by El Chaco
The immigrant proletariat is fast becoming one of the most organically active layers of the proletariat.
This is of course for a reason. We will quickly go into the 2 reasons why the proletariat is getting squeezed by the State and the Bourgeoisie. Then, we will go into the task of revolutionary communist in regards to this struggle.
It is of course obvious that the illegal immigrant proletariat has been attacked for a while now. Through legislation and consequently domestic police terrorism. This of course is nothing new. But the intensity is! To, with but a blink of an eye, eliminate Ethnic studies, the Capitalist click has certainly attacked not only the immigrant, but its offspring as well.
In the context of crisis, the Capitalist and the State want to rid it self of the excess labor-power that is fast becoming useless in profit making. Think housing in Arizona and how before the 2007 crisis housing was a great market to be in and many homes were being built.
“… that consequence is an excess of homes. He says that the explosion of single-family homes built in the Greater Phoenix area in 2004 and 2005 exceeded actual demand by about 20,000 homes. He estimates that there are currently about 6,000 homes under construction that are not spoken for by buyers, and about 18,000 more homes for sale than normal.”1
Well who build those surplus houses by far? Immigrants. Illegal immigrants at that. It’s Cheaper that way.
The second, reason is an old worry the Ruling class has always had of a minority they oppress. The worry is that of revolutionary potential and upheaval. The revolutionary potential of the illegal immigrant is of course obvious to the ruling class. We need only look at 2006 and the potential that could’ve had. During May 1st 2006, the LA ports were shutdown, and 86% of the meat industry was shutdown. The social power of such shutdowns, threatened the state, and led to a wave of physical ICE raids in 2007-2009. Once these physical raids made ICE look bad, they switched to “Silent Raids” through checking social security numbers.
More recently, we can look at the Steel Workers in Berkeley. 600 workers went on strike in March 2011 against a terrible contract that offered 10-cent annual raids. ICE caught wind that there were many undocumented workers playing the role as militants during the strike. As a result, ICE starts checking social security numbers, firing 22 workers a week for those who don’t have matching social security numbers. The total amount; 200 undocumented proletarians were fired. The Capitalist directly called the State to discipline the proletariat. Discipline them from what? From collectively attacking the minority capitalist that does nothing but get rich off the majority that toils. The workers in this instance stand as a great example of workers in general beginning a struggle from a rank and file level, but this example, according to the Bosses, must not be generalized. According to the Capitalist, the different layers of the proletariat cannot catch wind that one of the most oppressed layers of itself, their immigrant brothers and sisters, are organizing and fighting back. This example may unite the Proletariat and inspire it! If not this one, then perhaps an accumulation of similar instances, similar situations of coordination! Thus the Capitalist solution is to remove the active proletariat, and more importantly, remove the potentially radical proletariat. This is based on who is on the bottom, the most oppressed layers (immigrant, womyn, black) may be the first to strike, and to do so ferociously i.e. the recent rolling strikes by garbage workers starting in Alabama, the American Licorice Workers striking, the truckers up North in Washington who are mostly African immigrants struggling, the wildcats in Alabama by immigrants in response to copy-cat law from Arizona against undocumented folk, and the above mentioned immigrants in a Union City Steel Factory, etc.
Thus we see the attacks from la migra against Latino brothers and sisters. We see Latino/a workers being rounded up in 6 days in the largest ICE raid ever all over the US!2
The American Licorice Workers in Union City went on strike recently because of healthcare fee disputes with management. The strike started December 5 2011. 3
Truckers in Washington, mostly African immigrants, go on strike and a slow down earlier this year in order to get better work conditions and stop the misclassification they are put into (company calls them private contractors). The strike began January 30 2012. 4
In Alabama immigrants go on wildcat strikes against the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. More commonly referred to as HB56. “the union didn’t back the October 12 strike”5. The strike began October 12, 2011.
And as we have said, in Union City, Steel Factory immigrant workers went on strike against an unfair contract. The strike began and ended March 2011.
