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FIST calls for ‘Freedom Summer Arizona’ to fight racism & the right

Published Apr 28, 2010 6:30 PM

The following statement was issued by the youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST).

Despite all the assurances by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the recent passing of Senate Bill 1070 is a racist attack against the U.S. working class. SB 1070 — which uses local police forces to question people about their documentation, and criminalizes immigrant workers — smacks of South African apartheid and a host of other repressive laws from U.S. history and elsewhere.

This law comes in a particular political atmosphere: the rise of an ultraright grouping that has been given a national platform by pundits and the media, and has found an opening in the wake of the most profound economic crisis since the 1930s.

The Tea Party movement cannot be seen as divorced from the racist bill passed in Arizona any more than the attacks against immigrant workers can be seen outside the general political atmosphere precipitated by the economic crisis.

Those who would deny undocumented workers their dignity, by forcing this superexploited section of the working class underground, have no criticisms of the capitalist system. It is capitalism that has destroyed the livelihoods of workers around the world — from the austerity budgets forced upon Third-World countries by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; to neoliberal trade pacts, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, that push farmers off their land. Capitalism unleashes unnatural calamities upon poor workers and the oppressed, forcing them into the so-called developed world.

From Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe, workers are being forced to leave their homelands, risking their lives by crossing dangerous overland routes or choppy seas in small vessels to be able to care for their families.

Fight Imperialism, Stand Together believes that no human being is illegal; that there should be legalization for all undocumented workers; and that the racist apartheid law just passed in Arizona should be fought and that it can be defeated.

The fight has to be viewed as part of a larger fight against the ultraright, anti-woman, racist, anti-LGBT movement personified by the Tea Party and similar ilk. This includes Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has used the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program, which deputizes local police and sheriff’s officials as immigration authorities, to harass, attack, arrest and drive immigrant workers underground.

A national initiative is needed to beat back this new unjust law in Arizona. This could include something similar to Freedom Summer, which started in 1964 and sent hundreds of volunteers from the North to the South to defend the rights of Southern Black workers.

Already truck drivers have launched a boycott on deliveries to Arizona, and other activists and community members have planned other actions.

By passing the bill, Arizona has made itself the frontline of the fight against the ultraright and for immigrant rights. FIST calls on all forces — youth organizations, radicals, militants, anti-racists and community members — to mobilize for Arizona. Let’s fight and beat back the ultraright and their racist program!

Youth and students, who over the past six months have demonstrated their ability and willingness to struggle, are especially needed. Youth and student organizations should begin making plans to show solidarity with those on the frontlines, and build a coordinated movement that is prepared to take leadership from other students, youth and community activists on the ground in Arizona.

Let’s dedicate ourselves to a massive national campaign that designates this summer as “Freedom Summer Arizona.”

Email: [email protected]