Immigration Court: Naked Fascism
Outrage and impotence — that’s what my friends and I felt when we went to an immigration court to the hearing of Shyanne, a restaurant worker detained by the police after she withheld the cell phone of a client who refused to pay his bill, and gave the phone to her supervisor. The boss called the police, which arrested the undocumented worker, without allowing her to explain the situation or defend herself. She was taken to jail and after a hearing at a criminal court, Shyanne was sent to an immigration detention center. This situation demonstrates yet again the racist and sexist nature of capitalism in this chain of the cops, courts, and immigration.
When I saw Shyanne at the hearing before the immigration judge, I felt the deepest hatred and anger; this oppressive and racist system criminalizes a humble worker, mother of three children, whose only “crime” was to cross the border looking for work to support her children and her family. She was brought in wearing an orange uniform, handcuffed and chained as a dangerous criminal, and the only thing she could do was to cry because she wasn’t allowed to say or do anything.
Later, she was allowed to talk to her lawyer, whose only contribution to the case has been to pocket the $4,000 her family managed to put together with great difficulty. The lawyer took the money knowing full well that Shyanne couldn’t be bailed out due to her previous deportation order.
There are also community organizations whose “leaders,” because of fear of losing the money they pocket, refuse to help, arguing that member didn’t participate in their activities. Shyanne was in fact a member and was studying English in the mornings. Thanks to her teacher’s solidarity and that of a few militant members, she received support and her case will be handled by the community organization’s lawyer.
During the visiting hour, we talked to her through a glass partition. We were inside a small enclosure while she was on the other side, as we tried to somehow give her hope. But seeing her crying because of her inability to see her children, jailed like the worst criminal, we couldn’t help ourselves and cried with her. The racist nature of this rotten capitalist system only knows how to inflict suffering on workers, who because of the color of their skin or place of origin are criminalized.
The slogan, “Workers’ struggles have no borders” and “We are not immigrants, we are workers” will become a reality when the international working class unites to fight against this system through a communist revolution. Workers like this sister won’t be treated like criminals because they don’t have a piece of paper legitimizing their existence.
That’s why, brother and sister workers, we must unite to fight to destroy capitalism, not with reforms but with fighting for communism.
Church Group Unites with Workers in Haiti
About two years ago I joined a church’s peace and justice group whose goal is to fight racism and poverty. The group has been involved in several community events like the Race Against Hate (5K/10K run or walk) and the YWCA’s Racism Hurts Everyone events.
In the Fall, a group from a nearby church came to talk to us about racism and poverty in Haiti. A couple of Haitian organizers were at the meeting and it was decided that the church would organize a lunch after the service and donate proceeds to a Haitian cholera relief fund being organized by a local Haitian group. Over 80 people ate a lunch of pumpkin soup, corn bread, rice and beans. People from the church were generous, many times donating and not eating lunch. A spirit of cooperation and generosity was everywhere.
A Haitian Task Force was formed and the first meeting’s opening words were: “Haiti was founded by a revolution in 1804 and became the first black republic. It was the first country to break the chains of slavery, the first to force Emperor Napoleon to retreat, and the only one to aid Simon Bolivar in his struggle to liberate the indigenous people and slaves of Latin America from the colonial oppressor. Tragically, the history of liberty and self-determination has drawn two centuries of political and economic ire from powerful countries resulting in the impoverishment of the people of Haiti.”
We discussed Hurricane Sandy, the cholera epidemic and the role of the UN and MINUSTAH; Haiti’s history and the role Haiti has been assigned in the world by U.S. imperialism. We advocated the need to bring awareness about its racism and inequalities and that we must stand with the working class of Haiti, a working class whose spirit will never be broken. We called for working in solidarity (not charity) towards a future that the working class in Haiti and workers worldwide deserve.
As Party members, this is an opportunity to build ties with those who are angry and upset about the poverty suffered by our class brothers and sisters. With these ties, we must advance the conversation to whether the ills of Haiti can be solved by capitalist reform, a discussion which can lead to the alternative, an egalitarian society based on the needs of the working class.
