Sunday, July 24, 2005


Frente a luces ajenas
Oye otras voces calladas, distantes:
Este puente te lleva al olvido,
Te cambia de nombre.

Ya nada será tuyo
Escucha el sonido del tren que se aleja,
El viento que roza la tarde.
Ya nada será tuyo
Y cuando vuelvas
Traerás en las uñas, en el tacto, en tu aliento,
La sensación de haber visitado
El envés de tus sueños.
Ya nada será tuyo
Como lo fueron una vez los juegos de niño.
Aquellos jardines del pueblo,
El mismo recuerdo.

Facing foreign lights
He hears whispered voices, distantly:
This bridge takes you to oblivion,
It changes your name.

Nothing will be yours now,
Listen to the departing train,
The wind rubbing against the evening.
Nothing will be yours now
And when you return
You'll bring under your fingernails, your touch, your breath,
The feeling of having visited
The underside of your dreams.
Nothing will be yours now
As were the games of childhood,
Those village gardens,
The same memory.

[This moving poem by Enrique Cortázar originally appeared in Espejos y Ventanas/Mirrors and Windows (eds. Mark Lyons and August Tarrier), a new collection of oral histories of Mexican farmworkers published last year by New City Community Press, whose work is "grounded in the belief that writing is an implicit organizing tool that can produce social change." It is reprodued here with the author's and publisher's kind permissions. -- Ed.]

Enrique Cortázar obtuvo su maestría en educación y literatura en la Universidad de Harvard donde fue estudiante de Octavio Paz. Algunas de sus publicaciones incluyen La Vida Escrita con Mala Gramática/Life Written with Bad Grammar (Ediciones de Cultura Popular, 1983) y Variaciones Sobre una Nostalgia/Variations upon a Nostalgia (UNAM, 1998). Fue catedrático de la Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua durante más de 28 años y actualmente dirige el Instituto de México en San Antonio, Texas.

Enrique Cortazar earned a Master's degree in education and literature at Harvard University where he was a student of Octavio Paz. Some of his publications include Life Written with Bad Grammar (Popular Editions of Culture, 1983) and Variations upon a Nostalgia (UNAM, 1998). He was a professor at the Autonomous University of Chihuahua for more than 28 years and presently directs the institute of Mexico in San Antonio, Texas.

From Monthly Reviewe zine

UFW joins the Change to Win Coalition in labor

The AFL-CIO Convention:
Will It Improve the Plight of America’s Workers?

Whether this week's AFL-CIO Conventioneers, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the merger of the American Federation of Labor (founded in 1886) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (founded in 1935), could produce a united front to combat the long ignored "one-sided class war being waged [relentlessly] on workers in this country" was never really in question. They can't! Labor's leadership is organized in a "circular firing squad."

It's not in question whether this convention of the self-described "House of Labor" will provide an unusual measure of drama, with major players pushing competing proposals for the revitalization of our beleaguered labor movement. That, in a surreal sense, is assured. Five of the most influential and numerically potent affiliated unions, under the banner of Change To Win Coalition (CTW), have issued a challenge to the existing direction of the Federation and seem equally passionate about replacing its top officers, particularly AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. This conflict has been brewing for over a year. There have been open skirmishes and rancorous internal debates. A threat by the CTW unions to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO is also in play. Some observers have described the situation as "a train wreck in the making."

What's it all about? Each side cites the precipitous decline in the percentage of union members in the total U.S. work force as the driving imperative behind the need to change course. However, the bulk of the debate, as initiated by CTW, has been focused on "restructuring" and resource reallocation (how much Federation dues dollars to rebate to affiliates that meet new organizing criteria goals). The argument is underpinned by buzz phrases like "achieving density" and strong initiatives to merge a number of existing unions into industrial sector blocks with Industrial Coordinating Committees (ICCs) to assist in strategic targeting and police the bargaining standards of each sector's member unions.

