[Marxism] US immigrants mobilizing for major 'action'

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 9 17:25:15 MDT 2006

Here in Washington, DC, where I've been attending meetings of
the National Network on Cuba, word is out that the first leaflets
issued for tomorrow's demonstration here are in Vietnamese and
Chinese. As this article also indicates, undocumented immigrants
from many other countries, not just Mexico and Latin America, 
today are seeing their fates as interconnected, a very good sign
indeed. An entire new movement is exploding before our eyes at
present. In the past, undocumented immigrants were content to
stay on the sidelines and out of sight for the most part. But the
recent decision to sharply attack the immigrants as a whole in a
crude manner have evoked quite a dramatic reaction among the
people most affected. At today's NNOC meeting we were given a
report by a Colombian and a Venezuelan, who are doing what 
they can to mobilize their own folks to participate in the actions
taking place tomorrow. And a nation-wide series of protests are
being called for May 1. Interesting choice of days, isn't it?

It seems also that the U.S. Congress cannot negotiate some kind
of arrangement among its own members as to what to do about
this situation. They cannot accept an open border, but what kind
of package can or will they come up with? We really cannot tell.
Thus, the whole issue of immigrants, their rights and what should
happen with them has suddenly now been imposed on the national 
political agenda as never before. This is good. In this context let's
hope we can also get some attention paid to the Cuban Adjustment
Act, which grants special preferential privileges to one small group
from one small country which are denied to people form the rest
of the planet. To read more about that, please see:

Walter Lippmann

from the April 10, 2006 edition -

US immigrants mobilizing for major 'action'

Events are planned Monday in 90 cities to show immigrant strength -
Latino and other.

By Daniel B. Wood | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

LOS ANGELES - In Los Angeles, Eun Sook Lee will march on behalf of
Korean illegal immigrants, at least 50,000, living in southern
California. On Boston Common, Punam Rogers will join other Indian
émigrés, as well as business clients and students from China,
Germany, and Britain. In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Ivalier Duvra will
take to the streets to draw attention to Haitian newcomers who he
says need refugee status.

Coming on the heels of demonstrations in several larger cities, a
National Day of Action on Immigrant Rights Monday is expected to
involve people in some 90 US municipalities, well above organizers'
goal of 10. Described as the biggest social movement of Hispanics
since the United Farm Workers of Cesar Chavez, the plans for
protests, vigils, and marches include a less-visible tier of people
stirred to action over American immigration policy: non-Latinos.

"If you watch TV and read the papers, you would think this
[immigration reform] is primarily an issue only for Latinos or only
illegals or only poor immigrants. [Monday] will show differently,"
predicts Abdul Malik Mujahid, a Chicago-based Islamic cleric who says
7,000 Muslims will march there Monday to protest the "climate of
fear" since 9/11. "Latino organizers have done a big favor not just
to themselves but to all other immigrants, as well as America itself,
by standing up and saying this country's immigration system is broken
and needs to be fixed. Now the rest of us must join in."

The national day of action seems to have expanded exponentially with
the organizing power of the Internet. Besides demonstrations,
speeches, processions, and assorted performances (from drumming to
skits), groups are planning work-walkouts, product boycotts, fasting,
and other measures.

Smaller cities where events are planned include Bakersfield, Calif.;
Fort Myers, Fla.; Hays, Kan.; and Oxford, Ohio, and include groups as
diverse as Ukrainians, Palestinians, Irish, labor, and antiwar

"No one could have anticipated this kind of involvement even as
little as six months ago," says organizer Rich Stolz of Fair
Immigration Reform Movement, one of the organizing coalitions for
National Action Day. "Once it got announced, it spread nationally,
regionally, locally through groups which have been building
relationships for years. They know this is the moment to do something

Organizers originally designed a broad platform they hoped would
attract a wide array of immigrants - Pacific Islanders, Southeast
Asians, Europeans, Africans, and Pakistanis. The specific objection
is legislation, approved by the US House in December, that makes it a
felony (rather than a civil offense) to be in the US illegally. But
organizers are also asking for something: worker protections, civil
rights measures, family reunification, and immigration reform that
defines "a path to citizenship for current undocumented and future
immigrants to the US."

"This is America's civil rights battle for the 21st century," says
Chung-Wha Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella
organization for about 150 groups in New York State that work with
immigrants and refugees. Immigrants are anticipating a duel between
the House and the Senate over immigration-reform language, she says,
but Monday's actions are really about "whether or not America will
continue to be what it has always been - a nation of immigrants.

Anger has been building among immigrants for decades, Ms. Hong says,
but it has intensified over the past decade, as immigrants felt
targeted by welfare reform, what they see as a civil-rights rollback,
and, most recently, anti- terror laws. Post-9/11 crackdowns,
legislation denying social services to illegals in California, and
Minutemen border operations have roused immigrants, legal and not.
"Immigrants have been feeling like targets for all that is wrong and
want to stand up and show how they contribute to the diversity and
richness of America," she says.

L.A.'s Ms. Lee says her major concern is law-enforcement sweeps
through Korea-town, which have created a climate of fear in the
immigrant community. Boston's Ms. Rogers says her priority is visa
procedures for foreigners who come to America to study, which she
says need to encourage the world's best and brightest to stay in
America. Mr. Duvra says US refugee policy needs an overhaul.

While organizers say a big turnout and a broad diversity at Monday's
events will send a signal to politicians in Washington wrangling over
immigration reform, others see possible down sides.

"Each time immigrants have these giant rallies, the more they
infuriate the rest of the American population with the idea that
those who break the law get to march and somehow be rewarded," says
Ira Mehlman, L.A. spokesman for Federation for American Immigration
Reform. "We have seen in France what happens when you try to bring in
millions of people ... in many cases who are hostile. We saw there
that it didn't work, and it won't work here."

Others note that it is not likely so many participating groups will
be able to agree later, when it's time to iron out the details in
whatever legislation emerges. The Iraq antiwar movement and the
antiglobalization movement are cases in point, they say.

"There are a lot of fringe groups tagging along on this to get
exposure and legitimacy and to network," says Britt Minshall, a
16-year career law enforcer and now a pastor at United Church of
Christ. "Once the main goal is accomplished, they begin to fight and
hurt the cause they apparently came together for."

Activists themselves have some concerns. "I worry a bit over whether
these events will be able to remain be peaceful," says Rogers. And
demonstrators who carry the flags of their home countries may leave a
bad taste in the mouths of Americans, she says. Such was the case in
recent demonstrations in Washington.

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