Monday, April 19, 2021
Monday, April 12, 2021
Sunday, April 11, 2021
April General Meeting
Join us on Thursday, April 15 at 8pm eastern/5pm pacific, for our monthly general meeting. REGISTER HERE.
This month we will be discussing the upcoming Building the Religious Left Conference and National DSA convention.
These meetings are an opportunity to hear about what you and your chapters are doing and to connect our work.
As a reminder, WG monthly membership meetings are on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 8pm eastern.
IRWG Steering Committee Vacancy
We are looking for some new faces to help head the DSA National Immigrant Rights Working Group as part of the Steering Committee and we want you to join! Please consider applying to be consider for the current vacancy on the Steering Committee and help DSA expand the fight for immigrant rights!
The Working Group endeavors to organize and fight for the full liberation of peoples impacted by mass displacement, forced migration, and oppression caused by global capitalism and imperialism. We will fight to abolish ICE, abolish borders, end detention, end travel bans, and stop deportations.
Women, immigrants, BIPOC encouraged to apply.
Deadline: Thursday, April 15.
Thursday, April 08, 2021
Defend Immigrants Rights
( for members of Democratic Socialists of America)
As you may know, the 2021 Convention is coming up this August. As we lead up to the Convention, the Immigrants' Rights Working Group Steering Committee unanimously adopted a Priority Resolution On the Defense of Immigrants and Refugees.
We need 100 signatures before April 15 in order for the resolution to reach the convention floor. A link to the resolution can also be found on the signature form here.
Immigrants in the United States are living under apartheid conditions. Under the U.S. constitution, persons living in the U.S. are promised basic human rights; however, under the current legal framework migrants in the U.S. are disenfranchised from basic legal protections. The migrant working class constitutes ast least 22 % of the working class. This working class population – residents of the U.S., should not be ignored by a socialist platform.
Political projects including the (draft) platform position to treat immigration as only or primarily a subcategory of Internationalism, do not include a substantive and realistic analysis the migrant working class in the nation fail to understand both race and class in the U.S. and thus fail to address our fundamental political tasks.
Of course there is an international component to the migration issues just as there is an international component of the ecological crisis, and the need to rebuild a labor movement and a socialist movement. The world is experiencing a major restructuring of the global economy directed by self-interested transnational corporations. The impoverishment of the vast majority of people in pursuit of profits for the minority has pushed millions to migrant in search of food, jobs, and security. Global capitalism produces global migration. NAFTA and other trade agreements produces a new wave of migration. The economic restructuring of Asia, Africa, and Latin America has pushed millions to migrate to the U.S. in search of a safety and a decent standard of living.
How you can assist ?
If you are a DSA member, please read the linked proposed resolution (above) on the Defense of Immigrants and Refugees as drafted by the Immigrants Rights Working Group. ( IMWG).
If you agree with the perspective, you are invited to endorse the resolution using the link provided. If we get 100 signatures, the resolution will go forward to the convention for consideration. Only DSA members may endorse this resolution.
Please complete your signing before April 13, 2021.
If you are not a DSA member, you may join at dsausa.org
Friday, April 02, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
The author and Cesar Chavez, 1972,
Cesar Chavez Day
Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the date, and one of the few holidays in the nation dedicated to a labor leader. Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31.
On March 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis honored Cesar Chavez and the UFW founders by dedicating the auditorium at the Department of Labor in Chavez’s name.
The Cesar Chavez celebrations focus on the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California. Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history. There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.
Each of the prior attempts to organize farm worker unions were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing and allied itself with the churches, students, and organized labor. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S.
Today, under the leadership of UFW president Teresa Romero only about 8,000 farm workers enjoy benefits on the job. Wages and benefit in farm labor have again been reduced to the pre union levels. Unionized workers are incorporated into California's educational, health and civic communities. The UFW has shown unions that immigrants can and must be organized. Today the UFW is working to pass a new immigration law that would assist farm workers.
