Thoughts on Mayday 2007 – no borders

Portland, Oregon

Besides being International Workers’ Day, Mayday is also the 8th anniversary of my marriage to PattyJo. She didn’t get the day off, so I will be our sole representative at this afternoon’s big Mayday march here in Portland. This has been an annual event for us since our first one in 2001.

Over the years I have harbored mixed feelings about Portland’s celebration of this important holiday. We missed the tumultuous post-Seattle-WTO Mayday clashes around Powell’s unionization drive, but Mayday 2001 and 2002 were large and boisterous, and full of costumes and maypoles and dancing. They were truly joyous occasions.

In 2003 the labor union leftists decided to take charge and keep the day “on message”. Instead of costumes and maypoles, we were bored by long, tedious speeches without end. Needless to say, attendance began a steep decline.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The message is one which desparately needs to be aired. But why must our holidays be stripped of celebration to accomodate this? By insisting on a narrow agenda, the labor left alienated many potential supporters.

On the other hand, last years inclusion of immigrants and support for their cause, has revitalized the celebration. I have hopes that this years march will have the same kind of vitality.

Keep expanding the agenda. No Borders!

Mayday 2007
March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights
South Park blocks at SW Salmon St.
• Rally at 4pm
• March at 5pm

i dreamed cousin Evo came down

I dreamed cousin Evo
came down from the mountains
carrying a single red rose
clasped firmly in his fist
and beside him walked the ghost of Che
and the ghost of El Libertador
   and the ghosts
of the children
   of the mothers
      of the disappeared
and behind those
came the spirits
of the vanquished gods
Inti and Mama-Quilla
Pia and Makunaima
Kulimina and Kururumany
Ixchel and Votan
Yurakon and Jaluka
Selu, the corn mother
and Kanati, the hunter
Child Born of Water
and Monster Slayer
and after this phalange
there came the immense
river of the people
the lost millions
bearing the deep crimson
flowers of our tears
held high into the air
millions of red flowers
   flowing north
like a great river of blood
       washing away
a half-millenium of history
written in the language of guns
and whips and disease
by the cowboys and the conquistadors
sweeping before it
all of the borders and all of the walls
which seperate us from them
   from all our relations
and they came dancing
into our waiting arms
and the soldiers of the empire
stood mouths agape
dropping their guns
   for they knew
there was no holding back
   the flood
      now

©2006, Duane Poncy

Support our sisters and brothers from the south – no walls, no borders!

Before the Europeans conquered and divided up the Americas there were no borders. Unless you were entering the territory of an enemy tribe, there was no border patrol to prevent you from travelling from the tip of South America to Alaska. Our white ancestors changed all of that by murdering and raping the indigenous people and introducing the nation state.

Isn’t it enough that we have impoverished and isolated the few remaining natives in our own country, without now turning our hatred toward those indigenous people to our south, who only want the right to survive on this earth which once belonged to them?

A wall? We should be tearing down the walls, not building them up.

Those of us who are of indigenous descent need to support the struggle of our sisters and brothers from the south. No walls, no borders!

crossing borders

What border, what contrivance of culture is it that prevents us from standing in the middle of the street, all of us, and saying stop? Stop! We have to change this world. If we don’t change this world, there will be no world. And if we don’t believe that, can’t we see what is happening to the people of the world? Can’t we see that it is wrong that we sit behing our tables in restaurants and homes and eat all the cheap food raised by people dying in the rows from the slavery we impose? Can’t we see how we take the food from them and their children lift their too large hands to a too large face to shoo away a fly from the corners of their eyes, protuberant orbs in faces that hover over distended bellies? And their mothers and fathers dying of AIDS and them dying of AIDS and we can’t allow them to buy the drugs, or we can’t give them the drugs that will ease them or save them. And the School of the Americas graduates that have killed and raped in Central America and Columbia in the name of democracy and, oh yes, let us not forget Henry Kissinger who told the Argentinian death machine, “we want you to succeed.” Have I crossed any borders yet?