Playing with human lives in a despicable political stunt, Greg Abbott, right-wing governor of Texas, has bused thousands of undocumented migrants north from the U.S. border with Mexico since the beginning of August.
The buses dump homeless, jobless, hungry people — far from their own countries, with few to no resources — into New York City, Chicago or Washington, D.C. That is, if they don’t get abandoned by their driver in the middle of rural Georgia, as almost happened to one busload.
White-supremacist Gov. Ron DeSantis jumped into this meanness on Sept. 15, flying two planeloads of migrants from his state of Florida into tiny Martha’s Vineyard island in Massachusetts.
Maybe social media discussion tempted some people to dismiss these actions as mere midterm election jockeying between far-right Republicans in the South and “liberal” Democrats in the North.
But this is a political “game” only if you forget that the people being “jockeyed” are people being moved around by the hand of the capitalist state — whether Democrats or Republicans hold office.
Instead, let’s ask: What is the ideological point these right-wingers are trying to make to their base through political bullying?
Attack on right to shelter
New York City has a “right to shelter” law guaranteeing a safe place to sleep to all homeless people, men, women, children, families — in place since the Coalition for the Homeless won the 1979 Callahan v. Carey lawsuit and fought to enlarge its coverage since then.
Massachusetts is the only U.S. right-to-shelter state for homeless families. Washington, D.C., and Chicago are “sanctuary cities” for undocumented migrants.
These places have those protections for the common good of people who live there. But to anti-communist DeSantis and Abbott, these protections are suspect — they reek of socialism.
Abbott has warned of the emerging battle between socialism and capitalism in the U.S., saying, “Texas is the leader of the national movement for capitalism.” (Houston Chronicle, Aug. 6, 2018)
DeSantis has established a “Victims of Communism Day” in the Florida public schools, requiring students receive “instruction” on the “poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence and suppression of speech” that supposedly occur under socialism.
DeSantis does not acknowledge that 56% of those killed by Florida cops in recent years were people of color — absolutely victims of “systemic lethal violence.” As for “suppression of speech” — he personally pushed through laws to make illegal any discussion of slavery, racism, gender identity and sexuality in the state’s public schools! (AfroCubaWeb.com)
These proto-fascists are targeting cities where “right to shelter” and to “sanctuary” have been won by a peoples’ struggle. These programs are only a glimmer of the security that socialism could offer working and oppressed people in our daily lives.
The governors and others are scheming to undermine the hope socialism offers — dramatizing that some current migrants are from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela. This is supposed to prove people are fleeing “repression” in anti-imperialist countries open — or already on the road — to socialism.
Conveniently omitted is the fact of U.S. actions that kill — economic blockades, sanctions and military interventions — against any country trying to assert independence from the brutal hand of capitalism. The deadly impact is great deprivation, starvation, internal upheaval in many countries — and subsequent migration for survival.
The U.S. is conducting a global class war against all working and oppressed people, including in this hemisphere. The grandstanding ploys of Abbott and DeSantis are coldhearted, hateful manifestations of those larger capitalist attacks against the possibility of socialism.
Yes, in the U.S. we are nowhere near socialism. The capitalist class has a chokehold on national and state governments. But the rising younger generation is busy unionizing across lines of nationality, sexuality, gender, abilities and language. They are expanding the possibilities for the future.
Our hope is in the consciousness emerging in workers and oppressed people, worldwide, who are caught in the grip of the forces of capitalist production and exploitation — the consciousness that will begin the struggle for socialism, starting now.