Chavez and the UFW are best known helping to create instrumental role in passing the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975 under then Governor Gerry Brown which gives workers collective bargaining rights. The law was made necessary by the assault on the UFW of the Teamsters Union. While workers are often able to win elections under the ALRB, they seldom can win a contract. Growers stall and delay until the workers leave the area.
César Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others deliberately created a multiracial organization, Mexican, Mexican American, Filipino, African-American, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Arab workers, among others, have been part of the UFW. This cross racial organizing was necessary in order to combat the prior divisions and exploitations of workers based upon race and language. Dividing the workers on racial and language lines always left the corporations the winners.
In the 60's Chávez became the pre-eminent civil rights leader for the Mexican and Chicano workers, helping with local union struggles throughout the nation. He worked tirelessly to make people aware of the struggles of farm workers for better pay and safer working conditions. It is a testament to Cesar Chavez's skills and courage that the UFW even survived. They were opposed by major interests in corporate agriculture including the Bruce Church and Gallo Corporations as well as the leadership of the Republican Party then led by Ronald Reagan. Workers were fired, beaten, threatened and even killed in pursuit of union benefits . Non union farm workers today continue to live on sub-poverty wages while producing the abundant crops in the richest valley, in the richest state in the richest nation in the world.
In response to corporate power, Cesar developed new strategies, such as the boycott, based upon his personal commitment to non-violence in the tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. César Chavez died in his sleep on April 23, 1993 near Yuma, Arizona.
Today Mexican, Mexican American and Puerto Rican union leadership is common in our major cities and in several industries and Latino union leaders increasingly play an important role in local, state, and national elections. For myself and others, the UFW was a school for organizing. Hundreds of activists in labor and community organizations owe their skills to UFW training and experience. Along with improved working conditions, salaries, and benefits for the unionized workers, training this cadre of organizers remains a major legacy of the UFW.
César taught us that all organizations have problems, that all organizations are imperfect. In the last decade several books have been written criticizing the Chavez legacy.
In the midst of several life and death struggles over power against corporate agriculture and the political power of the state, the UFW executive committee did not develop democratic union structures . Marshall Ganz’s book, Why David Sometimes Wins: leadership, organization and strategy in the California Farmworker Movement (2009) describes these issues well.
Frank Bardake, in Trampling Out the Vintage (2011) spends a great deal of time on the purges of UFW activists, organizers, and volunteers in 1977 -1981 period. (See the review here on Talking Union). While the purges are at times presented as anticommunist decisions by Chavez, many of the dismissals were for lack of loyalty to Chavez and his decisions as the final arbiter of all issues in the union. Some of the “purges” were based upon left politics, and some of the dismissals were based upon other differences, including differing views of the best direction for the union. There were dismissals and staff leavings for a variety of reasons. Some of the most significant dismissals were not about left nor right, but were about issues of both policy differences and personal loyalties.
Building popular organizations while messy builds people's power and democracy. In creating the UFW Chavez organized thousands into a union and inspired millions. Today children in schools study his life- although such study is prohibited in Arizona and severely limited in Texas as “revolutionary”, or anti American. Many curriculum packages for schools stress his emphasis on service to others. The service side of Cesar’s work was certainly inspiring.
The organizing side of the UFW legacy changed the Southwest and organized labor. In a 1988 campaign and fast Cesar focused attention on the many dangerous problems of pesticides used in the fields. Artists have captured his image in hundreds of ways. Schools, parks, and highways have been named for him. Establishing Cesar Chavez holiday in California and other states has increased knowledge of his contributions.
The movement led by Cesar created a union and reduced the oppression of farm workers. Many people, descendents of earlier generations of farm workers, learned to take a stand for justice. We learned to not accept poor jobs, poor pay, unsafe working conditions as natural or inevitable. Rather, these are social creations which can be changed through organizing for economic and political power. Dolores Huerta continues her important education and organizing work throughout the nation.
Now, thousands of new immigrants harvest the crops and only a small percent are in unions. The new generations of immigrants and migrant labor hardly know Chavez’ name nor his contributions. Yet, in other regions immigrants are being organized into unions such as Justice for Janitors, by activists who learned their organizing skills working with the UFW. And, Latino political leaders often made their first commitments on a UFW picket line.
