Tag Archives: Immigration


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.”

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Turkey Plays a Dangerous Game

Russia has sent in military hardware to Syria to consolidate its presence in the Levant. The “Carter Doctrine, the imperialist stance codified by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979: that any threat to U.S. oil interests in the Middle East would be met with a military response. Followed by every U.S. president since, this policy has cost millions of working class lives.”  The Carter Doctrine means that any threat to the US’s hold over Middle East (ME) oil is a threat to the US itself. Russia is doubling down on their base in Tartus and expanding into at least one bigger air base in Latakia. The US asked Greece to not allow Russia to use its air space to supply its forces. Russia was borrowing the same excuse of humanitarian imperialism that the US uses of fighting terror, but Greece had no problem defying the US and letting Russia use its airspace.

The simple reason why Greece was able to defy the US comes down to Russia’s TurkStream pipeline. This pipeline provides the potential of vast profit to the Greek ruling class that has been under the iron heel of the US dominated Troika(the EU, IMF, and ECB). As these wars in the Levant and the rest of the ME, like Yemen, continue to escalate, they are indicative of a more and more desperate class of international imperialists that has less and less room to maneuver and are now actively participating in the wars that they were at first fighting by proxy. This is a step towards all out inter-imperialist world war.

The TurkStream pipeline will help to alleviate the reliance on Ukraine as an oil transit route. This is a direct slap in the face of the US and its Nazi servants that overthrew the democratically elected Russian aligned government in the name of democracy. “The outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in November 2013 marked the beginning of the end for the South Stream project. Western countries responded to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in early 2014 with a series of sanctions that targeted a number of Russian officials. The subsequent crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 after being shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 led to the sanctions’ expansion, this time against the Russian banks that were financing South Stream.” The members of the working class that were killed in the plane crash became an excuse for the US led West to push its political agenda against Russia. Regardless of who was responsible for the crash, a Ukrainian fighter jet or Separatist missile, the imperialist agenda was all that mattered to the ruling capitalist class.

The danger with Turkey moving closer to Russia is that it “would be able to remove itself from reliance on Ukraine-transited gas”. Turkey is playing a dangerous game because this means that Turkey would not have to rely on US dominated sectors for its natural gas needs. This illustrates a contradiction within the contradiction, since Turkey is a NATO member, it is ostensibly an ally of the US, but Turkey has its own expansionist designs in the Levant as it is hearing echoes of its Ottoman past. So, though in the long term it may, paralleling history, rival Russia for control of the Levant, it can easily pad its coffers now at the expense of being tied to the US leash of power and control. Maximum profits today can mean much more than loyalty and will be able to provide Turkey with the financing necessary for it to carry out its expansionist designs in the Levant through a continuance of financing to the death cult Islamists that it outright supports, the useful enemies of ISIS it allegedly covertly supports, and the vast amount of economic resources that its army needs in order to secure its outright expansionism.

The imperialist proxy war in Ukraine is now in an apparent ceasefire due to the fact that Russia is doing its best to isolate Ukraine from the world’s pipeline chess board. The US and its EU allies were hoping to have the Nabucco pipeline flow natural gas through Turkey, but that project is on hold. “In fact, Russia has the opportunity to export its gas via TAP from the Turkish Stream toward Europe, without Gazprom’s presence in the TAP Consortium and without breaching the TEP rules.” These pipeline wars in the Levant, Syria and Iraq, have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of workers, displaced over 10 million workers, and have caused the migration of millions more workers looking for shelter and safety after imperialist financed jihadists and mercenary armies have destroyed their homes.

Another intensification of the inter-imperialist rivalry is between Russia and Israel since Russia is doubling down on the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean it now has access to all of the natural gas that is there. This natural gas is a valuable asset to sell to the EU. Israel is worried since it can no longer bomb Hezbollah at will due to the anti-aircraft missiles which have already shot down at least one Israeli fighter and the interceptor aircraft that Russia has given to Syria.  Israel won’t be able to bomb Syria’s forces or Hezbollah at will if it will begin having its planes continually shot down by AA missiles and intercepter jet fighters.   Israel is now going to be meeting with Russia to discuss what is going to be done about Hezbollah, a valuable Assad ally.

