Showing The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go... to Immigrants in NYC

February 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

A showing of the BA film was held at a small business in a largely immigrant community. This was the second showing at this business in recent weeks. It followed Trump having called Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa “shithole countries,” and after hundreds of Haitians and others marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and rallied on Wall Street to defiantly reject the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on immigrants. People’s bitterness at these comments and attacks ran through the discussion following watching the film.

The discussion was very lively. One person said this film told the truth and people really needed to see it. He said people need to be educated about what was really going on, that this had to happen before they could be mobilized to do anything about it all, and this film could be part of giving them that necessary education. (This person took a lot of notes while watching the film, and he bought Bob Avakian’s book The New Communism, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and the Revolutionary Communist Party Central Committee statement, “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” before the showing.) Another person said it was necessary to mobilize a lot of people to take to the streets to stop the regime before it could cause more horrors for the people, but he felt it had been premature to set a specific date for people to start the demonstrations. Instead we should do it like Occupy (Occupy Wall Street) had done it—occupy somewhere, be in the street ongoing and build it up till you could reach the necessary stage.

Everyone was struck by the enormity of what we were up against, in the different ways they understood that. They saw the attacks on immigrants today as a dramatic escalation on an already horrible situation. People felt that Haitian immigrants and Haitian people in general were special targets of this assault by the regime. One person who was watching the film for the second time said, “We’re being targeted because of how Haiti represents the essence of Africanity.” I had never heard this term before, and asked him to explain what it meant. He said Haiti was the first place where Africans had successfully revolted and ended slavery, and they (the colonialists and imperialists) felt Haiti had to be punished for having done that. Several people also spoke to the way ICE was going after Latino immigrants. They described how places where Latinos used to gather in neighborhoods they were familiar with were now deserted. One woman asked, “What can they do? They might get picked up if they go to work, to school or anywhere.” (They said this about Latino immigrants, but not Haitian immigrants, which may mean, that at least in the NYC area, ICE isn’t yet carrying out massive sweeps aimed at Haitians.)

These people had no love for Obama. One of them recalled that he was called the “deporter in chief” who targeted immigrants for massive deportations while talking about inclusion. They also cited the way police terrorized Black communities during his presidency. But they viewed this regime as something different, as something worse than Obama. One woman said, “Who’s protecting them [immigrants]? Where’s the American Dream?” And, “There’s no home for us anymore. They mistreat us here, and they’ve terrorized our countries.” She also said this was tied to how they dealt with Black citizens—stop-and-frisk—people getting arrested for not having their IDs on them. Another person said Trump represented “them” using a new strategy to keep the power. Overall the idea of driving the regime from power struck a chord with people.

A man who was quiet for most of the discussion broke in to say, “They [white people] think immigrants are taking something away from the U.S.” and that “Trump is trying to bring back slave-like conditions in the U.S., and this is forcing people into hiding.”

There was some back and forth over what was the aim of these escalating attacks on immigrants. One person said, “They can’t deport everybody because they need them to do the work that no one else will do.” Another said they want to create a Bayakou status among immigrant workers. (Bayakou are people in Haiti who clean the toilets.) She said, “They want to force people into position of being shit on in this country, while the U.S. shits on their countries.”

Everybody also saw the enormity of trying to drive the regime from power. They wanted to hear what our plan for doing that was, and one guy opened the discussion by commenting on the Call for November 4 that BA had spoken to and promoted in the film.

One person asked what would come after Trump. Here he meant that we could be stuck with Pence who could be even worse. People went back to speaking about the difficulty of mobilizing people to do something as big as trying to drive Trump and his people from office. And to the need to educate people to what’s going on before they could be moved to do something like that.

They also felt the film and getting it shown to many more people could be part of that kind of education. We had opened the discussion after the film by talking about the month-long campaign to spread this film and get many more people to see it, and we went back to that. People began talking about what groups of people they could get together to see the film. The person who ran the business where we had just watched the film offered his place for other showings. We had copies of the DVD of the talk there, and a woman who had missed the beginning of the film got one so she could watch it all when she got home.

This showing happened off of having had an earlier small showing of the film at this business. The positive response to the film points to the potential among these immigrants to bring the film to many more people. This would be a strategically important section to get to engage this film and to get to know who BA is and what he’s all about. Off of thinking about this showing, we are working to set in motion organizing a larger showing in this neighborhood, building it through getting the word out and getting clips played on Haitian radio stations, and involving those who were at these showings in making this happen.

We were ending the discussion when a woman asked, “How do we use Trump and all the crazy stuff he does to make revolution?” She felt that Trump should be a wake-up call for us all. Another person said they’re “doing away with bourgeois democracy and breaking through the norms.” He felt this was bigger than Trump and that the system was trying to come back with slavery. These are things that we need to go deeper into with these people.




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