Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 13:46:53 -0700
You know, we fight where we must fight, and not always under the most favorable of circumstances. The objective however is victory, which comes by minimizing our casualties as much as possible and inflicting as much damage on the enemy as possible. When we are attacked, as in the case of this anti-undocumented worker legislation, we must respond. We do respond. But, not by running out blindly, or being caught up in childish unplanned adventurism, nor allow ourselves to be manipulated by agents of the other side, or opportunists on our side who just as well might be agents. We call them agents' provocateurs.
It is better to err on the side of caution than to be lured into a trap. I'm talking strategy and tactics here - strategy is determined by objectives of a struggle, tactics arise in battle determined by the existing correlation of forces in particular squeamishness. Class war is real war, and there will be casualties.
Working class politics is neither romantic, nor is it some messianic jihad. We do not seek martyrdom. As Mao said, and we used to quote as inexperienced 'Black revolutionaries' in the 60s: "wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence..."
I think it is opportunistic and hypocritical for non-working class 'Latino' or/& 'Chicano' activists, more than likely not only generations of citizenship but are members of the Democratic Party, to call upon relatively defenseless undocumented workers to engage in reckless adventures without having planned contingencies in advance.
Those who are characterizing the May 1st 'general strike' as a 'Latino strike', are fronting off undocumented workers just to advance their own political profile in the Democratic Party, and will not be hurt. The undocumented workers, who are most vulnerable, will suffer all the hurting.
My position is that those of us with citizenship rights should be on the front lines in protection of those who have no such rights; we are better able to be subject to be arrested, or killed. But, the movement and the confrontation cannot be without any statement of purpose or of goals. That's not even martyrdom, that's just plain foolishness of 'unnecessary sacrifices'.
Of course the undocumented workers should take to the streets and fight. The momentum that has been building over the past weeks should be galvanized, mobilized toward concrete political goals. But, can we pull off a 'general strike' on May 1st? That depends upon, as in France, the students as working class youth are able to pull the trade unions into the struggle to bring what in American equivalent to French worker population: 20-30 million workers into the streets, particularly those in vital industries including steel, auto, electrical, longshore, teamsters, state, county and municipal trade unions to participate in this strike.
In France, the unions took the front in defense of those kids, they didn't cheer lead from the background, egging them on as is being done here in the US by Democrat 'Latino' politicians and activist leftists.
In France, the general strike was forced on the union bureaucracy and socialist party from the grass roots, and this was worked out by the class-conscious and socialist trade unionists in the rank and file, and was planned. The Tuesday general strikes were planned. It was understood to be a battle in the class war, and French workers histories from the French Revolution, 1840-50, the Paris Commune of 1871, and May-June 1968 has engrained in them that class war is real war. What the leaders should be doing is consulting with the French radicals, trade unionists, socialists, communists and anarchists as well, sharing experience and formulating plans with contingencies and backup plans. We are fighting to win. The French trade unionists in the streets today were the radical students 4 decades ago, May-June 1968.
The French proletariat is exercising its power in the streets. The struggle of class against class subsumes all the disparate factions, nationalities and ethnicities of both genders, it feels its unity, and the power thereof. Thus, simultaneously, the French proletariat at once feels its power, quantity into quality, and recognizes the impotence of the bourgeois state when so confronted.
The French workers voted for the Socialist and Communist parties less than a decade ago, but in government those parties failed to usher in the revolutionary legislation transferring ownership of the productive forces from the private possession of the capitalist classes and landed aristocrats to the public property of the working classes and French toiling masses. The French Socialist, Communist and Green parties are incapable of leading a revolutionary transformation, and the sects are wasting time waiting for a repeat of the model workers Soviets in Russia of 1917. Let the dead bury the dead.
Nor could it have been otherwise. Lesson learned. The French proletariat is feeling its class power - the world's working classes are feeling its class potential as the French proletariat moves as a class-for-itself, it doesn't need a 'vanguard' socialist bourgeois intelligentsia. The French proletariat is already becoming a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat! Its power has eclipsed the power of the government, which had to come hat in hand to capitulate, grovel before the power of the French general strike. The power of the general strike must be made formal.
The French proletariat but needs its own Tennis Court Assembly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution#The_National_Assembly
A national general strike galvanizes the entire working-class!
Within the context of which the workers as a class transcends itself,
hitherto 'Nothing' it feels itself Something!
The power of the working class experienced and being experienced in France need but to take the qualitative leap from quantity to new quality by declaring itself the new power, dismiss the bourgeois National Assembly and Government the same as the Iraqi in the streets have displaced the US occupation forces 'government'.