Regardless of how things intensify, it will be the working class that will continue to suffer as millions of refugees continue to lose their homes due to imperialist proxy wars to dominate geostrategic resources. Capitalism needs to be smashed by Communist revolution, and only the Progressive Labor Party can lead this revolution. Our line, our analysis, our international vision of a world based on meeting the needs of the whole of humanity regardless of race or gender is the shining beacon of hope in this run up to open imperialist war. Just as at the dawn of the last world war, two roads are open to humanity, the road of barbarism or the road of Communism. The capitalists want to march us to their parasitical barbarism again and again, but PLP knows that we will be able to organize a Communist revolution to flush capitalism down the toilet of history.

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Immigrant Workers’ Rally Protests Racist Cop Harassment

ORANGE, NJ, April 8  — Eighty immigrant workers, along with members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County, the Family Success Center, PLP and the ACLU, demonstrated against police harassment at the Bravo Supermarket parking lot where hundreds of workers gather to seek day work. At this lot, the racist police drive through, lights flashing, chasing the men from the sidewalks and the lot, onto back streets. On March 11, unprovoked, the police fired pistol shots above the men’s heads.

Obama and the liberals’ talk about “immigration reform” is just a cover to super-exploit immigrant workers even more and, through the DREAM Act, try to win them to join the army and fight in the rulers’ endless wars. These ideas were spread in up to 100 CHALLENGES distributed among these workers here.

Workers have gone to the Family Success Center several times to seek help getting back wages for weeks of work when criminal employers have deliberately cheated them. During meetings, a PL’er has pointed out that this system of layoffs, pay robbery and unemployment is one of the many ways the profit system survives, by dividing us and driving down all our wages.

One of the employers that hires these workers is a former East Orange cop who has been indicted on 22 counts of insurance fraud! The legal system released him to continue his criminal activity.

The signs at the demonstration at the supermarket read, “To Be Human is Not to Be Illegal”; “We Are Workers, We Are NOT Criminals”; and, “We want to be part of the community.” Channel 47, a Spanish-language news show, broadcast the demonstration at 6 and 11 pm. As soon as the supporters and media left, two squad cars pulled up and the police forced all the workers off the parking lot. But the workers have already returned to the lot, and so has PLP, with more issues of CHALLENGE, which workers ran to grab and read. Six of the workers have signed up to join PLP’s May Day celebration.

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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!”

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Fascist Anti-Immigrant Raids Attack All Workers

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

POSTVILLE, IOWA, May 29 — The above statement by anti-Nazi Pastor Martin Niemöller is clearly related to the U.S.-Homeland Security Agency’s immigration police (ICE) attack on undocumented immigrants. The Des Moines Register reported (5/12): “Months in planning, Monday’s raid involved 16 local, state and federal agencies, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” The largest single workplace raid in U.S. history saw 389 workers — mostly from Guatemala and Mexico — arrested in minutes at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant. They were herded onto buses and interned at the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds, some 80 miles away in Waterloo. There they were kept in a makeshift camp, behind a chain-link fence, watched by armed immigration officers for three days until processed and sent to jails state-wide.

Nearly 300 have pleaded guilty to reduced charges of document fraud and will serve short prison sentences before being deported, while others await immediate deportation or have been placed on temporary release for compassionate reasons.

The appearance of dozens of buses, helicopters and heavily-armed ICE, state and local cops resembled a scene from a Nazi-era film. And the aim is the same: to terrorize workers.

Rosa, a 40-year-old mother of two, was working on the kill floor that morning when she heard the cries of “la migra” — a warning about ICE cops — ringing through the plant and saw her friends drop their tools and run. She slipped into a freezer and hid among the dead chickens, sitting alone in the cold for several minutes, thinking that everything was over. She would be caught, sent back to Mexico with nothing. The better life she had planned for her children was not to be.

The plant, which produces kosher and non-kosher products, was already a hell for workers, paid less than Iowa’s $7.25-an-hour minimum. The ICE investigation revealed abuses like a supervisor covering a worker’s eyes with duct tape and beating him with a meat hook.

But that wasn’t the main aim of the raid. The company has not been charged with anything, even though accused for years with many health violations. Not much has changed since Upton Sinclair wrote his novel “The Jungle,” exposing horrendous conditions in the meatpacking industry in Chicago and across the Midwest.

The aim of the raid, and many others occurring nation-wide, is not really to arrest those “guilty” of “identity theft.” Its real aim is to terrorize undocumented workers, and all workers, into working for less and less, thereby reaping increasing super-profits for a capitalist system desperate to pay for its wars and economic crisis.

