Showing posts with label immigrant rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immigrant rights. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

From The Archives- Socialist Alternative May Day Statement-Immigration Rights are Workers' Rights-STOP THE RAIDS, DEPORTATIONS AND BUDGET CUTS!

Click on the headline to link to the Socialist Alternative website.

Immigration Rights are Workers' Rights-STOP THE RAIDS, DEPORTATIONS AND 

Socialist Alternative May Day Statement

Working people are under attack. Collective bargaining rights are be¬ing taken away from unions as immigrants are being terrorized with raids and deportations. Politicians of both parties are cutting budgets while they wage war and give handouts to the big banks and corporate billion¬aires that helped create this crisis in the first place.

Corporations dodge taxes, and the politicians still say there is no money to rand our schools, healthcare and countless other services. In a recent New York Times article (March 24, 2011) the multi-billion dollar company General Electric is exposed for receiving taxpayer money but not paying any taxes at all! Yet, undocumented workers and public sector workers are scapegoated for the economic devastation created by corporate domination.

Right-wing Republican politicians pass racist laws such as SB 1070 in Arizona and now Georgia's bill HB8. They try to crush public sector unions and accuse teachers of wrecking the economy while the blame should be left firmly at the doorsteps of Wall Street. Republicans are not alone; Democratic politicians across the country, from top to bottom, are shutting down schools, slashing budgets, waging war and providing tax breaks for the rich.

While big oil companies like BP destroy the environment, they also raise prices to make us pay for the problems that their system created. Enough is enough!

We need to stand up and fight back, just like the workers in Wisconsin and Egypt. Coalitions need to be built against all cuts in sendees that can bring together unions, community groups and socialists. We need to demand full legalization and citizenship rights for all workers. As a step in this direction, we need to run in¬dependent working class candidates against both parties of big business.

May Day, International Workers' Day, was founded in this country to honor the labor martyrs that fought for the 8-hour work day through strike action. Much of this struggle was led by immigrant workers. We will honor their memory by fighting against the corporate domination that is destroying the world today.

Undocumented workers have left their homes and country to find opportunities to bring a better life for there families and themselves. Many fled countries devastated by the policies of the U.S. government and the multi-national corporations that the government serves. Just as previously, immigrants can help ignite a labor movement that can defeat the attacks on all working people.

• Stop the Budget Cuts -
Close the Corporate Tax

• For a Massive Public
Works Program to Cre¬
ate Jobs

• Full Legalization and
Citizenship Rights for all
Undocumented Workers

• For Independent Can¬
didates Against Budget
Cuts and Attacks on

• For a Workers' Party and
a Democratic Socialist

Tel. (774) 454-9060
Derechos'de Inmigrantes Son Derechos de Trabajadores


Declaration del Dia International de los Trabajadores de Socialist Alternative

Los trabajadores estan bajo ataque. Se estan quitando los derechos de negotiation del convenio de los sindicatos a partida que se estan aterrorizando a los inmigrantes con las redadas y deportaciones. Los politicos de ambos partidos estan recortando los presupuestos mientras que hacen la guerra y dan limosnas a los grandes bancos y multimillonarios corporativos que ayudaron a crear esta crisis economica en primer lugar.

Las corporaciones evaden impuestos, y los politicos todavia dicen que no hay dinero para financiar nuestras escuela-sel seguro medico y un sinnumero de otros servicios. iEn un articulo reciente del New York Times (24 de marzo de 2011), se expone la rnultimillonaria em-presa de General Electric a recibir dinero de los contribuyentes, pero ella siquiera paga los impuestos! Sin embargo, los trabajadores indocumentados y los tra¬bajadores del sector publico son chivos expiatorios de la devastation economica creada por la domination corporativa.

Los politicos republicanos de derecha aprobaron las leyes racistas como SB1070o en Arizona y ahora el proyecto de ley HB8 de Georgia. Ellos tratan de aplastar a los sindicatos del sector pu¬blico y echar la culpa a los profesores y otros trabajadores del sector publico cuando la culpa pertenece a las puertas de Wall Street. Los republicanos no estan solos; los politicos democratas de todo el pais, de arriba a abajo, estan cerrando las escuelas, reduciendo los presupuestos, haciendo la guerra y ofreciendo incentives fiscales para los ricos.

Mientras que las grandes petroleras como BP destruyen el medio ambiente, tambien aumentan los precios de gaso-lina para hacernos pagar por los prob-lemas que su sistema haya creado. iBasta ya!

Tenemos que resistir y luchar, al igual que a los trabajadores en Wisconsin y Egipto. Las coaliciones deben construirse contra todos los recortes en los ser¬vicios que pueden reunir a los sindicatos, los grupos comunitarios y los socialistas. Tenemos que exigir la plena legalization y derechos de ciudadania para todos los trabajadores. Como un paso en esa direction, tenemos que postular candidates independientes y de clase trabajadora contra ambos partidos del Gran Negocio.

El Primero de Mayo, Dia Internacional de los Trabajadores, fue fundado en este pais para honrar a los martires de la clase trabajadora que lucharon por la Jornada de 8 horas a traves de la huelga. Gran parte de esta lucha fue dirigida por los trabajadores inmigrantes. Vamos a honrar su memoria mediante la lucha contra la domination corporativa que esta destruyendo el mundo de hoy.

Los trabajadores indocumentados han dejado sus casas y su pais para eneontrar oportunidades de llevar una vida mejor para sus familias y para si mismos. Muchos huyeron de paises devastados por las politicas del gobierno de EE.UU. y las corporaciones multi-nacionales que el gobierno sirve. Al igual que anterior-mente, los inmigrantes pueden ayudar a encender un movimiento obrero que puede derr-otar los ataques a todos los trabajadores.

•Alto a los recortes pre-supuestarios — Pare las evitaciones de pagar impuestos de las Corporaciones

• Para un programa de ob-
ras publico y masivo para
crear empleos

• Plena legalizacion y dere¬
chos de ciudadania para
todos los trabajadores

• Para candidates indepen¬
dientes contra los re¬
cortes presvupuestfirios y
ataques a los sindicatos

• Por un partido obrero y
una sociedad socialista

Tel. (774) 454-9060

Thursday, February 16, 2017

*From The Pages Of "Workers Vanguard"-Immigration Rights And The Fight For Black Liberation- A Two Part Article

Click on the title to link to an on line copy of the "Workers Vanguard" Part TWO of the article on the subject mentioned in the headline.

