From the Editors: Sanctuary – Forging Bonds of Class Kinship
“Her only wrongdoing is just being poor.” – husband of Guadalupe Garcia de Royos, mother of two, arrested by ICE and deported to Mexico in February 2017.
“The truth is I was there [in the U.S.] for my children. For a better future. To work for them. And I don’t regret it, because I did it for love,” — Guadalupe Garcia de Royos, now in Nogales, Mexico.
Across the country men, women and children are being hunted down, rounded up and arrested. They are forced into detention centers, denied legal representation, stuck for months and even years, as their cases grind their way through the corridors of an inhumane and immoral immigration system. The most basic of human values are violated, as families are destroyed and mass deportations are becoming the norm.
According to a recent Homeland Security report, overall 41,300 people were arrested for deportation between January 22 and April 29, 2017 — a 38 percent increase from a comparable period last year. The roundups have expanded from those who have been involved in the criminal justice system, to those who have been here for decades and routinely checking in with ICE. Many have no connections or family in their country of origin and some don’t even speak the language of their country of origin.
A vast transformation is taking place. It is being driven by the revolution in technology, a revolution which is tearing apart society even as it offers the possibility of a world of abundance. We are seeing a break with all past history as human labor is being replaced with the labor of machines. As the old order breaks apart it strains all past relations, polarizes institutions, and gives rise to new, liberating ideas. This is the process of revolution, and the only question is in whose interests will this revolution be made.
Millions around the world are on the move, uprooted by poverty, war, and violence, seeking refuge wherever they can, searching for a new life. Yet they are denied this, no matter how hard they work. The undocumented and immigrant workers are an integral part of a new class of workers being created by electronic technology. Like every worker, they must work to live, but more and more there is no work for them to do. This new class can no longer live under the capitalist system. It can only survive by overturning it and creating a cooperative, communist society capable of providing not simply the basics of life, but a secure and cultured existence that is the right of all.
This is the reason for the relentless attack on the new class today. The undocumented and immigrant workers are now a focus of the attack by the ruling class to pit the growing new class against itself, and destroy the growing impulses toward unity that are emerging, as it becomes clear that the ruling class intends to do nothing for the workers, no matter their color, religion, sex or nationality.
Yet, as the ruling class carries out its attacks, it cannot help but get tangled up in the contradictions of its own situation. The more they crack down on the undocumented and immigrants, the more they expose their disdain for basic human values to the American people. The more they try to pass laws against sanctuary cities, the more they heighten the tension and struggle between the cities and states, and the states and the federal government. The more oppressive laws they pass to deal with the resistance to their actions, such as SB4 in Texas, or identity cards, or the stepping up of ICE raids, the more they encourage the growing movement against them. The more they use the immigration question to attack the entire working class, the more the workers come to see their common interests and come to see that the attack against one is an attack against all.
The revulsion among the workers and response from churches, cities, individuals, and state governments is taking shape in the call for a new Sanctuary movement, and is in itself an act of unity. As the Northern cities did during slavery in the face of the 1850 Fugitive Slave law, the rising movement is refusing to allow constitutional rights to be trampled upon and unjust, immoral laws to be enforced. As they fight deportations, hide and shelter those who are being pursued, and fight to turn back unjust laws, the sanctuary movement is part of the broader movement standing up to the fascist State the ruling class is creating.
The importance of the sanctuary movement today is that it is forging alliances and unity by practical experience, all part of one class in opposition to the ruling class. Safety and security is as much a basic necessity of life as food, clothing, and shelter. It is a question for the entire working class. What is necessary today is to expand the notion of sanctuary, from simple safe haven, to forging bonds of class kinship and camaraderie through mutually shared struggle for the necessities of life.
The whole edifice of capitalism is collapsing, with nowhere to expand. Revolutionaries show that the commonality of poverty can and must unite the “criminals of want.”
July/August 2017 Vol27.Ed4
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011