[Marxism] disgraceful campaign against May 1st boycott

Jesse Jack jjack99645 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 21 09:57:18 MDT 2006

What's wrong with a "decide for yourself" approach? Different people have
different circumstances. In Anchorage, our YCL club has been trying to
mobilize a May 1 student walkout. Our policy thus far has been that people
should understand the consequences and decide for themselves if it's worth
it. There's the potential that someone will miss a final and fail a course,
and maybe lose their financial aid, but no one's going to put a gun to their
head and make them do it.

On 4/20/06, Andrew Pollack <acpollack2 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Many are calling the immigrants' rights movement the "New Civil Rights
> Movement." One of many obvious parallels is the already-far reaching
> political divide in the movement's ranks, in this case over the character of
> May   1st.    Unfortunately -- as [excerpts from] the three articles below
> detail -- some "leaders"   of the movement are denouncing the proposed
> boycott -- especially the work   stoppage component. If they were doing so
> because they honestly believed, based   on input from their constituencies,
> that a strike wasn't realistic, that the   numbers are too few to have an
> impact and/or to stop victimization, that would   be one thing. But that's
> not what's going on. Instead, they are arguing against   the politics of a
> boycott, saying it will alienate potential supporters. (See   examples in
> the articles below. In addition, among the supposed supporters they   are
> afraid of alienating and not mentioned below are "friends" in   Congress
> (statement of union
> official at NY meeting) and bosses (article in   today's el
> Diario)).    Attached [not in this copy, obviously] are two letters which
> the Chicago Worker Organizing Committee is   encouraging workers to use to
> protect themselves against victimization should   they strike on May 1st.
> Obviously the letters themselves are only one necessary   step in stopping
> reprisals. But the point is that those unions and other groups   which claim
> they oppose the strike because workers might get fired could be   mobilizing
> their members against victimization -- starting with a campaign in   defense
> of those already victimized.    A split in the leadership of the movement
> was inevitable at some point. Now that   it's come, the arguments of those
> who are politically against using the power at   the point of production of
> immigrant workers must be refuted.     Some arguing against a strike
> genuinely believe that we don't know yet if the   numbers are there to make
> it successful. That too is a
> valid -- perhaps the most   valid -- consideration for any strike. But
> obviously that's 180 degrees   different from arguing that a strike will
> alienate dubious allies.    Finally, the place for this debate to occur is
> within the ranks of the most   important coalitions which have organized
> recent actions, which represent mass   union and community groups, NOT, as
> Workers World/PLS has done, by creating   separate phony front
> "coalitions."    Andrew Pollack
> http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/20/washington/20immig.html?pagewanted=print  NY
> Times  April 20, 2006  Immigrant Groups Plan Campaign to Bring Legal
> Changes  By RACHEL L. SWARNS
> http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/20/washington/20immig.html?pagewanted=print
> NY Times
> April 20, 2006
> Immigrant Groups Plan Campaign to Bring Legal Changes
> WASHINGTON, April 19 — Leaders of the demonstrations that drew hundreds of
> thousands of immigrants into the streets last week announced Wednesday
> that they
> were planning voter registration and citizenship drives across the country
> in an
> effort to transform the immigrant community into a powerful, organized
> political
> force.
> But the leaders of immigrant advocacy groups remain sharply divided over
> whether
> immigrants should demonstrate their economic strength by staying away from
> their
> jobs, schools and local shops on May 1 in what organizers are calling the
> Great
> American Boycott of 2006.
> In Washington, the leaders of the National Capital Immigration Coalition,
> an
> alliance of immigrant, labor and business groups, is urging immigrants to
> ignore
> the boycott and to participate in voter registration drives and other
> activities
> after attending school or going to work.
> In Los Angeles, the leaders of some immigration advocacy groups are
> appearing on
> Spanish-language radio stations and warning listeners to consider the
> consequences of skipping work and keeping their children out of school,
> particularly because dozens of immigrants were fired after participating
> in last
> week's rallies. As an alternative, organizers are planning a five-mile
> march
> that people can take part in after work.
> Anjelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant
> Rights
> of Los Angeles, said she and others preferred to focus on events that
> would win
> over the American public, suggesting that a national economic boycott
> might
> unnecessarily alienate ordinary people and decision makers.
> Ms. Salas and others are proposing a national day of community service, in
> which
> immigrants, some of whom are in the country illegally, would make repairs
> in
> local schools and paint community centers to demonstrate their value to
> the
> community and commitment to the country. The date for that demonstration
> has not
> been set.
> "It is critical for us, that we really, as we move forward, take actions
> that are embraced by the American public, that touch the hearts and minds
> of the
> American public, that they get to know us, that they understand who we
> are," Ms. Salas said at a news conference here.
> Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant
> and
> Refugee Rights, said that this summer would be "an immigrant freedom
> summer," with citizenship and voter registration drives in various cities
> to ensure that immigrants would vote in Congressional elections this year
> and in
> the presidential election in 2008.
> Oscar Sanchez, who handles public relations for the March 25th Coalition,
> said
> his group was undeterred by the concerns raised by the other advocacy
> groups.
> Mr. Sanchez said he expected the May 1 boycott to be a national success,
> with