The positions of each side have changed over the course of the debate. And, in the days just before the Convention, additional discussions were underway between representatives of the each faction. The detailed positions of the current competing proposals are available online. For the Change to Win Coalition, check their web sites: and, titled "Change To Win Amendments & Resolutions." The counter-positions of the current AFL-CIO Officers can be found at .

A larger question being raised by a number of unionists and labor-friendly observers, myself included, is what is not included in the current top-down debate. Neither side offers an overall vision of how a just society should be organized. Nothing in this fractious exchange provides or encourages greater internal democracy. And, despite the 30-year long corporate war on workers' wages, conditions of employment, and the quality of life in working class communities, little in the dueling proposals suggests how to wage a concerted counterattack. There is also a very limited appreciation in this debate of the depth of the collusion of government with the corporate aggressors. In the positions of either side, there is only an oblique nod to the need for international solidarity among unions and labor movements within the global economy.

In a very recent analysis of the current debate, RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director of the independent California Nurses Association, published a piece posted on Counterpunch (21 July 2005), entitled “Top 10 Problems with the Current Debate in the Labor Movement.” One of the ten, for example, suggests that:

No issues affecting the majority of working Americans are being debated -- declining real wages, the health care crisis, the continued erosion of democracy in the workplace, outsourcing of jobs across the skill and pay spectrum, a deteriorating social safety net, declining support for public education, environmental degradation, social justice and ongoing racial and gender inequality, alienation and disaffection from the political process.

Bill Fletcher, a former labor organizer and one time top staffer in the AFL-CIO, and currently President of TransAfrica, in a recent TruthOut interview (David Bacon, "Labor Needs a Hard Left Turn," 21 July 2005), noted how conservative U.S. unions are compared to the labor movements of many other countries. He further argued that "if we are going to have a renewed labor movement . . . we need radical solutions!"

That would be a historical new direction. For this now third generation of merged Federation leaders, however, despite the depth of the current crisis, "radical solutions" have never on the table. To be sure, there's a lot of sound, and even a little fury, in the air as the leadership of our decimated union ranks gather, but very little of it is focused on those who are concertedly widening the gulf of inequality.

As a historical aside: this gathering can not, in any way, be compared to the collection of intrepid radicals and activists who in this same Chicago 100 years ago gathered under the unifying banner of the Continental Congress of the Working Class and gave birth to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Jerry Tucker

Friday, July 22, 2005

An appeal to union members

Urgent letter to union members - Action Needed Prior to Start of AFL-CIO Convention

Urgent letter to union members - Action Needed Prior to
Start of AFL-CIO Convention

Dear friend,

If you are a member of a union please pay special
attention to this letter. If you are not, please bring
it to the attention of union members you know

>From July 24-28th the AFL-CIO will be holding it's
national convention in Chicago. Much attention has be
focused on the leadership question and differences
between groups of unions. This letter is NOT about

Also before the convention will be a resolution titled
"Build Unity and Trust Among Workers Worldwide,"
dealing with AFL-CIO activities in the field of foreign
relations. This resolution was passed unanimously by
the California Labor Federation which represents 2.4
million workers (1/6 of the AFL-CIO). It would
radically alter AFL-CIO ties to government policy.
"Build Unity and Trust" calls upon the AFL-CIO to
accept money from the National Endowment for Democracy
(NED) or other government agencies ONLY with "extreme
caution" and "ONLY to pursue the goals of honest
international labor solidarity...and renounce any tie
that would make us paid agents of the United States
Government or the forces of corporate economic

We are told that the Build Unity & Trust Resolution has
been endorsed by various Central Labor Councils,
including; Rochester, NY, Tucson, AZ, Denver,CO,
Seattle,WA, San Jose,CA, Monterey-Santa Cruz,CA, and
San Francisco,CA.