Though not specifically immigrant, the rolling strike of garbage workers starting in Alabama and going as far as Washington and NYC, should be noticed. Its importance lies in solidarity strikes organically led by rank and file, indeed, the rolling strike cannot be done in any other way. This struggle was launched when local Management for Allied Waste and Republic agreed to remove two fees charged to workers. Allied Waste and Republic then backtracked on these agreements which the rank and file said was breaking federal law. This is an important lesson for the immigrant proletariat. The strike started March 22, 2012.6
This wave of strikes can be expected to grow. With more militancy on behalf of the workers as the attacks from the Bourgeois click and the State continue and intensify.
And let us notice this: all great examples of worker power, all dynamic individual and single struggles. Within the class there is such dynamism, but this dynamism the class must consciously notice and consistently act upon as a class. This however, does not just spring up…..
In a global context of upheavals and crisis, the Ruling class (the State and the Capitalist) must get rid of revolutionary potential and excess labor.
As the crisis deepens, we can surely expect two things: one, the attack from the State on the immigrant layer of the proletariat will increase in quantity and intensity. And two, that there is only so much the immigrant will be able to take before it reaches a point and it starts screaming and proclaiming: “ENOUGH!!!”
We must explain here, as well, what we mean by organically active: By organically active we mean that up until recently the proletariat has not struck as much as it is striking now, if it is doing so, it is because it itself is now putting the strike on the table. Surely the union leadership would not lead an assault if the rank and file didn’t push it to take such a course of action! Indeed, in that case it should not be called a leadership at all! And outside socialist and activist have by far fallen on their face for trying to have a strike with no implantation (March 4th in 2009 and November 2nd 2011. This is not to say they were not very important lessons.). If the strike is now becoming a weapon that is being pickedup by the proletariat it is because the proletariat sees no other method, it is remembering, as a class, that it has had victories before, and these were brought about largely by striking! This is the Luxumburgist in us speaking. The class as a class retains memory of past struggles, indeed, this is because its hitherto existence is based on past class struggles. It is up to Communist militants to make these memories lucid and explicit!
So, the question thus becomes; what should communist militants do in such a climate?
We must sharpen our theory and engage in practical work. But what theory and what practical work? Our knowledge must come from reading any book that gives us knowledge on anything useful to Proletarian revolution; and this knowledge must be placed within a Marxist framework.
“Dogmatists!!” “Bastard Communist put Marx on a pedestal!” “We should only read Lenin I suppose!!!??”.
Comrades!!! We have said read what you may, on the subject that you wish (a cook book, a poetry book, and history book all have use within a revolutionary movement. Though all in different degrees), but remember, if you are a revolutionist, all this knowledge must be placed within the most revolutionary framework, all your knowledge can only be advanced by employing Marxism! Dialectics! Etc etc. etc. (and yes Lenin should be read thoroughly)
In these most ferment times, in these times of class struggle sharpening, no empty brained fool can, nor should enter the battlefield. The proletariat needs sharp soldiers, not fools that base the struggle on their hopes and dreams. Who have no grasp of history nor its motion, which can indeed be turbulent! But the sharpest theories are empty without the sharpest, most humble, and consistent practice.
So what practice should we employ?
Salting and Party building. Though these two are not mutually exclusive they are not the same. Indeed, the former can be thought of as a tactic. Salting means entering an industry consciously as a militant in order to organize struggle so as the proletariat can improve its conditions. Salting takes time. Party Building is a longer process in where a collective (such as AS) wants to centralize the most humble and consistent militants from among the working masses. A developing vanguard is always doing just that, developing! It only crystallizes it self into a Party when the Mass Strike has reached a peak and consciousness among all the oppressed in general, but the proletariat in particular, is high! It crystallizes when the developing vanguard has proven through Praxis and over time that it is the genuine organization for revolution representing the Proletariat! A collective like AS would employ a specified method like salting in order to struggle and recruit at a workplace to a revolutionary organization.
How would these two look in struggle?
SALTING (A Tactic on its Own. Limits )
One could enter a workplace one knows to be highly immigrant. The back of the house of any given restaurant is a very good start. Salting here of course is not an easy task. The labor employed is arduous. But it also has the most potential. Of course salting for what? This depends on many factors: conditions of work place, consciousness of workers, history of workplace, etc. Also, what is the salting militant trying to do? Get a strike going? Recruit, if so, to what?! Salting on its own can be useless, thus is must be connected to party building. (to make a quick point: a tactic is a tactic and should not be elevated to strategy. Our Occupationists might well remember that).
