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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 76/No. 18      May 7, 2012


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(lead article, SWP campaign statement)
Oppose gov’t assault on
immigrant workers!
Militant/Betsy Farley
Dennis Richter, left, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 7th District, campaigns at demonstration against immigration jail in Crete, Ill., April 1.

The Socialist Workers Party election campaign in Illinois calls on working people to join May Day actions wherever possible as a demonstration of working-class solidarity.

May 1 is International Workers Day, celebrated around the world. Its origin is in the workers’ struggles of 1886 for an eight-hour workday and the working-class martyrs in Chicago who were framed up by the cops for their part in it. In the U.S., the holiday’s working-class spirit was reclaimed in 2006 when nearly 2 million immigrant workers and supporters of immigrant rights took to the streets to demand an end to deportations and discrimination.

The reclaiming of May Day was a response to a renewed assault by the capitalist rulers on those of us who are foreign-born. This offensive has continued unabated ever since.

Over the last several years the U.S. government has forced the firing of thousands of workers without papers through “silent raid” immigration audits, established that fingerprints of everyone taken into police custody be checked against Department of Homeland Security databases, and conducted nationwide sweeps to arrest and deport immigrants they label “criminals.”

In one of the latest operations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out coordinated arrests at the beginning of April of more than 3,100 immigrants that ICE claims are “convicted criminal aliens” and “those that game our nation’s immigration system.”

We should recognize this scheme as part of the capitalist rulers’ stepped-up criminalization of the working class. It’s of a piece with the massive increase in recent decades of workers behind bars or on probation or parole, one aspect of the assault on the working class aimed disproportionately at workers who are African-American.

The exploiting class’s assault on working people is a reaction to the deepening crisis of the capitalist system. This has begun to engender resistance, which is why the bosses try to undermine our unity and solidarity on many fronts. Their attacks on those of us without “proper papers” is a key component in this offensive.

The real target of their anti-immigrant offensive is all working people. In the same way they use the lever of high and persistent unemployment to increase competition for jobs, they scapegoat the foreign born. The aim is to weaken our capacity to mount an effective fight against their drive to foist the burden of the capitalist crisis onto our backs and to intensify the rate of exploitation across the board and around the globe.

And just as the capitalist owners seek to divide and conquer workers to better assault our wages and living conditions, they seek to pit factory workers in the U.S. against those in Mexico or China, or garment workers in China against those in Bangladesh, etc.

It’s not immigrants vs. U.S.-born or workers in the U.S. against those of other countries. It’s the boss class, the capitalist class, backed up by their army, their cops and their courts, on one side. On the other side stands the working class, working farmers and our allies—representing the overwhelming majority of humanity.

Championing the fight of immigrant workers in the U.S.—who have proven to be a combative section of our class and whose breadth of experience strengthens our ranks—is a life and death question for the labor movement. Our solidarity across the capitalists’ national borders is the answer to their trap of pitting worker against worker.

Legalization for undocumented workers now! Extend solidarity to all those in struggle against the common enemy! An injury to one is an injury to all!
Related articles:
Boston: garment worker wins stay of deportation
Join May 1 actions to fight for rights of immigrant workers

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