WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY?
June 6, 2006
The workers and democratic-minded people who are coming forward in the struggle for immigrant rights are bringing to the fore fundamental issues about the direction and future of our country.
The people are fighting against the racism and chauvinism of the capitalist government.
The immediate demand of the people is to stop the government from passing new anti-immigrant legislation which would criminalize immigrants and further repress them. This legislation is backed by an hysterical propaganda campaign which vilifies immigrants as "terrorists" and "criminals."
The capitalists also try to blame immigrants for "taking American jobs" and "bankrupting" the country by using social services. Of course, it is not immigrants but the capitalists and the government who are slashing jobs and social services.
The government is trying to pass laws declaring English as the official language. This is part of the government's program of forcibly amalgamating everyone in the "melting pot" of the Anglo nationality. This program aims at increasing the oppression imposed on the minority nationalities and immigrants.
From the beginning, the capitalist state has forcibly annexed other nations, subjugating the Mexican people of the southwest, the Puerto Rican people, the Native Americans, and bringing the African people here in chains. So too, the capitalists have denied the rights of successive waves of immigrants, creating a caste of superexploited and oppressed workers. But the American people have always fought against this national oppression - against the slavery and racial discrimination imposed on the black people, against the genocidal subjugation of the Native peoples, against the colonization of Puerto Rico, etc. The American people have always tried to make this a land of refuge to which peoples from all over the globe can come and add their experience and voice to the struggle to guarantee the rights of all.
The immigrant rights movement is part of carrying this struggle through until every nationality is guaranteed equal rights in a true family of nations.
No, the problem is not immigrants or the oppressed nationalities who are the very foundation of our country; the problem is that the economic and political relations imposed by the government deny the reality of our country and the rights of the peoples.
The immigrant rights movement is fighting against the fascistization of our country.
The government is not only attacking immigrants but the rights of all Americans. Already the government has used its anti-immigrant hysteria to pass laws limiting everyone's access to various social services such as Medicaid. The government is also militarizing the country, further integrating federal and local policing powers and working to impose a national ID system in order to better control the population.
The government is trying to create an ideological criteria for citizenship, virtually demanding a "loyalty oath" from immigrants and insisting that all "true Americans" embrace capitalist values.
The struggle for immigrant rights is in the forefront of the fight against the police state which the capitalists are trying to impose. The people are fighting for a truly modern America which recognizes that the rights of one are inseparable from the rights of all.
In fighting for the rights of immigrants, people are fighting against the superexploitation imposed on tens of millions of people. Today, as for centuries, the entire outlook of the government is to use the immigrants and oppressed nationalities as a source of cheap, super-exploited labor and as a way to divide people and drive down the wages of the entire working class.
Today, in the name of "amnesty" or an "earned path" to citizenship, the capitalists are preparing to legalize a caste system which reduces millions of immigrant workers to the status of indentured servants. Millions of workers who have been living and working in the U.S. for years - making their lives and building our country - would get the "privilege" of working continuously for 6 more years in order to apply for naturalization. Every year, hundreds of thousands more "guest workers" would be brought to the U.S. on a contract system to meet the needs of the capitalists. After their contracts of 3-6 years are up, these workers will be returned to their native countries.
We say that immigrant workers do not have "to earn" citizenship or "prove" their loyalty. They are already part and parcel of our country.
The struggle against the superexploitation of immigrant workers is part of the movement of the working class to assert its common class interests and to come out as a class for itself, a class which aims at ending all forms of exploitation and oppression.
The struggle for immigrant rights brings to the fore the issue of: "What kind of country?"
The capitalists are seeking to throw society backwards and impose race hatred and national oppression on us. They are rapidly strengthening their police state, militarizing the country and attacking the rights of the people, all along the line. They are driving the working people deeper into exploitation and poverty.
The immigrant rights movement, as part of the struggle of the working people, is fighting to carry through the highest aspirations of the American people - to create a true family of nationalities and a land of refuge which recognizes the equality of the peoples; to create a country which guarantees the rights of all human beings and which eliminates all forms of exploitation and oppression.