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Announcement :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
23 Apr 2006
please forward: this is an open letter to and from white people, from the Catalyst Project and Heads Up Collective
In the past month, five million people, mostly immigrants of color, have mobilized for justice and are making history, flooding the streets in unprecedented numbers. Meanwhile, the most visible participation by white people is coming from the racist and right wing leaders who are defining and dominating the debate in the Federal government and in the news, radio and opinion pages. Where are the voices of anti-racist white people in this crucial moment, when the worst anti-immigrant legislation in decades is still poised to drop?

We, white people who believe in justice and ending racism, have a responsibility and a historic opportunity to stand with immigrant communities and unite behind their demands. As white people, most of us with U.S. citizenship, we call out to our white communities to take to the streets for immigrant rights. We must demonstrate that the rightwing racists, from the Minutemen to in the Congress, do not represent us!

Anyone who has experienced this month’s electrifying, grassroots explosion feels the power and excitement growing. Working-class immigrants, with their crucial roles in the economy and culture of the U.S., have real power to reshape this country, as a vibrant part of broad multiracial movements for justice and equality. As anti-racist white people, we have a role to play in this struggle.

Immigrants are the direct targets of these policies, and we know enforcement will aim at immigrants of color. But we are all endangered by the accelerating drive of this country towards greater abuse of working people, more criminalization of poor/working-class people, and of all communities of color, particularly African-Americans. Our futures are tied together and now is the time to stand with immigrants fighting for their rights.

The ruling class in the United States has historically led anti-immigrant campaigns to divide working people, getting people to blame one another for stealing their jobs while corporations build their financial empires from all of our labor. Building from a foundation of enslaved African labor and mass land theft from indigenous nations, corporations used anti-immigrant campaigns against the Irish, Italian, Jews. Chinese, Japanese, Eastern Europeans and other immigrants, to deny them legal protections, attack unions and maintain cheap labor to under-cut better waged jobs. These campaigns intensified with the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1880’s and as more and more European immigrants were assimilated into white society, immigrants of color from Asia and then Latin America were targeted to be a permanent low wage, legally unprotected, work force to drive wages down and corporate profits up.

White people have led and rallied behind anti-immigrant campaigns in the millions throughout the history of this country and today a new history for immigrant justice is being written and we have a responsibility to be part of it. We’re fighting two racist agendas: big businesses need to retain a vulnerable pool of exploitable labor, and the blatant organized racists want to preserve white political dominance and agitate for mass deportations. This divided right wing unites to dehumanize immigrants of color, working to strip them of any rights or protections. The small handful of mostly white billionaires backing and benefiting from these strategies depends on our complicity. Instead, let’s build upon the legacy of anti-racist white people who have refused to participate in divide and conquer strategies, where the ruling class historically uses race to pit us against each other.

White people need to take responsibility for countering the attacks generated by white racists, from the border to the White House.

If you’re a white person who stands for justice, we encourage you to step it up. How can you more actively support immigrants fighting for their rights, and encourage your families and friends to get more involved? What local organizing by immigrants can you support with your time, money, and resources? On April 23rd in the Bay Area, and throughout the country on May 1st (International Workers’ Day) immigrant communities around the country will again take the streets. Let’s be there in greater numbers: on the streets beside our friends and neighbors, raising our voices in the national debate, making a commitment to organizing more white people to stand up against attacks on immigrants.

This letter comes to you from two Bay Area-based white anti-racist organizations, Catalyst Project and the Heads Up Collective. Heads Up is a member organization of the Deporten a La Migra Coalition, which is primarily composed of organizations based in working-class immigrant communities. We ask you to act in solidarity with the principles generated by the Deporten a La Migra Coalition, Immigrants Fighting For Our Rights.

They are:

• The land is for those who work it!
• No more displacement
• The border is hypocritical
• Unity makes us strong
• Demand dignity and equality for all immigrants
• In every neighborhood, organize!

(please read full text at
http://www.liberationink.com/revised/navigator.php?s=2&a=deporten)

If you agree with these principles, we invite you to sign this letter and make your signature a commitment to putting them into action in your work and life.

In struggle,
Catalyst Project and the Heads Up Collective
immigrantjusticesolidarity (at) gmail.com

Endorsed by:
Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, Institute for Multiracial Justice
Maria Poblet, St Peters Housing Committee
Eric Mar
Eunice Cho
Sheila Chung, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition
Renee Saucedo, Day Labor Program/La Raza Centro Legal
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
(organizations for identification purposes only)


Catalyst Project and Heads Up Collective were inspired by the work of white anti-racists with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York City, and Italian Americans for Immigrant Rights in the Bay Area, who put out similiar open letters to move white people to stand for immigrant rights. By signing here, we are also joining with the thousands of white people participating in those and other efforts.


