From a Reader:

On Trump's Anti-Immigrant Rants

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


To the editors:

I appreciated the short article on Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rantings in last week’s issue. I just want to bounce off that briefly, and add some thoughts about what I think Trump’s vile tirades represent.

On one level, Trump is a buffoon and a clown. But he is being promoted as a more or less serious presidential candidate. In fact, his “approval ratings” and poll rankings went up since he began and then defended his utterly hateful racist slurs against Mexican people. Trump’s statements have been echoed in a seemingly endless loop in the bourgeois media (and not just Fox News), and Trump has in fact both escalated his outbursts and dug in to defend them. He’s had friendly meetings with top Republican officials. No leading Republican candidates have in any significant way criticized his remarks or distanced themselves from Trump. He spoke to a crowd of thousands at a huge convention center in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 11; the notoriously sadistic and violently anti-immigrant Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke at the same event. Trump has “doubled down,” as they say in poker.

So, what does this tell us? It is accurate, as the article states, that Trump’s venomous and relentless abuse are a “call to arms—figuratively and damn near literally—to the vicious, violent immigrant-hating forces who ‘go hunting’ for human beings on the Mexican border.” It’s important that people building the movement for revolution take this very seriously.

Trump’s verbal tirades, and their entering into the “mainstream” as a legitimate object of debate, amount to a sort of justification in advance (should the ruling class, or a dominant section of it, think the situation warrants it) for a massive escalation of already severe repression by the bourgeois state (as well as vigilantes, racist mobs, etc.) against immigrants—violent roundups and deportations, expansion of concentration camps (aka “detention centers”), escalation of extreme and utterly militarized repression along the border, and more.

Revolution/ has had numerous articles describing the vicious anti-immigrant measures already in place—the expansive growth of detention centers for young mothers and their children, military and National Guard forces along the border, along with more than 20,000 Border Patrol agents, ICE raids throughout the country that routinely break apart families trying to work and survive, the institution of “summary removal procedures”—denial of rights to a court hearing and to apply for legal status—for immigrants arrested at the border.

To a great extent, all of this and more is already in use and in place. The legal justifications for it have been established. Heavily armed vigilantes and mobs of racists have periodically been mobilized to attack immigrants, including children. Just one year ago, mobs waylaid and threatened buses carrying children and their mothers to detention centers in Southern California. Trump and others like him have for years been loudly demanding an escalation of across-the-board attacks on immigrants. The possibility of putting this hideous apparatus of repression, mob attacks and, potentially, murder into a much higher gear is just one sharp turn away from where we all are today.

Secondly, what does all this tell us about the legitimacy of this entire system? I just saw a TV screen with this message scrolling across the CNN feed—”Trump’s Message? Is it Working?” Is Trump’s message “working”!?! Working to do what? It is working, as the article said, to “turn upside down the reality of who is fucking over whom in this world” and to establish “this vicious, xenophobic outlook as a legitimate part of political discourse.”

When someone of Trump’s standing makes KKK-like comments, such as the ones he’s been spewing for the past week or so, and gets them echoed and amplified endlessly, it is an indication of a system that is completely illegitimate and has no right to rule. It also indicates that this system, which both utterly depends on the endless exploitation enforced by brutal repression of millions of Mexican immigrants, and fears the role they can play in the potential unraveling of this society, is facing a problem that, ultimately, it can’t solve.

The terms of the “debate and discourse” emphatically should not be which one “works”: Trump’s “solution to the immigrant problem”—or that of the deporter-in-chief Obama, who has presided over the largest number of deportations (by far) of any other president, and who brags of how many Border Patrol “boots on the ground” his administration has placed.

For the past several years, thousands and thousands of immigrants, youths and others, have courageously and repeatedly risen up in struggle demanding to be treated with respect and dignity, to be treated as human beings. Further, fiercer resistance is needed. And millions of people—not just immigrants—need to get into the fight.


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