On May Day 2017 thousands of people marched through downtown Chicago in a simultaneous protest and celebration. Organizers estimate that the march drew over twenty thousand people into the streets. The march began with a rally at Union Park and wound its way through the rainy streets of the Chicago Loop before ending at Daley Plaza.
The march brought together people from many different communities and struggles, including the movement for Black lives, the Fight for Fifteen, and the Chicago Teachers Union, but the primary focus of the march was resistance to the Trump regime’s war on immigrants. The crowd chanted in both Spanish and English during the march as immigrants and their allies stood together to oppose the increasingly vicious attacks on immigrant communities throughout the country.
One man I spoke with, Patrick, told me that he had never attended a May Day event before but felt that he had to this year because “the stakes have never been higher” and because he wanted to see ICE abolished. Another marcher, Billie, told me that they were most concerned about “the rising tide of fascism in America” and felt that there was an urgency to organizing for resistance that had been absent in previous years.
Despite the grim threat posed by the Trump regime and the discomfort of the cold Chicago rain, the mood of the crowd remained high. Seeing union workers, immigrant families, socialists, and young organizers from oppressed communities marching side by side was a powerful reminder that May Day is a celebration of and for the working class in all its diversity and power. At the end of the march another PSL member turned to me and said, “May Day is our day.”