Please sign on if you stand with the principles above. To add your signature to those below, go to this link:

http://www.petitiononline.com/mayday06/petition.html



**organizations listed for identification purposes only**

Adam Welch, Industrial Workers of the World
Alexis Shotwell, UAW 2865, Long Road Collective
Andrew Willis, Washington, D.C.
Amy Dudley, Rural Organizing Project, Portland OR
Andy Cornell, NYC, NY
Betty G. Robinson, Baltimore Education Network and Baltimore Algebra Project
Bill Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans
Brooke Atherton
Brooke DuBose
Camilo Viveiros, community organizer, Fall River, Massachusetts
Cathy Rion, Heads Up Collective
Chris Crass, Catalyst Project
Chris Dixon, UAW 2865 Members for Quality Education and Democracy Clare
Bayard, Catalyst Project/Heads Up Collective
cori schmanke parrish, North Star Fund
Chance Martin, editor Street Sheet Magazine
Dee Ouellette, mother
Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Dan Berger, Resistance in Brooklyn, co-editor “Letters from Young Activists”
Dara Silverman, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Dixie Block, Oakland
Drew Dellinger, Poets for Global Justice
Ellen Chenoweth, D.C. resident
Elly Kugler, City at Peace D.C
Gordon Kaupp
Heather Meader-McCausland
Harmony Goldberg
Heidi Reijm, Ruby Affinity Group, Brooklyn, NY
Ian McCleod, San Francisco Indymedia
Ian White-Maher
Ingrid Chapman, Catalyst Project
Isabell Moore, ESOL teacher & coordinator Anti-Racist Organizing Network of NC
Jackie Downing
James Tracy, SF Community Land Trust
Jen Angel, Clamor, Toledo OH
Jen Collins, mother
Jennifer Miller, Oakland, CA
Jim Ace
Jim McAsey, Director- Jobs with Justice, Farmingdale NY
Joseph Phelan , Miami FL
Jordan Flaherty, Left Turn Magazine
Josh Raisler Cohn, Washington D.C.
Kate Berrigan, Critical Resistance
Kerry Levenberg, teacher
Laura Close, SEIU Local 503, Child Care Campaign, Portland OR
Leone Reinbold
Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Oberlin, OH
Marc Krupanski, Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project
Matt Meyer, War Resisters League
Meg Starr, Resistance in Brooklyn
Mica Root, Philadelphia PA
Michelle Foy, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Noah Gaiser, Free Mind Media
Paul Kivel, educator and writer
Rahula Janowski, mother, Heads Up, Justice In Palestine Coalition
Rebecca Johnson
Riva Pearson
Ruby Affinity Group, Brooklyn, NY
Sasha Costanza-Chock
Sasha Vodnik, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Sean Sullivan, Ruby Affinity Group, Brooklyn
Seth Newton, AFSCME Local 3299
Sharon Martinas, Challenging White Supremacy Workshop
Teresa Martyny
Vanessa Sacks, Childcare Collective
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Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
23 Apr 2006
Respectfully, you're creating an issue that doesn't exist. The law passed by the house, which was debated in the senate is not racist and it's not anti-immigration, it is anti-illegal immigration. It is simply increasing the penalty for a law that already exists, also increasing the penalty for those who aid these same criminals.

Open your eyes and get your facts strait, quit tuning this issue into what it's not...it's not equal rights, it's not racism and it definitely isn't anti-immigration.

I think the reason you don't see any "non-racist" whites standing up against this bill is because most of "white" America probably is educated enough to understand everything I just said. I would also hope that most Americans, regardless of race, understand that illegal immigration must be stopped. They are probably too smart to be sucked in by your deceptive montra.

