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

Carlos Petroni cepetroni at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 21 07:02:36 MST 2006

What Joaquin Bustelo is doing is confusing the form with the content. Union
organizing is seen by many Latinos as one of the forms, probably in the long run
the more effective, way of confronting the racism and discrimination they
encounter in US society.

On the other hand, the sectors of the ruling class which prefer a submissive,
totally controled Latino population, see any efforts to unionize Latinos as
a threat.  Racists, who just hate anything but the color white, see the same.

So union organizing and union busting meet at the juncture of the Latino
organizing efforts for emancipation.

Racism is not more than the ideology of devaluing the economic and social
strenght and cultural values of an ethnic, racial or national segment of society.
This is to say, in the specific case of US Latinos, the systematic destruction
of their value as workers.

Bustelo claims that both the left and the ruling class only see the workerist
character of Latinos.  But there is an ocean of difference between the
picture of Latinos as disposable, unskilled, cheap labor and the value as
Labor seen in latinos by most Marxists.

Is it sufficcient then to fight only the union battles?  Not at all. It is necessary
a protracted ideological battle as well against the ideas based on the material
reality of super exploitation of Latinos, Blacks and other minorities.

It is also necessary the political struggle and the organizational one.
After all, we are talking about last spring's mobilizations, possibly the
birth of a Latino national liberation movement.

But the tradeunion and ideological struggles, the economic and cultural struggles
are NOT counterposed but complementary.

What is necessary with the left, and the tradeunion leaders, is to argue and
struggle with them for the understanding of the interaction of all aspects
of the struggle, not to confront artificially one vs. the other.

Marxists look for the glue to put together all forms of struggle and give
them a common direction.

It is a big difference between union organizers in the Latino and immigrant
communities and Samuel Gompers, after all.

Are there racist overtones in many of the left's attitudes?  I'm pretty sure
there are, as there are sexist attitudes as well.  After all, we live in a
shitty society and no one can get rid of every one of its influences. The
question is not how hard we smash their skull bones with the accusation
of racism and sexism, but how to struggle to CHANGE THAT.

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