Tag Archives: ICE

Marchers Slam Racist Anti-Immigrant Raids

BROOKLYN, NY, November 16 — Chants of “citizen, immigrant, black and white, Workers of the World Unite” and “Somos Trabajadores, No Somos Ilegales”  rang out as around 150 marchers demonstrated against anti-immigrant raids. A coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations, church committees, and union activists organized this demonstration. They provided speakers in English and Spanish who set the tone for this firm and united march. PL’ers, along with our base of CHALLENGE readers, were active in these organizations in urging this response to attacks on immigrants.

Our target was the kosher meat market owned by the Rubashkin family. The Rubashkins own the Agriprocessors meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa that was recently raided by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents. At a rally before the march began, a long-time unionist related the horrific conditions that Postville meat-packers faced (over 9,000 child labor violations, hundreds of wage violations as well as dangerous and unhealthy conditions in the plant) to the drive for super-profits that led to the current capitalist financial crisis.

He pointed out that Agriprocessors is in the news today but it is typical of treatment workers increasingly find in this country and around the world. The worldwide system of exploitation and greed we call imperialism is the main reason that immigrants leave their country of origin to seek work in places like the Postville plant. A speaker also related the racist treatment of these immigrant workers to the recent murder of Marcelo Lucero by racist thugs on Long Island simply for being Latino.

As we marched we got a mixed reception.  Starting in a neighborhood of recent immigrants from Mexico, Pakistan and Bangladesh, we were warmly received. Many people raised fists in support of our anti-racist chants and others joined our march. As we moved to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood the response was cooler. We patiently answered questions as to why we were demonstrating and firmly held our ground. Our march brought the message of working-class unity and the need to fight racism. We would not be provoked or deterred.

When we returned to our starting point, a second rally was held. A representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union spoke about how Agriprocessors had cited immigration status as the reason they refused to abide by a vote for unionization in a Brooklyn warehouse. This made clear the connection between anti-immigrant and anti-worker actions of this racist boss.
Today’s march showed the unity needed to fight racism. With communist leadership, in the long run this unified struggle will lead to the death of the cause of racism: capitalism.

Tagged , ,

Airport Workers Catch Thieving Bosses

A MIDWEST AIRPORT — “We were robbed! The bosses cheated us!” These are the only printable comments describing how airport janitors were cheated out of eight hours pay by racist ABM Industries bosses. ABM cleaners, mostly immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Africa, and Asia, were paid eight hours short on their July 17 paychecks. The bosses blamed it on the “new time keeping system.” The real reason is racism.

Anti-immigrant Nazi-like raids conducted by ICE and Homeland Security, racist movements like the Minutemen and a failing economy have produced a racist anti-immigrant climate in the U.S. ABM bosses thought they could take advantage of already super-exploited immigrant workers by stealing eight hours pay. Also, they paid some of the black workers full pay, trying to divide citizens from immigrants. But a black PLP member and union shop steward organized the workers to resist this fascist attack.

A meeting was held at the home of a co-worker and CHALLENGE reader, where we discussed what to do. We agreed to file a mass grievance and to try to get all the victimized workers to sign on. We also requested an emergency meeting with the union leadership.

An SEIU leader misled the most militant workers (and CHALLENGE readers) into thinking he was not coming to the airport, when in fact he actually did! He wanted no part of us because he was afraid of being called on to do something to get the workers’ the eight hours owed. So we called for a second union meeting. Some workers distributed a PLP flier that attacked the SEIU leadership for supporting the racist bosses.

At the next meeting, with everyone there, the workers put the misleader under pressure. Some workers got into a heated exchange with the SEIU misleader who shouted, “I’m not the enemy!” He hurried up and left! The workers won that round!

Later, the union leader reluctantly filed the grievance. ABM bosses were extremely upset that a few workers would defy them. They even called the shop steward into the office to attempt to intimidate him and find out how the workers were going to fight back. The shop steward kept his cool and the bosses learned nothing! It was a clumsy fascist attempt to stop the workers from resisting.

ABM workers scored a small victory and got the eight hours owed them! The bosses underestimated the anger and ability of workers to unite across nation, race and gender. Officially, we lost the grievance, but we’re still getting paid from the main corporate office. The airport bosses hate this!

