Progressive strikes take shape this week in New Orleans and across the U.S.

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Strikes are an alternative or work in tandem with formal protests like this Jan. 29 rally against Trump immigration policies. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • Strikes are an alternative or work in tandem with formal protests like this Jan. 29 rally against Trump immigration policies.

With varying degrees of success, demonstrations in New Orleans and across the U.S. this week experimented with the idea of strikes as a tool for activists who object to the policies of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Yesterday, Ideal Markets and at least one restaurant in the city closed in solidarity with A Day Without Immigrants, a national demonstration planned in opposition the Trump administration's anti-immigration stance and the recent executive order which attempted to ban immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. The demonstration as a whole captured widespread media attention and included strikes and closures from outposts of national brands such as McDonald's.

Strike4Democracy, a general strike scheduled for Feb. 17, gained some ground nationally — but seemed to falter in New Orleans.

According to Our Revolution organizer Michelle Hanks, a rally tentatively scheduled for today was scrapped when it became clear that many who hoped to participate and some organizers could not secure even a day off work. (Presumably, this problem was compounded by the convergence of the strike, the first weekend of major Mardi Gras parades and NBA All-Star Weekend, when many local businesses are in all-hands-on-deck mode.) In lieu of formal protest, organizers called for participants to avoid spending money, engage in public service and to contact state and local representatives to advocate for progressive causes.

Hanks said organizers are looking forward to a larger general strike tentatively scheduled for May 1, a day that traditionally celebrates workers' rights. (It's also the Monday just after the first weekend of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, potentially leading to similar complications.)

This week, the organizers of the Women's March that took place after the inauguration in Washington, D.C. and across the globe formalized a call for a national women's strike. "A Day Without a Woman" is scheduled for March 8, which also is International Women's Day.

On that day, the organization calls for its allies to "withdraw from corporations that harm us" and to exclusively support organizations aligned with its political goals.

"Do businesses support our communities, or do they drain their communities?" the organization asked in a statement announcing the event. "Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression?"

No New Orleans-specific event has yet been scheduled for the women's strike, and the Women's March organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

We'll have updates on the women's strike, and others, as more information develops.


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