Nationwide Upsurge of Resistance
Immigrants Stand Up and Say NO to Repression
Revolution #040, March 26, 2006, posted at revcom.us
In the last few weeks, immigrants and their supporters have launched a nationwide wave of resistance against the repressive attacks on them. Last issue we covered both the massive march in Chicago on March 10 and militant streetcorner, grassroots resistance in L.A. In this issue we bring you news of a demonstration of 30,000 to 40,000 in DC and an anti-war march that went from Tijuana to L.A., crossing more borders than just the physical one in doing so. On this page we bring you excerpts from a statement by the Chicago branch of the RCP which puts the struggle in the larger context of revolution, communism, as well as a basic and brief analysis of what is up with the anti-immigrant bills.
The Resistance of the Immigrants – and the Future We Must Fight For
The following are excerpts from a statement released by the Chicago branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
On Friday, March 10 in mid-day, the streets of the Chicago downtown loop swelled with a tremendous outpouring for immigrant rights, dignity, and opposition to the anti-immigrant bill HR4437 currently pending in Congress. Reliable estimates said the march called by a large coalition easily topped 300,000. Overwhelmingly Latino, it was joined by small yet significant groupings of other immigrants, as well as backed by humanitarian forces: immigrant rights groups, priests, union members, and others. The Chicago Sun Times described it as the largest demonstration in defense of immigrant rights in U.S. history.
In the wake of such a massive outpouring, it was an outrage that this protest was mainly NOT covered in the national or major English language media outside of Chicago.
It was a joyful sight, wave upon wave of determined people who through their sheer numbers brought the downtown of the 3rd largest city in the U.S. to a standstill. People who daily live with the constant terror of deportation proudly stepped out of the shadows. The RCP salutes all those who demonstrated. The city looked on in amazement. Protestors emptied many factories, restaurants, stores, shops across the region and in so doing demonstrated the extent to which U.S. society depends on their labor.
This kind of massive refusal to go along that was seen in the streets in Chicago on that day is exactly the kind of response that is needed not only to this bill but also to all the other monstrous crimes being carried out by the U.S. government. The current treatment of immigrants is already a nightmare. These draconian new laws, or any variation of them, must be stopped by people of all nationalities together with immigrants.
For those who don’t know, HR4437, if passed, would make all undocumented immigrants felons, subject to immediate arrest and deportation. People who provide any help or services—such as priests, doctors, landlords, family members who are citizens—could also be charged with felony crimes. Families could be split up and parents of children who are citizens could be deported. The bill also calls for building additional border fences and paying bounties to local police who hunt undocumented immigrants and turn them over to the INS.
WHO ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS AND PARASITES?
The everyday normal workings of imperialism (the effect of imperialist globalization) force people to migrate. Every year, worsening economic conditions compel millions to migrate in search of jobs. Today more than 200 million people are crossing national borders as migrant workers. The U.S. has perpetrated economic destruction on Mexico through free trade agreements. In the last 10 years, this has caused almost two million Mexican farmers to lose their jobs and forced ten times that many deeper into poverty. Major imperialist countries like the U.S. grow wealthy and powerful on the backs of oppressed nations.
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), captured the reality of the American nightmare for immigrants who are forced to come to the U.S. in the following from an article run in Revolution newspaper: “Immigrants will come to this country, looking for work. And if they make it here past the border patrol and all that—and if they aren’t thrown in jail and aren’t killed by the state or by vigilantes, and don’t die from starvation or exposure to the heat in the desert or the cold in the mountains—they’ll be forced to live together in sub-standard housing. They’ll be told that it’s their own fault, that they’re law breakers, that they’re parasites—get that!—that they are parasites on society while the society, and particularly the bourgeoisie, is parasitically living off of them. And throughout the country, in the farm fields, in the inner cities, even in suburbs and small towns, immigrants are picking crops, making beds, cleaning up after other people, doing janitorial work and being viciously exploited and disrespected.”
A DIFFERENT FUTURE IS POSSIBLE!
The world does not have to be this way. No one should have to live like this. Today, people could produce enough food, housing and clothing to provide a decent life for everyone on the planet. But the means to do this are owned and controlled by a handful of global capitalist-imperialists who are driven to get ever greater profit, or else go under. And so half the people on the planet live on less than $2 a day. Billions go hungry.
But imagine a different future. A future where people consciously learn about and transform the world, and are not imprisoned by the chains of tradition or ignorance. A world without racism and without borders. A vibrant place where people together debate and decide how to develop society. A world where people no longer wonder where their next meal will come from, or if they will be homeless, or abandoned or sick in their old age—a world of abundance, where people together hold all of society’s resources in common. A world where people not only work to produce the necessities of life but get into art and culture and science—and have fun doing it! A world without the domination of women by men, where people interact with each other based on mutual respect, concern and love for humanity. A world that looks out for and takes care of the environment. That world is communism. And we can get to that world.
THE BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE WILL BE FOUGHT FROM HERE FORWARD!
...The government is waging an illegal and unjust war in Iraq; spying; torturing people and justifying it; leaving people to die and an entire city to rot after Katrina; and from the highest government offices there are attacks on science, and the right to abortion is close to being outlawed. There is a looming theocracy [religious dictatorship]. The anti-immigration bill is part of this draconian shape of the future with much worse to come for the world and in the U.S. itself.
All of this is causing deep agonizing among people in the U.S. itself about the direction of society. The very extremes that the imperialists are taking things is what is giving rise in the U.S. to a real possibility that there could shape up an opening and a chance to wrench a far better future out of the jaws of the darkness and suffocation that the imperialists have in store. It is not here yet, but we need to race to do everything we can to prepare for and seize such an opening.