Workers Vanguard No. 885
2 February 2007

Immigrant Rights and the Fight for Black Liberation

Part One

(Black History and the Class Struggle)

JANUARY 27—Three days ago, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents descended upon the Smithfield pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, and arrested 21 workers who are now being deported. The Smithfield bosses have worked hand in hand with ICE, targeting workers on the pretext that their Social Security numbers cannot be verified.

After more than a decade of struggle by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to organize Smithfield, the company recently said it will allow a new union representation election. However, just prior to the ICE raid, the company said that beginning in February it will fire up to 600 workers, primarily those who walked out to protest the firing of 75 immigrants last year (see “Smithfield Walkout Saves Immigrants’ Jobs,” WV No. 881, 24 November 2006). Moreover, Smithfield has effectively blocked elections by appealing a National Labor Relations Board ruling that held that the company’s private cops had brutalized workers during an earlier walkout.

The arrests at Smithfield are the latest installment of a vindictive campaign launched by the government following immigrant rights protests last spring. More than 750 immigrants in Southern California were rounded up this month as part of “Operation Return to Sender,” a nationwide drive in which more than 13,000 people have been arrested since June, ostensibly for evading deportation orders or for having previously been deported for crimes committed in the U.S.

“Homeland Security” repression is also bearing down on unionized black workers. Late last year in Chicago, some 70 mostly black rail workers lost their jobs, many for supposedly violating new government guidelines barring ex-felons from holding such positions. As we wrote in “Protest ‘War on Terror’ Firing of Rail Workers!” (WV No. 884, 19 January): “The fight for the rights of workers, immigrants and black people will either go forward together—independent from and opposed to the capitalist class and its government—or fall back separately.”

The following is adapted from a forum given in Los Angeles on 16 September 2006 by Spartacist League Central Committee member Don Alexander.

* * *

Not a day passes without many horrible examples of the social barbarism inherent in this decaying, racist capitalist system. In the world arena, so-called civilized U.S. imperialism has been and is the outstanding example of imperialist rapacity, smugness, hypocrisy, torture and mass murder. In the U.S., the bipartisan “war against terror” is a war against immigrants, black people, the left and labor. It is no accident that following the nationwide immigrant rights protests last May, the capitalist government dispatched the National Guard to the Mexican border and also sent Guardsmen back to New Orleans. Not a mere coincidence. The racist capitalist ruling class has never missed a chance to play whites off against blacks, blacks and whites against immigrants, men against women, old against young, and vice versa.

The struggles against anti-immigrant chauvinism and for black freedom are intertwined. The key to unlocking the power of labor in the United States is the fight for black liberation, which can be a motor force for proletarian revolution. We say that the color bar in America, the special oppression of black people as an oppressed race-color caste, serves to obscure the division of society into irreconcilable classes and to keep the working class divided.

Today immigrants are 12 percent of the population, with about half coming from Mexico and Central America and the rest from Asia and Europe. In the 1950s, only 2.5 million immigrants arrived in the United States, with 60 percent coming from Europe or Canada, 25 percent from Latin America or the Caribbean and only 6 percent from Asia. By the 1980s, however, immigration to the U.S. had nearly tripled to 7.3 million people, only 12 percent of whom came from Europe or Canada, with 47 percent originating from Latin America and another 37 percent from Asia. During the 1990s, an additional ten million immigrants entered the country, exceeding the prior pace set in the previous decade by 37.7 percent. The vast majority came from Latin America and Asia.

Twenty years ago, the right-wing Republican Reagan administration introduced the Immigration Reform and Control Act. They came up with a “guest worker” program primarily serving the interests of huge agribusiness. But the Act legalized 2.3 million Mexican workers, who had to document at least five years of residence in the U.S. This meant that Hispanics—who had historically been concentrated in Texas, California and also Florida, with its large number of Cubans, Nicaraguans and others—could move elsewhere. During the 1990s, the Hispanic population increased by some 60 percent, rising from 22.4 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000. By 2003, the new census counts confirmed that the Hispanic population surpassed black Americans as the nation’s largest minority.

Our Marxist program speaks directly to immigrants’ burning needs. We demand full citizenship rights for all immigrants, whether legal or “illegal”—for all who have made it here. We also say that if there were a real amnesty for undocumented workers, we would support that, while recognizing that such gains are partial. We stand for full equality of all languages in all spheres of public life and defend bilingual education against “English only” bigots. We stand unalterably opposed to the bourgeoisie’s anti-immigrant laws and regulations. Against the capitalists’ attempts to use undocumented, low-wage immigrant workers as a club against the trade unions, we seek to mobilize the labor movement to fight deportations and anti-immigrant raids through class-struggle means, and to organize such workers into unions with full rights and protections.

We fight to build a party—a multiracial revolutionary workers party—that champions the interests and the rights of all the oppressed and exploited, whether fighting for full citizenship rights for all immigrants, for defense of the besieged Latino poor, for defense of Asians, for defense of abortion rights for women, for women’s liberation through socialist revolution, for democratic rights for homosexuals, for black freedom. Immigrant workers, especially from Mexico and Central America, bring militant traditions of class struggle to the U.S. And they are not only a catalyst for class and social struggle, but also a human bridge linking the struggles of working people on both sides of the border. And this is why it’s so important to mobilize immigrant workers in struggle and to defend them.

It is not just a question of immigrant workers’ continued militancy and determination, but that they share common class interests with the proletariat as a whole. There must be a class-struggle mobilization of the labor movement to fight for jobs for all through a shorter workweek with no cut in pay, a unified struggle for our burning, fundamental needs.

Worldwide, the imperialists have perfected the art of playing upon national, ethnic, religious and sexual divisions to perpetuate their barbaric rule. At their disposal are various weapons of mass deception: their press, their political parties, their preachers and priests. Above all, they have their armed bodies of men who safeguard their “right” to exploit and live off the labor of others. As Trotskyists, we fight for international proletarian revolution.