Frederick Douglass, the great antislavery freedom fighter said, “Power concedes nothing without struggle.” Self-critically, we could have done more. But a few workers, mostly regular CHALLENGE readers, collectively contributed to this struggle, “from each according to ability.”

More fascist attacks are coming because the racist bosses are in a global crisis. If we are to survive and defeat fascism with communist revolution, we must learn how to organize under any and all circumstances, including the most extreme. Workers, soldiers, and students need PLP!

Tagged , ,

Mississippi Terror Raid:Workers Shouldn’t Be Suckers for Anti-Immigrant Racism

LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI, August 28 — The Gestapo-like raids carried out by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cops struck again, arresting 595 workers employed by Howard Industries, world’s largest manufacturer of electrical transformers employing 3,000 workers in southeastern Mississippi. And the traitorous AFL-CIO applauded the raid! (See below)

In May, ICE carried out a similar raid, arresting hundreds of workers at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. These raids are terrorizing many small towns nation-wide. At the same time the Laurel raid was taking place, a rumor of an ICE raid in Perry, a small Iowa town 100 miles from Postville, was panicking the Latino community, 25% of Perry’s population.

Hundreds of heavily-armed ICE agents raided Howard Industries’ Laurel and nearby Ellisvile facilities. They arrived in unmarked cars and white vans, sealed the plants and rounded up “suspect” workers, questioning them in mobile trailers.

Just as the Nazis used yellow stars to identify Jews, Latino workers were segregated from other workers. U.S. citizens were given blue armbands to divide them from immigrants. Agents wearing flak vests stopped motorists driving near the plant and told them to leave the area.

The raid’s blatant fascist-like racism shocked many. An immigrant rights group in Jackson, the state capital, criticized the raid, saying families with children were involved. “It’s horrific what ICE is doing to these families and these communities,” said Shuya Ohno, a spokesman for the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. “It’s just hard to imagine that this is the United States of America.” (NY Times, 8/27)

A woman entering a local church with four small children said several of the youngsters’ parents had been detained. The woman, a translator for many of the families, said: “I don’t like this at all. I don’t understand it. They have come here to work. It’s very sad.”

But this is exactly the U.S.A. today, a country led by a ruling class which needs more racism, more fascist terror. The raids’ aim is not really to deport all undocumented workers, or even to find those guilty of “identity theft” as ICE claims. The goal is to terrorize immigrant workers, and all workers, so they accept super-exploitation, rotten working conditions, more social service cutbacks and get used to the kind of mass terror that the bosses and their police agencies will use against ALL workers who refuse to swallow these conditions. These attacks will continue no matter who’s elected the next President.

Plants like this one here will become more important for the bosses’ war machine as it gears for wider wars, from Afghanistan to the Caucasus. The ruling class realizes that the U.S. population is changing. According to Census figures, in several decades most U.S. workers will be immigrants, Latinos or blacks. So racist super-exploitation will be needed more than ever to keep the bosses’ super-profits rolling in.

But this also becomes a contradiction for the bosses: they need those workers they’re terrorizing for their war plants and their military. So, while we might hear a lot of empty talk about “the end of racism” — “after all,” they tell us, “look at Obama” — the opposite is happening.

This makes it primary for PLP to organize among these factory workers, and all workers and soldiers, to win them to fight racism, understanding that capitalism cannot live without racist exploitation. All workers must see these ICE raids as an attack against the entire working class. The AFL-CIO did the opposite here. Rather than unite the workers and organize them all, it pitted unionized workers against immigrant workers.

Robert Shaffer, regional AFL-CIO official, applauded the raid, saying he’s complained for a long time about how companies in southern Mississippi hire undocumented immigrants, disgustingly adding the racist comment that the region “looks like a little Mexico.” The same union traitors who, because of their pro-boss sellout politics, have failed to organize millions of workers — citizens or immigrants — nationwide, are now blaming the victims for their own failures.

Workers who fall for this racist trap are cutting their own throat. We must defend our fellow immigrant workers when the bosses attack. Our motto should be, “All for one and one for all; same enemy same fight, workers of the world, unite!”