The main thing to do as a single salt is to start a rank and file workers committee (underground at first of course) that produces independent lit, trains its members as writers, organizes the distribution of information amongst the workers, creates its own program for political and economic direction, and has the ability to mobilize the rank and file in a democratic way. One should advocate rank and file committees that specifically seek to use the tactics that have been made illegal by the labor laws (secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes, hot cargo agreements, mass picket lines etc.) because those tactics are more effective and the legal unions have been largely defeated due to not using those tactics. We of course do not dismiss the simple collective walk-up on the manager, a small but powerful tactic that a beginning worker committee could do on its own. Rank and file committees should seek to be connected with other similar rank and file committees in other sectors of industry, particularly ones that could be decisive in a confrontation with capital due to their role in the reproduction of capital.
It must be doubted, however, how well a none developing vanguard can do these things and sustain them; whether that none developing vanguard is an individual, space, or none programmatic revolutionary organization.
The reason to salt as executed by a developing vanguard, aside from the above too, is also to centralize different layers of the proletariat! To develop and formalize a network based on revolutionary Marxism, a network that can contract (meets, strategizes) and release (execute, pedagogy, practice). Salting for a developing vanguard should be long term and must be thoughtful. Salting, and arguably any tactic in the long run, is useless unless its trying to centralize different layers of the proletariat into a revolutionary organization and move in preparation for the socialist revolution in the United States. Though for those anti-party activist, if you want to do something, one of the most none romantic tactics is salting, for it implies a consistency and a specific closeness, as opposed to quick fast action.
In any case, a tactic employed on its own will eventually exhaust itself out and indeed meet with insurmountable limits.
Party (Long Term/Strategic Organizing. Subordinating Tactics to Strategy)
Party building is key. Why? Imagine this: the workers from the Steel Factory in Berkeley, the American Licorice workers, back of the house workers from any given restaurant in the Bay, teachers, nurses, imagine all these different layers of the proletariat (plus more) centralized in a revolutionary Marxist organization, strategizing how to have workers committees, how to co-ordinate strikes, how to have a communist revolution!
The reason this is necessary is because we have historically seen different industries and the workers within those industries move in a radical ferment but always fall short of long term victory. We have for example, the 1934 strikes, in where different industries in the different cities of the US took the lead in struggle (Minneapolis, Toledo, San Francisco). Thought these were very militant struggles, and they were organized very well, you still have an absence of strong solidarity with the many other different layers of the working class. This is obvious from a glance at race and gender within these movements.
And when there is an organic and spontaneous initiative from the different proletarian masses, as in the Bread and Roses strike of 1912, there is still a Programmatic Marxists framework that is absent. Great working class revolutionaries learn skills and strategy for revolutionary class struggle, without the formal knowledge of dialectical materialism. We do not, however, reject the great and tremendous role of the IWW during that strike. There is however a limit that will be hit without explicitly employing a Marxist analysis to the life of class struggle. The goals of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Communism must be explicitly talked about in struggles such as the 1912 struggle, and it must be made clear to the masses that a program of their own is needed. If we are reaching objective conditions in where again immigrants are beginning to strike back, a revolutionary strategy of how such struggle can generalize into workplaces that are composed of both undocumented and documented workers is necessary. With these early immigrant class struggles making rumblings, a growth of such politics of class struggle must seep into the different sectors of the working class. We must be able to have worker militants that have the ability to create and sustain struggles and networks etc, which was one of the inabilities of the IWW (“But while strong in leading struggles, the IWW was weak in maintaining its organization thereafter. Before the strike the IWW had about 300 members in Lawrence; in September 1912 the membership rose to 16,000, but by summer 1913 it had fallen back to 700. This pattern of quick recruitment during a strike and quick loss after it was typical of the IWW”7).
In order for a truly radical movement to succeed in anything it is paramount for the most ardent, disciplined, humble, consistent, and intellectual workers within the different industries to be centralized in a revolutionary Marxists organization, with a program, in order that the working class can indeed move as class when the objective situations reach a high peak in the class struggle. When the proletariat in the US in general, not just the immigrant layer of it, enters the international stage through the Mass Strike, we must already be spread in strategic sectors and come together in a centralized and horizontal revolutionary Marxists organization.