The 'Iraqi government' wants to be 'something' in Iraq, but it is nothing to Iraqis. The legitimate state power is in the people's themselves. Now that the Resistance has taught the Iraqi people their own power, US imperialism is revealed as nothing but a paper tiger, which can kill, maim and destroy but cannot defeat the Iraqi resistance. The Israeli tanks are powerless in West Bank as it was in Gaza, which is reflected in the Israeli working class accepting the Hamas government by voting for peace.
When on May 1st, only a few hundred thousand or even a million undocumented stay away from work, that isn't a 'mass strike', and certainly not a 'general strike', it is only a loss of wages and perhaps getting fired with no plan to confront their bosses to get workers on the job to walk out and demand reinstatement, no plan to bail out of jail, no lawyers, nothing. General strike and barricade fighting is not fun, class war isn't a game. The U.S. state will take us just as seriously as the Israeli state is taking the intifada in Gaza and West Bank.
I am not saying we shouldn't advance. I am saying we should be prepared. We should also make it clear that this is a multi-ethnic workers struggle without regard to race, language, national origin or religion. That is the best protection for those who are undocumented. But, it must be recognized that the laws written against undocumented workers, so-called illegal aliens, contain clauses wherein those citizens whose humanitarian sensibilities inclined them to defend the defenseless and protect those who are victimized and unable to defend themselves, are also criminalized by these criminal laws.
The trade unions can be brought into this struggle by rank and file workers understanding that this Bill that will criminalize undocumented workers is at the same time an attack on their own citizenship, their fundamental rights and freedoms - as German citizens, described in the Diary of Ann Frank, were made criminals for protecting Jewish: laws written against undocumented workers, so-called illegal aliens, contain clauses wherein those citizens whose humanitarian sensibilities inclined them to defend the defenseless and protect those who are victimized and unable to defend themselves, are also criminalized by these criminal laws. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Kugler
If this law is passed and undocumented workers are made criminals on the basis of their ethnicity and national origin, as Jews were criminalized in Germany and occupied countries just for being Jews, it is just as much a law against citizens hiding them. Anyone could be accused of hiding undocumented workers, and have Gestapo 'security police' kick in their door, search your home and arrest you. American citizens must understand that in the last analysis, the Patriot Act and this anti-undocumented worker legislation is a law against the citizens - the legalization of illegal search and seizure.
Moreover, we must approach American trade unionists not expecting altruism or even 'love and support' for the 'unfortunate' of the 'undocumented workers', but in their own democratic traditions and self-interests as workers. American workers have to understand that these laws against undocumented workers are laws against American workers and trade unionists on the lamb, fugitives.
That's what it is, god dammit - laws against workers qua workers - workers, trade unionists and those who fight back! The Taft-Hartley Act already criminalizes strikers. Protecting undocumented workers is the same principle as protecting fellow trade unionists and striking workers. If this law passes, you and your family are subjected to raids and abduction by the State Police. You will also be taken down to the 'Ministry of Truth': an American Abu Ghraib prison.
American workers engaged in strikes are already subjected to crime laws by the Taft-Hartley Act All it would take is an amendment to it, acting upon the precedence established if this legislation against undocumented workers were to pass, that anyone who hides out a union leader can have his or her door kicked in, their home searched, and themselves arrested as well were said unionist be found in their home. Of course the judges will supply the search warrant, at least in the initial stages of this anti-trade unionist and anti-labor fascist legislation, because the judges are part and parcel of the state. In a government dominated by the Democrats and Republicans, it is the political representatives of the capitalist employers of wageworkers who legislate laws in the interest of capital against wageworkers. The workers need their own class party, the party of wageworkers for wageworkers, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, a Labor Party in the House of Representatives fighting this political war we are simultaneously fighting in the streets.
One must never forget - the Nazi's Government first criminalized the Jews as a people just as the American Government is now criminalizing 'immigrants' as a people. Then they went after the Communists and the "Marxist intelligentsia", thus the Socialists as well. Unlike the American Democratic Party which claim to 'represent' the average Joe 6 pack worker and unions, in Germany the Communists and Socialists were part and parcel of the trade unions: the Social-Democrats were created by and based upon the Trade Unions.
The Marxist philosophical heritage in the Social-Democratic Labor Party was so ingrained in the German proletariat that the Nazi fascists had to capitulate to it by masquerading as "National-Socialist Party'. This 'national socialism' as a term passed, though the concept is irrational, is an oxymoron on the face of it because the Socialist proletariat is cosmopolitan, but nonetheless, it worked.
The Juden were the Other. But not just Juden. The mass psychology of fascism manipulated by demagogues using mass propaganda through not just print but the new medium of radio and loudspeakers, praising 'his people' as a pimp praises his whores, bringing together the 'German' proletariat with the 'German' bourgeois, against an Other that objectified his fears and hates personified in the German Juden. All the negative characteristics of the parasitic capitalist classes - economic exploiters, bankers and financiers, and the intermediary petty bourgeois viz. grocers and pawnbrokers were associated with Jews: Jews were 'the Synagogue of Satan'.
