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(en) US, Pittsburgh IWW* and Friends of Labor Celebrate May Day & Branch Charter Day

Date Thu, 11 May 2006 14:17:53 +0300

Fire Your BossHomestead, PA, -- More than one hundred members of the
Industrial Workers of the World, friends of Labor, local activists, and
community members celebrated International Workers' Day in
Pittsburgh, PA. The Pittsburgh IWW's second annual celebration of
workers worldwide was held on April 29th at the Bulgarian-Macedonian
National Education and Cultural Center and included a midnight march to
the historic Homestead Strikers' Monument.
Members of the Pittsburgh IWW, which was also celebrating the fourth
anniversary of its chartering on May Day 2002, coordinated the
evening's events which included various musical acts, labor skits,
poetry and spoken word performances, and speak outs by local union
members and activists. In addition to the IWW, members belonging of the
Teamsters, Steelworkers, and Writers Guild were present, as were
representatives of local activist groups such as the Thomas Merton Center,
the anti-war Pittsburgh Organizing Group, Pittsburgh Friends of
Immigrants, and the Big Idea Bookstore. Members of the of the Pittsburgh
Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance, including IWW member and
PASCA co-founder Ken Miller, were also on hand and spoke of this
summer's activities around the 2006 All-Star Game to raise awareness
of major league baseball's connection to global apparel sweatshops.

The most powerful musical moment of the night came when Mike Stout, a
local labor activist currently releasing his 9th CD, belted out a haunting
and spirited a capella rendition of “Which Side Are You On.” The
most comical moments came from skits performed by local IWW
members, including Mimi Yahn & Evan Wolfson who performed aWork
People's College satire. Delivering a powerful anti-war message, IWW
member Jeremy Shenk did a riveting spoken-word performance that drew
enormous applause from the crowd.

As is the tradition of the Pittsburgh IWW May Day celebration, the
evening concluded with a short midnight march to a monument dedicated
to the Homestead steelworkers and strikers. Local labor authorities Charlie
McCollester and Mel Packer spoke eloquently on behalf of the workers
who fought and died at the hands of steel boss Henry Clay Frick and his
hired goons, the Pinkertons. As curious passers-by honked and waved to
the crowd of about thirty gathered at the monument, Charlie McCollester
reminded the group that “just three blocks away Mother Jones was
arrested by the police for demonstrating without a permit. But when asked
by the judge if she had a permit to speak in public Mother Jones replied,
‘I indeed have a permit to speak in public, your honor, it was given to
me by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison!'”

The vibrant group concluded the evening's celebration by singing a
loud and proud version of a May Day favorite, the “Internationale.”

* IWW is an antiauthoritarian anticapitalist syndicate
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