Tagged , ,

PL’ers Organize vs. Rulers’ Anti-Immigrant Raids

LOS ANGELES, CA. — The Migra (Immigration Customs Enforcement — ICE) and local police have been carrying out raids against immigrant workers and their families across the U.S. Under the pretext of “deporting criminals,” these agents of terror break down doors of homes at 4:00 AM with guns drawn. They also search, arrest and deport workers at their jobs. In many U.S. counties, the open racists try to pass anti-immigrant laws to force immigrants to leave. This racist attack aims to divide and terrorize our class, laying the basis for sharper future attacks on citizens and immigrants.

Meanwhile, representatives of the racist liberal bosses are “defending” their wage-slaves. Recently a Federal Judge in San Francisco temporarily halted the sending of letters to bosses telling them to fire workers with non-matching social security numbers. New York’s Governor is proposing drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants. All bosses want to exploit and oppress all workers. The liberals want loyalty to U.S. rulers.

The top bosses need low-paid, patriotic workers in the U.S., especially for war production. They also need soldiers willing to kill and die in U.S. imperialist wars. The Pentagon is pushing the Dream Act. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) plans to introduce it as part of upcoming military appropriations bills. He said, “This [Hispanic immigrants] is a potentially very recruitable group….The Dream Act will help solve the recruitment crisis we face today.” (Wall Street Journal, 9/21) Only one in 20 undocumented youth are able to attend college, so the Act is primarily a military recruitment bill with a “humanitarian” cover.

The latest raids run counter to the plans of the top imperialists to win the hearts and minds of immigrant youth and workers. While the raids could also push many youth to join the military to escape deportations, under these conditions immigrant youth would potentially be all the more open to rebelling against the racist warmakers.

Mass Deportations — Big problem
for U.S. Bosses

Recently, the U.S. government signed a new treaty, NAFTA Plus, with Canada and Mexico, giving the U.S. bosses more control over commerce, energy and security. The reactivation of Plan Puebla Panama, along with the NAFTA Corridor, aims for U.S. control of resources, new hydroelectric plants and a huge super-highway from Canada to Mexico and Central America for transporting goods quickly.

This plan is meant to counter Venezuela’s Chavez and help prepare for wider war. The new Plan Mexico will militarize that country, supposedly to “fight terrorism and narco-traffic,” but mainly to repress any movement that risks the flow of Mexico’s oil to the U.S. The U.S. will spend over $1 billion to launch the plan — for planes, helicopters, and the transport and U.S. training of Mexican military personnel. Equipment and personnel would mainly protect oil pipelines, but would be ready to crush rebellions opposing U.S. bosses and their Mexican partners.

Massive deportations of Mexican workers would mean more instability in Mexico, endangering the government of U.S. “friend” Felipe Calderon, with possibly more Oaxaca-like uprisings. This would deprive U.S. imperialists of needed future soldiers and arms producers. That’s why the bosses’ rag, the NY Times, laments ICE’s storm-trooper tactics and why the conservative Wall Street Journal printed a letter (10/13) attacking the “deportationists,” which drew a careful distinction between “protecting the border” and mass deportations.

PLP is organizing to unite workers and students to oppose both the anti-immigrant raids and the liberal racists’ war plans. In recent meetings with comrades from Mexico, Central America and the U.S., we made plans to expose and fight the bosses’ growing fascism and imperialist war. We discussed building PLP in the class struggle, from farmworker organizations in El Salvador to teachers’ unions and schools in Mexico to factories in Los Angeles and New York. We will participate in marches, protests, strikes and meetings, focusing on increasing CHALLENGE networks and winning workers, students and soldiers to see clearly the capitalists’ game and the need for communist revolution to eliminate borders, imperialist war and exploitation.

Building PLP means exposing bosses’ agents like Mexico’s Lopez Obrador and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. These fake leftists only use the masses’ growing anger to try to take control of the oil profits, electricity, etc. and sell them to the highest bidder, whether it be the USA, China, India or the European Union. This creates serious problems in U.S. imperialism’s backyard. Workers’ power will defeat all bosses — from Calderon to Obrador to Bush and Clinton.J

Tagged , , ,
%d bloggers like this: