June 2, 2010
ARIZONA MARCH GATHERS 50,000 VS SB 1070
Los Angeles-- Que queremos? Legalización! Cuando? Ahora!” “Hey hey, ho ho, SB 1070 has got to go!”
Over 50,000 people marched through the streets of Phoenix, Ariz., May 29 to demand an end to SB 1070 and all other racist attacks on immigrants. The national protest marched more than five miles in 100-degree heat to the steps of the state capitol. The action was coordinated with marches and demonstrations in several cities across the United States and in Mexico City.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation worked with the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) to organize two buses of dedicated activists to travel from the Los Angeles area to the national demonstration in Phoenix.
Other organizations in the contingent included Vamos Unidos USA, AF3IRM, the Alliance-Philippines and KmB Pro-People Youth.
The PSL also helped bring a 70-car caravan from San Diego, and PSL members in Phoenix held a preparatory meeting and passed out thousands of flyers to help build the march at ground zero.
The huge outpouring of support for immigrants came mostly from workers in Arizona. But large delegations came not only from California but also Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
Erica Maceda, who traveled on the buses from Los Angeles, said : “I am traveling to Arizona to fight for immigrant rights because the attack on immigrants there is an attack on all people. No human being can be considered ‘illegal.’”
Protesters gathered in the morning outside a local park for an opening rally and ceremonial Indigenous dancing. Speakers denounced Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for their blatant racism and xenophobic attacks on immigrant workers.
As the march made its way through Phoenix, PSL members gathered hundreds of signatures supporting full rights for all immigrants. When asked at the opening rally why he decided to attend, Max Martinez of Phoenix said “Because SB 1070 is racist and wrong. No one with any sense contemplates whether or not white supremacy is wrong.”
Martinez, a 20-year-old student, explained that he has been stopped by police and asked for proof of citizenship more times than he can count, despite being born in a local Phoenix hospital.
‘SB 1070 has got to go!’
ANSWER and the PSL led a militant contingent of hundreds of protesters chanting slogans. Protesters carried signs that read “Defeat SB 1070 in the streets!” and “Unity against racism: Full rights for immigrants!”
The march ended with a rally at the Capitol building in downtown Phoenix. Initiated by Puente, an Arizona-based immigrant rights organization, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the demonstration was multinational and pointed to a high degree of class-consciousness and solidarity among workers from all sectors of society.
It exposed the myth of the right wing that Arizona monolithically supports SB 1070. Tens of thousands of people, who represent hundreds of thousands more, hit the streets under difficult conditions and with a massive police presence trying to intimidate them.
Rally speakers included local politicians and community leaders as well as Richard Trumka, leader of the AFL-CIO. The message from the stage was one of workers’ unity and the need to put a stop to the divide-and-conquer tactics employed by the enemies of poor and working people.
The national march to stop SB 1070 was a truly historic day in the growing movement for immigrant rights. It also marked a major step forward in the struggle against racism.
Arizona’s vicious attacks on immigrants are laying the foundation for a battle that can potentially lead to real, positive change for immigrants. As Arizona attempts to enforce apartheid, the people will continue to fight back.