We raise an implacable struggle against the U.S. capitalist rulers, both Democrats and Republicans, and demand the unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea and elsewhere. We stand for the defeat of imperialism through international proletarian revolution. While the imperialist troops butcher Iraqis, the racist cops gun down blacks and Latinos here in racist capitalist America.

Marxism and Immigration

Our revolutionary internationalist proletarian program flows from the reality of the world capitalist economy. As Marxists, we understand that imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, is not a preferred policy of capitalism but the inevitable product of the constant search for sources of cheap labor and raw materials. This has twice resulted in bloody interimperialist wars for the division and redivision of the world.

Whether it’s immigration or trade policy, we don’t seek to advise the bourgeoisie. There is no answer to the brutal immiseration produced by this boom-and-bust capitalist system without a proletarian socialist revolution that takes power out of the hands of the capitalist exploiters. Basing ourselves upon the lessons of history—the Paris Commune of 1871, and in particular the victorious October 1917 Russian Revolution—we understand that workers cannot achieve emancipation through a futile quest to reform the capitalist profit system. The fight must be for a socialist revolution that smashes the bloody capitalist state apparatus and constructs a workers state. This requires a consistently revolutionary program and the leadership of a Leninist vanguard party, a tribune of the people.

The system of capitalism long ago outlived any progressive historical role. Today, capitalism retards the development of the productive forces of society, which long ago outgrew the narrow shell of the bourgeois nation-state. We recognize that the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet degenerated workers state and the East European deformed workers states, an unprecedented defeat of the international proletariat, has resulted in a retrogression of political consciousness, albeit unevenly. This has meant that the proletariat today does not view its struggles through the prism of the fight for socialism. Despite the bourgeois lie of the “death of communism,” there exists a rich body of theoretical and programmatic conceptions to draw upon in the struggle for the complete emancipation of the working class from capitalist exploitation.

The exploiters know this. And that is why they put out their anti-communist garbage. Outlived social classes fight back in defense of their obsolete systems, just like the pro-slavery ideologists in the pre-Civil War South did—those like George Fitzhugh, who wrote biting denunciations of the evils of the industrial capitalist wage-slavery system in the North in order to counter the slaveholders’ Northern bourgeois opponents. It was the Southern slavocracy’s desire to extend slavery that partly motivated the 1846 invasion of Mexico, which resulted in the United States government’s stealing half of Mexico’s territory. A workers government in the U.S. would return to Mexico certain predominantly Spanish-speaking areas along the border. It is worthy of note that in 1855 Texas slaveholders bitterly complained of the estimated loss of more than 4,000 black slaves, valued at more than $3.2 million, who escaped to northern Mexico. According to one account, by the mid 1850s several Texas counties had passed laws prohibiting Mexicans from communicating with slaves.

Capitalism, paraphrasing Karl Marx, came into the world dripping with the blood of the oppressed. In Volume One of Capital, Marx laid out how the development of capitalism entailed horrific consequences especially for women and children. Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin quoted from this volume in The Teachings of Karl Marx (1915):

“‘The expropriation and eviction of a part of the agricultural population not only set free for industrial capital, the laborers, their means of subsistence, and material for labor; it also created the home market.’

“The impoverishment and ruin of the agricultural population led, in their turn, to the formation of a reserve army of labor for capital. In every capitalist country ‘a part of the agricultural population is therefore constantly on the point of passing over into an urban or manufacturing proletariat…. This source of relative surplus population is thus constantly flowing…. The agricultural labor is therefore reduced to the minimum of wages, and always stands with one foot in the swamp of pauperism’.”

This process also results in the amalgamation of the proletariat of different nations and brings to the fore their common interests as an international class. “The Thesis on the World Role of American Imperialism” (1938), one of the founding documents of Trotsky’s Fourth International, exposed the deceitful “good neighbor” policy of U.S. imperialism toward Latin America. (The name has changed over the years. I know under Kennedy they used to refer to it as the “Alliance for Progress.”) The Thesis stated:

“The ‘good neighbor’ policy is nothing but the attempt to unify the Western Hemisphere under the hegemony of Washington, as a solid bloc welded by the latter in its drive to close the door of the two American continents to all the foreign imperialist powers except itself. This policy is materially supplemented by the favorable trade agreements which the United States seeks to conclude with Latin American countries in the hope of systematically edging its rivals out of the market…. The struggle against American imperialism is therefore at the same time a struggle against the coming imperialist war and for the liberation of oppressed colonial and semicolonial peoples. Hence, it is inseparable from the class struggle of the American proletariat against the ruling bourgeoisie, and cannot be conducted apart from it.”

This is still true. Currently there are some bourgeois-nationalist thorns in the side of U.S. imperialism, such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, who spout anti-U.S. rhetoric as a way to conceal their own bourgeois rule.

We fight for the unity and integrity of the international working class against chauvinism and racism. The same racist U.S. capitalist butchers who brutally exploit the peoples of Latin America and elsewhere also let the poor and black people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast drown, suffer and rot during and after Hurricane Katrina. They use their cops to torture black people in Chicago, and last January they sent white coal miners to their deaths in West Virginia.

The “Free Trade” Rape of Mexico

Mexico today is in turmoil. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) forced millions of Mexican peasants out of the countryside. NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, and in its first two years more than 2.3 million Mexicans lost their jobs. The effect of NAFTA is an important component of increased immigration to the U.S. Also, capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union and East Europe has accelerated immigration internationally, particularly to West Europe. NAFTA wreaked havoc for Mexican workers and peasants with the elimination of state subsidies for many goods and services. Mexican workers had their wages slashed, they were thrown out of work by the thousands, and many were forced into informal employment. The costs of basic necessities such as gas and electricity skyrocketed, and the masses today face increased starvation or are forced to emigrate.

This “free trade agreement” represented imperialist looting of Mexico. We opposed it from the very beginning from an internationalist, revolutionary standpoint. In 1991, the Grupo Espartaquista de México, the Trotskyist League of Canada and the Spartacist League/U.S., sections of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), issued a joint statement declaring, “There is a burning need for an internationalist proletarian opposition which stands with the working class and impoverished peasantry of Mexico against the imperialist assault” (“Stop U.S. ‘Free Trade’ Rape of Mexico,” WV No. 530, 6 July 1991). In contrast, the labor tops of the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters opposed NAFTA on the basis of poisonous chauvinism and protectionism.

