There they go again! The Militant on Elián, one y ear l ater

jonathan flanders jon_flanders at
Sun Nov 12 17:36:20 MST 2000

>> Nevertheless, it should be
noted that at least on one point there has been a shift, their evaluation
Cuba's campaign around Elián now seems more positive than before. <<


Well, it's easier to be sympathetic in retrospect, isn't it? I was never in
the kind of leadership position you once held in the organization, but
after all, people are people, I don't care how many marxist texts you have
read. Put people under intense pressure and they will things you wouldn't
expect, I've had a real first-hand experience with this as a union rep, I
can assure you.

So you have a small party, struggling for influence in the workplaces where
you have members, now contending with the consciousness and political level
of this growing immigrant layer in the working class. You want to find a
way to solidarize with them, and La Migra sure would stand out, wouldn't

Along comes the Elian crisis. Yikes! Those co-workers who were so happy
that you supported them against La Migra now look at you differently when
Cuba, who you say you support, demands that Washington move against the
Cuban exiles.

Frankly, I think I had it much easier getting agreement with my white male
co-workers on Elian, when we discussed it after a union meeting at the
American Legion. Native born workers just didn't have the INS issue to
obscure the issue for them. They could see clearly that in fact we were
dealing with a kidnapping for political motives, that Elian belonged at
home in Cuba, with his father.

Jon Flanders

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