We, the May Day Long Beach Coalition, are a coalition of diverse Long Beach community organizations that are united by a belief in the power of the people. While separately we represent a multitude of issues and communities, together we recognize the intersectionality of our struggles and the unity of our movement.
As 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglas wrote: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We believe that every worker should be treated with equality and respect regardless of gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation. We declare that all workers have the right to safe, healthy, and humane working conditions; we demand protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation for all workers. We emphasize that every worker has the right to collectively organize to improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions without fear of harassment or retaliation. We affirm the recent Long Beach City Council decision to raise the minimum wage to $13 by 2019 and $15 by 2021, with comprehensive, local, city-led wage enforcement to end wage theft in Long Beach. We stand together as a community to support the hotel workers who are organizing for a contract, to accompany them through the Stand With Women Against Abuse campaign, and to push Long Beach City Council to pass Claudia’s Law (which will protect hotel workers from workload abuse, sexual harassment, and forced overtime). As the Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports continue to be the profiting economic force of our region, we believe there must be an end to the misclassification, wage theft, and exploitation of our port truck drivers who transport the goods we enjoy every day.
The May Day Long Beach Coalition, in solidarity with International Workers and the Immigrant Rights Movement, supports the continued call for humane and comprehensive immigration reform. We demand a just legalization process and the dismantling of deportation policies that systematically separate families We denounce a system in which the detention and deportation of people are tied to private economic gain, envision a country in which immigrants are not scapegoated for larger social and political problems, and strive to create a city that welcomes all immigrant, migrant, and refugee families. We call for the dismantling of police and ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) collaboration and support the Federal Executive Action Programs (DACA and DAPA), which recognize and promote the well-being of immigrant youth and families. Finally, we acknowledge the tireless advocacy of immigrant rights activists across the country and vow to work with them in support of a more just and equal society.
We affirm the role of oppressed communities of color to be at the forefront of all struggles for economic and social justice. We, the May Day Long Beach Coalition, acknowledge that communities of color are specifically targeted by and vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence. There are disproportionately high rates of poverty and incarceration within communities of color; this structural inequality can only be explained and remedied systematically. We understand that the conflict among the youth of various communities of color is a derivative of a larger social and economic structure that has never made amends for its origins – chattel slavery, colonialism, white supremacy, and genocide. We unapologetically declare that Black Lives Matter and recognize that when those who are most oppressed and marginalized are liberated, we will all be free.
We affirm the right of working class communities – particularly communities of color – to resist both state-sanctioned police terrorism and the larger criminal injustice system that undergirds it. We, the May Day Long Beach Coalition, stand in solidarity with the families whose loved ones have had their lives stolen away by cops acting with impunity. We reject the status quo of toothless, bureaucratic city and police-aligned “civilian oversight” and demand community control over the police. We also stand in opposition to the systematic warehousing of Black and Brown bodies within the prison industrial complex, which intersects with police terror, the school-to-prison pipeline, gang injunctions, and for-profit prison labor.
We believe in peace based on justice and the peaceful settlement of conflicts between nations. We oppose imperialist wars of aggression, war mongering, and military attacks that unjustly target people in countries across the world and violate the sovereignty of other nations, merely to increase the profits of the military industrial complex and big business. We oppose military recruitment that targets working class youth and youth of color who are denied access to sustainable jobs and higher education. They are instead forced to fight wars and sacrifice their lives to increase the wealth of the richest 1%. We believe that the U.S. should prioritize funding for free education, healthcare, and other social services instead of wasting $639 billion a year on militarization.
We declare that education should be accessible to all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, financial status, and race. We condemn the privatization of higher education and demand that the state returns to its 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education – tuition-free college education. We call into question the current state of the Long Beach Unified School District, especially regarding on-campus police discipline: the pervasive use of law enforcement on school campuses is undeniably unjust – students and their families do not feel safe with police officers present, who target them based on their class, race, and documentation status. Furthermore, the recent collaboration of ICE with CSULB police, which led to the deportation of a community member, is equally alarming. Moreover, despite the passage of the Long Beach Resolution on School Discipline in 2013, far too many of our youth are being criminalized for their behavior. There is an undeniable lack of effort by the LBUSD to seek out and engage the voices of parents, students, and community members to help formulate and implement educational policies that are based on alternatives to citations and arrest-driven disciplinary measures. Consequently, we commit to working toward fostering a strong community to which students can turn when schools prove themselves to be a place of violence. Ultimately, we commit to abolishing violent presences on school sites and intend on creating the safe spaces our people need.
