Statement of Solidarity with Puerto Rico
“No somos pequeños, es que estamos de rodillas”
-Pedro Albizu Campos
On May 1st, recognized around the world as International Workers’ Day, Puerto Rican unions, students, feminists and activist organizations called a general strike. When they attempted to march down Milla de Oro, the main artery of the downtown financial district where the headquarters of the unelected, congressionally-imposed, austerity-imposing Fiscal Control Board (Junta de Control Fiscal) is located, police met them with tear gas and rubber bullets. Small children were tear gassed. A fruit vendor was shot nine times in the back with rubber bullets.
After the protesters fled the tear gas, heavily armed SWAT teams rampaged through Rio Piedras, where a campus of the University of Puerto Rico is located, assaulting students and grabbing activists from homes where they were taking shelter. 20 people were arrested.
As Mercedes Martínez, the president of Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico, told Jesse Hagopian,
Today was a day of pure struggle. I just got home from going to the police stations to check on our people. They sent over 1,000 police to intimidate the protest. People are hurt and in the hospital. It was brutal. They chased students to their homes, entered without warrants, and arrested them. This is the class struggle.
This state violence in service of capital has continued beyond the original May Day protests and is an extension of policies that combine voracious pillaging by corporations and deliberate neglect of humanitarian needs by the U.S. government in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
We share their anger and disgust with the $73 billion of debt, much of it in junk bonds foisted by banks like HSBC and signed for by corrupt local politicians.
We join them in repudiating the austerity imposed by the unelected Fiscal Control Board and PROMESA.
We support their struggle against the attacks on their education and infrastructure.
We recognize that the educators on the island are fighting the same battle as the #RedForEd movement, in harsher conditions and with more at stake.
We stand in solidarity with the Puerto Rican people, who are facing the combined attacks of colonialism, disaster capitalism, austerity, and two corrupt local political parties that only serve U.S. interests.
We condemn not only the brutal repression of the protests that began on May Day of this year, but also the continuing history of imperialist domination and colonial exploitation of the resources and people of the island.
We condemn the silencing of voices demanding justice, on May Day and every day.
¡Solidaridad con El Pueblo Boricua!
Democratic Socialists of America,
Libertarian Socialist Caucus
May 27th 2018
“We’re not small, it’s that we’re on our knees.” ↩︎