Immigrants Are Our Sisters and Brothers, Not Our Enemy
Tear Down That Wall!
Revolution #044, April 23, 2006, posted at revcom.us
Revolution newspaper has received a large number of online comments in response to our coverage of the upsurge of the immigrant rights struggle. In this issue, we are reprinting with permission one of the more substantial comments we received, and our response in the form of an open letter.
I have always stood behind your motives and beliefs. The idea of your organization promoting undocumented and illegal immigrants from wherever makes me sick. I am now questioning your stance to AMERICA. They (illegals) eat up mine and your tax dollars. It is that simple. My woman is diabetic and works her ass off to supply herself with insulin. She can't get prescription coverage because the system is being milked by millions who use the loopholes, created by our government, I KNOW! Explain to me why you support this! I don't care if they are Dutch, latino, or Arab, they are not citizens, PERIOD. I do not like going to Miami and feeling like an outcast. People look at me funny when I can't speak spanish or haitian. You and I live in America, with the American flag, we speak English here. And once again, you support this?
I have attended your rallies, screaming at the top of my lungs to support legitimate causes, however, this motion does not do it for me. I have no clue where you all have gone blind. Maybe a little too liberal and "awww poor him". Wake up and explain to me how letting millions of illegals remain with a free pass is good for this nation. The lack of work force and the contributions they make does not make a sound rebutal for you. It is overused. You are supporting laws being broke. That simple.
Bush wants what you are supporting. Am I wrong? I am civil, I am not racist, I know right from wrong and this (in all legal sense) is wrong. It is against AMERICAN LAW!
Please write back and explain this position. I understand everyone has their own views. Your organization was going so great with me until this issue. Boggles my mind!
Well, what about the questions this letter raises? First of all, just because something is law does not mean it should be respected or abided by. Have you ever heard of the Dred Scott decision? That was a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1850s upholding the Fugitive Slave Act that gave slave-catchers the right to kidnap Black people who had run away from slavery. The Dred Scott decision said a Black man had no right that a white man was bound to respect.
At one time in the South there were laws that said Black people could not drink out of the same water fountain as white people. Or that a Black person could not look a white person eye to eye when addressing them because it showed disrespect and insolence. It was called “reckless eyeball,” and people were murdered straight out for these kinds of things.
What interest did those laws serve? Who benefited from them? The slave system. And the plantation sharecropping system and Jim Crow segregation that followed that.
At a certain point people said: fuck it! We are gonna defy and break these damn laws whether anybody likes it or not—because this shit is unjust, oppressive, and barbaric.
And when they did, a lot of people of all nationalities came to their side and supported them in that struggle.
Who was right? Those that upheld and enforced those laws and brutally punished people who defied them? Or the people who refused to go along, and others who supported them? Those laws were unjust and wrong, and people had to rise up against them in order to get rid of them.
There's Nothing Worth Respecting About This Border
That’s why you cannot just look at the borders of the U.S. and simply say it is against the law and wrong to cross it. You have to ask how did that border get there? What interest does it serve? Who benefits from it? What program does it serve?
Let’s talk about what is real. Here it is: This country and its border were established on genocide of native people, slavery of Africans, and the theft of half of Mexico in the war of 1846. There were no borders when humans first crossed from Asia to what's now known as the Americas. The Spanish conquerors landed in the 16th century and drew their borders as part of subjugating and murdering the people for the wealth. And the British colonists on the east coast of what's now the U.S. drew their borders as they almost wiped out the people who lived there before the colonists arrived.
In the 1840s the U.S. launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Mexico (which had outlawed slavery, in contrast to the U.S. where the slave system was in full effect in the South). Behind the war was the drive for more territory by both the Southern slave owners and the Northern capitalists. What do you think the Alamo and its “heroes” — Davy Crockett, Samuel Houston, Jim Bowie, and Daniel Boone — were about? Murder and thievery of Mexican land for the purpose of spreading slavery and capitalism to that part of the territory. Later, to consolidate this thievery they created the Texas Rangers. It’s just that simple.
After the war the U.S. forced Mexico to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In return for stealing huge amounts of Mexico territory (now the U.S. Southwest), the U.S. government promised land, language, and other rights to Mexicans living in this area now occupied by the U.S. But the U.S. broke the treaty as quickly as they had signed it.
