For some years now, Cinco de Mayo has been a day that I usually go out for Mexican food and, while I eat, think about the personal and collective karma I have to come to grips with as a white person (with mostly European ancestors) in relation to people with roots in América Latina.
Today I got a couple of awesome links that have stirred some reflection, and I decided to share them here. One is an article at Colorlines today by Roberto Lavato: Cinco de Mayo, Primero de Mayo and the Birth of the United States of América. Here's an excerpt:
With notable exceptions among the more thoughtful Cinco de Mayo organizers around the country, event organizers no longer tell us that we’re celebrating the victory of the badly-equipped, but inspired Mexican guerrilla army that fought and defeated the far better-equipped forces of Napoleon III’s decaying French Empire. Cinco de Mayo’s loss of electricity has itself become a Latino-“American” sign of imperial malaise.
Instead, our electricidad has migrated to Primero de Mayo (May Day). Born in the U.S., after immigrant and other workers protesting in Chicago’s Haymarket Square were killed by police in the late 19th century, Primero de Mayo was, until very recently, a largely forgotten commie affair. Today, Latino workers, specifically immigrant workers, march against the militarized immigration forces of President Obama, and these workers are powering May Day back to relevance in a decaying empire that tries to border itself off from the rest of the working world by celebrating “Labor Day” in September. The day connects us to people marching throughout the hemisphere and the entire world; it previews and makes palpable the bottom-up borderlessness that is the only salvation for this extremely troubled planet.
The other link was to a YouTube video of the only known voice recording of Mother Jones, recorded on her 100th birthday, May 1, 1930:
Que viva el Primero de Mayo!