May Day: El Gran Boicot

*Michelle is updating throughout the day right here.*

*Watch live video of the huge rallies in Los Angeles. Click the link at the top of the L.A. Times homepage.*


*Michelle debates the head of USF’s chapter of MEChA on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Click for audio. (Note: edited for brevity.)*

It’s moonbat Christmas, the perfect day for millions of illegals to take to the streets, bring their best friend — American business — to its knees, and do their level best to alienate most of the rest of us. Unsurprisingly, the Times and WaPo both report a split among immigration advocates over the wisdom of staging a boycott while legislation is pending in Congress — not to mention doing it on May Day. WaPo:

Carlos Castro, a leader in two local business groups and owner of the Todos Supermarkets in Northern Virginia, said he was wary of some advocates’ attempts to link immigrants’ rights with leftist causes.

“They want to create instability in the community,” he said. “It is kind of scary, because I lived through the metamorphosis of the Civil War [in El Salvador], and I know leadership and I know instigators. I want to make sure that we get the leaders of the Hispanic community out front. I’m not accusing anyone, but that’s certainly how it looks.”

Juan Jose Gutierrez, director of the California-based Latino Movement USA and a representative of ANSWER, called opponents of the boycott “rather paternalistic.”

But of course he did. PJM notes, importantly, that some Latino groups want no part of this, but in L.A. alone the police are preparing for 500,000 marchers. “It’s highly unpredictable what’s going to happen,” says the director of Berkeley’s Center for Latin American studies. Not so unpredictable: Tom Tancredo’s got an op-ed ready for the occasion and is raring to go.

The boycott is on today in Mexico, too. “Nothing gringo on May 1st” runs the slogan; Mexican lawmakers weigh the pros and cons and give it a thumbs up. Turns out the joke’s on them, though:

Mexicans’ refusal to “buy American” on May 1 could further polarize the debate and make reform supporters seem anti-American at the very moment that lobbyists are trying to persuade lawmakers in Washington to pass a bill that would benefit migrants, worries Larry Rubin, the chamber’s president.

“This is like shooting oneself in the foot,” Rubin said. “U.S. companies have been the first to lobby, launching a huge lobbying effort for immigration reform. … Why hurt something that is helping you?”…

South of the border, Mexicans are targeting American stores and chain restaurants – “That means no Dunkin’ Donuts, no McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Sears, Krispy Kreme or Wal-Mart,” reads one e-mail making the rounds.

But even activists are confused about which companies are U.S.-owned. Sears is cited by boycott organizers, despite the fact that Sears’ Mexico stores were bought by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in 1997. And few organizers mention Vips – the chain of ubiquitous Mexican diners – even though they are owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

We’ll be updating this post throughout the day with links to articles, blog posts, and assorted multimedia related to the protests. If you see or hear something interesting, e-mail us. In the meantime, check out this sampler of Marxist bottomfeeders looking to exploit illegal immigrants for their own ends, as well as their fellow travelers, NoHR4437 and 1Mayo. Note the fliers, too. A group with the stones to demand “No Increased Enforcement” is worthy of a certain perverse admiration.


Also for your reading pleasure: John & Ken of KFI 640 AM in L.A. (which we’ll be monitoring) have organized an anti-boycott promotion. A contributor to World Net Daily offers an illegal-immigration fact sheet which, she claims, is drawn entirely from articles in the L.A. Times. An anonymous tool at Indymedia trumpets his success in organizing a walk-out at a Brooklyn bakery. Punchline:

I heard him on the phone and although the owners were all pretty upset by it, he made it sound so concrete and matter of fact that they couldn’t really do anything other than figure out how to cancel some orders for Monday and make sure things didn’t go to waste while the store was closed. We won’t see them until after Monday so I’m not sure if there will be a backlash or some serious questioning.

And finally, Jihad Cindy tips her hand in the immigration debate — and to the surprise of no one, it turns out she’s only holding one card.

