Down with the racist laws of US imperialism

July 11, 2006

Down with the racist laws of US imperialism

Declaration by the Fracción Trotskista - Cuarta Internacional

For the unity of the working class, all support to immigrants in the
Imperialism, get out of Latin America!

The mobilizations of more than a million people in the US, centered
in Los Angeles (California) put the problem of illegal immigration on
the agenda. These mobilizations, until now completely controlled
events, have managed to encourage massive participation by young
people, especially Latino high school students, who, in spite of
threats by the authorities, are marching against the reactionary bill
HR 4437.

This broad mobilization of Latinos, as well as people of Asian
ancestry, struck in the main cities as the expression of a growing
movement against reactionary immigration policies, and more
generally, against the oppression suffered not only by the Latino
community, but by African American, Asian and Arab communities in the
US (Arabs in the US having been specially hard-hit since 2001).

In spite of the enormous presence of immigrant workers, the marches
were led by religious leaders (mainly from the Catholic Church),
businessmen and politicians, mainly Democrats. The Democratic Party,
which lost support in the Latino community in the last elections
because it did not present an alternative to the Republicans with
regard to immigration (or anything else), has put itself at the head
of this movement, clearly intending to contain the enormous
phenomenon that has arisen. We must not forget that one of the most
prominent figures in the march in Los Angeles was the mayor of that
city, Antonio Villarraigosa (a Democrat headed toward bigger things).
These leaders are trying and will continue to try to eradicate any
potential to mobilize and especially any impact the immigrants’
movement might have among US workers and millions of poor whites,
blacks and "legal" immigrants who live in the US. Their objective, to
divert this mobilization, is no secret: to bring the millions who are
against militarizing US borders and and against criminalizing
undocumented workers, to lead all those people to back the McCain-
Kennedy bill, legislation supported by Bush himself and by the bosses.

For years, the bosses have been using immigrants as cheap labor,
hiring workers without any democratic or trade-union rights, at the
lowest possible salaries. More than 12,000,000 undocumented workers
live in the US, subjected to capitalist exploitation and forced to
exist in the shadow of illegality. It is this boss-class that loudly
supports the Senate’s "alternative" (McCain-Kennedy) bill, the same
bill the Democrats are cynically promoting inside the immigrants’
movement, with the help of union leaders and personalities within the
Latino community.

The debate over immigration, which began with the partial passage of
the ultra-reactionary bill HR 4437, which turns immigrant workers
into criminals and militarizes the border with Mexico, has ignited
the mobilization. With the "agreement" among Republicans and
Democrats in the Senate, businessmen and even Bush himself, they are
trying to use the mobilization to win approval of a law whose sole
objective is legalizing the hiring of cheap labor and maintaining the
central pillars of present imperialist policy toward the immigrants.

The cynicism of Bush, the Democrats and the businessmen knows no
bounds: today they are are full of talk about the rights of those who
are fleeing their countries of origin precisely as a result of the
planned hunger and misery that US imperialism itself is imposing on
the region, plans that the servile regimes of Latin America comply

In Latin America itself, the repressive policies of the imperialist
state find an echo in the servile governments that, directly or
indirectly, are imperialism’s accomplices, by preventing the passage
of immigrants, like the Mexican government, which is putting its hope
in Bush’s law (and thereby generating expectations); Mexican
authorities also curb the entry of Central Americans through Mexico’s
southern border, deporting them (as well as subjecting them to
oppression equalled only by that used by the US Border Patrol).
Meanwhile, other servile regimes never cease praising their US
master, by permitting the stationing of troops (like Colombia,
Ecuador or Paraguay). But the most widespread servility is, without a
doubt, the application of economic plans which subject millions on
our continent to povery, while surrendering our natural resources,
and they enrich themselves by making deals through exploiting
the "advantage" of cheap labor. In this sense, the new free trade
treaties, like CAFTA (in Cetral American) or NAFTA, promoted by
imperialism and the servile governments, only strengthen this

None of the proposed laws guarantees legalization nor offers
immigrant workers the most elemental rights in the country ruled by
the dreadful Patriot Act, which limits the democratic rights of the
entire population, especially workers and millions of immigrants
(even the "legal" ones).