Along with the Juden, were their fellow demons included into the category of Other -- Gypsies associated with criminals and 'illegal aliens' who were blamed for the mass unemployment, which had actually resulted from German participating in the global market, its crash and the Great Depression. Unemployment was blamed on "immigrants", who were accused of "flooding the borders" and stealing German jobs, and bringing into Germany 'alien' languages, religions, volksgiest. Today in America it's the undocumented workers who are the 'aliens'. Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels because demagogic in its spirit it enables bourgeois politicians to play on the mass psychosis of the economically insecure, appealing to the fears and prejudices of "us" against "them".
The German Nazi government manipulated the German psyche using language and symbols of family values and duty, motherhood and fatherhood, patriarchy sublimated in militarism and aggression against Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, Homosexuals, and illegal alien immigrants initially, and then in wars of invasion and conquest. Talking about oxymoron: aggression was presented as defensive measures protecting German traditional values from the intrusion of Jews, Gypsies and illegal aliens - at the crux of which was of course the intellectual heart and soul of a supposed grand Juden-Communist-Banker-Bolshevik conspiracy that had to be destroyed.
As here in America today the German bourgeois government passed laws against the rights of individual protections against State intrusion into the affairs of law abiding citizens by changing those laws -- ostensibly aimed at 'non-Aryan' outsiders. By accepting laws similar to America's Alien and Sedition Act, and the Bill that in Congress being passed by Democrats and Republicans today, ostensibly against 'illegal aliens' of the time the German Nazi State chipped away incrementally the secular humanism inherent in German Social Democracy -- the principles of democratic protection of the rights of the individual and brotherhood of humanity. This is happening in America today. In past, American law held that the American Negro had no right that the White man is bound to respect.
Today, the 'illegal alien' is the New Niger, but the reactionaries in power don't need no New Jew - the old lie of the "Juden-Communist-Banker-Bolshevik conspiracy" is still in force -- only the code word has changed: "world-government", "neo-cons", "new world order", "Jewish lobby" - the ridiculous idea that a tiny country totally dependent upon the United States economically, politically and militarily is as ludicrous as it is ridiculous.
The United States isn't an instrument of Israel but the opposite: Israel is an instrument of American foreign policy and ideology. The so-called War on Terrorism isn't just an ideological justification for America's reckless foreign policy in Middle Asia and North Africa - against Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
The American corporate state benefits from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it uses so-called Christian fundamentalism articulating the mutual killing of Israeli and Palestinian workers and civil wars in Sudan and Chad to justify its aggressions, its occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and is itching to get into Sudan in order to control the oil reserves upon which the European Union, Japan and now China are dependent.
But, the legislation against immigrants and visitors in the scandalous Patriot Act, are part and parcel of the new anti-illegal alien Bill regarding "Mexican immigrants". The laws ostensibly against 'Arab terrorists', i.e. Arab immigrants in the Patriot Act of scoundrels, and the laws ostensibly against 'illegal aliens' i.e. Mexican immigrants by racists are on the same page: are mutually applicable in the courts. If we have learned anything from the rise of fascism in Germany, it is that these laws chipping away at equal protection and habeas corpus ad subjiciendum rights of individuals are in the last analysis really directed at the same time against the working class as a whole, and trade unions and socialists in particular. Just as it has been ideologically accepted by gullible patriotic American workers that America has the 'right' to invade nations it accuses of 'harboring terrorists' in Middle Asia, or governments committing 'genocide' in North Africa, so in this anti-undocumented worker legislation by criminalizing undocumented workers as 'illegal aliens' contain provisions whereby the State has the authority to kick in the doors of American citizens believed to be harboring 'illegal aliens'.
What our argument is to them is that the unions must join in - and stand with us in the front line not because we want their love but their understanding that an attack on one worker is an attack on us all - criminalizing undocumented workers today will set a precedence for the criminalizing of union labor tomorrow - all that would be needed in any case is amendments to already existing anti-labor legislation such as Taft-Hartley and general strikes as 'secondary strikes'.
Planning of serious class battles must include not just defensive objectives, the present case in point being the defense of undocumented workers from becoming criminals based solely on their ethnicity, but at the same time if we are to bring American workers into this general strike it must also have on its banner by repeal of Taft-Hartley. You know what I'm saying? We must follow the example of the French proletariat's political strike to force the repeal of Taft-Hartley, &t.
The American trade unions must build the Labor Party on this basis,
in the praxis of class warfare on the streets, in Congress. The conditions
are present, they cry out:
Hic Rhodus, hic saltra
here is the rose, dance thou here.
