Monday, April 10, 2006

AMERICAN LABOR MUST LEAD THE FIGHT FOR FULL CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS FOR IMMIGRANTS

COMMENTARY

FULL CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS FOR IMMIGRANTS. NO SUPPORT FOR ANY CURRENT LEGISLATION BEFORE CONGRESS. THE LABOR MOVEMENT MUST USE ITS OWN METHODS IN THIS STRUGGLE.



A few thoughts on the struggle for full citizenship rights for all immigrants. As I write these lines there have been a couple of weeks of massive demonstrations for immigrant rights spearheaded by the Hispanic populations of the West and Southwest. This is a step in the right direction for several reasons. Let’s face it, one way or another, in the near or remote past, all of us came here as immigrants from someplace. So it is particularly important that the last waves of immigration gain the same rights that those of us who have been here longer. No, we will not have the last current American citizen close the door for us. This is especially true for working class people who have been victimized by the same divide and conquer strategy by the capitalist who run this government and this country. Let’s put the onus where it belongs. Immigrants do not threaten our livelihoods. Failure to struggle against the bosses does.

It is rather ironic that one of the most impoverished sections of the working class is leading the struggle. This is not accidental, for many of the foreign born militants leading today’s struggles come from countries where they have participated in class struggles against their own boss class (and under less than democratic conditions, including threats to life and limb). It is up to the American labor movement, especially the organized trade union movement, to lead the fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants in its own self-interest and self-defense. None of the various pieces of legislation currently before Congress is supportable on this issue. Even a cursory look at the history of social struggles in this country demonstrates that to win any demands sharp class struggle methods are needed. Yesterday’s labor struggles to win union recognition in the 1930’s were not gifts but fought for in the streets, by strikes, sit-downs and other militant methods. The lesson-If you do not fight, you cannot win. This battle can be won. Let’s win it. FULL CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS FOR ALL THOSE WHO MAKE IT HERE. FOR STARTERS-BRING MOTIONS TO SUPPORT THIS DEMAND BEFORE YOUR UNION, SCHOOL OR POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS.