San Diego Labor Day Rally – ‘Not a day to celebrate but a day to agitate!’

by on September 6, 2011 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Hundreds gathered for the Rally for the Jobless along Broadway. (Photo by Patty Jones.)

Under gray skies, over 350 people gathered along Broadway yesterday in downtown San Diego at a Labor Day “Rally for the Jobless.” Organized by MoveOn and Rebuild the American Dream, the noon event was designed to gather unemployed San Diegans and put pressure on the White House and Congress for jobs.

Bob Filner excites the crowd. (Photo by Byron Morton.)

Waving signs, banners and flags the demonstrators dominated that block of downtown for a couple of hours, with chants, horns honking in support, and then with a rally where many local politicians spoke.  “Jobs – not cuts!” was a familiar refrain from the crowd.

The gathering was energized when a sea of yellow-shirts worn by grocery workers and their supporters marched into the crowd, chanting “We want a contract, and we want it now!”  Lorena Gonzalez – the head of the Labor Council – yelled out to organizers as she appeared in the midst of the marchers, “I brought a few of my friends along!”

Congressional reps Bob Filner and Susan Davis spoke, as did State Senator Juan Vargas, along with Lori Saldana who is running against Brian Bilbray in newly-drawn Congressional district.  Gonzalez also addressed the crowd, as did Floyd Morrow, a former City Councilman, Gregg Robinson, Grossmont College professor and vice-president of his AFT local, Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, head of Activist San Diego, and Frank Gormlie, the MoveOn coordinator.

Lorena Gonzalez, head of the local San Diego Labor Council, moves the crowd. She brought her own bullhorn. (Photo by Byron Morton.)

One of Gormlie’s refrains was: “We’re not here to celebrate Labor Day – we’re here to agitate!”

When Filner grabbed the bullhorn, he exhorted the crowd to join him to turn the city around. “There’s no reason,” the mayoral candidate declared, “that San Diego can’t have its own jobs program!” The crowd roared its approval.

Speaker after speaker, Lorena Gonzalez, Susan Davis, Gregg Robinson, Floyd Morrow – all spoke of how San Diegans need to join together, form a movement to change the City’s narrative, to make labor a partner in the changes, to fix our broken infrastructure, to press for good green jobs.

Below is a gallery of photos from the rally – taken by different photographers: Patty Jones, Shelly Plumb, Byron Morton and Vince Compagne. (Click on the images for a larger version.)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frank Gormlie September 6, 2011 at 9:25 am

Here is the KPBS report .

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avatar Frank Gormlie September 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

And here is Fox News 5 – one of the better local TV coverages of the rally.

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avatar hboo September 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

The federal government is horrible at creating jobs. If anything the Federal Govt. itself should be a nothing more then jobs created by the private sector as means of keeping commerce and our communities safe. They should not be looked to for anything other then enforcing the laws to insure justice.

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avatar annagrace September 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

This is a message to the San Diego Symphony cellist. I walked up to you and told you how much I remember you. Your curls, your deep set eyes, and how you bend over this exquisite instrument and coax such beautiful music from its strings and the belly. For a brief moment I held your beautiful hand and had the opportunity to thank you. Thank you for standing beside us. It was a privilege to stand beside you.

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avatar Bob Steele September 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

No government can create a private sector job. It is impossible to take money out of the private sector and run it through the bowels of the government and get anything but %%%%. Government can redistribute about 30 cents of every dollar that is taken in for a specific purpose. About the same as feeding corn to a rooster.

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