For the past ten years, No One Is Illegal - Toronto has organized the city’s Annual May Day of Action for the celebration and reassertion of our commitment to migrant justice struggles and decolonization.
This year, we were part of a coalition of three community groups: No One Is Illegal - Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN). For our 10th May Day, we joined thousands of community members, friends, and supporters to rally and march, holding up a banner that read “Migrants don’t steal jobs. Capitalists and Corporations do”.
Although Canada continues to enact policies and legislation that facilitate the global temporariness and casualization of labor by allowing corporate greed and racist border enforcement to collude and entrench a revolving door immigration policy, it is migrant workers who have been wrongfully scapegoated for what capitalism has brought. To this effect, we insisted: #KnowYourEnemy.
This year, we specifically highlighted struggles around eight themes: Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, migrant workers’ resistance to border imperialism, global solidarity with working class struggles, anti-poverty and anti-austerity organizing, student strikes and academic labor battles against neoliberalization, environmental justice, militant rank and file labor movements, and gender justice.
At 5pm, we began to gather around Nathan Phillip’s Square with our two emcees inviting speakers from various organizations like the Caregivers Action Center, Butterfly, and spoken word artists before the march.
We marched from City Hall and down Bay Street the heart of Canada's finance and corporate industries, making periodic stops on the way for Rhythms of Resistance to make noise as we rumbled and erupted in chants and cheers. We stopped in front of the Embassy of Mexico where speakers from LACSN demanded justice for the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. The march finally ended at St. James Park where more speakers shared their thoughts and performances,
Throughout the day, the beat of our drums, the stomp of our steps, and the vigour of our voices reverberated through the city streets and came together to echo the spirit of our resistance and commitment to the struggle: Freedom to move, freedom to return, freedom to stay!
As one of the three primary organizers of this year’s May Day, however, we would like to engage in deep critical reflection about the omission of anti-black racism in our call out and theme and the lack of effort on our part to actively and consciously reach out to Black-led organizations in the city. We understand that the struggle for migrant justice and decolonization are inextricably linked to combatting the structures of anti-black racism that are systematically embedded in the foundation of the colonial, capitalist state. As we reflect, learn and grow, we will continue to commit to the struggle for justice, dignity, and status for all.