On a side note...if you wonder why those who oppose this are mainly of color, or specifically latino...you can bet that they are looking out forr their own personal best interests, rather than what is best for the US as a whole. Kind of the same mentallity which I suppose you would despise in the evil corporations which casue the illegal immigration.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
23 Apr 2006
the law *is* racist, as are existing immigration laws. There are plenty of white non-racists stepping up to resist this. White people who oppose immigrants whether "legal" or not coming to this country only have to looke a few generations back at their own history to see exactly why we must stand in support of the new wave of immigrants. My ancestors came from Ireland, Russia, and Germany, and they were called "illegal," oppressed, exploited, forced to work dangerous and dirty jobs for slave wages, and denied healthcare, good education, and rights. And that is exactly what is happening to the immigrants of today.
This country wouldnt be able to function without immigrants, especially illegal ones. When the 12million people who do the jobs that US "citizens" refuse to do go out on strike, all of you "citizens" will understand. As for the rest of us who understand the racism and anti-immigration sentiment behind both HR4437 and the Kennedy/McCain bill, put your body where your mouth is. Join the strike, join the boycott. On May Day, we will shut down capitalism.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
23 Apr 2006
Please...enlighten me. How is the law racist? More specifically, which race does this bill discriminate against? Please site the verbage in the bill that is racist. I honestly haven't read the bill in its entirety, but would safely assume that the penalty for all illegal immigrants is the same, no matter what nationality they are. The fact that the majority who are illegal are of one nationality, doesn't make the law discriminatory, it means that 1 group is breaking the law more often.

You seem to just say it racist, so it is...that doesn't fly in America.

I would also encourage you to actually find out if your ancestors immigrated America legally or illegally. If they came illegally, then they were criminals, if they came legally, then they aren't criminals. It's a fairly simple concept.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
23 Apr 2006
Crossing imaginary lines does not make one a criminal. Creating imaginary lines, gaurding them with guns and armies, and propping up global economic institutions that destroy countries economonies and force desperate people to migrate to the US to work dirty/dangerous/underpaid jobs with no respect makes one a criminal. Those capitalist elite may not be criminals under the laws they write in the countries they run, but they are certainly criminals to humanity and should be dealt with accordingly.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
If you are an illegal, turn yourself in, go home and come back the legal way.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
If you are a legislator, change the law, and make immigration legal.

If you are a U.S. citizen, recognize that you came here from immigrants and the reason people come here is because of the wealth built from the stolen resources of native peoples, on the backs of slave labor (the north was complicit with the textile mills that were dependent upon slave labor cotton), the exploitation of immigrants coming into this country since the late 19th century, and the continued overseas U.S. imperialism since the late 19th century overseas that reaps all the wealthproduced by the labor and resources of overseas countries. If you're worried about job security, stop corporations from gaining the power to continue to go overseas backed by the US military to exploit labor and force people to flee to the united states. The only solution is for us working people to quit blaming each other and realize who's really causing all the displacement and also realize the history of oppression that brought our relative privilige of jobs and an economy to the United States. Black, white, latino, asian, middle eastern, native, or whatever, we're all being pitted against each other so that the super rich can continue to be super rich. Throughout history this tactic has always been used: divide and rule... and they sure as hell have us divided by using our vulnerability with work and resources and throwing a few crumbs here and there to keep some of us a little better off than others. Fuck this shit! Let's join in solidarity and look at the real problem: the system of classes that supports uber rich people to not work but have billions of dollars in resources and luxury, rich people to have luxury and comfort beyond that of rulers of old, middle class people to live comfortably to provide a buffer of people supporting the system so that the majority of the U.S. and world's population can be exploited and displaced and harassed and bombed. Let's stop the insanity!
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
"If you are a legislator, change the law, and make immigration legal."

Are you a fool? Immigration is legal. The issue has nothing to do with legal immigration, you're asking for immigration without any rules or restrictions. That isn't feasable. Your further asking for people who didn't follow the law to be patted on the back and granted amnesty. Also is not feasable.

So is the basice pro-illegal immigration theory allong the same lines of...if you make drugs legal, you reduce crime? The problem will magically work itself out? Why should we set precedent that breaking any just law will EVER get you what you desire. If people from other countries don't like our immigration law, then don't come to America. If you do come here illegally, regardless of race, you are a criminal and deserve to be punished.

Imaginary lines? You live in an imaginary world. Every country has borders that it must protect to remain independant. Most Americans aren't ready to hand over our rights to a world government.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
Making ALL immigration legal is not feasible... why?
Giving people amnesty is not feasible... why?

It is feasible, you just don't want it. I do.

"However, if you are a dirtbag who wants to sneak into the country ILLEGALLY, not work, not be productive, suck up benefits and live a life of crime then you should be put down at the border with two to the chest and one to the head!"