> participation in at least 90 cities.
> Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland, an advocacy group,
> countered that the timing was not right for a boycott. Mr. Torres, who is
> a
> leading proponent of the community service day, said he and others wanted
> to see
> first how the Senate responded to the calls for legalization before taking
> such
> a step.
> washingtonpost.com
> Fearing Backlash, Some Immigration Activists Aren't Backing Boycott
> By Darryl Fears
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Thursday, April 20, 2006; A13
> A panel of immigration activists said yesterday that it will not encourage
> workers and families to walk off the job and keep their children from
> school as
> part of a May 1 boycott, but will hold voter-recruitment and petition
> drives
> instead.
> "We are going to have several meetings; we are going to have thousands and
> thousands of people sign petitions. . . . We will register people to vote
> and
> send thousands of e-mails to legislators," said Gustavo Torres, executive
> director of Casa de Maryland in Silver Spring.
> Torres was joined on the panel by representatives from several immigration
> organizations, including the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and the
> National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, both based in
> Los
> Angeles, and the National Capital Immigration Coalition in the District.
> The panelists stressed that they were not discouraging others from
> boycotting.
> But later they said that they do not support the boycott because it could
> result
> in people being fired, cause students to miss school and create a climate
> of
> disgust that could lead to a backlash by Americans who are not immigrants.
> "I don't know who they are [boycott leaders]," said Jaime Contreras,
> president of the
> National Capital Immigration Coalition. "I've never seen them."
> But boycott supporters were in town yesterday, visiting Washington and
> walking
> around Mount Pleasant, the heart of one of the areas Contreras's group
> represents, trying to enlist support for the boycott.
> They included Gloria Saucedo of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and
> Jesse
> Diaz Jr., both of Los Angeles. "Yes, we know about the press
> conference," Diaz said. "We weren't invited."
> He said some groups represented at the news conference had split off from
> their
> cause and were now against it. Regardless, he said, the boycott has
> enormous
> support and will go on.
> http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-boycott20apr20,1,3403338.story?coll=la-h
> eadlines-california
> >From the Los Angeles Times
> Immigrants Divided on Boycott
> April 20, 2006
> Some advocates also expressed fear that a boycott would increase negative
> public
> opinion, which began building after thousands of students walked out of
> classes
> last month, many of them waving the Mexican flag.
> A boycott would create chaos as well as a backlash by giving fuel to the
> anti-illegal immigrant movement, said Spanish-language DJ Renan "El
> Cucuy" Almendarez Coello, a key figure in urging people to attend the
> March
> 25 rally in Los Angeles, which drew an estimated 500,000 people.
> "We came here to work and not to say 'don't work,' " Coello said in
> Spanish at the We Are America news conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady
> of
> the Angels, which featured Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala and more than 20
> immigrant workers and advocates.
> But Nativo Lopez, a boycott supporter and president of the Mexican
> American
> Political Assn., said a more confrontational approach in the model of
> Cesar
> Chavez and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was needed to shake up the
> nation's
> power structure and demonstrate the indispensable role that illegal
> immigrants
> play in the economy. He questioned why organizations that celebrate the
> civil
> rights leaders through Masses and annual memorial events balk at following
> their
> tactics.
> "Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King were extremely militant advocates of
> Gandhian principles of civil disobedience, and they lived by those
> principles," Lopez said in an interview. "So what's the ruckus about a
> boycott? We need to put the focus of power with the worker and immigrants,
> not
> in the hierarchies, to resolve the immigration reform debate."
> The two coalitions are also divided over immigration policy, with
> differences
> over proposed guest-worker programs, terms of legalization and employer
> sanctions.
> Some of the We Are America coalition members support proposed Senate
> legislation
> that includes a guest-worker program and would offer most undocumented
> workers
> the chance to get in line for legalization after paying a fine and
> learning
> English. But Lopez's coalition rejects a guest-worker program as
> exploitative
> and is backing full and immediate legalization of all undocumented
> workers.
> Lopez said the divergent tactics stemmed from the different nature of the
> organizations involved.
> He said some of the We Are America organizations may feel constrained from
> joining the boycott by their mission, funders, or in the case of organized
> labor, their collective bargaining agreements that prohibit strikes.
> By contrast, he said, most of those in the March 25 Coalition are Latino
> grass-roots organizations, such as his Mexican political group and various
> chapters of Hermandad Mexicana, the nation's largest organization of
> Latino
> immigrants that claims a membership of 30,000 families.
> Lopez said that many of his coalition members draw their inspiration from
> the
> late Bert Corona, a Latino activist he described as the "modern founder of
> immigrant rights" who started the Hermandad organization in San Diego in
> 1951 and was a mentor to Chavez.
> Lopez said his coalition emphasized the direct and central role that
> immigrants
> should play in forming national policies that affect them.
> "It is critical for us as we move forward that we touch the hearts and
> minds of the American people," Angelica Salas, executive director for the
> Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said at a news
> conference
> in Washington. "We certainly agree that a boycott is legitimate, direct
> action is legitimate; the question is when."
> ---------------------------------
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