There of course will be many bumps on the road. This is expected. There are countless of historical reasons why this is the case. Essentially, the proletariat is conditioned to not recognize it self as a class. Thus, contradictions arise and these contradictions vary; from wanting to get a permit for a rally (thus not understanding the Bourgeois State as its enemy), to thinking the police are workers such as they who produce and reproduce (the police are the armed wing of the state. It has historically all over the world crushed movements. This is now becoming very explicit.), to being subsumed in racism (thus forsaking their fellow workers, and their own eternal liberation). The developing vanguard cannot instantly dissolve all the contradictions within the proletariat, it can however, patiently explain to the masses the faults in their contradictory actions. It can slowly explain to them that the Bourgeois State needs to be smashed, the police dissolved and the worker armed, and racism done away with. It can help humanity start chipping away at the oppressive tools, and eventually, totally smash them.
Marxist praxis must be employed in order to be on this road…
Can we imagine what would happen if the steel workers from Berkeley and Licorice workers from Union City linked up in a formal and programmatic way? What if they released literature together? This would be a great stride for us here in the Bay. And indeed something like this, the solidarity of this magnitude, cannot be build by an individual or a group simply wanting to recruit. Solidarity like this, between brother and sister industry, is made by a developing collective that wants to grow through struggle, and has members that want to and will do the kind of consistent political work that helps foster these political links. The way to get justice for the recent 3,000 immigrants that were just abducted by the State through out the US, is to build a developing Marxist Vanguard (different layers of the proletariat centralized), that has programmatic precision guiding its political operation. A Workers Committee based in one industry, that has their own program for struggle, partly being shaped by the experience of struggle, coupled with reflections on the lessons built into such experience, should seek to unite with other unfolding Workers Committees from other industries. If not struggles become isolated. A developing vanguard can help facilitate these processes, and it must do so in the humblest way. Tactics, organizations, projects, and spaces not connected to a revolutionary organization cannot, in the long run, emancipate the immigrant in particular, let alone humanity in general.
But comrades this is not impossible. It takes time, patience, love, Marxism, a program, and consistent praxis.
Viva La Revolucion Communista Liderada Por Las Masas Proletarias!!!
“A revolutionary organization must be a body which empowers the oppressed. The body must be a resource at the disposal of the working class. Such an organization would attract the most conscious elements of the working class, because its fundamental orientation is based upon aiding and assisting the proletariat, rather than commanding and leading it.”
I want to come back to a lot more stuff in this but for now, two points. One very briefly – that the immigrant working class is more active doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more likely to become revolutionary. It may also end up fighting for and accepting deals like amnesty etc. There are definitely reforms around immigration that would improve people’s lives and I’m for improved lives for people, but I don’t think that’s necessarily revolutionary. A lot of those struggles mentioned are things that could be won under capitalism, and some people in the current US government are for removing the policies that impede immigrants workers as such. That’s not to say that the immigrant working class doesn’t have revolutionary potential, far from it, but we should not count on repression or militant action or the combination of the two to create revolutionary conscious.
Second, way less briefly, I don’t think it’s true that the crackdown on immigrants is motivated by shedding excess labor power. I don’t think immigrant labor power is excess to capitalists in any important way that feeds deportation. It doesn’t cost capitalists more to fire undocumented immigrants, if anything it costs them less because immigrants are less likely to file for unemployment and are less likely to be working in jobs that have unemployment coverage in the first place. (Likewise it’s probably cheaper for businesses to injure undocumented immigrants because they’ll be less likely to file compensation claims, and if they’re hired illegally than the workers can’t file claims even if they want to.) Here’s three pieces from the capitalist press that I think show that capitalists generally are actually opposed to the crackdowns in Arizona.
There have been some similar problems in Georgia and Alabama with their laws – http://immigrationimpact.com/2011/07/12/the-cost-of-doing-anti-immigrant-business-russell-pearce-to-face-recall-election/
I think it’s also noteworthy that the organization of police chiefs oppose SB1070 as well, so that even people in the repressive arm of the state are against the the current stuff in Arizona.
I don’t think immigrants are labor power that is surplus to capitalists’ requirements. I also don’t think the state usually acts that directly to the relatively short term needs of capitalists, such that that the state is working to crack down on immigrants because it’s in the short term interests of capitalists. I think the state’s pretty complicated and on the whole it’s relatively autonomous from capitalists, at least their short term needs, and the various parts of the state are relatively autonomous from each other (for concrete examples, there’s the conflicts right now between the federal Justice Department and the state government in Arizona as well as tensions between the Justice Department and ICE).
