Friday, May 12, 2006

the immigration debate continues...

A couple of articles that ihsan readers might appreciate - both these articles discuss wider implications of the immigrant rights movement, and, significantly, point out how the so-called "controversy" or "anger" at immigrants are misplaced.

Brian Kwoba writes in Birth of a new left?

May Day 2006 was the biggest and most inspiring resurgence of labor (and civil rights) militancy that this country has seen in a generation. More generally, the immigrant rights movement holds the possibility of reviving a vibrant left in the US of the kind that we haven't had since the 1960s.

Because the immigrant rights movement is so predominantly working-class, it can provide an even wider basis for struggle around key political questions. For example, it can be linked to the struggle against the war in Iraq, whose victims (Iraqi and American alike) are predominantly working-class, and thrust into combat because of the economic and military consequences of the US-dominated world order. It can also be linked to the struggle for reproductive rights, whose beneficiaries are predominantly poor and working-class women, particularly Latinas (among other minorities). It can be linked to the African-American struggle for justice on the basis of unity against racism and resistance to prison-industrial-complex-style militarization, which attempts to control both populations.

Margaret Kimberley writes in the Black Commentator:

The activism in the mostly Latino immigrant community has been controversial throughout the country, but that controversy is especially tragic for black America. The sight of millions of recently arrived Americans who demand citizenship and the full rights of other Americans, has created resentment among a group who should see the opportunity for allies on a host of issues.

Like the broken clock that is right twice a day, (Ted) Hayes is correct that black America is struggling. The struggle is not caused by day laborers looking for work at Home Depot. It exists because corporate interests who once employed millions of Americans and paid living wages no longer do so. The struggle exists because a functioning public education system has been replaced by a prison industrial complex.

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