Immigrants (together with black workers and working women) represent
a super-exploited sector of the US working-class movement, and their
arrival on the stage can play a very progressive role in the present
situation the entire US proletariat is going through. The organized
sectors of the US working class, which today do not respond to
attacks by the bosses, will find a strong ally in the independent
mobilization of undocumented immigrants, in the struggle against the
same bosses and government that attack the conquests of the class
with rhetoric about a "competitive labor market." Today more than
ever, militant organizations of workers and the left need to rely on
that mobilization and unshakable class unity against the racist and
xenophobic attack that will seek a base in the white working class
that sees its working conditions worsen every day, while the big
bosses enrich themselves with tax advantages and the "opportunities"
offered them by the Republican government and its Democratic

Against this offensive, which targets the immigrants, our sisters and
brothers, we say:

Down with imperialism’s racist laws: imperialist laws are no
alternative for the workers. The recent "agreement," which could not
even get Senate approval as a bill (since it was held back by the
most conservative sectors), is a new deception of millions of
undocumented workers. It will only cause new divisions among
immigrants (by dividing them into categories of illegals) and will
increase persecution of all those who are outside the law.

Complete legalization of all immigrants who live and work in the US.
Equal rights and equal pay for all working men and women. Unity of
the working class to confront the bosses’ attacks: the same
government that criminalizes and persecutes immigrants is the one
that imposes anti-worker laws, attacks wages, medical insurance and
retirement for all workers.

No to the policies of persecution and militarization of the border.
All workers should oppose oppressive measures that affect immigrants
today. Anti-immigrant propaganda and discrimination, that
historically have been a tool of the bosses, must be confronted.
Every persecuted and deported immigrant worker will weaken the
struggle of the working class. Every step taken against
discriminatory laws and practices will strengthen the entire
proletariat. On the way to uniting the entire working class, it is
necssary to end racism and discrimination that exist in the very
ranks of the workers. For decades racist speech has been deeply
rooted, imposing ethnic divisions, gender divisions, cultural and
economic divisions. The US working class will be able to confront
attacks from the bosses if it demolishes these divisions and
confronts its own government.

Unity with the workers of the whole continent. Immigrants who arrive
in the US, are fleeing from their countries of origin because of
planned hunger and misery imposed by US imperialism, and even
political and military interventions. The struggle against
imperialist plans strengthens the immigrants’ struggle, and a victory
by immigrants would be a harsh blow against those who impose the
imperialist plunder of our continent.

From this perspective, we condemn the conciliatory policy of the main
trade union federation, the AFL-CIO, which for years has permitted
the hiring of workers without any rights and has encouraged
chauvinism within the working class. Today the leadership of the
large unions follows businessmen and the bosses’ politicians and
supports a law that legalizes cheap labor and, far from being an
alternative, will increase abuses of immigrants by the bosses, and
thus they will attack the whole working class. At the same time, the
union bureaucracy surrenders conquests by the workers, in spite of
new signs of the will to struggle, like the transit strike in New
York or the Boeing strike in 2005.

Today more than ever, faced by a new trap of the bosses’ politicians,
who will try to use the debate on immigration in their political
campaigns and to make demagogic attacks on the vast Latino community
and at the same time will continue to sow divisions within the
organized working class, especially among impoverished black and
white workers who see immigrants as competitors in the labor market,
we must promote the broadest mobilization of the working class in
defense of undocumented workers and for the rights of all workers.
The unions which bring together large numbers of immigrants (like the
SEIU and UNITE-HERE, which claim to oppose the creation of second-
class workers with temporary visas) should promote the mobilization
in a determined manner and withdraw their support for Democrats and

US imperialism is trying to impose its interests on the whole world,
using all means at its disposal, just as it does on our continent.
Thus, for three years, it has maintained the military occupation of
Iraq, against millions that have mobilized around the world in
opposition to the war, and even against thousands that mobilized in
the US itself. Workers and students in the US, where broad sectors
are demanding the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, must mobilize and
actively support all efforts by the masses of that region to put an
end to the occupation and to achieve the immediate departure of
imperialist troops; they must support the peoples of Iraq and the
entire Middle East, who confront the political, military and
diplomatic offensive of US imperialism.

We, the workers of all of Latin America, must support and rely on the
broadest independent mobilization of immigrants, in unity with the
whole US working class, with the perspective of strengthening our
strategic ally in the struggle against imperialist oppression and

Oppression and exploitation divide us on both sides of the border.
Only a revolutionary perspective will be able to unite the workers
and people of the entire continent.