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Immigrants revive the class struggle

Published May 19, 2006 9:54 PM

Teresa Gutierrez
WW photo

Immigrants and their supporters have revived the class struggle in the U.S.! They have reminded the powers that be that the irreconcilable struggle between the ruling class and the working class is far from dead.

This struggle may at times be dormant or hidden, but as long as there are bosses and workers, as long as there are exploiters and exploited, the class struggle will not end.

Workers World Party could ask for no greater development, short of the revolution. Because history shows that an upsurge of oppres sed people can impact every other struggle.

Even if this was not their aim, immigrant workers revived in the U.S. a historical date that the ruling class fears very much: May Day, a day for workers that is a clarion call for struggle.

listen Listen to full talk (MP3 audio)

Our party—like many other immigrant activists and others—knew that this day would come, that it was inevitable.

Why? Just listen to the horrors of migrants-the accounts of those who travel here in perilous seas from other parts of the world. Remember the plight of those who have died from the heat of deserts ablaze or in the backs of stifling sealed truck beds.

Learn about the countless, faceless, nameless migrants from not only throughout Mexico and Central America but indeed from throughout the world, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa. Many have died without anyone knowing who they are.

Many families will spend the rest of their lives never really knowing the fate of their loved ones. They may have died at sea or on the border or maybe in some agricultural field somewhere in the U.S.

And there is a whole generation of children whose mothers were torn by indecision—should they stay so their child at least has a mother by their side, but watch them go to bed hungry every night, or should they go to the other side of the border?

Many are ultimately forced to abandon their children. This decision has left a tear in their children’s heart that will never be healed.

The culprit of those children’s pain must be put squarely on the shoulders of imperialism.

And for immigrants who make it into the U.S.?

Last year, the Associated Press reported that one Mexican laborer dies every day in this country due to abominable working conditions.

They are treated to racist attacks. Day laborers are vilified and demonized. Remember Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant viciously killed by the New York Police Department.

So is it any wonder that millions risked jobs and deportation to take to the streets? Is it any wonder that millions defiantly declared: “aqui estamos y no nos vamos”—here we are and we are not leaving.

No racist minutemen, no act of Con gress, no menacing boss could keep them home.

The oppression is exactly why we knew this day would come. The decades of capitalist exploitation would become a specter that would haunt the bosses. That day has come.

We must do everything to show our unconditional support of the immigrant rights struggle. It is they who must lead.

The struggle for immigrant rights was integral to the Chicano liberation struggle from which I come. But it was the Communist Manifesto that gave me the tools to understand that the oppression of Chicanos was part of the oppression of all workers. And it was Lenin who explained that even within class oppression there was the special oppression of certain people, a particular oppression that required the most utmost thought in order to build solidarity.

Lenin’s view on national oppression could not be more timely as [email protected] take center stage in this period.

—Teresa Gutierrez,
Secretariat, WWP