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