Obama’s recent order, Deferred Action, to delay some deportations of undocumented immigrants (see back page) constitutes a classic capitalist Big Lie. (The Big Lie refers to Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic and anti-communist propaganda technique based on the idea that “the great masses will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”)
This is an attack on workers masquerading as a benefit. It comes from the president who has deported more than 1.4 million workers, more than any administration in U.S. history. According to the bosses’ top liberal mouthpiece, the New York Times (6/17/12), Obama is bringing “joy and relief” to undocumented Latino workers by delaying deportations for a small minority.
In reality, however, the edict has several anti-working class aims. These include re-electing war-maker Obama, sustaining racist, low-wage exploitation, and fostering “government-as-savior” patriotism, particularly encouraging military service among Latino youth.
The fact that the new policy targets only 800,000 of the 12 million workers that the bosses label “illegal” exposes Obama’s resolve to keep squeezing super-profits from the masses of undocumented workers. Farm work, the main destination of those without papers, pays workers at less than half the rate of other industries. Obama’s “kindness” relegates these mainly Latino workers to rock-bottom pay and wretched living conditions under the unrelieved threat of deportation.
The Times shamelessly praises Obama’s opportunist immigration ploy to lure Latino workers to the polls as “a play for a key voting bloc in the states that will decide whether he gets another term” (6/16/12). The Times speaks for the dominant, imperialist faction of the U.S. ruling class’s finance capitalists who yearn for four more years of Obama as invader/assassin-in-chief. He has been proven to be willing and ready to spill workers’ blood to confront challenges to U.S. imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Russia and China.
Obama, Most Militarily Aggressive U.S. President
On April 29, the Times gave space to Peter Bergen, director of the finance-capital-backed New America Foundation, which supplies many foreign policy advisors to Obama’s reelection campaign. Bergen hailed Obama as “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.” Republican Mitt Romney, on the other hand, poses potential problems for a ruling class that requires ever-wider wars. His proposed platform of “military build-up amid tax cuts” may prove unworkable.
Obama’s immigration move stands to aid U.S. imperialism’s long-range plans by encouraging enlistment. On June 16, the Times editorialized that Obama has effectively revived the Dream Act, “a bill in Congress to give legal status to young immigrants who go to college or serve in the military....It is well past time to make a more sensible and humane immigration policy the law of the land.” Obama’s new order applies only to under-31-year-olds, and only to those “qualified” at that. It is a backdoor hunt for cannon fodder.
Further, as the Times editorialized (9/20/2010) about Latino youth, “The Defense Department, at least, understands their value.” Laws moving these young people into the military “is one of its official goals for helping to maintain ‘a mission-ready, all-volunteer force.’”
Meanwhile, the rulers’ racist practices, like New York’s stop-and-frisk policy and state anti-immigrant laws that encourage racial profiling, produce arrest records that would disqualify — and deport — the very same Latino youth whose Obama’s edict would supposedly free.
Most dangerous of all is Obama’s attempt to obscure the reality of class antagonism. As worldwide imperialist rivalry intensifies, U.S. rulers need greater all-class unity in support of overseas wars and a domestic police state, both of which run directly against workers’ interests. So Obama & Co. trot out the myth that government can serve and protect our class.
Obama Using Latino Workers As An Election Ploy
The Times hopes that Obama’s latest trick will lead millions of Latino workers to look to him as a compassionate savior: “It sent a clear signal to fast-growing Hispanic populations in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and other states that he understood their frustration at his lack of progress so far in addressing problems with the immigration system and reducing the number of deportations” (6/16/12). Obama seeks their votes in these key battleground states to put him over the top in November’s election.
Gary Hart, a leading pro-Obama strategist for U.S. imperialists, co-authored the revealing Hart-Rudman reports commissioned by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Those reports foresaw the 9/11 attacks in stating that an attack on the U.S. homeland would transform popular post-Vietnam anti-war opposition into support for the rulers’ new imperialist adventures. But the ruling class overestimated 9/11’s potential to “galvanize the nation” into patriotic fervor for drawn-out wars that would create a consolidated, fascist state apparatus.
Hart-Rudman led to the the creation of Homeland Security which spread fear and anti-Muslim racism. It also helped acceptance of the Big Lie of weapons of mass destruction and of the invasion of Iraq.
At the time, Hart underestimated workers’ growing disillusionment with capitalist political leaders and wars as the workers became more and more improverished. He hopes Obama can reverse the trend. On the eve of Obama’s immigration announcement, Hart wrote:
For more than four decades most Americans identified the Democratic Party with a social contract and safety net, equality of justice and opportunity, and progressive — yes, even liberal — causes....But beginning dramatically in the 1970s things changed. Things being: globalization and foreign competition; the decline of the manufacturing base; petroleum-producing nations controlling the price of oil; and the unsustainable costs of cold war military engagements and deployments....The Democratic response…cost the party its identity.... A well-motivated Democratic president now struggles to move the nation forward against a conservative tide that emerged in the policy vacuum created by Democratic failure to adapt (NYT, 6/15/12).
President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal won him working-class support for World War II. Civil rights laws helped Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson win support for genocidal war in Vietnam, though the war eventually turned workers against U.S. rulers. As November approaches and the capitalists’ profit scramble sharpens into regional (Syria and Iran) and global (Russia and China) wars, watch out for more double-edged “blessings” from Obama.
Don’t Fall for U.S. Rulers’ Big Lies
We must win workers to learn from this history of ruling-class ploys and help them to resist being sucked into imperialist wars that kill our working-class sisters and brothers worldwide. We must lead them to support these workers’ struggles against global capitalist exploitation.
Progressive Labor Party has long championed immigrant workers’ battles against racist super-exploitation, from window manufacturing workers in Chicago to garment workers and aerospace parts workers in Los Angeles to farm workers in California’s San Joaquin Valley. We must step up such class struggle and unite immigrant workers with black, Asian, white and all Latino workers in all the mass organizations in which we participate.
Multi-racial unity is essential to organizing a communist revolution that will destroy the bosses and their profit system which sucks the blood of our class. Then we can create a society run by and for the working class, producers of all value, which will be shared according to need. That is PLP’s goal. Join us.