In October, New York’s liberal democratic governor, Eliot Spitzer, proposed allowing undocumented immigrants to get drivers’ licenses. The “immigrant rights” movement pushed the idea that Spitzer was taking a bold, pro-immigrant stance.
Spitzer’s plan was developed not out of concern that undocumented workers need to be able to drive to and from work legally, and to get car insurance, but rather “as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open.” This fits with “homeland security” concerns consistently pushed by the Democrats. Some right-wing flunkies of the ruling class favor licensing undocumented workers. Colonel Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney and West Point professor, figures this plan would address the problem of “hundreds of thousands of people run[ning] around the country without any oversight when there’s a war going on.” (NYT, 10/9/07)
But even that sham was too much for the openly anti-immigrant racists. Many upstate New York county clerks indicated that if the plan was enacted, they would simply disobey it. Within weeks, Spitzer held a meeting and then a joint press conference with Michael Chertoff, the head of the fascist Office of Homeland Security, and announced that New York would agree to a three-tiered driver’s license program. That plan would have given undocumented immigrants a license which could not be used to travel across borders or to fly, and would have left them open targets, easily identifiable by cops and immigration agents.
Spitzer’s apartheid licensing system would have led undocumented workers into the eagerly waiting arms of immigration agents (ICE) just as surely as the yellow stars on their clothes led Jews to the waiting arms of the Nazis. However, Lou Dobbs, CNN’s ranting racist, and his fellow media apologists for the ruling class, continued their vitriolic campaign, viewing even this plan as a “gift” to these workers. Within days, Spitzer announced that he was withdrawing the entire proposal.
Unfortunately, many workers still believe that liberal Democrats will look after their interests and protect them from the ravages of the gutter racists. Each of Spitzer’s proposals, however, shows the error of that belief. The liberals simply have a different way of building fascism. They know that the wider wars of the future require winning immigrants to patriotism, while maintaining a level of terror to keep workers in line. That is why they keep Dobbs & the Minuteman racists around, and allow them to build their movement.
Liberal Democrats are no more the friends of the working class than are the gutter racists. Today, we fight against all forms of racism and fascism, and for the international unity of the working class. Once our struggle is won, members of the working class will not have to carry an identification card to prove our entitlement to the fruits of our labor.