Getting Out in the Midst of the Mini-Jolt Around the Attacks on Immigrants

June 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following correspondence was sent to revcom:

There is so much going on it’s a little hard to keep track of: the massive raids; the murder of Claudia Gonzalez; the “zero tolerance” policy turning what was a civil violation into a criminal one, leading to gross violations of due process on the border (mass trials of 70 immigrants where each person gets five minutes counsel with one lawyer); and being used to justify separating families (which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others have made clear is now official U.S. policy); the prison conditions that 1,500 immigrant kids are living in now in the former Walmart in Texas which they initially tried to keep the outside world from seeing; Sessions’ change in asylum policy to keep out people who are fleeing domestic violence and gang violence... I’m sure I’m forgetting things.

And now, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (June 15) and Sessions (June 14) both defended ripping children out of their parents’ arms and throwing them in cages by invoking the BIBLE!

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.”

Sanders said: “It is very Biblical to enforce the law.... That is repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”

We should be tweeting out the clip on the Christian fascists from BA’s speech last fall like crazy right now.

The main point I wanted to make is that all this seems to be building into a mini-jolt, in which many people are once again being forced to confront the reality of the situation, and different class forces are weighing in. In fact, I think Sessions’ and Sanders’ comments were in part in response to criticism from Catholic groups about the family separation. And the June 14 New York Times editorial, while primarily funneling people’s disgust at this into the normal channels, also included the call to protest.

Yesterday I talked to a top leading person in AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) who said he’s feeling like what’s needed right now is a mass march on Washington. At the AILA conference plenary everyone did powerful exposure about what’s happening... most people were sober about it. The incoming president of the group, however, recycled the same few examples of temporary court “victories” (on the Muslim ban and DACA, etc.) to argue that we are “winning” and just need to continue the fight. She made the “winning” comments as an applause line, but it got almost no applause. The California attorney general was the keynote speaker... he did exposure of some of the horrific history of U.S. treatment of immigrants (Chinese Exclusion Act, braceros, “no dogs or Irish allowed,” etc.), but all in the service of saying that none of what Trump is doing is new and we just have to continue the perennial struggle in the onward march of progress. Interestingly, though, when someone on the panel asked him whether he thought the Democrats were part of the problem, citing the way they sold out the Dreamers, he kind of “played golf,” refusing to defend the Dems and instead just said that although he’s a Democrat, he’s first a brown-skinned person and that Dems should be held accountable like anyone else.

At the end I jumped up on a chair in this room with about 2,000 lawyers and did some brief call-and-response agitation and called for people to put their fists in the air and do the “in the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America” pledge, which most of the people in the immediate vicinity did. Then I told them to come talk to me and the other person with me about The BA Institute and BA’s work on the roots and dynamics of American fascism, and how we can make an actual revolution, etc. Lots of people came up to us wanting the flyers.

I’m running out the door to go back to the conference, and we can write more on this conference later. But again the main point I wanted to emphasize is that there’s a mood shift, like a mini jolt.





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