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May Day Musings


Published May 6, 2008 at 2:49 p.m.

Last Thursday, May 1, thousands of workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Los Angeles stopped working in protest of the Iraq War. The strike, according to Democracy Now!, was the largest since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"It’s astonishing and wildly encouraging that a West Coast labor union would show more guts and determination than the U.S. Congress," wrote a Los Angeles writer on the web newsletter CounterPunch, "in publicly defying a Republican administration."

Meanwhile, back in the only state president Bush hasn't visited, the Vermont AFL-CIO issued a statement of support for the striking West Coast workers. And on Saturday, May 3, the Old Labor Hall in Barre filled up a for a lecture by Amy and David Goodman.

Amy is the acclaimed host of labor-friendly Democracy Now! Her brother, a Waterbury resident, is a freelance journalist who's married to Democratic House Rep Sue Minter. Amy and David are now touring the country in support of their third co-written book, Standing Up to the Madness, which documents the work of unlikely citizen activists.

Like, for instance, Connecticut librarians who take on the Patriot Act.

On Saturday, before ceding the stage to his intrepid "big sister," David informed his audience that the Old Labor Hall's current name is incorrect. It used to include the word "socialist," he insisted. A UVM grad student essay confirms that the building, which was built in 1900, was originally named the "Socialist Party Labor Hall."

In other May Day news: Two local journalists had their reporting featured nationally. Benjamin Dangl's story on a recent protest at the General Dynamics facility in Burlington, "Vermont Students Join May 1 Protests," has been posted at The Nation's website. Dangl is the author, most recently, of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. A video by Sam Mayfield, community relations coordinator at CCTV, was featured yesterday on — you guessed it — Democracy Now!

For more info about those two, check out Dangl's website and Mayfield's blog, Sam Land.