Update 2:21 a.m.: New poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows most Americans are willing to cut illegals a break. But note well:


Update 7:21 a.m.: Already a few op-eds on the wires. John Fund has a worthwhile column this morning on immigration supporters (especially Spanish-language radio hosts) turning a cold shoulder to the boycott. Read it if only for his background on demagogic ringleader Nativo Lopez. Carol Platt Liebau weighs in at the American Spectator to explain why a boycott places illegals in a no-win situation. And here’s Hot Air’s own contribution to the subject, a new Vent on the subject of the May Day mayday.

Update 8:02 a.m.: Bloggers are already weighing in this morning, too. Iowa Voice will be doing a round-up of his own. He points to, among others, Jay Tea discussing lowered expectations and Captain Ed noting the P.R. disaster involved in protesting on May Day and wondering why illegals didn’t choose Friday — Cinco de Mayo — instead.

Update 8:33 a.m.: Busy day ahead for the L.A. Times. Top story right now is the city’s attempts to batten down the hatches along Wilshire Boulevard. Says L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony:

“I just simply ask them [boycotters], whatever they do, to do it in a way that is peaceful and that helps change the hearts and minds of Americans in a positive way,” he said.

This Reuters report states that Mahony, head of the largest Catholic diocese in the United States, is opposed to the boycott (as Ted Kennedy is). Has he backed off that position or does someone have their facts wrong? Either way, Mahony says he’ll be marching through the barrio later this afternoon.

Back in Washington, WaPo reports that House Republicans are the center of gravity with respect to pending immigration legislation. Sensenbrenner, Tancredo, and Blunt are trying to hold the line against amnesty, but the Post says Senate leaders are close to a compromise, and Hastert reportedly is “willing to look at” what they have to say. Note this bit from Blunt, though, especially in light of the NBC News poll mentioned above:

With passage in December of the House’s get-tough immigration law, Republican leadership aides say the GOP has done its part to insulate its members from growing anger over illegal immigration. Large immigrant rallies against the House bill have done nothing to shake that belief, Blunt said. If anything, the images of a sea of immigrants, many of them illegal and many waving foreign flags, have bolstered the get-tough views of most Republican constituents.

“I think they’re hardening positions,” Blunt said of the rallies, with another round planned for today. “It just convinces the people we work for that the problem is bigger than they knew.”


The article also notes that the NBC poll shows Hispanics prefer Democrats in the Congressional elections, 55-22. We’ll see how tough Blunt really is soon enough.

Update 9:51 a.m.: Possible sign that the protests in L.A. will be much bigger than expected: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has postponed his trip to Texas and is thinking about attending. For more on Villaraigosa’s radical roots, including his stint as head of the UCLA chapter of MEChA, see Lowell Ponte’s behind the scenes look at the boycott at FrontPage.

More op-eds coming out now. Mark Krikorian launches the newly redesigned NRO by explaining why comparisons between today’s rallies and those of the civil rights movement — especially MLK’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial — are off base. The proper analogy, says Krikorian, is to Vietnam protests. He also reports that Lamar Alexander is set to introduce a resolution in the Senate today affirming that the national anthem, as well the pledge of allegiance and various oaths, should be recited by immigrants in English. (Listen to a snippet of the new Spanish-language version here.) The resolution will presumably be offered in connection with Alexander’s “Strengthening American Citizenship Act.”

Elsewhere, Neal Boortz offers a six-point plan for stopping illegal immigration, pays proper tribute to a reconquistador professor at the University of New Mexico, and sounds a common refrain about the news coverage of the protests:

I’m listening to CNN this morning as I prepare these program notes. Time after time I hear the word “immigrants.” Only once thus far have I heard any derivative of the word “illegal” used in a story.

And back at the Corner, John Derbyshire is ready for the debate and advises illegals to just bring it on already.

Update 10:12 am: New Jersey’s Attorney General, you know, the Garden State’s top law enforcer, will be attending an illegal alien rally with Sen. Jon Corzine.