Apparently, the U.S. imperialists are building what they call a NAFTA superhighway—the construction of major transportation corridors from Mexico’s Pacific coast port of Lázaro Cárdenas to Kansas City, and also to Canada. This is the inexorable logic of capitalist production. Capital migrates to areas of higher profitability. This demands of Marxists the organization of workers, from the Yukon to the Yucatán, for common internationalist class struggle and for socialist revolution throughout the Americas.

The labor lieutenants of the capitalist class—the pro-capitalist trade-union bureaucracy—holler about foreign workers “taking American jobs,” with China being at the top of their list. It’s in the interests of the U.S. proletariat to unite with the workers of the world to overthrow the hideous system of capitalism. The imperialists especially seek to restore capitalist rule in China, a deformed workers state, and completely turn that country into a giant sweatshop of superexploited labor and a haven for super-profits.

Immigration and Women’s Oppression

Women workers in Mexico are brutally exploited, especially in the so-called free-trade maquiladora factory zones in the North. Women there as young as 16 suffer exposure to poisonous chemicals and endure wretched working conditions that maim and destroy them. They endure not only constant sexist abuse but outright murder by the police and their henchmen. Ideologically, the reactionary, anti-woman Catholic church and the bourgeois parties—the National Action Party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the Party of the Democratic Revolution—bolster their subjugation. The institution of the family is the main source of the oppression of women.

Many women from desperately poor Third World countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, endure racist, anti-woman abuse in the U.S. Some women opt for prostitution as a means to survive. Prostitution should be decriminalized and the bourgeois state should stay out of our bedrooms and our lives. Whether in Mexico, the Philippines or even the “land of the free,” the capitalist U.S.A., the fight for free abortion on demand, free quality medical and child care and equal pay for equal work requires winning the most conscious elements of the working class to carry out the proletariat’s historic task as the fighter for the interests of the oppressed. The working class must take up the fight for women’s liberation, which requires the overthrow of the capitalist order.

As Lenin explained in his classic work What Is To Be Done? (1902), revolutionary working-class consciousness is not a by-product of spontaneous struggle but must be brought into the proletariat from the outside, through the intervention of a vanguard party. Proletarian internationalism is not abstract. It is a necessity dictated by the increased economic integration of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

For Black Liberation Through Socialist Revolution!

In racist capitalist America, black rights and immigrant rights either go forward together or slide back separately. Black oppression is the cornerstone of U.S. capitalism, rooted in the very structure of the capitalist system and a key weapon of the ruling class historically to maintain its class domination.

The Labor Black Leagues, initiated by the Spartacist League and fraternally allied to it, promote and fight for common class struggle. On the masthead of the LBLs’ newsletters, we have Karl Marx’s statement that “labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.” Our program for black liberation is the program of revolutionary integrationism, the fight for black liberation through socialist revolution. This program is in sharp counterposition to the program of liberal integrationism, which is based upon the lie that you can have equality between the oppressed and the oppressors, that you can have genuine black freedom under capitalism. Equality, as Friedrich Engels put it in his magnificent book Anti-Dühring (1878), can only be achieved by abolishing the capitalist mode of production.

Despite disproportionately bearing the brunt of racist cutbacks and job losses, black workers are a strategic component of the unionized proletariat and potentially can play a vanguard role in the struggle for the rule of the working class. However, black workers’ weight in the proletariat has undergone considerable erosion. The renewal of this layer of the proletariat has been checked by new forms of racial and social controls devised by the racist rulers. Not a day goes by in which their racist “war on drugs” doesn’t add to the total of broken black lives—and also Latino youths’ lives. American capitalism is a prison nation, a gigantic jailhouse for the poor and the oppressed. In New York City, nearly half the black men are unemployed.

There are various schools of liberal idealism that posit race and not class as the fundamental dividing line in society. From their standpoint, racism is primarily a product of bad ideas. This notion divorces racism from its material, economic roots in capitalist society. In his latest book, Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White, the scholar David Roediger reflects the bankruptcy of liberalism. How is it possible to write such a book and not mention slavery? It’s not even in the book’s index. He can’t explain how black people became a race-color caste forcibly segregated at the bottom of this society, victims of the institutionalized racial oppression that is fostered by the bourgeoisie. Black oppression is bound up with black chattel slavery and is a foundation of American capitalism. Slavery’s legacy persists: the racist segregation, the unparalleled levels of imprisonment, the racist death penalty.

Slavery was the defining reality at the founding of the United States, from the slave trade’s very earliest phase and its tenuous hold in the 16th century to its full flowering in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. For the majority of the history of this country, black chattel slavery made a mockery of the democratic ideology of the founding fathers. Most of the early presidents of this country were slaveholders, along with the chief justices of the Supreme Court. The ideology of black inferiority and white superiority was a rationalization for the brutal extraction of uncompensated slave labor in the production of commodities for an international market.

Today, on one hand we get the neocons and others proclaiming an “end to racism,” embodied in their obscenely misnamed “civil rights” initiatives that have abolished the remnants of affirmative action at many universities. The flip side of this is “people of color” liberal politics, which denies the distinct and different histories of different ethnic groups in this country and, especially, ignores the special oppression of black people. Its purveyors reject the fact that anti-black racism has been central to the maintenance of the bourgeois order in this country. Such an omission—color blindness if you will—is a backhanded concession to reactionary ideologues such as David Horowitz who openly and stridently deny the reality of black oppression.

Behind “people of color” politics is a political program. Race is viewed as the primary dividing line in capitalist society, as opposed to the class division between the capitalists and the workers. There is an implicit presumption that all non-white people have common interests against all whites. White workers and bosses are supposedly united in “white skin privilege.” Large sections of the white working class do buy into the racism of this society, which is fomented by the exploiters. However, what material stake do white workers have in the perpetuation of this incredibly unequal society, whose white ruling class enjoys unparalleled riches coming at the workers’ expense? None whatsoever.

