demonstrate a humanist dissatisfaction with global, federal, state, and municipal policies of exploitation (paying poverty/slave wages to all workers but especially the undocumented, the free trade policies and privatization), manipulation (via the popular media), and domination via fragmentation (the perpetuation of grouping, degrouping, and inter-racial antagonisms in the popular media, COINTELPRO counter intelligence programs of FBI and their predecessors).

What to do on May 1st

To demonstrate our insistence on the respect for all humans and our fear of a future in which scapegoat politics continues, we must unite across ethnic/class/racial/gender/sexuality lines in order to best counter policies of structural dehumanization and institutionalized criminalization, reminiscent of any totalitarian regime. We feel it is eminent to demand for the right to not emigrate, but also for the right to universal amnesty for those who have been and continue to be economically displaced from all nations, particularly Mexico and Latin America. We know that many student organizations and faculty share these sentiments and recognize the importance of honoring this day as it is representative of the struggles of fellow community members, fellow humans, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers; by not holding class on May 1st, coming to the rally at 12pm in the Quarry near the Baytree Plaza, marching peacefully and in solidarity to the San Lorenzo park, where at 4pm there will be a celebration. We welcome you to take an active role in this coalition and to distribute this message to all UCSC and community members.

-Respectfully M.I.R.A. Coalition