Update 10:20 a.m.: Ay Dios mio. Rasmussen:


Update 11:39 a.m.: More polls: Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, reads the tea leaves and sees peligro for los illegales. So does the Chicago Tribune, whose editorial inexplicably concludes with a go-get-’em-tiger cheer after echoing Carol Platt Liebau’s point about a no-win situation:

[T]he “day without immigrants” strategy has two inherent risks. One is that it won’t inflict enough pain to make its point. The other is that it will.

Maybe citizens will get by for a day without immigrants. Or maybe they’ll get mad.

The only certainty is that those who walk off the job will be out a day’s pay.

Still more op-eds to read. Michelle highlights this incisive piece by Heather MacDonald from NRO a few weeks ago as a complement to today’s Vent. MacDonald looks at the relationship between the individual and the state as understood by illegal-immigration advocates; Mickey Kaus uses a throwaway line in a news article to do the very same thing over at Kausfiles.

The blogosphere is starting to hum. My pal Patterico demonstrates the strangeness of the day by linking favorably to an anti-illegal piece … in the L.A. Times. Confederate Yankee doesn’t mince words: “This May Day protest is a celebration of the illegal importation of poverty, and an attempt to legitimize the violation of this nation’s sovereignty.” Over at Fidel Castro’s least-favorite blog, Cuban-American George Moneo isn’t mincing his words, either. Tammy Bruce — who’ll be interviewing Hot Air’s own video wizard, Bryan Preston, at 12:30 EST on her radio show — notes that she’ll be joining KABC radio’s live coverage of the L.A. protests when her show ends at 3 p.m. Listen live over the web here. And Nathan Tabor at Human Events Online offers three words of advice to American citizens: buy, buy, buy.


Update 11:47 a.m.: Se va! “If I lose my job, it’s worth it.”

Update 11:58 a.m.: Excellent live video feed round-up from Shawn Wasson at Bare Knuckle Politics.

Update 12:35 p.m.: The boycott is on in Mexico, too. The first casualties? Innocent Mexican business owners.

Marina Serna, deputy manager for Burger King in downtown Mexico City, said she believed it had an effect. The restaurant had only one client during the first 90 minutes it was open, even though it is owned by Mexicans.

“I’d say that this is bad because even if we work in a company with an international brand, the owners are not from the United States, they are Mexicans,” Serna said.

Update 12:41 p.m.: The first protest photos are hitting the wires; click for larger size. The flags are flying in Homestead, Florida….


…and check this one out. You make the call: is the last word in the second line “proud” or “prouder”?


Update 1:09 p.m.: Just heard someone on Fox say that a new poll of Houstonians shows, for the first time in ten years, that they support building a fence. Can’t find it on Google News; if anyone has it, e-mail me.

Update 1:21 p.m.: Look who turned out to celebrate the boycott in Chicago.


Update 1:25 p.m.: Hot Air reader “dwagyak” offers this comment:

It is 10:02 am – PST. I’m an elementary specialist and see classes every half hour – so far, over 20% of the kids at my school are “absent”. I am FURIOYS at the slap in the face to the education system, but shouldn’t be suprised. I’m having video parties with candies for all the kids who are here – I’m not saying why, but why should I teach to classes with 8-10 kids missing? (And our school will have accept any parent-written excuse, so NONE of these kids will be considered truant!)

Update 1:35 p.m.: Fox asks the wrong question. The right question: does America have the will?


Update 2:25 p.m.: The boss sends along video of Fox’s interview with Indiana Congressman John Hostettler, who’s putting two and two together vis-a-vis the companies that had to shut down today due to understaffing. (The clip has been edited for brevity.) Memo to Tyson’s, Perdue, and McDonald’s: call your lawyers.

Also on the hot seat: Mayor Villaraigosa, whom PJM reports was left squirming during a radio interview this morning when asked whether there isn’t an important distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. Elsewhere, Amy Welborn notes that not all higher-ups in the U.S. Catholic Church are following Roger Mahony’s lead.

