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No work or school on May Day! Legalization for all immigrants!
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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 72/No. 18      May 5, 2008


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No work or school on May Day!
Legalization for all immigrants!
(Socialist Workers Campaign Statement)
Emergency picket line called April 16 at federal building in Houston to protest immigration raids that morning at a warehouse there and at poultry plants in five states.

The following statement was issued April 21 by Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president.

I urge working people across the United States to join the hundreds of thousands nationwide in taking off work on May 1 and participate in protest actions to demand the immediate legalization of all undocumented workers, with no conditions.

This is part of reclaiming May 1 as an international day of workers’ struggle. We will join with thousands of other working people in cities and towns across the country to demand: Legalization for all!; Stop the raids and deportations!; and End Social Security “no-match” letters!

The U.S. ruling class—which profits from the superexploitation of a large section of the working class without legal documents—is stepping up its efforts to intimidate working people in the days leading up to May Day. The hated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency carried out raids at workplaces in nine states April 16. This was an attempt to undermine the confidence our class has won in the streets in the last two May Days and intimidate undocumented workers into staying home this year.

Legalization is not just a question facing workers who were born in other countries. The entire structure of labor in the United States has changed over the last decades as the bosses have more and more relied on a layer of the working class with no legal rights who they hoped would be cowed into accepting lower wages, subpar conditions, and less safety. The bosses tried to use immigrant workers to try to drive down everyone’s wages and to push the unions out of the workplaces.

But something different has happened: more and more immigrant and U.S.-born workers have united and stood up as a class to the union-busting and to the ICE attacks. We have refused to allow the employers to sow divisions among us based on our country of origin. A new working-class vanguard is emerging in the course of these struggles. While in its majority comprised of immigrant workers, it is not an immigrant vanguard. Its actions enrich struggles by working people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds because it is showing that working people can stand up against seemingly insurmountable odds to assert their self-worth. This is the road forward for the building of a fighting labor movement.

This is also the most important single “domestic” question in U.S. politics. The outcome of the debate on this issue is decisive to building an independent labor party in this country, one based on combative trade unions. The working class has no voice in the capitalist government. My three main opponents for the presidency—Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama—all favor maintaining second-class status for undocumented workers. They all support tougher borders, and, as senators, voted to fund the wall on the Mexican border. The working class needs a labor party that can fight for the broad interests of the working class—both in the United States and internationally—in the political arena.

A labor party will introduce legislation for the immediate, unconditional legalization of all. It will fight for a halt to all deportation proceedings.

It will campaign to take all the tractors and construction equipment being used to build the wall on the border with Mexico and deploy them instead in a massive public works program that can put millions to work at union-scale wages.

All out for May Day! Legalization now!
Related articles:
Houston rally protests ICE raids, builds May Day action
May Day actions for immigrant rights
‘Skip class and work— Celebrate May Day!’
Chicago picket: ‘Stop the raids and deportations!’
Socialist candidate Calero salutes Seattle workers for standing up to bosses
SWP candidate for vice president speaks to 300 at Rutgers University

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