The generation that created the UFW is passing. A new generation of political activists, mostly within the Democratic Party, have emerged since the Chavez generations. In the 2006 massive immigrant rights movements, several new organizing practices emerged. The organizing of these demonstrations was significantly assisted by persons trained within the UFW. A new, significant Latino union and political base has been created.
Chavez' legacy to popular struggles, to Chicano/Mexicano self determination and to unions for the immigrant workers is significant. The union taught us how to organize for power and for justice. He is present in all of our work. I plan to march on March 31,2012 in memory of Cesar Chavez' contributions to building a more democratic society for working people. You can find our more about this remarkable leader at www.ufw.org And, http://www.chavezfoundation.org/
Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing. They allied the union with churches, students, and organized labor. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S.
The Current Situation – Strategic Racism
The movement led by Cesar Chavez , Dolores Huerta and others created a union and reduced the oppression of farm workers for a time. Workers learned to not accept poor jobs, poor pay, unsafe working conditions as natural or inevitable. Then the corporations and the Right Wing forces adapted their strategies of oppression.
The assault on the UFW and the current reconquest of power in the fields are examples of strategic racism, that is a system of racial oppression created and enforced because it benefits the over class- in this case corporate agriculture and farm owners. The current renewed oppression is a product of strategic racism including a complex structure of institutions and individuals from police and sheriffs, to immigration authorities and anti immigrant activists, and elected officials and their support networks. These groups foster and promote inter racial conflict, job competition, and anti union organizing, as strategies to keep wages and benefits low and to promote their continuing white supremacy in rural areas.
Duane Campbell is an Emeritus Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Calif. State University-Sacramento and the author of Choosing Democracy; a practical guide to multicultural education. 4th. edition. (Allyn and Bacon,2010)
He is a co chair of the Immigrants Rights Working Group of DSA.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Una niña migrante de 9 años murió tras ser hallada inconsciente por agentes fronterizos estadounidenses en el río Grande, que divide Estados Unidos de México, según se informó este jueves.Los agentes administraron los primeros auxilios y trasladaron a los migrantes a territorio estadounidense, donde la mujer y el más pequeño de los niños recuperaron la consciencia
Asylum-Seekers Expelled by Biden Administration Say They Feel Deceived
Central American families arrived in Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez disoriented and disconsolate; many didn’t realize they were being expelled from the U.S.
March 24 2021, 5:55 p.m.
“Bienvenidos a Miami,” the woman in the black jacket mouthed bitterly. Welcome to Miami. An official said this mockingly to her and her fellow passengers, she recalled — all Central American parents with young children — as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plane descended. They had departed from Brownsville, Texas, but they knew they weren’t in Miami, she said. Instead of a coastal city, they saw mountainous terrain.
Three hours later, huddled on a dirty, noisy street by a bridge, most still seemed disoriented. Some thought they were in the United States.
“What’s it called here?” a skinny man with a 4-year-old asked me.
“Ciudad Juárez,” I said. “The state of Chihuahua.” Mexico.
Around us, toddlers wailed, older children stared, and mothers quietly wept. The skinny man summed things up: They’d each been “engañado” by the U.S. government. “Deceived,” he said. His verb choice might have seemed strong, but it wasn’t just migrants who were misled. So were Americans just north of the border.
In February, just after Joe Biden took office, Border Patrol agents on the southwest border encountered about 19,000 people traveling in families with children. Of those, 41 percent were immediately returned to Mexico, including to dangerous border cities. They were returned under Title 42, a health law activated in March 2020 by the Trump administration, nominally to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The unprecedented application of Title 42 against asylum-seekers was seen by many public health experts and human rights organizations as having nothing to do with public health and everything to do with anti-Latinx racism. Immigrant rights proponents hoped that Biden would immediately retire the policy. He didn’t.