When you look at what is going on in the whole world, on every continent, this is what is needed most of all—an emancipating revolution, including right in the belly of the beast. Think about how the world would look without U.S. imperialism! A revolution in which the class that owns nothing but its ability to work and yet works together to make the world run takes the stage of history, fitting itself to lead such a revolution. When a section of that class (of all nationalities, including oppressed nationalities like Black people and Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and others) steps forward, together with others, to join with its party, the RCP, and become the emancipators of humanity, leading millions to bring about a revolutionary transformation of U.S. society, embarking on the road to communism together with people all over the world.
THERE IS A LEADER TO GET TO A REVOLUTIONARY SOCIETY—THAT LEADER IS BOB AVAKIAN, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE RCP. He knows revolution. He has studied deeply the experiences of the socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union and China under Mao Tsetung, upholding their great accomplishments and learning from their shortcomings. He’s a leader with tremendous love for and confidence in the people and he gives you great hope that we can actually do what the times demand of all of us. He knows it takes the great involvement of the people to make revolution and he invites—and challenges—everyone into the process of struggle to know and change the world.
You need to seek this out—get to know this leader—seek out this party and bring your ideas and your creativity. Engage with the Revolutionary Communist Party and its leader Bob Avakian and together let’s figure out how we can wrench something good for humanity out of all this.
There is an amazing DVD—Chairman Avakian’s historic talk, which is in Spanish and English. The DVD title says it all: REVOLUTION: WHY IT’S NECESSARY; WHY IT’S POSSIBLE; AND WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. Watch it and make it available everywhere for others who are also agonizing about the world. This DVD talk will engage you with the big questions confronting all those who dream of really making a difference for mankind.
Resist the Whole Anti-Immigrant Program
The Sensenbrenner bill passed by the House would make it a felony—instead of a civil violation—to be in this country without legal documents. Millions of people would be classified as "felons," making them subject to immediate detention and deportation and permanently ineligible for legal status in the U.S. The bill would also make it a federal crime to help undocumented immigrants—social workers, doctors and nurses, teachers, priests, and others who help undocumented people could face years in prison. Other provisions would intensify the militarization of the border and the overall repressive apparatus against immigrants.
The Sensenbrenner bill is not yet a law. There are a number of different immigration "reform" proposals in the Congress, and George Bush has been promoting his own ideas for increased manhunts, mass deportations, and concentration camps. But various provisions in the Sensenbrenner bill could become part of an actual law—and in any case the bill gives a picture of the chilling and intolerable future for immigrants, if the war on immigrants is not resisted and stopped.
House Republican Tom Tancredo is pushing for even more extreme anti-immigrant measures, such as the revoking of the long-established principle that every child born in this country, regardless of their parents' status, is a citizen. (This is in effect a call to repeal the 14th Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War to give former slaves citizenship.) Tancredo and others are especially and intensely opposed to proposals for a "temporary worker" program (raised by Bush as well as other Republicans and many Democrats) which would give temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants.
The imperialists are moving to extend their global empire and at the same time to enforce a new, much more repressive social compact within their “homeland.” These attacks on immigrants fit into that picture. On the one hand, the imperialists cannot do without immigrant labor. But the presence of millions of immigrants demanding equality and basic decency creates tremendous challenges for their system—both economically and socially. So they want to keep the masses of immigrants in the shadows and in a super-exploited condition. They want to use other sections of the masses against the immigrants, dividing and conquering the people, and preventing people from developing united movements of resistance and even revolution. The imperialists want to enforce their structures and ideas of white supremacy and “nativism” to keep this whole society together, on a very reactionary and even fascist basis, at a time when there are huge changes afoot in every sphere and when they face huge problems maintaining and expanding empire.
This is tied up with the U.S. imperialists’ international relations—including especially with Mexico, as well as the oppressed nations of Central America and the Caribbean. These countries are dominated and viciously exploited by the U.S., and the U.S. is very fearful both of challenges from their rivals in what they so arrogantly call their “backyard,” as well as revolutionary ferment and struggle coming from the masses. The governments of these countries depend a great deal on the money sent home by immigrant workers for their stability and the imperialists do not want to upset that. In response to these difficulties—and to all the other problems they face internationally and within the U.S.—the imperialists’ dominant method of the day is the iron fist of one or another brand of fascism. (This can also be seen very sharply in the severe repression and massive deportations that they have unleashed against immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa—which must also be opposed!)
While the McCain-Kennedy bill contains provisions that are different from Sensenbrenner, and while Bush himself has advanced some proposals that are somewhat similar to McCain-Kennedy as well as Sensenbrenner, all of these bills would significantly step up the repression against immigrants in many ways. And all of them would be designed to intensify the exploitation of the immigrants and more deeply hammer in their oppression.
The people must resist and defeat these bills, and the massive demonstrations against the Sensenbrenner bill are tremendously important. At the same time, we cannot allow ourselves to let this movement come under the sway of one or another imperialist political force—including those wolves in sheep’s clothing of the Democratic Party. Instead, we must spread this movement to all kinds of people and link this movement up to other struggles that are going on against this system, including against the overall fascist program and imperialist aggression now concentrated in the Bush regime. And we must build a movement that opposes ALL discrimination against and criminalization of ALL immigrants, that opposes the militarization of the border, and that firmly resists the government-sponsored vigilante terror perpetrated by the so-called minutemen and others.