We believe housing is a core pillar of economic and racial justice and an essential front to building safe and healthy communities. We demand a halt to the disrespect, criminalization, and displacement of working class and underrepresented communities in their historic urban neighborhoods (these underrepresented communities include, but are not limited to, low-income and poor people, people of color, LGBTQI communities, seniors, people with disabilities, and youth of color). We condemn the gentrification of our city; we demand protection for our communities from skyrocketing rents, unjust evictions, and retaliation. We believe everyone deserves to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home, and we demand a stable and local source of funding & development of affordable homes for the lowest income levels. We demand that landlords, property managers, and companies be held accountable for perpetuating unsafe and unhealthy homes, and most importantly – for gross negligence.
Gender & LGBTQI Issues
We affirm the rights of women, members of the LGBTQI community, and those who are gender non-identifying, to have unfettered access to equal pay, all reproductive choices, and free healthcare. We stand in opposition to socially constructed gender roles, norms, and heteronormative patriarchal ideology. We believe that institutional and legal discrimination against LGBTQI people – as well as all social and economic relations that reproduce this discrimination – must be eradicated. We affirm the rights of all – with a special emphasis on members of the Trans community – to engage in decriminalized sex work without fear of being subject to homophobic-inspired violence, state-sanctioned police terror, and incarceration.
We affirm with no apologies or qualifications that access to healthcare is a universal human right. We, the May Day Long Beach Coalition, stand in opposition to the healthcare status quo, which subordinates the health and well-being of millions of people to the for-profit interests of private corporations. Healthcare, when sold as a commodity, inevitably leads to working class people receiving only the care they can afford, not what they need. This unequal setup, while fattening the coffers of private corporations, oftentimes results in bankruptcies, shorter life expectancy compared to most industrialized nations, and emotional and prolonged physical pain for individuals and families. We affirm that universal single-payer healthcare should be available to all people, including the undocumented community.
We believe that every person should be treated with equality and respect if they practice a faith/religion or do not practice a faith/ religion. Also, we believe that nobody should be banned to enter the country, or be targeted as a terrorist based on their nationality or country of origin. We promote tolerance and understanding of people from all religious/ faith backgrounds and will stand united against hate speech, harassment, violence, illegal detention or surveillance of any person based on their faith, religion or nationality.
We believe that disability is not biologically determined, but is instead a socially constructed oppression. Like all oppressions, disability can and must be eradicated. Working class people who live with various disabilities/impairments, which can take the form of being mental or physical (or both); single or multiple; short term or permanent; visible or nonvisible; painful or terminal etc. — are marginalized in our current society due to people’s “worth” being tied directly tied to our abilities to labor and produce profits. Since those who are not able-bodied are disproportionately excluded from participating in the for-profit economy, the basis is laid for ableist attitudes and practices to devalue their humanity and potential. This devaluation is reflected in barriers including, but not limited to high unemployment rates and lack of access to social services and public accommodations. We affirm that full participation in society by people living with disabilities/impairments cannot be achieved via charity or the paternalistic practice of treating them as victims. Instead, doing away with all social and economic relations that hinder people with impairments, would render obsolete the foundation for disability oppression.
We believe that every individual has the right to clean food, air, land, and water: we demand that the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials cease immediately. We call for the investment, development, and implementation of zero emissions technology for our freight industry; a halt in the building of all new freeways, rail yards, companies, and toxic facilities near our communities; and the inclusion of Long Beach community members in the planning and decision-making processes of all environmental policies. We demand bike and pedestrian infrastructure be built in all of Long Beach and that the city moves toward a 100% renewable energy grid by 2035. We oppose the exploitation of lands, peoples, and cultures; affirm the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural, and environmental self-determination of all peoples; and demand that all entities be held accountable for environmental destruction.
Land and Displacement
We recognize the nuanced roles colonialism, imperialism, Zionism, and forced migration play in all of our struggles on a daily basis. We are fully aware of the extent to which this country’s founding is rooted in the colonization of indigenous people (specifically the Tongva of LA Basin), as well as the forced enslavement of African captives. We also recognize this country’s consistently active role in pursuing colonial and imperial ventures from its violent inception until the present day: projects in Mexico, Central America, the Philippines, and SWANA (Southwest Asia / North Africa) all fuse to create a context in which land-grabbing, genocide, intensive state violence, and disparate economic situations force our families to leave their homes and seek exploitative, disproportionate, and under-sourced means of survival in the United States. We as the May Day Long Beach Coalition commit with unwavering resolve to the condemnation of the violent roots of the country and vow to work toward actualizing a world free from the structures that create, support, and expand the violence that inform struggles of colonization, displacement, and genocide.