During the first week of January the Obama administration put into practice its promise to round up recent immigrants from Central America for deportation. ICE has arrested almost 500 immigrants, all subject to deportation, mostly in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and California, but also in New Jersey, New York and other states.
Members of the immigrant’s rights organization we PLP members are in, as well as the wider community, are understandably alarmed and afraid. The organization has begun workshops informing immigrants of their legal “rights” if they are confronted by ICE. There’s also talk of finding sanctuary in churches for immigrants at risk of deportation. We in PLP are supporting these measures. But the organization is downplaying this surge in deportations as “normal” ICE activity. They are relying on good lawyers to represent immigrants in deportation hearings and trying to get “local” laws passed to protect immigrants within particular cities. While PLP is never opposed to good lawyers, these approaches are at best illusory and at worst part of liberal policy to pacify the working class and allow racist divisions to grow.
So what does communist leadership within the mass organizations mean now? Communists are against panic; we aim to strengthen the working class. We must do a number of things:
- Develop workers’ understanding of how imperialist rivalry and constant war is related to attacks on immigrants world-wide,
- Relate deportations to the surge in racism in the US beginning with daily police killings of black workers and youth to anti-Muslim attacks to anti-immigrant attacks,
- Expose how the capitalist ruling class and their media seize on “fear of terrorism” to blame immigrants and Syrian refugees for the entry of terrorists into the US and Europe while obscuring the criminal, racist and fascist nature of cpaitalism,
- Denounce how capitalist governments from Europe to the US. are closing borders, leaving refugees from war, starvation and misery to die.
Workers ask us communists in PLP about what will happen in the future. We tell them that we can’t predict the future. Our answers depend on communist understanding of how capitalism works and our confidence in the international working class. Workers will continue to find ways to cross borders and will continue to be a source of cheap labor in the US. The US government will continue to welcome technology experts, scientists, researchers and others who can help US imperialism to project its power in the world and remain on top. It is likely that there will be a guest worker program to allow in immigrants for limited periods of time to work in agriculture, food packing and other industries, but without any of the so-called labor rights that workers in the US currently have. The focus will be on programs that will guarantee rights for youth who join the military as ground troops in imperialist wars.
In our mass organizations, we have strongly called for demands that can put the working class on the offensive: no deportations, immediate acceptance of hundreds of thousands of Syrian war refugees, open all borders for workers and amnesty now for all immigrants in the US, no restrictions. We want fightback that will include all workers, immigrant and citizen, black, Latin, Asian, white, same enemy, same fight. We will never accept any form of racism as “usual or normal.”