“The goals of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Communism must be explicitly talked about in struggles such as the 1912 struggle, and it must be made clear to the masses that a program of their own is needed.”
This. This a thousand times. At the risk of being put in the “sectarian” box, I’ll recount the following story:
I was at the ISO’s Socialism conference last year and went to a workshop on Marxism and the Trade Unions. The workshop explained quite well (better than anything I’ve read in their magazine) that trade unions cannot solve the problems of the workers, only revolution can.
So I said: I agree completely. That’s why in the group I support in our bulletin for transit workers, we say just that: the workers need their program and organization. We believe only socialist revolution is the way forward, not just better trade unionism (see http://lrp-cofi.org/TWU100/RTW/index.html), but I’ve never seen a workplace bulletin from the ISO that argues for socialism. I’ve only seen reform caucus material (like CORE in the Chicago Teachers’ Union) that argues for reforming the union–nothing that argues to those union workers that only a revolution is necessary. Are there any such bulletins? If not, why not?
Just one point to illustrate that few and few between are “Marxist” organizations that argue for Marxist politics as an integral part of their workplace political activity, so I’m glad to see another group talking about things in this direction. I prefer there being more debate and more examples of and over revolutionary work in the unions and workplaces rather than the wasteland there is now.
I’m not sure about some of the details in the post, as there’s a lot put out that isn’t explained. I know about anarchist “horizontalists”–is that the same kind of “horizontal” referred to here (“centralized and horizontal revolutionary Marxists organization”)? Just never seen “centralized and horizontal” and don’t know if that’s meant to convey “genuine” democratic centralism or an alternative?
Also, I don’t think the “Mass Strike” is the only immediate way forward to break through the class struggle (which I think the essay as written implies but I don’t assume AtS or the author thinks so). I do think a general strike is the best way forward to *propagandize* for and popularize now, but given the weakness of the unions (or perhaps one should say the strength of the capitalist labor bureaucracy) and other factors, in the United States the breakthrough might come through very disorganized riots/rebellions and there a revolutionary organization is definitely needed to help build from such explosions but transcend their limitations, including by building from them to a mass/general strike if possible (see http://www.lrp-cofi.org/PR/CincinnatiPR63.html for an example of such analysis).
And again, this is gold: “The goals of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Communism must be explicitly talked about in struggles…, and it must be made clear to the masses that a program of their own is needed.”
“One very briefly – that the immigrant working class is more active doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more likely to become revolutionary. It may also end up fighting for and accepting deals like amnesty etc. There are definitely reforms around immigration that would improve people’s lives and I’m for improved lives for people, but I don’t think that’s necessarily revolutionary. A lot of those struggles mentioned are things that could be won under capitalism, and some people in the current US government are for removing the policies that impede immigrants workers as such. That’s not to say that the immigrant working class doesn’t have revolutionary potential, far from it, but we should not count on repression or militant action or the combination of the two to create revolutionary conscious.”
We understand that the immigrant proletariat will not just spontaneously become revolutionary. That is why we say that we need humble militants to do consistent work among the immigrant layer of the proletariat and to spread the news of struggle by this layer to other layers.
I disagree that more repression and militant action cannot create revolutionary consciousness. Indeed, that’s our point with bringing up Alabama; their facing severe repression and responded in kind. There would have been no wildcat without the initial aggression by the state! The State taking more aggressive tones along with militant actions is part of the process that is necessary to reach revolutionary consciousness comrade.
Yes a lot of the things mentioned are things that can be won under capitalism, that is why the practical work that communist militants do is very important: we either just win good reforms, or we try to win reforms but in that process also continually delve into proletarian history, victories, loses, the different motions, the different historical dynamism, etc. If people say “oh what you dumb dogmatic Marxists just wanna read Lenin and Marx huh?” We say, “No comrade! We have better pedagogy than that! We want to learn about Marxism, but we don’t just wanna read Marx and Lenin. We also wanna read Domitila Barrios, Malcolm X, Dubois, CLR james, and others too! This will also help our socialist tendency!” The second part of the article talks about possible practical work that one could do precisely because we don’t just wanna stride for reforms.