Because of growing support against the NED and NED
funding, several southern state federation executive
boards have submitted a self serving resolution written
by the AFL-CIO¹s "Solidarity Center" which gets most of
its money from the NED and other government agencies.
Their resolution avoids any mention of "solidarity
Center" funding by the NED and the Bush administration.

With more than one resolution submitted on the same
general topic, the Convention Resolutions Committee
will most likely draft a "composite" resolution and
present it to the Convention. Debate will then be on
their recommendation.

Attached to this letter are the members of the
Resolution Committee and their union affiliation.

If you are a member of any of their unions or central
labor councils or know anyone who is, we URGE you to
communicate with them, in a respectful way, your views
on the Build Unity & Trust Resolution.

In other words, we are asking you to do what you, and
anyone else you may know, can do right now.

It is urgent that letters be sent or faxed immediately
as some members of the Resolutions Committee are
already on their way to Chicago.




Dear _________,

As a member of __________________ I'm writing to you
today to ask you, as our representative on the
Resolutions Committee at the AFL-CIO Convention, to
support the "Build Unity and Trust Among Workers
Worldwide" resolution.

The resolution, which was passed by the 2.4 million
member California Labor Federation, cites some very
questionable AFL-CIO work abroad, recently in
Venezuela, financed through the government funded
National Endowment for Democracy (NED). It calls into
question the "dubious" history of the NED for
"assisting in overthrowing democratically elected
governments and interfering in the internal affairs of
the labor movements of other countries." The resolution
calls for "extreme caution in seeking or accepting"
government funds "and to accept these funds only to
further the goals of honest international labor
solidarity..." It calls upon the AFL-CIO to "renounce
any such tie that would make us paid agents of
government or the forces of corporate economic

The resolution asks for transparency in AFL-CIO
activities abroad. The same kind of transparency
demanded in the finances of our own unions. "Build
Unity and Trust" would allow the AFL-CIO to continue
genuine solidarity work. It urges the Federation to
turn, not to funding sources such as the Bush
administration, but to its affiliates and members.
Real solidarity has to be independently offered our
unions. We cannot continue to pass through Bush
administration resources dubiously labeled as

Thank you for giving "Build Unity and Trust" your
careful attention. I hope it will be benefited by your
support and leadership on the Convention Resolutions
committee and that you will help get it to the floor of
the convention with a positive recommendation. Its
passage will enable Federation foreign affairs
activities that are newly independent of government
ties and which can be trusted by workers and unions in
other countries.

In Solidarity,

(Your name and the name of your local union)


Members of the Resolutions Committee:

Gerald McIntee, President, AFSCME - Chair

Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIO Executive Vice
President, Vice Chair

Leo Gerard, President, USWA, Secretary

Jim Andrews, President, No. Carolina State AFL-CIO

Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU/UFCW President

Baxter Atkinson, American Federation of School

Rick Bender, President, Washington State AFL-CIO

Clayola Brown, Unite

Jeff Crosby, President, No. Shore, MA CLC

Jeff Fiedler, Food & Allied Service Trades Dept.

John Flynn, President, Bricklayers

Fred Frost, President, So. Florida AFL-CIO

John Gage, President, AFGE

Mike Goodwin, President, OPEIU

Bob Haynes, President, MA State AFL-CIO

William Hite, General President, UA (Plumbers & Pipe

Frank Hurt, President, Bakery, Confectionary & Tobacco

Cheryl Johnson, President, United American Nurses

Gloria Johnson, IUE/CWA

Leon Lynch, Vice President, USWA

David Newby, President, WI State AFL-CIO

Terry O'Sullivan, President, Laborers Intl. Union

Clyde Rivers, President, CA School Employees
Association (CSEA)

John Ryan, President, Cleveland CLC

John Wilhelm, President, Unite HERE

Bill Young, President, NALC

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Support Farm Workers Union


Help us in the struggle for immigrant workers rights.

go to this link to join United Farm Workers "No Gallo!" campaign

and sign the Gallo Boycott petition

Haiti action

Thursday, July 21

Gather: 4 P.M. - Powell and Market, San Francisco
March to Brazilian Consulate, 300 Montgomery: 4:30 P.M.
Followed by Picket at the Brazilian Consulate.