There is not a goddamn thing worth respecting about these U.S.-created borders or the laws that enforced them. That's why we say: Tear down that wall!
The Border Is an Expression of an Oppressive Relationship
Let’s step back and talk about what is going today. How this unjust, unequal, oppressive and exploitative relationship between the U.S. and Mexico plays itself out today.
For an example, look at Alicia and José Jiménez. They are busting their ass — trying to feed themselves and raise their family in one of the rural areas of Mexico. What happens? Their situation, which was already desperate, becomes more desperate. This is because the relationship the U.S. has with Mexico is one of domination and exploitation. It's like having a relationship with the Godfather, Tony Soprano, or the “Goodfellas.” In typical gangster fashion they make Mexico “an offer it can’t refuse.”
They flood Mexico with U.S. goods, and the millions of Alicias and Josés are driven to extreme poverty by this unequal competition. So they are forced to leave the land and go to the city in search of work. What happens here? Right at the border, just a few feet inside Mexico, the U.S. has set up factories called maquiladoras for the millions of Alicias and Josés who work under extremely brutal and dangerous conditions for one-tenth of the pay of workers just across the border.
The workers in those maquiladoras are slaving away in these U.S.-owned high-tech sweatshops making TVs and computer parts that people in the U.S. and other imperialist countries use—and then they have to go home to shantytowns where they have no electricity and their children die of diseases like cholera because there is no sewage system or clean drinking water.
But even this pool of cheap labor doesn't satisfy the appetite of these bloodsuckers, who in recent years have closed down many of the maquiladoras, throwing hundreds of thousands out of work, and have moved a lot of their investment to Asia where they can pay even cheaper wages and exploit workers even more brutally. This is what U.S. imperialism means for people.
What would you do if you were in the situation of people like Alicia and José?
This is the relationship that U.S. imperialism forces on Mexico. This is what this imperialist system does around the world. It’s because of this system of imperialism that in the U.S. there are over one million millionaires, while about half the world population of 6 billion lives on $2 a day.
This is the real reason why immigrants are forced come to this country. Because as RCP Chairman Bob Avakian says, the U.S. has fucked up the rest of the world more than it has fucked up things here. And these ruthless fuckers at the head of this monstrous octopus with its tentacles all over the world sucking the blood of people make gangsters like the Godfather and others look like Bambi in comparison.
What happens when immigrants get here? Those that don’t die in the desert or get shot by vigilantes on the border—must elude and evade la migra (the immigration police). They are forced to work for extra cheap wages that the capitalists reap extra profits from. They are forced to live in the shadows — fearing that they may be rounded up and deported back into even more horrible conditions of existence. They have no rights—and that is why they are forced to endure this shit, stay quiet and out of sight—until now!
It reminds me of how Black people were kind of living in the shadows when it was against the law for them to look a white person in the eye for fear that they might be lynched.
Immigrants Are Not the Reason Your Wife Gets No Health Care!
You say undocumented immigrants are taking advantage of loopholes in the system to milk it for health resources that should go to people like your wife. This is simply not true. The health care system, like everything else under capitalism, is about maximizing profit. It is that which stands in the way of your wife’s health care, NOT immigrants — who often don’t even use health care services for fear of being deported. And if the bill passed by the House becomes law, these immigrants would put in jail as felons.
To be frank, by blaming immigrants, you are being played for a sucker and a fool. They got you thinking that those who are victimized by the working of this system are your enemy and those who are doing this victimizing and plundering of the world are your friends.
It’s Not “Our” Nation
Let me give another quick example. You talk about whether this is “good for this nation.” A few years ago the right-wing fascist Pat Buchanan wrote a book entitled The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. In it he complained about U.S. society losing its national identity, its national cohesion—the thing that has cemented the oppressive “social compact” of this society. Clearly he was talking about the white, Christian, English-speaking identity of the American nation. This is one of his worst nightmares, and he’s not the only one. Others in the top echelons of the U.S. empire, including Bush, also have this nightmare. In the face of this massive upsurge amongst immigrants, they are scrambling and trying to come up with a plan to carry out the re-cohering of a new oppressive “social compact” without their whole system beginning to become unglued. This is especially the role of the chief executive “W” — to keep his fascist core and program together, and lead them to implement their whole program without things flying apart. The logical conclusion of your argument will lead you right into the killing embrace of these fascists and imperialists.