Undocumented immigrants OVERWHELMINGLY are here to work and be productive... it's the current laws that need to change so there can be more opportunities for people to work and contribute to society. I agree that dirtbags who don't work and could work (i.e. have job opportunities) piss me off... they're called capitalists and they live off of the labor and resources of all of us. And once again, they're the problem. Stop keeping working people divided; fight the real enemy!
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
Johnathan,

Why I don't think open borders is feasible...main reason, too many people would flood our nation. That is why there are limits, not because anyone is racist. We are in a market system...open boarders would cause too many workers, not enough jobs and our wages would remain low. Supply and demand. This would bring the US citizens standard of living down...our government is responsible to protect our rights, not those who are citizens of another nation.

Why amnesty isn't feasible...it sets a precedent that our laws can be broken without consequence. Our governement has the obligation to uphold the laws of the land...allowing amnesty would not be serving US citizens best interests. It would be serving the illegal immigrant non-US citizens best interest.

Understand now?
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
The key issue is that these people are coming her without our knowledge. Theyare putting a strain on the entire system and that needs to be addressed quick. No single person or group has ever denied that the US welcomes thsoe from other countries but we welcome them knowing that they are not here to cause issues and are willing to abide by our laws and be productive members of society. Sneaking into the country makes them wrong from day one. Breaking a US law the very first day you arrive is not a good start. To add to this, we also need to KNOW that those that are attempting to enter our country are doing so to better their lives and their families lives.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
24 Apr 2006
Also, at what point do the people who risk their money in business pursuits, generally employing others, become corporate scum in your mind? Do you just have a problem with successful people? You only like businesses that struggle and need government assistance to strive?
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
25 Apr 2006
damn you guys have a lot of time on your hands.

Veteran for peace: putting a strain on our system? Bullshit. They're working a shit load and not taking up many resources and not getting a fair share for all they contribute. If we need to know let's make all immigration legal.

Jones: it is feasible, we're just pitted against each other. People who own the means of production make millions (and billions even). They're wastful and luxurious an we all work to produce and provide service while they reap unimaginable wealth and live lives of luxury. If this weren't the case. If communities and the people who worked democratically owned the means of production. If everyone got a fair and relatively equal share for their labor (no one got screwed, no one got excess luxury) and if we stepped up and abolished the U.S. government and the corporations who run the capitalist system, then we wouldn't have any immigration issues. Everyone who get their fair share and U.S. government and corporations wouldn't force people to migrate here because they wouldn't be taking people's land and control of their economy and super-exploiting some so that others don't have room to work, etc.

But really I don't think this converstion is going anywhere with you folks because you believe that there should be rich and poor and justify it with "supply and demand". I know economics and supply and demand is a bullshit means of talking about "leverage and vulnerability" like someone said in another post. If everyone agrees to the system so much then lets democratize salary decisions instead of having a hierarchy where certain people are on top and make all the decisions. Hopefully the zapatistas in mexico along with the folks of the other campaign will lead by example in north america and we and others around the world will do the same.

And it's john, no one calls me johnathan.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
25 Apr 2006
so john. you'll guarantee their hospital and emergency bills so medicaid funds won't be exhausted?
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
25 Apr 2006
john. I want to be rich. I want you to be rich too.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
01 May 2006
I'm not racist, but who is ensuring that I always have my rights? Should I go to any Latino coalistion and ask that they petition for my rights and organize a rally in my name, shall my right's as an American be threatened? I just love how everything is fine if it's a problem concerning the white people, but when it's a problem concerning Latino's, it's racist.

So someone tell me, where's the affirmative action for the white people who don;t get the jobs that the illegals are getting?

Seriously, how much more can one ethnic group get? medicare, welfare and Social security benefits all without being a citizen. Homeland security wants to protect everyone in this country by imposing more border control and every Latino that came here either illegally is all jacked up about it? It's not like they will lose anything, you'll still get meicare to pay for the 5 kids you will have unmarried I might add and your 5oo dollar grocery bill paid with my taxes.

I owed the IRS money this year, work my butt off to feed my 2 "legal" kids and I don't rely on welfare or medicare to ensure they have an exam for the following school year. All Latino's want to protect is the fact that they can still screw the country that is supposed to be their land of opportunity. And I think it;s safe to say that they are burning all their bridges here.
Re: For May Day and Beyond: White People Step up for Immigrant Rights!
01 May 2006
Seems like a vast majority of the nation want people to continue to come to the US but do it as respectable individuals and not common criminals. That makes sense, so why can't the minority understand that? Come, stay and work forever but just do it legally! Really is a no brainer- oh wait, that doesn;t work around here.

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