[Marxism] The incredible disappearing Latino (was: David Bacon...)

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Dec 20 21:11:13 MST 2006

Justice Deported
Tuesday’s immigration raids on meatpacking plants weren’t about curbing
identity theft, they were about union-busting. 

*  *  *

Louis pointed us to that article. And I guess it's the straw that broke the
camel's back, for several times in the past few days I through about writing
this, but bit my tongue.

I'm sick of the workerist, class-reductionist horseshit of the American

This spring we saw the most massive, sustained and proletarian series of
mass mobilizations ever in the history of the United States.

They involved workers, sure, but their involvement was overwhelmingly not
mediated through unions even in most of the relative handful of cases where
Latino workers belong to them. The actions were organized in and through the
unprecedented unity of Latinos as a people and overhwlemingly publicized by
the Spanish-language media, and especially radio personalities.

So now comes David Bacon and he assures us these raids were about ... what?
Smashing the Latino movement? No, union-busting. That the workers who were
targetted were Latinos, that all those being deported are in fact Latinos,
even that goes unsaid.

*  *  *

You say, big effing deal ... so one article doesn't explicitly mention what
everyone already knows. The stuff about the unions is part of the truth.
Chill out.

But it's not just one article. Take a look at The Militant's coverage:


That editorial headlined "Protest government raids of packing plants" does
not even mention the work Latino nor any synonim, like Hispanic or Latin

The ISO's Socialist Worker has yet to cover the raids (or perhaps they're
just glacially slow in putting it up on their web page). But they do have a
very long "Where We Stand" editorial statement "A year of gatherring
discontent: From mass immigrant rights marches to the vote against war." 

Much of that editorial is devoted to discussing the immigrant rights
movement, but again, there is no mention that is is based specifically on
the Latino community. It's all "worker, immigrant, worker." How obsessively
class-reductionist do you have to be in writing a statement like this that
in more than 1200 words, not one is Latino or Hispanic or some synonim? This
is MORE THAN class reductioninsm, this is a phobic aversion to the national
movements of oppressed peoples.

And it wasn't an accident of this editorial. That's the line presented in
their book, too, and in various other things they've written. 

Over the the People's Weekly World, the only reference is a press release
from a UFCW local in Chicago which calls for "due process" when an worker's
immigration status is challenged. “Certainly, violent and cruel means of
intimidating workers is completely unacceptable. Many of these immigrant
workers are from Africa, Asia, Central and South America – we are talking
about workers coming to the United States from all over the globe who are
being treated in an inhumane manner,” says the press release in statements
attributed to UFCW Local President who is also vice-president of the
national union. Not only is there no mention that it is specifically Latino
workers who are being specifically targetted, there isn't even a call for an
end to raids and deportations -- just that they be done gently and humanely.
And, of course, the usual pimping for the McCain-Kennedy "comprehensive
immigration reform" swindle in Congress.

The "Communists" of the People's Weekly World don't want to say ikn THEIR
OWN name what their strategy of burying themselves inside the Democrat Party
means in practice, which is abandoning the fight for an end to deportations
and legalization for all. So they use a statement from a purportedly
pro-immigrant union to communicate the line.

Heading over to workers.org of the WWP, there is nothing on these raids, but
two articles on the front page talk about immigration issues. One is about a
protest mounted by the IAC against Lou Dobbs, who is described as
"anti-immigrant" and "racist" several times, but the FACT that the targets
of his constant baiting are Latinos is nowhere mentioned.

Another article talks about a recent medicaid rules change that will deny
automatic medicaid coverage to infant children born in the U.S. to
undocumented mothers. Again, the reality that the victims of this are
Latinos --or Hispanics, or Mexicans and other Latin Americans, or Spanish
speakers, or whatever they want to call us-- is entirely absent.

Counterpunch doesn't appear to have anything on the raids, and Znet had the
same "Justice Deported" piece that started this commentary.

*  *  *

No to put too fine a point on it, but what this shows is that much of the
American Left has an attitude towards Latinos not completely dissimilar from
that of dominant society. They want Latinos as workers and as workers only. 

As a people, Latinos remain unmentioned, invisible.


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