As for the “good of the nation,” that’s the way the system wants you to see it. But nations are divided into classes, with different and fundamentally opposed interests. And this nation in particular is an imperialist, oppressor nation, and we oppose imperialism and don’t give a damn about what is “good” for it. Here’s how we see it: We are not Americans. We are proletarians. We are made up of all races. We are the class of people who can work only if it enriches the capitalist class. Under this system work plays “hide-and-seek” with many of us because the ruling class cannot make profits from our labor. Thus we are left to fend for ourselves, and many are driven into a situation where crime seems like the only option.
Our class is international, comprising billions throughout the world. Undocumented workers are part of our class. They are our brothers and sisters. We speak different languages and have different cultures, but we are all proletarians. Their blood is our blood. Their suffering is our suffering. We welcome them ALL with open arms. Our labor is at the foundation of this modern-day slave system and it creates tremendous wealth, which under this system goes into the hands of the capitalist class. We have a common interest: To rise up as proletarians, under our revolutionary leadership, the Revolutionary Communist Party and its Chairman Bob Avakian, and, when the conditions are right, to overthrow this system.
So let me put the challenge back to you—what if the millions of people like yourself who have gone for the divisive stuff woke up and put it down? What could we—the dispossessed of all nationalities—accomplish then?
Another World Is Possible—with State Power!
It is possible for every man, woman, and child on the planet earth to have the best that technology, science, and the knowledge of human beings have acquired over the centuries. It's possible to use all this to provide a better life for all the people of the world. It is possible for everyone to contribute what they can to better life for the people and in turn receive from society what they need to live as full human beings and contribute even more to society. There is no need for anyone to have to worry about or not to receive the health care they need. We can provide this for people. Cholera is preventable. Treatment for things like diabetes, Hepatitis C, HIV, kidney problems, and other chronic conditions could be free in a socialist system.
Everyone could have jobs, no one would have to live in ghettos or barrios. No one would have to worry about where their next meal is gonna come from, or if they will just be thrown out in their old age. We can create a world where the people hold all society’s resources in common, and work, struggle, and decide how to make things better for the people.
A world without one group dominating another. A world without the brutalizing and murdering police. Or la migra. A world without borders. Without men dominating women. Without whites dominating people of other races. Without those who do intellectual work having domination over those who do manual work.
We can do all these things and have people’s lives enriched through sports and art. We can take care of the environment—be caretakers of the earth and hand it down to future generations in better condition than when we were here.
The only reason all this does not happen is because all the wealth, technology, science, and knowledge is controlled by a tiny handful of capitalist-imperialists, and they use it to make profits—not to serve the people—and they use it to keep us down here in this fucked-up situation.
This is why we need state power. Power in the hands of our class whose collective labor creates all this wealth and who is the only group in history whose most fundamental interest lies in making this kind of revolution—and whose goal is not only putting all of society‘s resources in the hands of the people collectively, but leading them to become the decisionmakers and the emancipators of themselves and all humanity.
This is what we need to have our sights on. Chairman Avakian is the leader who can lead us to reach that goal. He is one of a kind. He deeply and scientifically understands revolution and the whole process. He has learned from the experience when our class held power before in the Soviet Union and China with Mao. He has learned from the great accomplishments of those revolutions but also from the shortcomings and errors that were made. He gives us the revolutionary and scientific approach to revolution so that we too can become leaders with him in this great cause.
You need to get with this leader. He has made great breakthroughs and discoveries in the cause of emancipating humanity, the cause of communist revolution. And like any great scientific discovery at first it illuminates the peaks and mountain tops, and then it illuminates the whole world.
Get with this party. Download the audio track “Why Do People Come Here From All Over the World?” by Bob Avakian (at revcom.us or bobavakian.net). Get your hands on his DVD, REVOLUTION: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About. (threeQvideo.com)
So, again, let me pose it back to you—think where we could get if you could put this narrow, me-first capitalist thinking down. And think where we’ll end up if you, and millions like you, don’t break with it.
Joe Veale, for the Revolutionary Communist Tour