By Daphne Barroeta
Buffalo, New York

This talk was given at a Workers World Party branch discussion in Buffalo, New York, on Feb. 13.

The “border crisis” is a human ethics crisis in the greater class war.

Over the past two weeks, a grouping of Christo-fascists who call themselves the “Army of God” and the “Take Our Border Back” convoy, has assembled a car caravan for the purpose of protesting the large influx of immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. While they claim they will eventually wield over 700,000 cars in their caravan, as of this writing the average estimate across multiple news sources yields a total of 300 cars.

Ultra-conservative political and media figures ranging from Sarah Palin to Alex Jones are participating in this racist convoy. What may not seem apparent is that politicians from both bourgeois parties are, in effect, supporting the underlying sentiment behind this fascist spectacle through the establishment and support of Congress’s newest “bipartisan border deal.”

This bill contains several components, including military and other financial assistance for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan; establishment of partial border shutdowns; a tightening of asylum rules to increase the burden of proof to establish “cause for asylum;” and allowing ICE and Border Patrol officers to make asylum determinations in detention center hearings without the presence of lawyers unless specifically requested and paid for by the plaintiff or aid organization. (PBS NewsHour, Feb.5).

While debate rages on in the Senate and House of Representatives, corporate media outlets from across the U.S. mainstream political spectrum are focusing on this “special news segment,” and the varying debates between Republicans and Democrats. U.S. government officials have, for decades, created a media spectacle out of so-called “crises at the border” and other “Latin American crises.”

Ruling class foments anti-immigrant racism

What hides behind extreme or alarming rhetoric wielded by the ruling class and their puppets is a political fire set by decades of U.S. imperialism and by the remnants of colonialism on these lands.

Here are some noteworthy examples: Under President Reagan, the U.S. funded and sent CIA operatives to distribute training manuals and arms to the “Contras” in Nicaragua to destabilize the revolutionary Sandinistas because of the U.S. fear of communism. President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” — a massive media spectacle — which the CIA was behind through their use of cocaine and other drug sales to add funds to their arms-dealing operations in Latin America.

From 1953 through 1954, President Eisenhower deported over 1.3 million Mexican and other Latiné people, including those with U.S. citizenship and those who were living on their ancestral lands in what is now the U.S. Southwest.

In each of these examples, consent of the public was manufactured by the use of “public safety” or “national sovereignty” rhetoric. The degree to which racism behind this language is overt or covert, depends on the public figure in question.

Every time a U.S. official creates a spectacle out of these actions, they are doing it to preserve the power of the U.S. settler-colonial project and its imperialist empire by turning groups of working-class and oppressed people against one another. The variety of argumentation in public mass media ranging from liberal to fascist is all beholden to the same structures of white supremacy and capitalism, but just dress it in different ways.

Granting asylum to Latiné people within the colonial borders of this country is not just a “nice thing to do.” Rather, it is a necessary part of reparations for over two centuries of damage done by the U.S. to the peoples of Latin America. To those living in the U.S., on reading the previous sentence, many are wondering, “How will we be able to do this if the U.S. doesn’t have enough money or resources to help the working-class folks already living here?”

‘Fund people’s needs, not imperialist wars’

Know that this contradiction is created by our class enemy — the bourgeoisie — which willingly gives away billions of dollars in military aid to the ruling classes of other capitalist states which in turn use it to oppress more members of our class.

This same class enemy is willing to spend millions of dollars on the prison-industrial complex and target Black and Brown, trans feminine and undocumented persons, instead of repairing the infrastructure like roads and city plumbing or investing in public education. This ruling class needs the support of working-class and oppressed people to keep its systems of power and domination alive for the foreseeable future.

It is time for these countries’ governments — especially those which are part of running the imperialist world order — to take responsibility for the climate crisis, wars, famines and other disasters they have directly or indirectly caused and make reparations and shelters for those they have harmed.

Liberation movements = powerhouses

In the mid-20th century in the U.S., the liberation movements of nationally oppressed peoples were powerhouses for our class. Groups like the Brown Berets and Black Panthers revealed to many in our class the class contradictions present and engaged them in a people’s movement that won many concessions from the ruling class, many of which we still hold (at least on paper) today. Both the FBI, working inward, and the CIA, working outward, managed to destabilize our movements and attempted to divide us against one another.

To this day, liberal ideologues and conservative media messaging aim to divide our class and convince many people that pushing within the state apparatus will bring about the liberation of a specific group of people. This is a lie.

At the border lies a crisis of human ethics. Children are ripped from their families. They often are “sponsored” entry into the U.S. by individuals who work for larger capitalists who are looking for a source of cheap “underground” labor in factories and construction sites.

The detention facilities migrants are forcibly placed in are, in effect, concentration camps. Razor wire and recycled circular saw blades lay bare in rivers and maim migrants who have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles in the desperate search for a new home and who mistakenly thought they found a semi-safe place to cross.

Fascist gun store owners in Texas and other states near the border profit off the “great replacement” theory and other racist conspiracies directed at Latiné immigrants and other peoples of color. This xenophobia is not isolated to the Americas. But the working-class peoples of South and Central America are expressing a deepening solidarity with others throughout the Global South.

Latin American solidarity with Palestine

In much of Latin America there is a protest slogan which, when translated, says: “From Mexico to Palestine, tear down the walls!” This is referring to the security apparatuses of both Israel and the U.S., as well as the imprisonment of refugees. While the exact figures are still being calculated by U.N. officials, current reports available on the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) website show that there were over 100 million refugees in 2022 and 2023.

The genocide in Palestine has undoubtably increased this number by a significant amount. The violence enacted, ultimately by settler colonialism and the global imperialist powers, exists as an ongoing force of destruction and displacement across continents.

All of this violence and these problems are part of the greater contradictions, and ultimately war, between the working class and the ruling class. The only salve to these problems is the one detailed by thinkers like Marx and Lenin: The working class and oppressed peoples of the world, as a global class, must overthrow every appendage of capital and usher in a new order that they run themselves.

In the meantime, we must take every opportunity to act in solidarity with working-class and oppressed peoples everywhere and organize to fight back.

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