That is not to say that the racist rulers don’t constantly fill their heads with the lie of white superiority and black inferiority, and this has its effects. But it would be news to many of these workers—who along with black people, Latinos and Asian workers, have lost jobs and hard-earned benefits—that they, as opposed to the Wall Street money sharks, are the beneficiaries of the oppression of minorities. The presumption is that blacks and Latinos have more in common with Chinese or Indian businessmen than with Irish- or Italian-derived white workers. The presumption is that Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales are “our people.”

“People of color” politics serves to perpetuate the divisions in the working class and can only help drive white workers into the arms of this country’s white ruling class. Unlike the liberals and the reformists, we fight to win the multiracial working class to a program and perspective of class struggle against a common enemy, the capitalist exploiters. We fight to win the workers, no matter what their color or sex, to the struggle for socialist revolution to abolish capitalism.


Click on headline to link to Part Two

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

From The Boston May Day Coalition-All Out For May-Day International Workers Day 2012!

Click on the headline to link to the Boston May Day Coalition website.

All Out For May 1st-International Workers Day 2012!

Boston May Day 2012 at City Hall Plaza!

Join us on Tuesday May 1st to celebrate International Workers Day this year with a rally at 12 noon at City Hall Plaza!

This year, there will be a full schedule of events throughout the day - truly making this 'A Day Without the 99%!"

WE demand:

• Stop the attacks on workers!

• Stop the detention and deportation of migrant workers and their families!

• Immediate permanent residency for all undocumented workers!

• Say NO to racial profiling and police brutality!

• Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!

• Unity of all workers to defend our rights!

Say it loud, say it proud! We are workers, we have rights!

Sponsored by the Boston May Day Committee (Mass. Global Action, ANSWER Coalition, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party, July 26 Coalition, Tecschange, Latinos for Social Change).

(Endorsers list in formation)

Greater Boston Area May 1st Activities

Chelsea City Hall
500 Broadway (& Hawthorne St.)
Gather at 12:noon march at 2:pm
For More information please contact
La Colaborativa (617) 889-6097

East Boston:
LoPresti Park
Summer & New Streets (Maverick Square )
Gather at 12:noon begin march at 2:30pm
For more information please contact
Dominic at City life/Vida Urbana
(617) 710-7176

Glendale Park
Ferry & Elm Streets
Gathering and rally at 4:pm
For more information please contact
La Comunidad (617) 387-9996

Block Party
In the Boston Financial District:
(corner of Federal and Franklin Streets)
Gather at 7:AM
For more information please go to

Boston evening Funeral March:
Copley Square Park (steps of Trinity Church)
Gather at 7:pm begin march at 8:pm
For more information please go to

Monday, September 26, 2011

From The Pages Of "Australasian Spartacist"-Drop the Charges Against Refugee Protesters!-No Deportations!

Australasian Spartacist No. 213
Winter 2011

Drop the Charges Against Refugee Protesters!

No Deportations!

We reprint below a Partisan Defence Committee (PDC) letter sent to the federal Attorney-General on 26 May protesting the charging of refugees over demonstrations at Villawood on 20 April. Since then, on 9 June, federal police again fired “bean-bag” bullets and used capsicum spray to suppress an angry protest by refugees at the Christmas Island detention centre. The protest reportedly erupted in response to further rejections of asylum claims. Shortly afterwards, federal police charged 18 asylum seekers over the earlier 13 March Christmas Island protest. As with those charged following the Villawood protests, they face being denied a permanent visa if convicted.

Refugees are kept imprisoned for months, and even years, under constant threat of being deported to countries where they can face brutal punishment, persecution and death. This torture of desperate people, many seeking asylum from reactionary terror, has led to growing acts of self-harm. There have been numerous deaths in detention. This does not include the hundreds who have died making the treacherous sea voyage, such as the estimated 50 men, women and children who horrifically drowned when their boat crashed on rocks off Christmas Island on 15 December last year.

We say: Drop all the charges against the refugee protesters! No deportations! The trade unions must be mobilised to defend refugees and immigrants, and fight against all the government’s racist immigration laws.

The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defence organisation associated with the Spartacist League.

* * *

We protest the federal Labor government’s brutal crackdown following a wave of desperate protests by refugees including at the remote Christmas Island and Sydney Villawood detention centres.

On 13 March up to 300 protesting detainees at Christmas Island were tear-gassed and fired upon by federal police using “bean-bag” bullets, reportedly breaking the leg of one detainee. On 20 April up to 100 protested at the Villawood detention centre, culminating in an eleven-day rooftop protest. Following the Villawood protests, 22 men were taken to Silverwater jail and held in solitary confinement. Seven have been charged with offences including affray and destroying or damaging property by fire. Outrageously some of those charged could face up to twelve years imprisonment. Two refugees from Christmas Island are also threatened with charges from separate alleged incidents. Meanwhile the government has vindictively put in place measures that deny permanent visas to those it deems to have committed an offence while in custody. But the real crime is that the government incarcerates and denies basic rights to desperate people who have already risked their lives fleeing poverty, oppression and war.

Under the Labor government’s grotesque regime of mandatory detention some 7,000 men, women and children languish in the many refugee detention centres across the country. There have been at least six deaths in these hellholes in the last eight months. It is a measure of the racist barbarism of the Australian capitalist state that it incarcerates and seeks to deport Iraqi, Afghan and Tamil refugees back to countries that the Australian imperialist military has directly taken part in the destruction of, in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, or, in the case of Sri Lanka, where the Australian government backed the Sinhala-chauvinist government in its murderous war against the Tamil population.

We condemn the federal government’s persecution and repression of defiant refugees and demand: Drop the charges against the detention centre detainees! No deportations! Release the refugees! Close the detention centres! Full citizenship rights for all who have made it here!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

*From The Archives Of "Women And Revolution"-Women and Immigration in France

Click on the headline to link to the article described above.

Markin comment:

The above-linked article is from an archival issue of Women and Revolution that may have some historical interest for old "new leftists", perhaps, and well as for younger militants interested in various cultural and social questions that intersect the class struggle. Or for those just interested in a Marxist position on a series of social questions that are thrust upon us by the vagaries of bourgeois society. I will be posting more such articles from the back issues of Women and Revolution during Women's History Month and periodically throughout the year.

