NEW YORK CITY, July 1 — The most important task for the world’s working class is rebuilding the international communist movement, learning from past successes and failures and advancing the struggle for workers’ power. Crucial to this process is fighting racism and all racist divisions within the working class. We must understand global immigration in this context.
Workers migrate for many reasons: work, hunger, misery, war, repression and persecution. The world is the marketplace where international wage slaves look for work, regardless of capitalist-imposed borders. The world’s capitalists exploit the working class in part based on immigrants, both outside and inside their so-called borders. The lower the wages and the worse the situation for immigrant workers, the better capitalists can create the conditions to exploit the whole working class while building racist ideology and divisions. We must understand how capitalism works, unite across “borders” and fight for our class worldwide.
Bosses Spread Anti-Immigrant Lies
Within capitalist “nations,” the bosses super-exploit undocumented workers, reaping huge profits. Meanwhile, their government and media system blame undocumented immigrants for “stealing” jobs from “Americans”; “taking services away” from “law-abiding citizens”; “committing crime”; “ruining neighborhoods”; and being “terrorists.” These statements are based on racist lies and myths that foster a climate of racist hate and division that masks the nature of capitalist exploitation and builds a base for ruling-class-led fascism.
In the U.S. there are a rash of new anti-immigrant laws, often passed in states with the highest immigration rates, like Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Arizona and Utah. The latest law, enacted in Alabama:
• Requires public schools to check students’ immigration status using birth certificates or sworn affidavits;
• Bans undocumented immigrants from attending state colleges;
• Makes it illegal for landlords to rent to undocumented immigrants;
• Makes it illegal for citizens and documented immigrants to transport or shelter undocumented immigrants; and,
• Makes it a crime to hire undocumented immigrants and forces employers to use E-Verify, a so-called “voluntary” program run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify a worker’s immigration status.
Meanwhile Texas Representative Lamar Smith has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to make the use of E-Verify at workplaces federal law, thus mandatory. (E-Verify is a faulty system with a high error rate, causing many documented workers to be either fired or refused employment.)
Obama Expands Bush Program
Another racist feature is the “Secure Communities” program, a DHS “immigration enforcement” program in which local police share fingerprints with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and DHS, supposedly to find and deport immigrant “criminals.” The program was begun under the Bush administration in 2008 with the plan to make state participation mandatory by 2013. The Obama administration has expanded the program as a key part of immigration enforcement.
ICE deported 392,862 immigrants in 2010, not including over 400,000 who took voluntary deportation. Projected deportations for 2011 are 404,000. There are currently 350 detention jails in the U.S. More than 77,000 immigrants have been deported through the Secure Communities program; 49,000 had no criminal records or had only minor offenses (like a traffic ticket).
While Texas and other states are expanding Secure Communities, some like Illinois, New York and Massachusetts have “opted out.” But DHS is apparently claiming that once in, you can’t “opt out.” DHS Chief Jane Napolitano defends the program. These three states have been told that fingerprints collected by local police will continue to be sent to DHS. An ICE spokesman has said the program is mandatory and that only the federal government can deport immigrants. The reality is that by 2013 the U.S. government will have merged federal databases so that all fingerprint searches check immigrants’ status automatically.
All these ruling-class attacks reflect a growing fascism which the rulers need to continue to wage imperialist wars, in order to maintain their hold on the world’s resources, especially oil and gas. But within this war drive, the U.S. bosses’ position on immigration faces a contradiction: on the one hand they need to super-exploit and terrorize immigrants for profit and to divide the working class. Yet they also have great need for immigrant youth — through their proposed “Dream Act” — to replenish their war machine with cannon fodder for those very same wars. We must expose this contradiction to show how the rulers’ attack on immigrants is an attack on the international working class.
The working class can’t rely on piece-meal, defensive strategies led by the Democratic Party. We need to take the offensive. Comrades working in an organization in our neighborhood are proposing and organizing for a march in the area around the theme: “Jobs, yes; Deportations, no!”
Comrades have a large CHALLENGE circulation in the organization we’re members of, with plans to expand CHALLENGE networks in the neighborhood and at job sites. We’ve recruited several new members to our PLP club and, with our two study groups, can recruit even more. Our job is to turn our new and veteran members, CHALLENGE readers and close friends into organizers who can mobilize the masses, fight for communist ideas, and lead the class struggle and the long-range fight for communist revolution.
The working class has two choices: unite, reject racist divisions and fight for the needs of our entire class, or fall for racist ideas which divide us and deflect anger from our real enemy under capitalism, the bosses, banks and government authorities. We must demand massive numbers of jobs, not “growing” jobs here and there. Make the capitalists pay! We must lead the working class to fight together against racist profiling and deportations. Immigrants don’t cause unemployment and “insecure communities”; capitalist unemployment, ICE and racist policing do. Working-class consciousness, not capitalist politicians and momentary reforms, build real power.
Every day the international working class is fighting back. In all our areas — the factories and unions, the schools and college campuses, the churches and community organizations — communists must be fully involved in the class struggle. While illusory reformist/electoral ideas dominate the movement now, the door is wide open to communist ideas, organizing and leadership and, as the Party grows, a communist world.