Update 2:36 p.m.: Have cooler heads prevailed? Perhaps so in D.C., says WaPo:

In the Washington region, leaders of immigrant groups said the real impact of the boycott would not be fully known until later this afternoon or evening. But anecdotal accounts — and earlier interviews with advocates who were divided over whether immigrants should participate in the boycott — suggested that while some were staying home from work, their action was not widespread….

Some local activists had predicted that thousands would participate in today’s boycott, which asks immigrants to refrain from buying goods and to stay home from work and school. But immigrant groups who have spoken out against the action said they fear that the immigration reform movement is being commandeered to promote political causes beyond immigration….

Some local Latino leaders said they worry about being associated with a Los Angeles-based group, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), that has been active in promotion of the boycott. They said they fear that the group’s broad-based opposition to Bush administration policies could hinder attempts to win allies for immigration reform on Capitol Hill.


Update 2:42 p.m.: Co-opting King. See Krikorian’s piece (linked above) for a response.


Update 2:58 p.m.: Gran boicot, gran backlash. Scenes from counter-protests in Boston and Las Vegas, respectively.

no-amnesty.jpg illegals-go-home.jpg

Update 3:26 p.m.: Chicago PD puts the turnout at 300,000. They’re marching in Mexico City, too — on the U.S. embassy. Emerging from his secret hideout to join in the fun: masked Marxist hearthrob/anti-globalization icon Subcomandante Marcos of the separatist Zapatista national army.


Update 3:37 p.m.: The L.A. Times has two photo series up on their website, one local and the other national.

Update 3:53 p.m.: Added a link at the top of the page to live video of the L.A. protests. Lots of folks in white shirts, per the organizers’ request. PJM says a spot check of the crowd shows 60% Mexican flags, and KABC radio reports seeing no signs demanding guest-worker status and lots of signs demanding amnesty.

Update 4:05 p.m.: The fallout begins:

Congressional strategists in both parties say the boycotts and work stoppages across the country Monday are likely to hurt chances of persuading conservative lawmakers to go along with an immigration bill this year. Key aides still hold out hope for sending one to President Bush’s desk before midterm elections, but were shaking their heads as they watched television coverage of small businesses that had to shut down and suburban work sites that were empty because of a national demonstration that proponents call a “Day Without Immigrants.”

Meanwhile, at City Journal, Heather MacDonald says fear is good:

But even if it were true that illegals lived in the shadows, why is that unfair? The bargain they chose was clear: if you come here illegally, the law says that you should face deportation. It is a measure of how surreal our immigration practice has become that it is now “mean-spirited” simply to raise the possibility in an illegal’s mind that his deportation risk is real, much less actually to deport him.

An excellent piece all the way through. RTWT.

Update 4:19 p.m.: C-SPAN has video of the “You Don’t Speak for Me” press conference held earlier today in Los Angeles by the Hispanic Coalition. (I linked to the group’s press release at the beginning of this post.) Click here and look for the item, “Hispanic-Americans Speaking Out About Immigration.”

Update 4:29 p.m.: Reuters seconds WaPo in reporting minimal damage to the restaurant industry from today’s walkout.

Update 5:03 p.m.: Why Patterico Will Never Run Out of Content, Reason #1,347: Here’s the headline the LAT’s running today in lieu of “Criminals Use Economic Extortion to Move to the Head of the Naturalization Line”:


Update 5:52 p.m.: Grabbed five minutes of the Big M’s debate this afternoon with Maria Vivanco, founder of the University of San Francisco’s chapter of MEChA, on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Click to listen. Note: the segment has been edited for brevity.

As you’ve probably seen on Drudge, the economic extortion is working in L.A.

Update 6:13 p.m.: A reporter at one of the rallies in L.A. tells 640 KFI-AM that the speeches are all in Spanish. He has no idea what’s being said. He adds that the crowd looks smaller to him than the one at the gran marcha in early April.

