May Day

MAY DAY….Conservatives are plenty pissed over the massive boycott planned for May 1 to highlight immigrant demands for “nothing less than full amnesty and dignity for the millions of undocumented workers presently in the U.S.” But where, Chris Kromm asks, is the progressive blogosphere?

In sharp contrast to the right-wing websites, a glance at today’s front pages of DKos, Huffington Post, Eschaton, Talking Points Memo and Think Progress ? to pick some progressive heavyweights ? reveals they have nothing to say about May 1….What’s going on? Why is the progressive blogosphere so completely out of touch?

For better or worse, I’ve been taking some of my cues on this subject from Los Angeles lefty Marc Cooper, who’s been following the immigration debate for years and has sensibilities roughly similar to mine. Here’s what he says:

There is a definite time and place for this sort of tactic, and it isn’t here or now. Boycotts are powerful and volatile weapons used as a last resort to bust open dams of dogged resistance. You don’t use them when the political tide is even vaguely flowing in your direction.

….That’s why the larger institutional players in the pro-immigrant movement prefer an after-school (and after-work) rally over an intentionally punitive boycott and walkout. They argue that such an escalation could alienate lawmakers and the public just when political sentiment is shifting more toward immigrants. The positive message of demanding inclusion in the United States would be replaced by a more negative and divisive signal.

I’m cautious by temperament, so I don’t really trust my own reaction to the boycott. Still, there’s no question that backlash is a real concern, and a militantly confrontational strategy strikes me as pretty risky right now. More importantly, though, I figure that if Marc, who shares neither my caution nor my inexperience at political protest, thinks the boycott is a bad idea, then there’s a good chance it’s a bad idea. So for now, that’s where I stand.