On the morning of July 6, 2005, more than 350 heavily armed United Nations "peacekeeping" forces killed at least 23 unarmed people in the densely populated Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Cite Soleil. Some estimates indicate that 50 or more may have died. The UN Force Commander, Brazilian Lt. General Augusto Heleno, claims there was a "firefight," yet there were no UN deaths or injuries.

THIS WAS A MASSACRE. Photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony confirm that the U.N. murdered unarmed civilians, including a 4-year old child, shot through the head.

Cite Soleil has been the focus of attacks by both UN forces and the Haitian police because it remains a powerful base of support for the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas movement. The U.N. operation targeted and killed Emmanuel "Dred" Wilme, a well-known community leader in Cite Soleil, who had been in the forefront of the neighborhood's resistance to the illegal coup regime. The attack came just a few days after U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley labeled Haitian grassroots activists as "terrorists" and "gang members", sending a clear signal that it was now open season on civilians.

Since a U.S.-orchestrated coup overthrew the democratic government in February 2004, a United Nations force of 7500 troops has occupied Haiti. The U.N. has supported the coup regime, which has killed and imprisoned thousands of innocent people. As the U.N. mouths its concerns for human rights around the world, it attacks the poorest communities in Haiti and backs up the violent repression carried out by the Haitian police. Brazil continues to do the bidding of the United States by heading-up this brutal U.N. military operation in Haiti.

On July 21, there will be coordinated protests in many U.S. and Canadian cities to condemn the U.N. massacre in Cite Soleil. Please join us!


Sponsored by the HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE. Endorsed by the ANSWER Coalition.
For more information: visit or contact or 510.483.7481.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

David Bacon on Guest Workers

David is an excellent journalist on labor and immigration issues.

Talking Points on Guest Workers
Prepared by David Bacon
Who are guest workers?

Guest workers are given a visa to enter the US to work
on a temporary basis. To obtain a guest worker visa, a
worker must have an offer of employment, or a job
waiting in the US. This requirement sets up a system
of labor recruitment, in which labor contractors offer
workers jobs, and make the travel arrangements for them
to come. Usually, workers then have to pay at least
for the cost of the transportation, and often much
more. While the terms of the visa vary from one
program to another, they all require workers to be
employed while they're in the US. In most programs,
workers have to remain employed under the original
contract they sign with the contractor, or the US
employer. If they leave their job, or incur the
displeasure of their employer, they can be fired, lose
their visa status and forced to return home.

What was the bracero program?

The bracero program was the US' first big experiment in
using guest workers. Thousands of Mexicans were
recruited to come to the US as farm workers from 1942
to 1964, and for the first two years worked on the
railroads as well. They were recruited at centers in
Mexico, and had to obtain (usually through bribes) a
letter from the local authorities testifying that they
were good workers. They were fumigated on arrival in
the US with DDT, and then county grower associations
parceled the workers out among various local ranchers.
Workers were housed in military-style barracks, and
generally treated in an abusive way. If they
complained or tried to strike or stop work, they were
sent back to Mexico. Money was deducted from each
worker's paycheck, to create an incentive to them to
return to Mexico at the end of their contracts. Most
of this money disappeared. Since then former braceros
in the US and Mexico have been trying to force the
Mexican government to pay the money owed them.

Despite the abuse, many Mexicans used the program to
send money back to their families and home communities.
Some stayed behind illegally when their work contracts
ran out, and eventually were able to gain legal status
and bring their families to live in the US.