Monday, July 12, 2010

*From "Boston Indy Media"- The Pro-Immigration Rights Protest And March In Boston During The National Governor's Conference

Click on the headlines to link to a Boston Indy Media post on the pro-immigration rights protest and march in Boston during the recent National Governor's Conference.

Markin comment:

While we radical defenders of immigrant rights do not really have a positive program on bourgeois immigration policy. We are not, after all, advisers to the government on immigration policy. We know what we do want- Full citizenship rights for all who make here. And we know what we do not want- anti-immigrant laws like Arizona's SB 1070 and the trickle of other such state legislative actions of that ilk.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

From The "UJP" Website- Demonstrate In Boston Saturday July 11, 2010 At The National Governors Conference Against Arizona's Immigration Law SB 1070

Click on the headline to link to a post from the "UJP" Website-"Demonstrate In Boston July 11, 2010 At The National Governors Conference Against Arizona's Immigration Law SB 1070."

Markin comment:

Some issues, and this Arizona SB 1070 apartheid-like pass law is one of them, require very little explanation and very vocal opposition wherever and whenever possible. Boston at the National Governors Conference (where Arizona's governor and chief enforcer will be present)on July 11, 2010 is one of them. Massachusetts will also get attention for its recent anti-immigrant legislation, as well. We will be there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

*From "The Rag Blog"- Arizona's Crackers : 'Illegal is Not a Race'

Click on to link to a "The Rag Blog" entry- Arizona's Crackers : 'Illegal is Not a Race'

Markin comment:

Down With The Arizona anti-immigration law! Full citizenship rights for all who make it here (America). And by the way let's fight for some historic justice by giving Arizona back to where it belongs- Mexico. Then those Anglo rednecks in Arizona better start worrying about THEIR immigration papers!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

*Activists Chain Themselves to Arizona Capitol to Protest Russell Pearce's SB 1070-Down With The Arizona Immigrant Profiling Bill

Click on the headline to link to a "Green Left News" blog entry concerning an Arizona (on the front lines of the immigration question) piece of anti-immigrant legislation now pending there. Down with this bill, SB 1070. Full citizenship rights for all who make it here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

*From The "HistoMat" Blog- The American Revolutionary Socialist Eugene V. Debs On Immigration Policy In His Day

Click on the headline to link to a "HistoMat" blog entry on early 20th century American socialist leader, Eugene V. Debs, on the immigration policy of the American government, a pressing issue for the American left and labor movement then, and now.

Markin comment:

No question that brother Debs stood, and stands, head and shoulders above those, like England's Gordon Brown, who claim some socialist heritage. I still tip my hat to Debs' 1920 presidential campaign from the Atlanta federal penitentiary. Reason for his imprisonment:opposition to American entry into World War I.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

*On The Slogan- "For A Freedom/Workers Party"- A Note For Discussion

Click on the title to link to the "End U.S. Wars" Web site for ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's address (scroll down) that is related to the commentary below.

The following note, although written on December 20, 2009, belongs with the entry for Cynthia McKinney’s speech below, originally posted on December 17, 2007, because a point I made in that entry is the focus of the comment here. Thanks, Internet blogger technology for this one.

Markin comment:

Note: December 20, 2009-Someone with whom I shared this entry on another blog that I belong to questioned me on the formulation of a “freedom/workers party” when I, off-handedly, called on Cynthia McKinney to break from all bourgeois parties and come over and work with us. He noted that on all previous occasions when I had evoked the “workers party fighting for a workers government” slogan there was not “freedom” used as part of the formulation. The comrade had a good point and I want to expand on it here.

Frankly, part of the use of the word “freedom”, in addition to the traditional fighting slogan of building a workers party that fights for a worker government, was a somewhat sloppy, cryptic and not fully thought out way of expressing a concept that I think is worth thinking about for the future as we fight for a class-struggle workers party, for socialist revolution, and for the goal of a classless international communist society. As I have repeatedly emphasized in this space a black working class-led trans-class black liberation struggle will be an important component in the fight for the coming American socialist revolution. That strategic perspective still holds true today, perhaps more so.

That said, I do not think that raising the slogan under discussion over the past few decades would have made political sense. The "freedom" idea brings back memories of civil rights days, and while that battle was narrowly centered on democratic rights, and, ultimately, did not finish the black liberation struggle, not by a long way, the central focus thereafter became bringing that liberation as a part of general propaganda for the communist program. However, some of the factors that underlined that perspective have eroded somewhat over the past few decades since the civil rights days, mainly the hellish effects that the deindustrialization (and de-unionization, which went hand and hand with it) of the American economy has had on the black, and now, other minority populations like Hispanics and immigrants.

Centered on the historic black question particularly, by almost every statistic from unemployment rates, net worth, educational opportunities, foreclosure rates and prison incarcerations rates (always a sure way to tell the real status of blacks, especially young black males) the black population has taken it on the chin. Although those conditions have been addressed in the general propaganda previously I think we need to think about bringing in an additional concept again that reflects that social reality today.

Formulations placing a special emphasis on the black question have a rather rich, if somewhat spotty, history in the American communist movement going back to the founding of the party back in 1919. Some of it centered on the black struggle in the South in the 1920s and 1930s when, despite the erroneous “third period” Stalinist Communist International policy of calling for a truncated form of national self-determination for blacks in some mythical “black belt”, the American Communist Party was in the vanguard of the black liberation struggle. My sense of the use of the slogan, however, does not go back that far. I am thinking more of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when it was being led (or rather misled) by the black preachers and other middle class black elements (supported by, mainly, Northern white liberals, including me) whose strategy was a total political reliance on the good offices of the racist Democratic Party, a party in turn dependent for its national majorities on the hard segregationist South.

The most graphic example of this reliance came at the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City where Lyndon Johnson sought to be crowned the candidate of that party in his own right. The most burning question of the convention, however, was the seating of the traditional racist Mississippi Democratic Party. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, led by the heroic civil rights militant Fannie Lou Hamer, was pieced off there by the national Democratic Party in the interests of… winning in 1964 against the arch-villain, Senator Barry Goldwater. Sound familiar? With those civil rights struggles still in progress (and in desperate need of some socialist intervention, not the abstention, or worst, of the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party) it was a natural spot to call for a “Freedom/Workers Party”, putting class and race issues together in a very algebraic way. And that brings us to the present.

