[Marxism] What should revolutionaries do in the immigrant rights movement?

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Apr 12 18:16:42 MDT 2006

Javier writes, "... Especially now where the most reactionary parts of 4437
have been eliminated from the mass mobilizations and Bush is pushing the
guest worker program."

I wish it were so, but HR 4437 is still there, it is the only legislation
that has been approved by one of the Houses of Congress and whatever the
Senate passes will go into a Republican-leadership-dominated conference
committee where the REAL legislation will be written behind closed doors. It
does seem unlikely that the most reactionary aspects of 4437 could be
included in a bill reported out of conference now, because of the political
tsunami of immigrant protests that has swept the country, but in this
regard, we should make our own the slogan of the Cuban Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution: Con la Guardia en Alto. With our guard up!

And as a practical --almost mercenary-- political matter, when your enemy
gives you a club as big as declaring even immigrant children "aggravated
felons," and threatening priests with jail for feeding the hungry and giving
shelter to the homeless, you keep bashing them with it until they're reduced
to talcum powder. 

The Republicans in control of the House, after all, have complete control of
that august body and they could call themselves into special session
tomorrow to pass a bill granting full human, civil and political rights
--including the vote-- to all people who live in this country. So until and
unless they annul their approval of the Sensenbrenner Bill, we should not
stop the struggle against it. In an ironic way, it is our most powerful
weapon, for there they put down in black and white their REAL racist program
against our people.

Javier: "But the trade-union leadership is not calling for amnesty for
Immigrants, and for the most part tail-ending the guest worker program.
Piolin and Cucuy, two of the most popular Spanish radio host in Cal have
been calling for mobilization against what was 4437, but now I seriously
doubt there calling for amnesty as well as raising a critical position
against the guest worker program."

The *formal* position of the labor movement is for legalization and against
a new Bracero ("guest worker") program, unless I missed something. That the
labor officialdom is incapable of leading a real fight for it is obvious --
they can't even lead an elementary fight in defense of their own membership
base on which their privileges rest.

There is *a lot* of confusion in the community around the "guest worker"
issue, because people aren't for slamming the door on new immigrants and
because the details of the different variants are complicated. That is why I
think the political fight should be waged on the axis that a) everyone here
now should be legalized and b) new working class immigrants be admitted on
the same basis as the most privileged immigrants, i.e., as permanent
residents, even while we keep raising in a propagandistic way the idea of a
world without borders.


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