Why was the bracero program ended? Who fought to end

Some braceros did strike to try to improve conditions,
and were often supported by local Mexicano/Chicano
communities and activists, like Bert Corona, founder of
the Mexican American Political Association. Despite
those efforts, most Mexicano/Chicano activists tried
for years to end the program. The leader of those
efforts was Ernesto Galarza, a former diplomat and
labor organizer. Galarza and his coworkers charged
that the program was inherently abusive to immigrants,
who should be given equal status instead of being
treated as disposable labor. He also charged that
growers would bring in braceros when local farm workers
tried to organize unions and strike.

Another opponent of the program was Cesar Chavez. He
organized campaigns in Oxnard, California, and other
barrios to prove that growers were not trying to hire
workers from local communities, even when there was
high unemployment. Chavez later said he could never
have organized the United Farm Workers until growers
could no longer hire braceros during strikes. The
great 5-year grape strike in which the UFW was born
began the year after the bracero program ended. Chavez
believed agribusiness' chief farm labor strategy for
decades was maintaining a surplus labor supply to keep
wages and benefits depressed, and fight unionization.

What kind of abuses do modern guest workers endure?

Guest workers recruited under modern programs are often
cheated of the pay they're promised. Employers and
contractors are required to obtain certification from
the Department of Labor, but certification is almost
never denied, even to contractors with long records of
labor law violations. Employers routinely violate
overtime, minimum pay, travel and housing requirements.
Contractors must also demonstrate that there are no
local workers available to perform the work, and that
they've tried to find them, but this requirement is
rarely enforced. Many current programs allow the use
of a blacklist, or a record of workers who are
ineligible for rehire because of alleged misconduct,
because they've worked too slow, or have protested and
caused trouble. Even when there is no formal
blacklist, contractors decide who will work from one
season to the next. Abuse is unavoidable.

Are there meaningful, effective protections for the
labor rights of guest workers?

The record shows that even when there are minimal
standards for pay, overtime, housing and other
requirements, employers violate them with impunity.
Although workers do have some legal recourse on paper,
they are unable to use the legal process effectively in
practice. One worker, hired to plant and tend pine
trees grown for the paper industry, explained that he
didn't file a legal complaint even when he knew he was
being cheated. "We didn't protest because we couldn't.
We were far away from the company office, and maybe the
next year they wouldn't give us the chance to go [to
the US again]... My idea was to escape from the job
right away. Otherwise, I wouldn't make any money."
Guest workers are commonly told that if they speak to
priests, legal aid attorneys, or union organizers
they'll be fired, deported, and blacklisted.

Often the most important factor for workers is the debt
they face at home, in the communities from which they
come. Workers have to take out huge loans to pay the
costs of coming to the US. If they lose their job,
their families lose their homes or land. John Wilhelm,
president of UNITE HERE, who heads the AFL-CIO's
immigration committee, says, "I don't think it's
possible to have labor protections for contract
workers." Even U.S. citizen workers lose their jobs
during union organizing campaigns, he says. "To think
the law will protect people whose right to stay in the
country ends with their job is not living in the real

If these programs are so abusive, why do workers want
to enroll in them?

Poverty in rural communities of Mexico, Central
America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia drives people
to leave in order to ensure the survival of their
families. Poverty is often the product of economic
reforms imposed by the International Monetary Fund and
World Bank, to create profitable investment
opportunities for large multinational corporations.
Trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and FTAA make
poverty worse, by ending subsidies on food and
transportation, encouraging low wages, and mandating
privatization and the loss of public sector jobs.
Workers trying to survive under these conditions often
see migration as their only option. Work in the United
States, even under abusive conditions, can seem an
economic necessity, when the alternative is hunger,
unemployment, and lack of a decent future for their

Who wants these programs?