Obviously, the exact conditions and questions posed today are not the same as then. However, I would argue that with the economic and social conditions in the black communities today (think, most graphically, of New Orleans, Los Angeles and, tragically, the decimation of black working class Detroit) that this slogan is due for a 21st century reincarnation. As an effective propaganda tool when confronting the first black elected president of the American imperium, Barack Obama, who has gone out of his way to avoid the burning issues of the black communities, I do not think I am being outlandish.

As for the call for Cynthia McKinney to break with the bourgeois parties in order to pose this slogan at this time. That was something of a convenient ruse. If Cynthia McKinney, personally, came over on our programmatic basis fine. If not- we still stand for a “freedom/workers party”. This question, I think, is still at the discussion stage. I, for example, am not sure that "freedom" is the right word for a shorthand way to address the crying need for a communist solution to the black liberation struggle. Nor are the special issues to be raised etched in stone, Although one should center on physically saving the mainly black inner-cities with massive public works at union rates. More on this later. What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

*From Steve Lendmen's Blog- "Police Raids Against Immigrants"- Obama, Not Bush Style

Click on title to link to Steve Lendmen's blog entry, "Police Raids Against Immigrants". Some stories despite changes in presidential administrations, unfortunately, simply need a xerox to be updated.

Markin comment:

Now is a good time to raise that old slogan- Full Citizenship rights for all who get here. As always, those of us already here best not have our forbears' credentials checked to closely, no matter how far back we go in this country.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Welcome To America?- A Review of "The Visitor"


The Visitor, starring Richard Jenkins, Hazz Sleiman, directed by Tom McCarthy, Anchor Bay Productions, 2008

The quirky little film deals very nicely with the questions of one college professor’s mid-life crisis (a not unfamiliar problem to this reviewer and, I am sure, to the reader of this review and the audience for this film) and immigration in America in the post 9/11 world and various cross-cultural, if not multi-cultural concerns. As the story unfolds it seems that our professor craves some musical outlet to stave off those mid-life blues (and, additionally, get over his isolation due to the death of his wife). Presto- on a dreaded and fruitless trip to New York City as a ‘sub’ presenter at one of those never ending conferences that are central to and bedevil academic life he finds a musical muse, a Palestinian jazz drum aficionado, who also happens to be an illegal immigrant ‘squatting’ in the good professor’s apartment with his also illegal girlfriend.

Along the way the professor, through a fluke of bad timing inadvertently caused by him, learns the hard way the nature of the immigration problem, its seeming absurdities and its abuses. Hovering in the background is our drummer’s deeply concerned mother, a very fetching mother to be sure. The professor and mother form an ‘alliance’ to save her son from the horrors of the deportation process. To no avail and he is deported back to Syria. This deportation to Syria serves as a very useful metaphor concerning the plight of the Palestinian Diaspora and of the continuing non-resolution of the question of a Palestinian homeland.

Although, in the end, the only one who gets out with some resolution of his crisis is the professor we will not fault the creators of this film for that but rather the vagaries of the post 9/11 world, one George W. Bush and friends and a certain innate American xenophobia about immigrants- that is after one’s own ethnic or racial group has ‘made’ it to and in America. After viewing this film I have also become more confirmed that those who make it here to old immigrant-formed and built America should have full citizenship rights. Watch this film to see what I mean. Moreover watch this film for the taboo ‘romance’ between the good WASP professor and his muse’s sparklingly exotic mother. I am sure that it will drive every cultural and religious fundamentalist on both sides of the divide crazy. Good.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Full Citizen Rights For Immigrants- Amnesty Now!


If one remembers back only two years ago to May Day 2006 when there were massive protests led by Hispanics in the West, the Southwest and elsewhere over the question of immigrant rights then one would have thought that we would have some justice on this question by now. That has clearly not been the case and mainstream politicians have fallen all over themselves to distance themselves from the mere thought of justice for such people (who moreover either do not or cannot vote, a mortal sin for any politician). There are political reasons for this, including the conscious policies of Hispanic politicians, and others who represent immigrant constituencies to not rock the boat in this august presidential year. This year the protests were rather muted and, in any case, were placed on the back burner by the overwhelming capacity of the current presidential political campaigns to suck all the political oxygen out of the air.

More ominously, since 2006 there have been any numbers of la Migra (immigration service) raids on factories in the Midwest and the South, including one this spring which netted over 400 immigrants at a meat processing plant and that nearly decimated the life of one town. The only rationale for such governmental actions is to tell those who are here illegally (and some who are here legally but want to in the age old tradition of America get 'uppity"- that is, defend their rights) that it is hunting season and they are the targets. Moreover, such actions graphically tell immigrants not to organize themselves for collective protection in such things as trade unions- or you will wind up back from where you came, one way.

There are a whole lot of issues that need to be resolved on the immigration question but no one, and I mean no one in mainstream politics is proposing any just solution to the question. All one hears about there days the need for more deportations, more walls and more cops. Oh, I forgot this gem- also a return to some form of indenture servitude straight out of the 18th century, as well, if some of the proposed legislation in Congress goes through. What this all tells me is that today militants should be proposing a general amnesty for all immigrants, legal or illegal, who have made it here. If anyone, including one Barack Obama whose life profile includes recent immigrant experiences, should in the great by and by propose such a scheme then we will support it. In the meantime the fight is clear- Full citizenship rights for all who make it here. We will worry about the green cards later.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Never let it be said that this writer is not an equal opportunity critic. I have spend most of my time hammering the various Democratic presidential candidates for being weak-kneed and perfidious because, from my perspective as an advocate of a workers party, the kind of people who might be attracted to such a venture are today found, among other places, in the myopic left wing of the Democratic Party. Can anyone really believe that it is worthwhile to try to argue with Republicans into at least moving into the 18th century? That applies, as well, to this current crop of Republican candidates because for the most part they are beyond the pale. However two Republican candidates in particular, Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani, have taken the lead on immigrant-bashing and therefore are ‘worthy’ of comment.

