by Javier Rodriguez

Consolidated and now nationally coordinated, the Occupy Movement has galvanized the country for a  “NATIONAL MAY DAY GENERAL STRIKE 2012.”

  • From LA to New York, Los Indignados  will occupy and strike over 125 Cities in America protesting against the country’s Super Wealthy 1% and its corrupt  money controlled government.
  • Synchronized through a Central Hub, the LA Indignados will apply disciplined, mass, non violent direct action to shut down Downtown Los Angeles, including the Financial District.
  • As in 2009, a divided immigrant rights movement will hold several marches including two on the traditional route on Broadway. One headed by the broad moderate block and the other by a narrow pseudo revolutionary coalition.   

In Los Angeles County, the morning will commence at 4 AM at LAX with a reported strike action by SEIU-SCLTCW who will attempt to shut down the airport with hundreds of unionized security guards.  At 8 AM Hermandad Mexicana TransNacional and Occupy LA’s Northwind, who both have distributed over 50,000 flyers in the San Fernando Valley, will march for immigrant rights and the 99%, taking Van Nuys Blvd to City Hall and reportedly from the start will be staging direct action and civil disobedience. At the same time hundreds and possibly thousands of valley students are expected to walk out of their high school schools. At 10;30 AM a labor rally will take place in front of the County Federation of Labor.  At 11 AM another labor rally has been set in the City of Glendale for union recognition by Latino trash collectors. At 12 Noon, the Northwind caravan will take the subway to downtown LA and exit at Pershing Sq. “the Green Zone” and join the South, East and West winds. At an unspecified time, only known by the Occupy LA Coordinating Hub, a massive effort will be displayed to take downtown LA and shut it down.

At 1 PM, the first march for immigrant rights, jobs and peace on Olympic and Broadway organized by the moderates, CHIRLA, MIWON, Full Legalization Coalition, SEIU, County Federation of Labor, NDLON,  ANSWER  and others. According to organizers, this will be the largest event of the day, but they have not provided any numbers. At 4 PM, SCIC who once again rejected all calls for unity, arguing democratic party control of the other events, will march on Broadway. (On May 1st 2011,about twenty thousand marched under the banner of a unified city wide coalition, however an isolated and humiliated SCIC was made to march in the back by the LAPD with a reported 3 to 4 hundred people). At 6 and 7 PM a unified General Assembly, where all the groups will have their turn at the microphone, but led by Occupy LA, will be the closing event of the day.    

In spite of the divisions by a fractured immigrant rights sector, there are some new players in the making of May Day this year and they are coming in with new forms of organization and multifaceted protest.  It is expected that Occupy LA will provide the new and contrasting militant tactics for the day, way beyond the traditional march. Without a doubt, carrying over their struggle on behalf of the 99% to this year’s May day celebration and immigrant rights territory,  it is Occupy LA who this time has galvanized the country into social action against the government and the ruling elite. Best known for last year changing the conversation and the nation’s debate around poverty and other corporate crimes, tomorrow, at the end of the day, with their militant and direct actions of “unorthodox non orchestrated civil disobedience,” and the fact that the confrontations will provide the media with the coveted radical visuals, the Occupy tactical moves may trump the Broadway marches, especially if none of the two coalitions, the moderates or the pseudo radicals, don’t produce the numbers in the tens of thousands.

Additionally if the media and others have noticed, as we have because we have been observing and participating in this process from the beginning, Occupy LA, Los Ocupas, have not only galvanized the country, but in a period of four months have also built the momentum, and with it, the youth of all ethnicities and a significant number of up and coming white activists, have entered the LA social activist scene. Moreover, from labor, for the first time we may see thousands of workers striking the 1% employers who refuse to negotiate fairly, on May 1st International Workers Day.

However, what will be missing tomorrow, are the thousands of foreclosed victims who lost their homes to the banks, the unemployed, the church’s participation and American Apparel, the giant fashion clothing company who, for years has participated on May Day with thousands of their workers. We shall also see if the immigrant community responds in sufficient numbers or will it reject the confused message of several marches with a brand of division. Furthermore, we will observe and compare 2012 to 2006, the year of the “Immigrant Spring,” when in a five week organizing period, the Latino immigrant movement and allies moved hundreds of cities on three dates, March 25, April 10, and May 1st, and on the latter stopping 20 industries nationally, indisputably moving millions to strike the system for a Day Without an Immigrant. In LA alone, an estimated 4 million people, immigrants, workers, students, small business people, etc. paralyzed the city.

Javier Rodriguez is a long time activist in LA’s social movement, particularly Latino politics, has been active in the field of immigrant rights since 1971, with 22 years as a rank and filer in labor, an activist against the war in Viet Nam,  was the initiator of Latinos Against the War in Iraq, is also an independent journalist, a media and political strategist, and  today is presently with the Dec 12 Coalition and Occupy LA.