Proposals for a new temporary worker program are
popular in corporate America. President Bush has been
their main proponent, and calls instead for linking
"willing employees with willing employers." Bush
opposes legalization for undocumented workers, His
program calls for 300,000 people to be given temporary
visas for three years, renewable for another three. It
was adopted point-for-point from a report written by
the conservative Cato Institute in 2002. Corporate
pressure has grown so strong that even bipartisan
proposals for immigration reform now include guest
workers. A bill introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy
and John McCain includes a program even larger than
that proposed by Bush - 400,000 temporary visas per

These proposals incorporate demands by the Essential
Worker Immigration Coalition - 36 of the US's largest
trade and manufacturers' associations, headed by the US
Chamber of Commerce. This organization includes the
National Association of Chain Drug Stores (think Wal-
Mart), the American Health Care Association, the
American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National
Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Retail
Federation, and the Associated Builders and
Contractors. These industries are already heavily
dependent on immigrant labor. Their program is
supported by the ultra-right Manhattan Institute.
Despite their claims, there is no great shortage of
workers in the US. There is a shortage of workers at
the low wages industry would like to pay. Today's
immigrants are actively organizing unions and fighting
for better conditions. Guest worker programs would
supply employers with a more vulnerable workforce.

Is the United States the only country considering
large-scale guest worker programs?

There is already a large guest worker program in
Canada. Immigrant advocates charge that the Canadian
government discriminates against them. Guest workers
pay into Employment Insurance funds but are
disqualified from collecting benefits, receive lower
wages than other workers doing the same job, and are
not covered by health and safety legislation. Workers
who demand better conditions are deported. In Britain,
the government has sought to end asylum programs for
refugees, while setting up programs to supply temporary
workers to British industry and agriculture, referred
to as "managed migration." Other Europeans countries
are also setting up similar programs.

The economies of all industrial countries have become
dependent on immigrant labor. There is a huge flow of
millions of migrant workers from developing to
developed countries all over the world. Governments
want to manage it in the interests of large
corporations, creating a second-class workforce with
fewer rights and lower wages.

What effect do guest worker programs have on families
and communities?

Guest worker programs encourage the migration of young
unaccompanied men, which has a big effect on sending
communities. Ghost towns appear in rural Mexico and
Central America during the peak work seasons in the US,
with many villages losing most of their best workers
during their most productive years. Villages become
places for idle recreation and retirement, rather than
domestic production. Inflation of land prices makes
land unavailable to residents who stay behind and seek
work in their native areas.

Periods when whole families were able to settle in the
United States, because of the availability of permanent
residence visas, produced much better conditions in
migrant communities. So did the legalization program
in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Labor unionization, civic participation and wage levels
all improved, as settled immigrants demanded better
conditions. Families are better at protecting their
rights than single migrants. Wives and mothers
frequently become involved in US institutions and learn
about their rights, helping to mobilize workers to
stand their ground against employers.

Real immigration reform could enable immigrants to form
stable communities in the US. Temporary workers cannot
do this, since they have no right to live with their
families, to develop their culture, including religion
and music, to housing and healthcare, or to political
representation. When the work is done, they have to
move on. The Indigenous Front of Binational
Organizations, an organization of Mexican immigrants,
"disapproves of the Bush initiative for temporary, or
'guest' workers because it doesn't guarantee respect
for labor and human rights." Instead, it calls for
legalizing undocumented workers.

What impact will expanded guest worker programs have on
communities and unions in the US?

Guest worker programs also have an impact on the jobs
and wages of other workers. Employers want the
programs because they offer a workforce that can be
paid less than one hired from local communities. The
US paper industry, for instance, lowered the prices it
paid contractors for planting pine tree plantations.
Contractors stopped hiring a US-resident workforce, and
began hiring workers under the H2-B program as a

Job competition is a fact of life for workers in the US
economic system. Employers often use the pressure of
unemployment to depress wages, and pit one community
against another. Guest worker programs give them a
powerful tool to increase this competition. Employers
could especially sharpen job competition where workers
are organizing unions, trying to raise wages, or
challenging past patterns of discrimination.

