LOS ANGELES, May 1 — The red banners of communism waved high on Broadway in downtown LA, while PLP’ers distributed 8,000 communist leaflets and 3,600 CHALLENGES during the immigrant-rights march here. Our literature exposed the hypocrisy of the bosses and their politicians — both the liberal and conservative racists — their plans for wider imperialist war and the role of the pro-immigrant “leaders” who support deadly patriotic loyalty to the ruling class and the Democratic Party.
Fascism emerged early. Police and School District agents stopped some students from boarding a bus to go to the march, claiming “parental permission is not enough — you need permission from the District.” Nonetheless, many of these students came, even more determined. Our multi-racial contingent had a strong, visible impact with our red shirts and flags, but most importantly with our chants calling for working-class unity and communist revolution.
The police, business leaders, march organizers and LAPD are congratulating themselves for their “good job.” This march was smaller than last year’s, partly because the leaders are pushing voting over marching, and partly from fear instilled in workers by last year’s racist police attack in MacArthur Park and the constant propaganda about the police preparing to “handle provocateurs.” In response we chanted, “Sean Bell’s killer cops mean…FIGHT BACK!”; and, “LAPD you can’t hide… We charge you with genocide!”
Street speeches, followed by slogans celebrating May Day as International Workers’ Day resonated throughout the march like: “The magic of our hands, that from nothing make everything. From the clothes, to the buildings to the cars to the airplanes. And even then, the bosses call us ignorant. We workers make everything of value in this society, that’s why we raise our fist and chant, “See this fist; Workers to Power!”
“Today millions of workers around the world march as one class against this rotten capitalist system, source of hunger, murders and wars…”
Some workers asked for and contributed money for our red flags. Others bought red shirts that call for workers’ unity and communism. The red flags contrasted sharply with the U.S. bosses’ flag march organizers imposed on workers. From the few years we’ve had contingents in the “immigrant-rights” marches, we have a presence many workers and youth now expect.
From these May Day activities, several people joined PLP. Others have become CHALLENGE distributors. The Party was strengthened and is preparing for our coming Summer Project. We will be bolder in taking CHALLENGE to our friends to help build the Project. These activities will provide communist political leadership to the working class which needs it more than ever, facing growing fascism and imperialist war. J
A PLP leaflet provoked anger of leaders of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) during the May Day march of more than 75,000 workers through San Salvador, the capital. Workers demanded rice, beans, and some proclaimed support for the FMLN Presidential candidate, Mauricio Funes. A group of high school and university students painted on the walls “Proletarians of the World, Unite!” and chanted the slogan “Capitalists watch out—here come the communists!”
As usual CHALLENGE is anticipated by the working class every May Day. The PLP distributed 530 CHALLENGES and 3,800 communist leaflets. The moment the leaflets and CHALLENGES began to be distributed, many workers came to get them. This caused a big impact because it attacked the electoral parties.
FMLN leaders in the sound trucks read a part of our leaflet and alerted workers to destroy the leaflets. This made people read the leaflet on the spot. The FMLN security said they wouldn’t allow any propaganda that was not from them, following the same repressive practices as the right-wing ruling party, pro-U.S., Arena government.
Carlos Ruiz, Mayor of Soyapango and former leader of the extinct Salvadoran Communist Party and now the FMLN, stopped a comrade and questioned him about the leadership of PLP in El Salvador. A worker responded to him “Now, we don’t only have the oppressors of the government but we also have you.” An ex-combatant of the FMLN reacted angrily and told him, “I fought so that these things would no longer happen and now you are the police.”
Confronted by this reaction, those from the FMLN retreated and the distribution of the paper and the leaflets continued. However, the comrades were followed and at one point a small part of their material (200 leaflets and 20 CHALLENGES) were taken. “This has to be shown to the leader of the FMLN,” said a servile follower of the electoral front.
Funes stated in the closing speech “Those who have damaged private property [referring to the graffiti] are social movements.” They have nothing to do with the FMLN as a political party.” He, along with other FMLN leaders, also expressed his gratitude for the presence of more than 600 uniformed police during the march and promised to raise their wages.
“Today ends the romance of some comrades who held some illusions about the FMLN,” said a comrade. Once more it’s been shown that the working class can’t trust these electoral parties, which are part of the capitalist system. The PLP’ers and friends activities felt stronger and with more confidence in the working class. Now our goal is to consolidate and recruit more comrades to PLP, as a step toward the communist revolution that will end the murderous capitalist system.
May 1 — PLP members here distributed over 100 CHALLENGES and hundreds of leaflets to the 200 people that attended this year’s immigration justice rally. The rally was smaller than last year, but more than half the marchers took home a copy of our communist newspaper! Many wore t-shirts and carried banners emphasizing unity among workers regardless of country or race.
Other organizations participating in the rally focused on reforming the system with new immigration laws, better housing policies, statehood for DC, and electoral politics in El Salvador. We spoke to rally-goers instead about the working class taking power through a revolutionary struggle.
One man from Central America agreed with our analysis that elections in the US or Latin America would not serve the working class. He was thrilled to learn that there was a party that rejected nationalism and organized one party for all workers everywhere, and intends to work with us.J
May 1st – Our PLP contingent, an integrated and international group of around 50 people, raised the red flag and marched behind the banner, “Long Live Communism.” We led militant chants, distributed 1,000 CHALLENGES and DESAFIOS and 2,000 PLP May Day leaflets. We handed out 500 posters that read, “Smash All Borders/Destruir Todos Fronteras,” with the Party’s name and logo. A small but spirited health care contingent marched from Stroger (County) Hospital. Other Party members marched with their community and student organizations and an Iraq veterans group.
In just two years, the May Day March for Immigrant Rights has gone from over 500,000 in 2006 to maybe 15,000 in 2008. Unlike the previous two years, the bosses were not united behind the march, factories were not closed and workers were not given the day off to march. This shows that when you march under the bosses’ leadership, without a mass communist movement to challenge them, they can turn the movement off and on at will.
Other reasons for the poor turnout were increased fear and intimidation due to continuous immigration raids and deportations. Organizers warned marchers that the police attacks in L.A. last year were due to “other groups with different agendas.” Mayor Daley, whose cops are murdering young black and Latino men in record numbers, shared the stage with nationalists and revisionists, rappers and folk singers.
This march underlined the need to build the Party in the bosses’ mass organizations in this period of war and developing fascism. As the Presidential electoral circus moves millions to the ballot box, we must be patiently struggling to break them away from the racist rulers.