The lie spread by the bosses’ media — and by many of their lapdogs among the union “leaders” — that immigrants are “stealing jobs” from citizen workers is exposed by the fact that, according to a report in the NY Times (5/31), Iowa bosses can’t get enough workers. The state has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, 50% less than the national rate. Iowa employers are desperately seeking employees. Why? “Companies want to be in Iowa because wages are lower than elsewhere in the nation or region,” says the Times. While the bosses in general approve the idea of terrorizing workers into accepting lower wages, there’s a section that doesn’t want the fascist attackers to go “too far,” to scare off workers from filling these low-wage jobs and limiting their profits.

This fascist attack occurs alongside the growing imprisonment of undocumented workers (see page 2 on the growing U.S. prison population). El Nuevo Herald (Miami Herald Spanish edition), reports (5/28 ) that the jail in Del Verde, Texas, is filled with arrested undocumented immigrants, even though this hasn’t stopped the flow of these immigrants. This and other jails throughout the Southwest are big money-makers for private prison companies that run many of them. The border is also militarized as U.S. and Mexican rulers put their Plan Mexico into operation, under the guise of “fighting the drug cartels,” thereby militarizing the entire region.

The essence of Pastor Niemöller’s 60-year-old declaration is that all workers and their allies must oppose these growing fascist attacks. We in PLP are organizing exactly that, and across all borders.

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Fresh Direct’s Anti-Immigrant Attack Is Rotten to the Core

NEW YORK CITY, December 23 — Two recent stories show how the racist noose, Jena-style, is tightening around the necks of undocumented immigrants, thereby sharpening exploitation of all workers and intensifying fascist control in the U.S.

On December 20, two days before a vote to have the United Food and Commercial Workers Union represent warehouse workers at Fresh Direct here, a multi-racial group of unionists and community and church groups rallied to support them. The bosses at Fresh Direct, a rapidly-expanding company that raked in a $240 million profit in 2007, fired hundreds of undocumented workers. They had threatened the workers with deportation raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which the company had invited to the warehouse. Fresh Direct bosses are deliberately using ICE to divide and defeat the union drive.

A black worker, responding to an ad for a job there, encountered a comrade and later joined the rally. “I’m against deporting workers who’ve been working in the U.S. and dividing their families,” he declared.

Our ability to fight exploitation and criminalization of undocumented workers depends on such an internationalist working-class outlook and an increasing willingness of all workers to fight back for our class, not on uniting with the politicians for so-called immigration reform. In fact, a key element of such “reform” will be a guest-worker program that will allow bosses like those at Fresh Direct to “legally” super-exploit and divide workers.

On December 13 about 80 people held a candlelight vigil sponsored by the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) at Manhattan’s ICE Center, where immigrants awaiting deportation are processed before being sent to detention centers. Nearly two million people have been deported in the last decade; ICE detains more than 280,000 a year.

The NSM flyer exposed the fact that “New York City collaborates with ICE in many ways: In 2006 the City’s Dept. of Corrections received over $18 million from the federal government in exchange for targeting non-citizens, more that any other city in the country….Without revealing their identities, ICE officers routinely question and then detain suspected non-citizens caught up in the criminal justice system, many of whom have yet to be convicted or even charged with a crime.”

The New Sanctuary stance to protest in the streets against raids and racist terror is a welcome development. But the struggle must sharpen. Immediately after the vigil participants arrived, a handful of gutter racists from Morristown, NJ appeared with whistles, American flags and signs saying, “Deport them all.” A comrade chanted in their faces. “We are workers, we’re not illegals,” trying to win the protestors to stand up to the racists. A few protesters joined her, but most chose to ignore them, saying, “Don’t worry. Our message is stronger than theirs.”

The comrade pointed out that allowing such racists to go unchallenged permits the growth of violent racism that historically results in fascist genocide. She explained how Morristown racists throw rocks and bottles at day laborers in New Jersey and work with politicians like Morristown Mayor Crisitelli and Colorado Senator Tancredo. But while Tancredo proclaims he’s made “immigration a front-burner issue,” it’s the liberal ruling class that’s primarily behind the legalization of fascist treatment of immigrants.

They don’t want to deport most of the undocumented immigrants, just enough to terrorize them and all workers in order to super-exploit them even more. These liberals want to use the so-called Dream Act to force undocumented youth to serve as cannon fodder in their imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and militarize the U.S./Mexico border, all in the name of “national security.” A couple of the comrade’s good friends later told her they agreed with her and that we need to discuss the issue in the Sanctuary group.

History teaches us that capitalism is built on racist exploitation and that defeating fascist terror requires a revolutionary communist party. PLP’ers join mass organizations like the Sanctuary Movement to bring these ideas to workers and their allies.

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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

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