Fight Against Fascism, Fight for Immigrants
Our government’s vicious repression of migrants and the movement against it are both becoming more intense, making immigration a focal point of the 2020 election. Meanwhile, an upsurge is also underway in the movements over housing, health care, education, and police shootings. The strategic challenge facing the American people is whether the movement for basic needs will develop in political unity with the struggle in defense of migrants, or whether they will develop in isolation from one another. Isolation would only help our class enemies, pit suffering citizens against suffering migrants, so that despite both movements growing, the country gets overwhelmed by an even greater growth of the social base for fascism.
The pages of Rally, Comrades! have carried the message that the anti-immigration movement is being used as a cutting edge of a new fascist social movement. Before the electronic revolution resulted in the destruction of the jobs and lives of millions, attacks on immigrants were launched to segregate workforces and communities, making it harder to unite against their employers. Today, these attacks aim to divert the fight against lost jobs, crowded schools, and crumbling infrastructure, by channeling it against immigrants instead of the ruling class.
Ruling class propaganda promoting that false solution to very real social problems has won over a diverse base of Americans of all colors, including some who were once immigrants themselves. Obviously, the raids immediately hurt immigrants, just as other attacks attempt to scapegoat youth or the homeless. But the overall strategic goal of all these attacks is the fascist reorganization of the political system. This requires building a fascist social base that believes it’s the only way to deal with today’s growing social crisis.
Central American Immigration
Increased immigration from Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador has played a major role in the intensification of the struggle against their repression. The largest group of immigrants still comes from México, but the global hi-tech economy is leaving Central America’s economy so far behind, that an even greater percentage of its population has been pushed outside of the capitalist economy altogether. Along with a similar, rapidly growing section of the U.S. working class, these people are the seed of a new class, whose survival is no longer guaranteed within a system dominated by private corporate control of new technology.
So desperate have Central America’s migrants become as their resources shrink and as the U.S. government steps up its border enforcement, many have abandoned the increasingly costly border smuggling of the past and launched a completely new approach. They have organized into communities of thousands, who openly trek towards the U.S. border, in full view of the news media and police. It’s been called “an invasion” by Donald Trump. But those whose moral traditions tell them to defend people risking their health, freedom, and lives to increase their children’s chances of survival call it a modern-day “Exodus” (See article in this issue, “New Film on Common Roots of Problems.” )
Confronted with this massive contest between life and death, every sector engaged in political motion over immigration has intensified its own activity. The fascist pole favoring more vicious repression is using the exodus as a rallying point to gather forces. In July, ProPublica reported that over 9,000 past and present Border Patrol staff had links to a Facebook page posting about the May 2019 death of a detained 16-year old Guatemalan: “Oh well” and “If he dies, he dies.”
These violent fascists are abetted by elected officials from both parties who play an essential role in the development of fascism. For example, the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) in the U.S. House of Representatives, is made up of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans, who voted for new border “security” funding, defeating Representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. It is revealing that PSC’s co-chair is New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer, who worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton and for Microsoft. They have directed so much money towards Gottheimer that he is called a “Human Fundraising Machine” by journalists.
The pole defending migrants against these forces has also stepped up its actions. Across the country, as the policy of separating migrant children from their undocumented family members began producing serious child illnesses and deaths, a tidal wave of protests have occurred throughout the country. This resistance has now grown far beyond the ranks of the migrants themselves, and is becoming a key part of the fight for survival of the new class.
New Class, New Vision
The global hi-tech economy is creating a new class of the workers, people who are not just losing their immediate jobs, but, as the exodus reveals, they are being permanently separated from any connection to the economic system. Their struggle is objectively revolutionary, because unless they can break the new technology free of a ruling class using it for private benefit, impoverishment and suffering will greatly increase. No matter what anyone calls it, breaking new technology and people free means envisioning the creation of a cooperative, communist society wherein society’s production provides for people’s needs.
In mid-July, when ICE announced raids targeting 2,100 undocumented immigrants in various states, immigrant rights organizations rapidly mobilized “Know Your Rights” events. They persuaded a number of city and town governments to declare themselves sanctuary communities which refused to cooperate in persecuting their residents. A key part of the movement is in the South. For example, in the Hermitage neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers tried to arrest a man and his son sitting in their van in their own driveway. Neighbors quickly linked arms in a multi-racial human chain for four hours, until ICE left.
Such community unity proved so effective that only 35 people were arrested in all the raids. The next month, ICE raided seven poultry processing plants in Mississippi, arresting 680 people and separating them from their children. Throughout America, the movement began sending solidarity delegations to Mississippi, echoing the unity built for the old Civil Rights Movement.
As the election season heats up, more proposals to deal with immigration will be put before the American people. One that challenges the very nature of immigrant repression is to eliminate Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, which makes it a crime to cross the border without legal authorization. Most people don’t realize that being caught living in this country without papers is not an actual “crime,” it’s only a civil offense, like breaking a traffic law. A detained immigrant can be held until they can be deported, but they do not have to serve a set time in jail or prison. But being caught crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor, and can be punished with a fine, a prison sentence, deportation, or all three.
The Bush and Obama administrations increased this criminalization of migrants, and by 2016 immigration cases had become the majority of all federal criminal prosecutions. In 2018 the Trump administration increased the separation of children, saying it was because their parents were “accused criminals.” Activists are calling for repeal of this law, so unauthorized immigration is only a civil offense, which would not justify separating families. By September, fourteen of the twenty Democratic presidential candidates agreed.
While the sincerity of many of these candidates remains in doubt, the movement must pursue every means of preventing the criminalization of people for merely seeking to raise children in safety and economic security. That would help migrants openly take their place in struggles demanding that the government ensure housing, health and education for everyone. A united struggle for basic necessities is at the heart of the fight against the new form of fascism being imposed on us all.
Globalized production has thrown millions together in common suffering, regardless of national origin. People in America and across the world have the same needs and demands, and all are part of the same objectively revolutionary process. The League of Revolutionaries extends its hand of comradeship around the globe. RC
November.December 2019 Vol29.Ed6
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