The spontaneous movement is making a historic turn — going from the defensive to the offensive. At this moment, the turn is taking place around the immigrant issue. At the core of the immigrant movement is the fight for survival of a section of the class. The new immigrants’ struggle for survival ties them objectively to the rest of the working class in the same position.
The motion we are currently seeing is the social response forced forward by the economic and now social destruction that is sweeping the globe. The immigration issue is further evidence of the progressive failure of capitalism as a system.
The immigration protests are a part of the continuum of what the workers learned through hurricane Katrina – that their government doesn’t care about the poor. Another part of that continuum is that, for the millions of workers who lost their manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt states, the government is doing nothing to lessen their burden.
The immigration issue- a component of U.S. global strategy
It is important to see the immigration issue as not pertaining only to Latinos, immigrants, or even just the undocumented. Rather, we need to see it within the context of U.S. strategy to insure the economic interests of global capital. Globalization has internationalized the commodity market. But the labor market is still objectively and subjectively constrained by national boundaries.
This is a contradiction that cries out for resolution, the beginning of which is now occuring through the motion around immigration. Millions and millions of workers are being displaced by the economic and political policies of the U.S. in cahoots with the bourgeoisies of the globe. As a consequence, the United States has become the home of millions of immigrant workers who have been forced by the poverty in their countries to immigrate or starve. They are rooting themselves in every community in the United States. They labor from coast to coast, south to north. Their children are born here and have rights as citizens.
The U.S. capitalists could easily resolve the issue of immigration by opening the borders. But they won’t do that, because the “illegal status” of the immigrant workers puts those workers at a disadvantage in competing with the rest of the workers in the United States. This enables the capitalists to lower the wages of all workers in the U.S.
In addition, the U.S. cannot completely seal the border, as this would inevitably lead to a revolution in Mexico. The immigration of Mexican workers is a safety valve for the Mexican bourgeoisie as well as for the globalist bourgeoisie that invests in Mexico. While the U.S. maintains hegemony in the hemisphere and the world, its empire is already being undermined. A revolutionary Mexico would affect other Latin American countries, further threatening U.S. hegemony. For this reason, sectors of the U.S. ruling class are supporting some kind of “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, as well as a “guest-worker” program to ensure their source of cheap labor.
This position is further splitting the Republican Party, a process that began with the Iraq war and continues with Katrina. As a result, the Republican Party is not as united as it was five years ago. As for the Democratic Party, the workers are becoming more and more disillusioned with its lack of a program, and they are looking for solutions and allies.
There is also an important historical aspect of the struggle of Mexican and Chicano workers today that favors the side of the revolutionaries. After the Mexican-American War of 1848, the United States annexed almost half of Mexico’s territory and a huge section of its population. This is a historic wound that has not healed.
“An injury to one is an injury to all”
Immigration is an issue of the working class, and needs to be addressed and resolved by the class. Revolutionaries need to enter the debate to refute and oppose the arguments for the deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants and for making a fortress out of America by militarizing the border. It’s our task to change the debate by calling on everyone to oppose the deportation of human beings, to uphold the education of every child, to demand universal health care for all, and to end the militarization of our borders and the hunt for human beings. The class needs to be rallied under the banner of “An injury to one is an injury to all.” To uphold this banner and to rally the workers regardless of nationality, we need to fuse with this spontaneous movement in whatever form that it takes. The slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all” puts forth what is in the interest of the working class as a whole. It is a fighting slogan for our class.