[Marxism] Re: Open borders et al

Carlos Petroni cepetroni at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 16 10:50:25 MDT 2006

I worked in the Latino immigrant community in LA, SF
and elsewhere for over 20 years.  With others, I
helped to defeat the first version of the
Simpsom-Mazzoli, introduced and helped fight and led
the movement the right to vote for non-citizens,
organized mass events (with up 60,000) in the
immigrant community and try -- sometimes with success,
some time with failure -- to build a revolutionary
wing of the immigrant rights movement neither
alienated nor separated for the main community

It never occurred to me to speak more than in a
propagandistic way about open borders (which by the
way is an old fashion free trade slogan, not one with
socialist origin, as I understand it) or what I
consider an even more important issue -- under the
surface of the most moderate Mexican immigrant is the
certainty that they live in a land stolen from them by
American imperialism.

In a very concentrated way, this movement of the
Latinos, particularly Mexican immigrants is the most
threatening event for US imperialism today, because it
poses the very historical fact of the possibility of
dismemberment of USA territorial or political

And here is necessary to make a distinction between
the  Mexican immigrants and the rest of the immigrant
communities -- first because they are the overwhelming
majority of those mobilizing and living in the US (and
the most concentrated in industry)and their
nationalist view and feelings on the issue, and thus
posing the most revolutionary potential for the

An US economic collapse, a natural disaster affecting
the southwest, a revolution in Mexico or a number of
other possible scenarios will put this issue on the
agenda in way people wouldn't believe today.

By the way, if you read the most conscious imperialist
scribes, you'll notice that they analyze these risks
as well.

It would never occur to me to agitate about these
issues in the past or present movement. That would
only favor the racist, chauvinistic reaction at the
time the movement has neither leadership nor
organization  to speak of capable or willing to
withstand and confront such attacks. The movement is
at its democratic stage and we should try to help it
advance as much of possible.  But, if we are
revolutionaries, we need to educate the best activists
beyond the democratic demands of today.

Support for any legislation offered by democrats o
republicans is a trap. Any and all of them will bear
the sign of compromise, consensus and agreement to
protect the US ruling class from any threat from
within at the expense of civil rights and democratic
rights of immigrants.  This is NOT a potential
repetition of the Civil Rights of the 50s which aims
had no any other potential way to go but
integration-ism. Villaraigosa and Kennedy put it

Full, unconditional, immediate amnesty for all! is
more than appropriate to confront  democrats and

It is understandable,it is widely supported in the
community and it had the potential to gain union
support (it id before 9/11 remember?).  Full
legalization! is the same, and the mainstream of the
Latino community makes no difference among them. 
Could be used it as well but basically means the same
to immigrants, except that full legalization! may open
the road to proposals such as : OK, partial amnesty on
one hand, combined with a regulated guest workers
program and with strict future admissions to the
country, etc.  Legalization by itself is tied to the
legal standards approved in Congress.  Full, immediate
amnesty for all! does not lead to any misunderstanding
or possible maneuver. It is full immediate and for all
or not.

Together with these, there are other demands and
organizational push we should favor: a call to unions
and the AFL-CIO to take action and the right to
organize undocumented workers into unions.  Now, after
the latest events, demands to stop bosses harassment
and persecution of immigrant rights activists in the
workplaces and communities is of the foremost
importance.  Sooner or later, the few physical attacks
now occurring will take a more ominous path and we
will have to confront the need for the immigrant
community to exert some form of self-defense against
them and probably against renewed INS raids.  Or
anyone think they would not occur as soon as the
movement recedes a little?

Lots to organize around.

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