Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stand Up



These are ugly, urgent days. Step by step, big business and its allies are taking control of the government and restructuring it to give the corporations and the class that owns them—the capitalists—total, iron-fisted control of the country. One of their major tools in doing so is the current brutal attack on immigrant workers. Because immigrant workers represent a significant sector of the U.S. working class, this divide-and-conquer tactic will weaken the entire class. So it is time for the entire class to stand up!

The marches of immigrant groups last spring terrified the corporate ruling class. In many cities across the country they were the largest marches ever held, a massive show of strength in response to draconian anti-immigrant legislation proposed in the U.S. Congress.

The ruling-class response against immigrant workers and their families has been swift, systematic, and widespread, reaching deep into immigrant communities in every part of the country, from small towns in Montana, Connecticut, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Iowa to cities like Baltimore, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, and San Diego.

In effect, actions by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, elements of the news media and local police, racist groups such as the Minuteman Project, and corporations such as Halliburton have created a laboratory for establishing outright, tyrannical rule by corporate America—in a word, fascism. ICE RAIDS

Created by the Bush administration after 9/11, ICE has conducted raids of workplaces and homes across the country. Every week ICE agents raid another business. Agents armed with automatic weapons and handcuffs swarm in massive assaults on workplaces and often outnumber those arrested. The raids terrify workers and break up families without consideration of their civil rights. Kids come home from school to find their parents are missing. Nursing babies cry and scream for their mother's milk. Families are broken up. And a mood of intimidation and fear sweep communities of folks who are just trying to make a living.

Not only are communities under attack from ICE raids but anti-immigrant forces are organizing politically in towns across the country. Beginning in April of 2006 in San Bernandino, California, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania, a wave of anti-immigrant city ordinances have swept the country, most of them attacking immigrant workers by punishing landlords who rent to them or calling for English only in all city business. But, while 86 such ordinances have been proposed across the country only 26 have passed, and those that have passed are being fought in the courts. Yet they are an ominous sign of what is to come as more American workers, frightened about their own economic situation, are steered toward scapegoating immigrant workers and away from the true causes of their own economic insecurity. These causes being major changes in the economy such as new technologies that replace more and more workers, and similarly transformations emerge to control society.

Fascist elements of the media are playing their part, tapping into the most racist and hateful strands of U.S. history to demonize and criminalize immigrant workers and other workers who don't fit the most narrow profile of what it means to be an "American".


And the Minutemen and other vigilante groups are "mustering" along the borders with both the U.S. and Canada to illegally detain anyone they think looks like an "illegal." Minutemen have also been reported performing surveillance for ICE and posing as immigration agents and conducting their own rogue raids of homes and businesses.

Many good people have organized to monitor and oppose these vigilante squads. But as workers and their families are left living in fear and are driven deeper into hiding, others are called on to do much, much more.

The attack and terrorization of immigrant workers, the division of the working class against itself, is a path consciously taken to control the class as a whole—indeed, to control the American people as a whole. The powers that be seek to dominate the democratic majority and subject it to the outright tyrannical rule of a tiny minority: big capital, the corporations and their political and social allies.

Now is the time to stand up, to organize ourselves in defense of the defenseless among us who are being scapegoated, and, among other things, to march arm-in-arm with our sisters and brothers.

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