We must raise revolutionary communism and the Progressive Labor Party as the alternative that will liberate the people in Haiti, a revolution led by workers from Haiti, Bangladesh, Pakistan, El Salvador, Los Angeles, Chicago and so on. This is our future, the red star that burns bright for the workers of Haiti.
The Rosenbergs: Working-Class Heroes
Sixty years ago, on June 19, 1953, the U.S. government murdered Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. The Rosenbergs, who were members of the Communist Party, were accused of passing “atomic bomb information” to the then-socialist Soviet Union. The “Rosenberg Case” was an important part of building anti-communism in the U.S. after World War II.
During the war, U.S. bosses had been forced to give some support to the Soviet Union, which did the lion’s share of the struggle to defeat Hitler. Now it was time for the bosses to turn the working class against them again, and try to make U.S. workers support the Cold War. They created the Rosenberg case as a dramatic event to help persuade the majority of people that the Soviet Union was an enemy. The accusations were meant as one way to “galvanize the nation” by whipping up a frenzy of anti-Soviet feeling. It came during the same era in which the bosses passed laws and whipped up hysteria to drive communists out of union leadership and out of schools.
The idea behind the charges was that the Soviets were “too stupid” to develop nuclear weapons by themselves; they had to “steal” the know-how from the U.S. through connections with wartime research. Well, it’s obvious that even if some “secrets” were passed, the Soviet Union wasn’t “too stupid” for technology: four years after the Rosenbergs were executed, the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite into space, and in 1961, sent Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin on the first manned orbit of the earth in a space capsule.
It is extremely unlikely that the Rosenbergs stole anything of scientific value regarding how to build a nuclear weapon, which is very complex, nothing like following directions in a school science experiment! But if the Rosenbergs were able to do something to assist the Soviet Union, they would have done it based on their loyalty to the working class. As communists, they were well aware of the vicious, anti-working-class nature of the U.S. government — which had recently dropped TWO atomic bombs on Japan — killing 250,000 civilians — as a clear warning to the Soviet Union that it could be next.
The government hoped the Rosenbergs would plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. That would have given the bosses a bigger propaganda blast if they had admitted guilt. But the Rosenbergs refused to say that they were guilty of anything! The case helped the bosses scare many people away from revolutionary activity, but it also angered many others, and helped turn them into lifelong fighters for a communist revolution. For their courageous stand against the entire U.S. ruling class, the Rosenbergs deserve our admiration, just as we commemorate the original May Day martyrs in Chicago.
A Comrade Who Remembers
Unintentional Sexism and Racism
In the June 5 issue of CHALLENGE, letters sent in by Red Rabbi and Red Preacher, while correctly pointing out that white workers are not the cause of racism, unintentionally and carelessly contained both sexist and racist aspects that we must avoid.
In the second paragraph, where the letter listed four fake leftists, it named three of them — Dohrn, Ayers, and Mahdibuti. But then described the fourth merely as “his (Mahdibuti’s) wife” rather than giving her name. It is sexist to describe a woman in terms of whom she is married to and unwittingly (in this case) reduces her to second-class “citizenship.” It would have been no better to give her name and then describe him as “her husband.” However, that’s a mistake many would fall into, given the sexist nature of U.S. capitalist culture. Such ideas divide the working class every bit as much as the false ideas that white workers are responsible for racism. Therefore, such ideas must be defeated in order to unite the entire working class of the world under one party for worldwide revolution.
In the third paragraph a reference to Obama described him as “an African-American [who is] ‘emperor’ of the U.S. Empire.” Any time a person who has one white parent and one black parent is described as “African-American” rather than as half white and half black, it reflects the one-drop attitude of U.S. southern slavery, in which if any ancestor was African (referred to inaccurately as having one drop of “black blood”) the person was regarded as all black and therefore eligible to be enslaved.
These secondary defects were not the main focus of the otherwise excellent letter, which was that racism is a necessary product of capitalism, without which capitalism could not exist. Nevertheless we must be aware at all times that we can repeat poisonous capitalist ideas without meaning to do so. (I won’t comment here on the contradiction between “Red” and the religious clerical designations in the signatures of the letter writers, as that topic has been well handled at much greater length in articles in the PLP magazine, THE COMMUNIST.)