Still, most people traveling in families were initially let in. They were held for a few days by Border Patrol and then often taken to church-affiliated shelters where they could call family members already in the U.S. From there, they went to bus stations and airports, especially in far South Texas cities like McAllen and Brownsville. They got tickets and started their trips into America.
Not surprisingly, word spread in Central America — which has been wracked by hurricanes, in addition to coping with poverty and violence — that parents with children could turn themselves in to officials at the U.S. border and have a decent chance of acceptance into the asylum process. More families started coming.
In March, the Biden administration started to backpedal. Border Patrol stations were too crowded with families, the government said. Shelters in South Texas were overwhelmed. On March 8, an overflow plan was announced: Beginning that day, families seeking asylum would be flown west to El Paso, where they would be taken in by Annunciation House, a venerable Catholic organization with multiple shelters that has long offered respite to refugees. The group issued a call for El Pasoans to volunteer at “A-House,” as the shelter network is affectionately known. The city felt proud that it could do its humanitarian bit for the people doing what they have a right to do under international law: seek asylum.
Meanwhile, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, repeatedly announced to would-be migrants that they should stay away. “The border is closed,” he said.ead
I got vaccinated and by late February was primed for a more normal life. For me, “normal” means once again visiting El Paso’s sister city in Mexico, Ciudad Juárez. On March 15, I walked south across the international bridge to take a stroll downtown. I went to haunts I hadn’t visited since before the pandemic: the sing-song outdoor fruit market, the cheese vendor who slices tasting samples, the plaza where two old men in zoot suits dance to a boom box blaring Pérez Prado. It was a glorious day until I walked back over the bridge. There I saw two Border Patrol agents herding dozens of young adults stumbling disconsolately toward Mexico, toddlers clunking from their chests.
Over the next few days, journalists started reporting that some families flying from Brownsville to El Paso were subsequently being expelled. But, they said, Annunciation House had also received families from the airplanes. On March 16, I went to a remote part of the airport and peered through holes in a burlap-covered fence to watch a plane land. A Reuters photographer was there, and we saw mothers and tiny children disembark before the cops shooed us away. The photographer then went to Juárez. Two hours later, he saw the same families.
Migrants arrive in El Paso, Texas, on a chartered flight from Brownsville on March 17, 2021.
Photo: Paul Ratje/Reuters
Local and national press visited Juárez, but the media continued to report that a fraction of families — no one said how many — were still being processed into the United States.
On Sunday, I learned a plane was coming in from Brownsville at noon, so two hours later, I again walked south on the bridge. That’s when I saw the weeping people who’d been told they were landing in Miami.
A group of Mexican government workers usually comes to offer the families help. They provide information about shelters, though Mexican officials have told the press that capacity has been overwhelmed and a gymnasium is being refurbished to make more space.
The woman in the black jacket, as well as others who’d been on the plane, told me they feared Mexican shelters because they might be funnels for deportation back to Central America. The streets are dangerous, the government officials warned. She said she had no idea how to get off of the street. I asked them how many families were still being processed in El Paso. They said they had no idea.
“No one,” said some of the expelled people. We didn’t see anyone chosen to stay in El Paso. We all got sent over the bridge.
Back in El Paso, I asked around. I heard from an activist that when the flights first started coming from Brownsville, some passengers were immediately removed to Juárez, while some were released to Annunciation House. But lately, I was told, every single family was immediately being expelled.
I asked the Border Patrol to confirm this, and El Paso Sector Chief Gloria Chavez responded by email. “Our priority is to process them and expel them into Mexico under Title 42,” she wrote of the families being sent to El Paso from the South Texas Rio Grande Valley region. While the agency had been working with local officials and NGOs to house families in El Paso, she explained, as of a little over a week ago, “the government of Mexico has been able to receive all family units from RGV under Title 42. Therefore, limiting the amount of individuals released to Annunciation House.”
El Paso’s respite facilities have their beds, yet asylum-seekers are being sent back to Mexico. Across the bridge, meanwhile, the good people of El Paso — the local officials and volunteers ready to welcome the families — can do nothing to help.