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Commentary :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare : War and Militarism
Reformist left's response to immigration Gestapo raid: hollow words, empty gestures
10 Mar 2007
The central problem that the reformists share in common is their promotion of kinder, gentler policies toward immigrants by the imperialist government. But in the US, as in all the world's imperialist countries, the racist persecution of immigrant workers has been an integral part of imperialist war from the very beginning. From the anti-Irish lynch mobs during the theft of northern Mexico to open the territory for slavery, to the massive deportation of Mexican and Eastern European immigrant workers during the First World War, to the internment of Japanese in concentration camps during the Second World War, the scapegoating and persecution of immigrants has served the dual purpose of fortifying the imperialist war abroad, and waging the class war at home by dividing the working class and smashing its attempts to organize across national dividing lines.
WORKING CLASS EMANCIPATION
401-837-3685 - March 9, 2007 - laboraction (at) aim.com

Reformist left's response to immigration Gestapo raid: hollow words, empty gestures
Mobilize labor's power to free the kidnapped workers now!
Full citizenship rights for all immigrants!

On the morning of Tuesday, March 6, hundreds of gun-toting agents of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Gestapo stormed the Michael Bianco leather factory in New Bedford, MA. Workers at the sweatshop that produced equipment for the US military, mostly young women from Guatemala and El Salvador, frantically attempted to escape as agents laid siege to the building, shackling and hustling away over 350 workers. The workers were driven to a temporary concentration camp one hundred miles away at the Fort Devens military base in Ayer, MA, from which many have already been flown to even more remote concentration camps in the Southwest, in preparation for deportation.

Reports of the outrageous barbarity of the ICE Gestapo, who callously broke up families and terrorized the entire working class immigrant community in New Bedford in their enforcement of the racist immigration laws, spread far beyond the family members, friends, and onlookers who rushed to the scene as news of the attack spread across the city. Newspapers and television nationwide showed the scenes of frightened children huddled in church basements waiting to hear from their disappeared parents, and carried the reports of infants sickened by dehydration when their nursing mothers were stolen away by the federal kidnappers. The attack shone a harsh spotlight on a single example of the early-morning raids that hit immigrants at work and at home every day across the US, a racist regime of terror that deports five hundred people every day, according to ICE's own estimate.

It's this same anti-worker regime of terror that sparked, less than one year ago, the historic May Day protests and strikes in defense of immigrants rights. But the same reformists who destroyed the potential of the May Day strike by chaining the outpouring of protests to the Democratic Party are once again betraying the workers that they claim to represent, utterly failing to respond decisively to this outrageous crime. The reformists and the "can't we all just get along" centrists will criticize us for raising political arguments in a time of crisis and racist state terror, but the misleaders of the workers' movement must be exposed and confronted. There is no other way out of this crisis of imperialist war and anti-immigrant racism but the struggle to forge a revolutionary workers' party. The task of forging this vanguard belongs to the workers themselves; to do it, the workers must know their friends from their enemies. They must be able to identify and drive out of the workers' movement the fast-talking reformist demagogues who would sell them out for a glass of water on a rainy day.

The central problem that the reformists share in common is their promotion of kinder, gentler policies toward immigrants by the imperialist government. But in the US, as in all the world's imperialist countries, the racist persecution of immigrant workers has been an integral part of imperialist war from the very beginning. From the anti-Irish lynch mobs during the theft of northern Mexico to open the territory for slavery, to the massive deportation of Mexican and Eastern European immigrant workers during the First World War, to the internment of Japanese in concentration camps during the Second World War, the scapegoating and persecution of immigrants has served the dual purpose of fortifying the imperialist war abroad, and waging the class war at home by dividing the working class and smashing its attempts to organize across national dividing lines.

Although Latin American immigrants, like the kidnapped Bianco workers, are the most numerous victims of the current racist campaign, the impulse for building up the fearsome apparatus of repression that is the US immigration bureaucracy was the jingoistic "war on terror" campaign of racist terror against Arab and Muslim immigrants, begun in earnest by Democrat Bill Clinton and intensified by George Bush with the eager cooperation of the Democrats in Congress. Just as imperialist domination of the oppressed colonies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is unthinkable without constant imperialist slaughter, so is imperialist war inseparably linked to the racist brutality that took place in New Bedford. The only way out is the defeat of imperialism through socialist revolution. It is the task of revolutionaries to forge a workers' party capable of leading a successful workers' revolution, by leading the working class in struggle with transitional demands that link the struggle against everyday injustices like the ICE Gestapo attack in New Bedford to the fight for socialist revolution and a workers' government. The reformists, even those who claim to be socialists, are generally not lifting a finger to mobilize the workers at all, even when they are in a position to do so, as leaders of unions. And the few who are half-heartedly responding to the racist atrocity in New Bedford are doing everything in their power to lead the workers into the arms of their mortal enemies: the bosses, and their party, the war-making, strike-breaking, immigrant-hating Democrats. What we need is a revolutionary workers' party that can unleash the immense power of the working class with strikes like those of May Day last year, or the New York City transit strike of December 2005, but this time with a class struggle program aimed squarely at rescuing our imprisoned comrades and breaking the ICE's fearsome grip.

