May Day Protests
I’ve been getting a few small reminders to today’s protests as I go about my normal routine. Despite the fact that I left nearly 20 minutes late this morning, I got to work 10 minutes early, my commute was cut in half. While nobody from my office is out, a number of the people that work at our various other sites are out protesting. And when I went out for lunch and Fresca’s, a Mexican place I eat at about once a week, was closed. I went over to El Pollo Loco and the line was out the door, as if they were short staffed. Same thing with Tacos & Co. Despite my craving for Mexican food (and caffeine, but that’s a different story) I ended up at Subway.
As I’ve mentioned before, I support immigrant worker’s rights, even illegal immigrants. However, I don’t think a one day boycott will help their cause. Yes, they contribute a lot of capital to our economy, but they cannot withhold that capital for extended periods of time. What I mean to say is that the American economy needs the works as much as the workers need the American economy. Right now our system is in a comfortable equilibrium, we cannot kick out the illegal immigrants without our economy collapsing, but they also can’t stop working otherwise they will starve.
It took fourteen years for the Civil Rights Movement to run its course, from the time of Brown v Board of Education (1954) until the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed. It will likely be just as long a fight for immigrant’s rights, and today is something akin to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it is just the start. One thing is becoming increasingly clear, our current equilibrium is about to be disrupted. There will likely be legislation that pushes this issue back and forth over the coming years, but as Winston Churchill famously said, “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”