Update 6:25 p.m.: No numbers yet, but AP says the illegals have made their point:


While the full impact of the one-day Day Without Immigrants boycott was hard to immediately gauge, it was palpable in some industries with a heavily Hispanic work force. On-the-job turnout was dramatically lower at some locales in the meat-packing, masonry, restaurant and landscaping businesses, and numerous firms closed for the day as immigrants, legal and illegal, took the day off for rallies and marches….

Low attendance also was the story at hotels in Indianapolis, construction sites in Miami and plant nurseries and landscapers across a wide area.

Update 6:29 p.m.: A correspondent in Phoenix tells John and Ken of KFI that the turnout today was much lower than at last month’s rally.

Update 7:25 p.m.: The second L.A. rally, which is expected to be larger than the first, is getting started now. KFI reports Cardinal Mahony leading the march in a white t-shirt to express his solidarity, as well as protesters flying American flags upside down. Supposedly Geraldo Rivera is there too, zipping around on a Harley Davidson. Of note: the KFI reporter says the focus seems not to be on defeating the Sensenbrenner bill, as it has been at previous rallies, but on demanding full citizenship rights.

The Times and WaPo have each filed afternoon reports. Consensus verdict on economic impact? Too soon to tell.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a verdict of its own: mistake.

Update 7:38 p.m.: “Our hard work deserves a reward.”


Update 7:42 p.m.: Roger L. Simon is back from the first rally in L.A. with original photos. Spot the reconquistador.

Update 8:27 p.m.: According to KFI, the LAPD is reporting shockingly low numbers for today’s rallies — only 250,000 or so at the first protest this afternoon (half a million were expected) and a mere 75,000 at the evening event. Radio hosts John and Ken are incredulous and believe the numbers are low. A reporter on the scene agrees.

Investor’s Business Daily connects the boycott to the new Spanish “Star-Spangled Banner”:

Monday’s strike and the co-opting of the national anthem both convey a level of presumption that is bound to rub American citizens (and maybe naturalized citizens most of all) the wrong way. They suggest that millions of people not even legally in this country believe that they entitled to the rights of citizens.

The sad thing for the illegal immigrants is that, over the years, they had built up considerable political support for their eventual legalization simply by doing their jobs and quietly proving their value. Now they and their fair-weather activist friends are busy squandering that goodwill.

Back at KFI, John and Ken have an interesting theory about why the media is focused on L.A. today, and offer their own anecdotal evidence about the practical effect of the boycott on Angelenos. Click to listen.

Meanwhile in San Ysidro, the reconquistadores are out in force, replete with “Aztlan” banner to lead the way.


Update 9:35 p.m.: KFI fills out two unresolved stories: (1) Villaraigosa did end up attending the rallies, and did address the crowd — in English and Spanish; and (2) the initial LAPD crowd estimates for the evening rally were far too conservative. New estimate is 400,000.

Time magazine wraps up the day’s events with public school attendance stats: 70-90% AWOL in Chicago, 72,000 missing in L.A.


Tancredo surveys the scene and pronounces himself very pleased indeed:

“I couldn’t be happier (with the protests) because every single time this kind of thing happens, the polls show that more and more Americans turn against the protesters and whatever it is they are trying to advance,” Tancredo told Reuters in an interview.

“My guess is that Americans are going to say ‘What are those people doing waving all those other flags and what’s this about changing the national anthem into Spanish?” he said, a reference to a furor by the release of a Spanish-language version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Update 9:44 p.m.: A perfect ending: KFI reports that L.A. has decided to allow free admission to city buses for the 400,000 criminals rallying in the city tonight.

Update 9:51 p.m.: Hold the phone. KFI says now that the offer of free busing is being “modified.”

Update 10:22 p.m.: I’ll wrap things up with one last piece of audio which the big M in particular is bound to love. It’s from John and Ken again, but this time someone else is doing the talking — specifically, Fox 11 TV reporter Tony Valdez, delivering what John (or is it Ken?) later describes as “the report from Aztlan.” Don’t miss it. And have a great night.

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Jazz Shaw 8:31 AM on December 09, 2023