The Workers World Party (WWP), doing business as the International Action Center, produced a "Statement in Solidarity with Immigrant Workers in New Bedford," which condemned the raids. But this condemnation was nothing more than hollow words. It did not call for any working class action to protest the attacks, besides promoting the demonstrations planned for May first of this year - far too late to do any good for the Bianco workers! This is all the more contemptible since two of the signers of the statement, Ed Childs, chief steward for the UNITE HERE Local 26 in Boston, and Frantz Mendez, president of the United Steelworkers union Local 8751 in Boston, especially with the assistance of a self-proclaimed revolutionary party like WWP, are in a position to lead workers' actions against the Bianco raids. The heavily Haitian-immigrant Local 8751, Boston's school bus drivers, have plenty of first-hand experience with the racist ICE Gestapo.

Instead, WWP's empty statement is primarily designed to use their union street-cred to advance the career of the bourgeois demagogue Chuck Turner, WWP's favorite city councilor, who gets top billing on another meaningless statement just weeks after he, serenaded by gushing praise in the pages of Workers World, pushed a meaningless "anti-war" resolution through the Boston City Council, a resolution distinguished by its complaint that the Iraq war was draining the resources of the Boston police department! Why should Iraqis be the sole victims of US imperialist aggression? Bring "our boys" home, to trade in their rifles and fatigues for nightsticks and badges, and beat down on the working class black and latin@ youth in Boston that Turner "represents!"

The statement gives backhanded support to the bipartisan campaign to "legalize" immigrant workers by forcing them into "guest worker" status, lacking the most basic rights of citizenship: instead of taking a clear stand for full citizenship rights for all immigrants, it compromises on "Legalization for ALL immigrants." But if all immigrants are "legalized" the way Democrat Edward Kennedy, Republican John McCain, and President Bush all agree they should be, it would be a colossal defeat for immigrants and the entire the workers' movement, condemning immigrant workers to a position tantamount to indentured servitude, and causing long-lasting divisions in the ranks of the working class.

The "Boston May Day Coalition," a mish-mash of lobbying and church groups held together by the ostensibly revolutionary Socialist Alternative (SAlt), issued its own toothless statement, pleading with the open enemies of immigrant workers, the racist federal government, that "New Bedford Migrant Workers Are Not the Enemy." The class-agnostic appeal to "all people of good will" and "all who support justice" simultaneously obscures the targets of this attack, immigrant workers, and the only way to fight back, working class resistance. "Politicians and enforcement officials must be made aware that the whole world is watching." They are aware, and they obviously don't care! Bush infamously disparaged the overwhelming public opposition to the Iraq war as a "focus group," but these fake-socialists apparently didn't get the message: pressuring the system does not work, we must struggle to defeat it. This popular-front coalition also avoids calling for full citizenship rights, substituting the wishy-washy utopian slogan "no human being should be illegal." Oh really? Not even war criminal George Bush, or his racist goons who attacked on Tuesday in New Bedford?

The International Socialist Organization (ISO), which along with SAlt was the primary "socialist" supporter of the millionaire union-busting lawyer Ralph Nader in his presidential campaigns, when he ran on a platform of anti-immigrant chauvinism, also campaigns for the "Legalization for all" compromise, and uncritically champions the utopian program of its fellow reformists, who at least have the honesty not to pretend to be socialists. The ISO's labor movement expert, Lee Sustar, writes, "The approach is intended to keep in one camp both organizations that have accepted guest-worker proposals and more militant immigrant groups that oppose such measures as second-class citizenship, according to Nativo L�ez, president of the Mexican American Political Association. 'Legalization for all, as well as demilitarization of the border, have became the minimum basis for the alliance,' L�ez said in an interview." (Socialist Worker, February 23, 2007) In other words, the same kind of do-nothing reformist alliance represented by the Boston May Day Coalition, with the addition of the utopian demand for an imperialist war government to "demilitarize" itself.

Socialist Action (SA), the US section of the decrepit reformist outfit claiming to be the "Fourth International," organized a forum to denounce similar ICE attacks in Danbury, Connecticut on February 25, which served primarily to allow several union bureaucrats from the AFL-CIO to give radical-sounding speeches. SA's representative gave a free pass to these labor fakers, who haven't ever lifted a finger to stop the raids. SA's main accomplishment at the forum was to give a left-wing cover for the union bureaucracy, instead of using the forum to expose the traitors in the workers' movement and fight for a revolutionary leadership.

Against these reformist betrayals, Working Class Emancipation is fighting to build a genuinely revolutionary workers' party, the weapon that the workers must have in their hands in order to defeat the ICE Gestapo once and for all. The outrageous crime is undeniable, the workers' willingness to struggle has been proven time and again, and the multinational working class has the power to win. What's missing is a revolutionary leadership.
See also:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/labor_action/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/emancipation_news/

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ring ring
11 Mar 2007
Comrades! 1975 is on the phone and says that ML sectarian mudslinging is dead. And really really pathetic.

Just thought you might not have heard the news.