This is not ethnic war but class war and in this class war American style the Democratic Party, including its Black and Latino Congressional cliques, and Mexican American Political Association masquerading as Chicano and Rainbow-Push masquerading as Brothers, is bourgeois factions in the bourgeois political class. They benefit from ethnic confrontations when they can present themselves to fellow Democrats as 'leaders' with a 'constituency' among the 'grassroots'. Thus the 'Latino' Democrats are about hustling the popular immigrant protests the same as the 'Black' Democrats are exploiting Katrina.
There is no such thing as a 'Latino general strike', but a working class general strike drawing into its ranks the cosmopolitan characteristic of workers of every ethnic and nationality, as workers. This is the lesson of the French general strike movements.
Some Immigration Marchers Pay High Price
By ANNA JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO - Six employees at a seafood restaurant in Houston were
fired this week after skipping work to take part in a pro-immigration march.
In Detroit, 21 immigrants lost their jobs as meat cutters after attending a
similar protest last month.
And several students at a high school near Tampa, Fla., were
suspended this week for walking out of class to go to a demonstration.
Across the country, workers and students have paid a price for
attending the immigration rallies that have recently swept the nation. They
have lost jobs or been cited for truancy for joining the hundreds of
thousands who have protested proposed federal legislation that would crack
down on illegal immigrants.
In one case, the family of a 14-year-old Los Angeles-area boy said
he committed suicide because he was threatened by a school official for
participating in immigration protests. School officials disputed that.
Now, some rally organizers are telling people not to risk their jobs
or education to attend the demonstrations and are considering rescheduling
protests to weekends and evenings.
"This is a concern because this is a demographic of people who have
historically not come out into the streets to raise an issue," said
Germonique Jones, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Center for
Community Change, an umbrella group behind the rallies. "Obviously
businesses have to be run, and it's only right for people to tell their
employers that they will be out beforehand. ... We don't want people losing
their jobs over this."
But many others say marchers want to make the sacrifice to show the
importance of immigration reform.
In some cases, fired workers have been offered their jobs back after
advocacy groups have gotten involved, including the 21 Detroit meatpacking
company workers. The company said Thursday that it would rehire them, but
only if the staffing company they were hired through can confirm they are
Pedro Ortega, 30, was fired along with nine co-workers from an
automotive parts factory in a suburb south of Chicago after attending a
March 10 immigration march that drew more than 100,000 people.
A workers-rights organization got involved and negotiated with Cobra
Metal Works Corp., which rehired the employees about a month later, he said.
The company said in a statement it supports immigration reform and will
allow workers to speak out as long as they follow company procedures for
taking time off.
Ortega, who has worked at the factory for eight years, said
attending the march was worth the repercussions, and he plans to attend
another rally in Chicago scheduled for May 1.
"We have to change the way the American people think about us,"
Ortega said. "We are here to work and to make our lives better."
But in Phoenix, one of the organizers of a city's immigration march
earlier this week, former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, said a planned May 1
work and school boycott is generating little interest from many advocacy
groups. He said participants are tired and have to return to work.
In Chicago, Rafael Pulido, a deejay on WOJO-FM who was instrumental
in getting the word out about the city's huge March 10 rally, said he tells
his listeners not to skip school.
"I am not in favor of students leaving schools to protest," said
Pulido, who goes by the name "El Pistolero."
Jerry Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected
Officials, which helped organize Monday's march in Atlanta, said while some
businesses shut down to allow employees to participate, organizers stress
that workers need to get permission to miss work and students should stay in
"The whole reason people are here is to work," Gonzalez said. "We
need to do (protests) responsibly."
Other rally organizers say they plan to encourage people to participate
in the May 1 boycotts and marches and said they will work with
employers to ensure protesters will not be punished and to help fired
workers find new jobs. Groups also are helping students, parents and schools
The Mexican-American Political Association, a central organizer of
rallies in Southern California, is planning to send thousands of form
letters to parents that they can use as school absence slips for their
"Parents have every right to keep their children home from school
for personal reasons," said the association's president, Navito Lopez.
Others say while they recognize that some students and workers may
not be able to attend weekday rallies, the marches are too important to hold
them at night or on weekends, when fewer people will take notice.
"I think what all these sacrifices indicate is how critical this
issue is for workers and students," said Tim Bell of the Chicago Workers
Collaborative, the group that helped Ortega. "Workers want people to know
how valuable their work is to the nation, and if they don't work, there is a
huge effect on the country."
Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami, Giovanna Dell'Orto
in Atlanta, Sarah Karush in Detroit, Juan Lozano in Houston and Peter
Prengaman in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
LabourPartyPraxis discussion - subscribe