Revolution #231, May 1, 2011

Driven Across the Border

Driven from the villages and slums of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, millions and millions of people each year are uprooted from their homes to seek work in the United States. In the "land of the free," they are demonized, terrorized, and criminalized. Forced into the dirtiest, most dangerous, worst paying jobs, their sweat and blood yields super-profits for capitalist exploiters.


There is nothing sacred to us about the USA, as it is presently constituted, or about the borders of the U.S. as they are presently constituted. Quite the opposite.

Bob Avakian, Revolution #84, April 8, 2007
(quote originally published 1982)

Always forced to live in the shadows, the conditions for immigrants have become much worse in these days of economic crisis, and a fraying social fabric. Comparisons to the persecution of Jews as Hitler came to power in Germany are inescapable as state after state copies Arizona's vicious anti-immigrant law that requires police demand proof of legal residency from anyone they "stop, detain or arrest" if police suspect that person is an undocumented immigrant. Under Barack Obama, "hope" means deportations have gone to record levels—a 10% increase beyond the numbers deported under Bush.

• • •

Why do people come here from around the world? Take Mexico—although you could take any one of a hundred countries that have been plundered and subjugated by capitalism-imperialism. Driven in large part by the demand for land of the expanding slave system, the United States stole a large part of Mexico 160 years ago through war—including what is now Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Then, throughout the 20th century, U.S. capital expanded into and increasingly dominated the Mexican economy. Institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—dominated by the U.S.—pressure the Mexican government to promote farm crops that can be sold on the world market. Land, resources, and people have been forcibly ripped away from producing food for people to consume to live—to instead grow low-cost food for the world market. And in the maquiladoras (sweatshops) on the border and elsewhere, super-exploited Mexican labor produces low-cost goods for export to countries like the U.S.

In every sphere, the Mexican economy has been warped and distorted to serve the demands of international capitalism-imperialism. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of peasants, manual laborers, professionals and others have been forced to leave their homes in a desperate quest for work in the United States, where they work in low-wage factory and field jobs, or find their college studies are only good enough here to drive a taxi or sweep floors. They live in fear every day that they will be fired because they are immigrants, or deported as a result of ICE raids or any encounter with local police.

The 12 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. provide cheap labor power, and remittances (money sent back to Mexico) have historically helped stabilize Mexico—something that is coming undone as the flow of remittances is drying up. But even as they exploit them, the imperialist ruling class sees immigrants as a threat to the social stability of their whole setup.

But this mass of immigrants in the U.S. is a positive thing for the revolution. The stand of the movement we are building for revolution is clear: to welcome such immigrants as brothers and sisters… to insist on equality of nations, including equality in culture and language, and to learn from and take joy in cultural exchange… to stand with them as they oppose repression… to draw on their desire for revolution and their experience living in countries oppressed by imperialism, encouraging them to get into the movement for revolution and to take up and spread the word on the leadership of Bob Avakian.

Why DO People Come Here From All Over the World?

Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying, "Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?"...Why? I'll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power.

Bob Avakian, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About,
a film of a talk by Bob Avakian
Available at and in a DVD set from RCP Publications

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