The LA IWW GMB holds its regular monthly meetings on the last Sunday of the month at 12:30 PM. For the meeting location, please contact either or (323) 374-3499.
San Diego IWW
meets every 3rd Sunday of the month at 12:30 pm at the San Diego Education Association at 10393 San Diego Mission Road.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

IWW Celebrates May Day with Community Picnic

Dozens came out to MacArthur Park on May 1st to join the LA GMB branch of the IWW and Revolutionary Autonomous Communities (RAC) for a picnic highlighting the work of local grassroots organizations and working class struggles.

Before the picnic, Wobblies from Southern California marched with red and black armbands in support of Wyvernwood residents in East Los Angeles, who are fighting against a development that will destroy their rent-controlled housing community. This East L.A. march ended at La Placita Olvera, which was the ending point of a larger march for immigration reform that day.

At MacArthur Park, the program started with bluegrass music, after which FW Richard Modiano read the preamble of the IWW constitution and Matt Hart talked about the origins of International Workers’ Day. FW Emma spoke about the IWW’s proud 108-year history of democratic unionism, direct action and independence from the AFL-CIO.

The student movement was represented by José Amenero of the California Student Union (CASU). José talked about students’ fight for free, quality education, and their struggles against privatization, budget cuts and fee hikes.

Alicia Rivera, an organizer with Communities for a Better Environment, spoke about the fight against refinery pollution in Wilmington, explaining that the Chevron fire in Richmond, California, had drawn attention to the way corporations sacrifice maintenance and safety to profits. Refineries are already refining tar sands oil brought by train to Wilmington, and this toxic substance corrodes pipes, putting workers and residents at risk. Corporations are also trying to increase fracking in California. Alicia explained that the fight against tar sands oil, fracking and global warming were all interrelated, and ended by saying, “I believe our creator would like us to protect this world that has been given to us.”

Members of RAC spoke about their organization, which was born out of a 2007 immigrant rights protest at the park that turned violent when police rioted, beating several people. It has evolved into a self-determined community that gives out 180 boxes of vegetables and fruit to poor families every week. RAC has occupied a space in the park for this and maintains a firm policy of non-cooperation with authorities.

After dark, the May Day picnic ended with a preview of a film that local artist Byron José is making, called “Las Reinas de Los Angeles,” about transgender immigrants who put on Spanish language shows around Los Angeles.