The odd part (at least to the politically naïve) of the controversy between these two worthies is that when they were respectively Governor of Massachusetts and Mayor of New York City they held, at worst, rather benign positions on the question of illegal immigrants. Now Romney has taken to calling Rudy and his regime in New York City a virtual sieve for illegal immigration. And Rudy has replied in kind about Mitt’s Massachusetts. My question is who are these gentlemen trying to woo by acting as this generation’s version of the yahoos of the anti-immigrant Know Nothing (American) Party from the last century. I know for certain that it is not me. Although my father’s forbears came to this country from England one jump ahead of the law in the early 1800’s and my mother’s forbears came over from Ireland on the ‘famine’ ships in the 1840’s I still, in many ways, feel like an immigrant. And that is exactly the point-virtually everyone here came from somewhere else so we better be damn sure of our own ‘green card’ status before we worry about those who have come after us. When the deal goes down I am sure we will find that the current Know Nothings probably have only been here a couple of generations themselves. Forget the illegals I want the names and numbers of those 'newcomers' for immediate action.

As stated above, and as I have mentioned in previous entries, I stand for the proposition that we need a workers party that fights for a workers government. As such I do not have an immigration plan as per Senator McCain and others. That is this government’s problem and I will provide no advice. Today I would define the immigration question generetically, and urge others to think about it this way as well. That means the central thrust should be to fight for full citizenship rights for all who make it here. A big step in that direction is a real amnesty program. In a nation full of generation after generation of immigrants who came here under all kinds of conditions this is what we should be worrying about. Down with the Know Nothings!

Friday, September 14, 2007

*From The Pages Of "Workers Vanguard" Defend Immigrant Rights!-A Guest Commentary

Click on the headline to link to "Workers Vanguard", dated September 14, 2007, for the article on the subject noted above.

Markin comment:

This issue is a no-brainer for leftists and for trade union militants who must understand that immigrant workers, many times, bring valuable class-struggle experience in their baggage. We need that experience as well in the international struggle we face, and which has become more important with the increased "globalization" of international capitalism.

Monday, May 21, 2007





Apparently Congress is getting ready to pass an immigration reform bill that contains many provisions in it that are, frankly, bizarre from a militant leftist point of view. Let us be clear at the start. We do not support this bill. We are not in the business of advising capitalist society about how to better rationalize its immigration policies. Over the last year or so I have argued that we call for and support a general amnesty but that is far removed from the nuts and bolts of this legislation. To the extent that this bill triggers a general amnesty we support that, and that alone. The rest of it is an immigrant’s nightmare. Hell, I think the ‘choice’ of my forbears to come on the ‘famine’ ships from Ireland and sneak ashore made more sense. Today, if I were an immigrant from Mexico I would rather take my chances of coming over through the desert than get caught up in the bureaucratic red tape and cost of becoming a ‘second class’ citizen under the provisions of this program.

One comment about the pending legislation sticks in my mind as it really epitomizes the thinking behind these ‘reforms’. One unnamed immigrant, on hearing that the legislation would favor those who had skills or education, noted that there was no lack of ‘native’ Americans with such qualifications. What he and his like do is bring in the crops and other dirty and dangerous tasks that ‘native’ Americans no longer will do. Thus, he is in need of legal protection far more the those middle class types the legislation is tilted toward. Simply put, those types are not coming here. And that unnamed immigrant's statement makes sense. Virtually no one who has anything going for themselves in their own country voluntarily leaves home and hearth to go elsewhere except under extreme conditions. Those twelve million ‘illegal’ immigrants speak to the desperate plight of many in Mexico and other places in Latin America in the wake the impact of NAFTA- type treaties. Thus, at the end of the day our call is still the same. Full Citizenship Rights for All Who Make It Here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007





And while we are at it let us fight to make May Day the recognized labor holiday here in America as it is in most of the world.

Over the past couple of months the desperate struggle of both legal and illegal immigrants in this country to stay here has reached epic proportions, highlighted by the dramatic and ruthless actions of the Immigration Service against mainly women factory workers in New Bedford, Massachusetts. If one needed visually to capture the domestic side of the arrogance the American imperialists have exhibited in Iraq that event did so in a nutshell. More importantly, the lesson militant workers should take from New Bedford and elsewhere is that, hell, we could be next and it could be almost anyone who gets in the crosshairs of some governmental agency. What in the old days we used to kiddingly laugh off as ‘paranoia’ when someone talked about Big Brother watching us seemingly comes closer to the truth as events unfold in the ‘belly of the beast’.

The American government, its Republican and Democratic agents alike, has targeted the most vulnerable part of the working class, the ‘illegal’ immigrants, in their efforts to tighten up the ‘security’ of their capitalist system. However, working people native born or otherwise, have no objective reason to fear so-called ‘illegal’ immigrants. These hard working, woefully underpaid and inadequately serviced workers take on the jobs, let us face it, that American born and raised workers of all colors have learned turn their noses up at. Such are the ‘benefits’ of living under the number one imperialist power. Thus, the simple, decent minimally democratic call for full citizenship rights for all immigrants in the headline above is one that trade unionists in particular should raise and support.

Despite the reasonableness of this demand bourgeois politicians in both camps and their labor bureaucracy hangers-on in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win toy around with all kinds of propositions from the now internationally fashionable one of walling the borders to various ‘guest worker’ (really indentured service) programs. What is needed, although it is not being seriously raised at this time, is a full amnesty program for all immigrants who are here. Militants should wholeheartedly support such a demand. We should be propagandizing for such an amnesty at union meetings and among our fellow workers.

In the meantime May Day (May 1st) is just around the corner and everyone should answer the call put out by many organizations in support of immigrant rights by going out to the various demonstrations and meetings in your area. Last year on May Day 2006 there were tremulous demonstrations, particularly in the West, driven by the huge Hispanic populations there in support of doing something. Unfortunately, since that time not much has been done except the inevitable roundups and deportations. The government has its policy. We have seen what that looks like. We best have ours. FULL CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS NOW FOR ALL WHO HAVE MADE IT HERE.

Friday, March 31, 2006