Workplace surveys show a pattern of discrimination
against African-American workers in some industries
employing large numbers of immigrants, such as
electronics assembly, semiconductor production, hotels,
building services, construction and others. Some
unions are addressing this history by supporting the
rights of all workers. UNITE HERE, for instance, calls
for enforcing the workplace rights of immigrant workers
in the hotel industry, while asking hotels to make
special efforts to hire from communities that have been
the victims of past discrimination, and suffer high
unemployment. This particularly affects African
Americans, but also established immigrants. Large
guest worker programs would give hotel corporations the
ability to bring in a new, low-wage workforce, instead
of agreeing to the remedies proposed by the union.

Is there a connection between new guest worker
proposals and enforcement of employer sanctions?

Employer sanctions, or the law which makes it a crime
for an undocumented person to hold a job, have been
justified as a means of discouraging people from
immigrating illegally. In this respect, they've been a
total failure. They have, however, made undocumented
workers more vulnerable to employer pressure, and have
been used to prevent workers from organizing unions and
defending their workplace rights.

With new guest worker proposals, employer sanctions
have acquired a bigger purpose. Many guest workers
find they can earn more money, and work in a less
pressured environment, if they leave the jobs for which
they were contracted. Employer sanctions become a
means to force them to stay with their contracted
employer, since finding another job becomes riskier and
more difficult.

Some proposals, like the Kennedy-McCain bill, propose
that current undocumented workers should work for six
years as guest workers, and pay a $2000 fine, in order
to obtain legal status. They would have to give
authorities all the information needed to deport them
if their application failed, and would become
disqualified if they were unemployed for as little as
30 days. Employer sanctions then become a means to
pressure undocumented immigrants into enrolling in
those guest worker programs, by making it much more
difficult for them to work if they chose not to.

Don't many workers come to the United States to work
for just a short period anyway?

A better solution is to expand the number of permanent
residence visas, allowing workers to travel between
their countries of origin and the US freely, rather
than as contract labor. They would be able to bring
families with them, and settle in the US if they
choose. They would be free to exercise their rights in
a way that contract workers are not. They could become
integrated into the communities around them on the
basis of equality.

Is there an alternative that would give undocumented
immigrants legal status?

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee proposes a
legalization program that would allow undocumented
immigrants to normalize their status if they've lived
in the US for five years, and gain some knowledge of
English. This proposal is like the legalization
provision passed by Congress in 1986, and signed into
law by President Ronald Reagan. The Jackson Lee bill
does not contain a guest worker program, and increases
the enforcement of immigrant rights, rather than the
enforcement of employer sanctions.

The UN Convention on the Status of Migrants and Their
Families guarantees a new set of rights for migrants
corresponding to this new era of heightened global
migration. It holds both sending and receiving
countries responsible for their welfare, and proposes
the goal of equal status of migrant and non-migrant
people. Countries maintain control of their borders,
and determine the rules for access to employment. The
US has not yet ratified this basic statement of human

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oppose anti immigrant activity

Public Meeting to Strategize and Fight Against the Racist Minuteman Project!

Thursday, July 21st, 7 PM
New College of California, Room 23
766 Valencia (btwn 18th and 19th)
near 16th St./Mission BART
San Francisco

They'll be here in September, let's
get organized now!

We hope to discuss various possible responses to the Minutemen and their
allies and to come up with a plan of action that we can implement as soon as

Organized by the recently formed Bay Area Coalition to
Fight the Minutemen

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Battle of ideas

Hello. I have been away for a couple of weeks traveling in Brazil.

This blog is established to engage in the battle of ideas about race and racism within our political culture. It was created to resist the current Right Wing effort to establish control over governments.
There are at least two parts to any political struggle: one is to organize and mobilize voters; the second is to engage in the battle of ideas.
This second task is to develop arguments to promote democracy and public education and to oppose those who use racial prejudice and wedge issues to divide.
For past work see
Readers are invited to post responses to entries.
Duane Campbell