A Day Without Gringos

At May Day in Mexico City 200.000 workers spilled out of the city’s famous Zocalo into surrounding streets. This year’s theme obviously centered on the plight of Mexico’s 26,000,000 countrymen and women living abroad in the US. It is estimated that 8 million undocumented Mexicans live in the US. They ostensibly are caught in the eye of the immigration reform storm.

Workers in Mexico blamed the Fox government for the deaths of miners in Michoacan, who were attacked by state and Federal Police in a surprise raid to re-take a factory that striking workers had occupied. Workers from the Mine and Metalworkers Union struck in early April to demand the reinstatement of their union president, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who was indicted by the Fox Administration for embezzlement, and quickly replaced by a pro-company puppet.

Gómez Urrutia had the first word from the stage, as marchers were read a statement he wrote from exile. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in Northern Mexico. Zapatista Sub-commandante Marcos—a man who is used to hiding—addressed the crowd in person. Marcos exhorted workers to grab control of the means of production.

May Day 2006 marked the first time in history that a vast majority of unions— including public sector unions— participated in the same march.