“Second, way less briefly, I don’t think it’s true that the crackdown on immigrants is motivated by shedding excess labor power. I don’t think immigrant labor power is excess to capitalists in any important way that feeds deportation. It doesn’t cost capitalists more to fire undocumented immigrants, if anything it costs them less because immigrants are less likely to file for unemployment and are less likely to be working in jobs that have unemployment coverage in the first place. (Likewise it’s probably cheaper for businesses to injure undocumented immigrants because they’ll be less likely to file compensation claims, and if they’re hired illegally than the workers can’t file claims even if they want to.) “
It doesn’t cost capitalist more to hire immigrants, but it does cost them more to hire a native born person. The Capitalist class at any given point welcomes the excess of labour, as it makes its unemployed army big, which means it has a way of keeping wages down in any given industry (of course the practice of not paying migrant workers for weeks of works is also wide spread in construction is pretty well known…at least to most people). The big motivation to move out illegals from my view comes from the housing bubble crisis, the crisis in general, and from the possibility of revolutionary potential. The revolutionary potential should not be underestimated, as discontent among immigrant workers is becoming more and more pronounced. The crackdown is not just to shed labour, but also to put off struggle as much as possible. Has not the immigrant proletariat been increasingly active? Jas not the level of deportations dramatically increase?
I read some of the articles you posted and from what I can gather: the Bourgeois is not a homogeneous thing, like the proletariat, it has different layers. The fact is that the State does act directly in the benefit of the bourgeois at times (sometimes more pronounced then others). I’m not saying the attack on the immigrant proletariat is a sudden thing or encompassed totally in one event, but the degree has been upped.
“I don’t think immigrants are labor power that is surplus to capitalists’ requirements. I also don’t think the state usually acts that directly to the relatively short term needs of capitalists, such that that the state is working to crack down on immigrants because it’s in the short term interests of capitalists.”
The State has helped bring in police to protect the EGT cargo against workers and Occupy. In the Steel Factory in Berekely the Company directly called ICE to do the e-verify thing to check legality. But aside from these examples, its obvious from your articles that the Ruling Class is moving forward with conflict in terms of ousting the immigrant proletariat. One of the reasons is the food industry as the article pointed out. Bosses in construction need less workers, bosses in food still need ‘em . Theres conflict of interest. This is nothing new to the ruling classes.
Deportation is just one strategy the ruling class has in terms of dealing with the immigrant proletariat. And indeed, deportation has dramatically increased, in proportion with the crisis deepening. There is some correlation.
“I also don’t think the state usually acts that directly to the relatively short term needs of capitalists”.
From one of the articles you put up:
“In an abrupt change of course, Arizona lawmakers rejected new anti-immigration measures on Thursday, in what was widely seen as capitulation to pressure from business executives and an admission that the state’s tough stance had resulted in a chilling of the normally robust tourism and convention industry”
Different layers of the ruling class always have different times of momentum at any given point in history. The anti immigrant layer has had the momentum for quite a couple of years, that some progressive parts of the ruling class are hesitant is only due, from what I read from you articles, because they fear civil unrest or are poorly armed.
Here’s a quote from another article:
“Republican supporters say Alabama’s strict new immigration law was intended to force illegal workers out of jobs and help legal residents find work in a state suffering from high unemployment.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44879612/ns/us_news-life/t/alabama-hispanics-halt-work-protest-tough-new-immigration-law/#.T74f0XlYtaP)
And this video is pretty interesting. It shows the ties between the State and the Bourgeois. Is the State above Society? yes. Is it higher than the Bourgeois Class? In general, no:
sorry it took me long to answer crashcourse666.
hey comrade thanks for the reply and no problem about delays, I just figured you were busy.
I think we’re in agreement on all points on the first part, I wasn’t clear from my first reading, that’s probably my fault. I appreciate you clarifying.
On the second issue, I’m not convinced that the expulsion of immigrants is driven by fear of their revolutionary potential. I’m willing to have my mind changed here but I just don’t see any evidence that this is what’s really happening. That the immigrant working class is more active and that deportations are rising doesn’t mean that the deportations are caused by the activism of immigrants. If anything, the reverse seems to be true – repression activates the class. I understand that there are specific cases like you mentioned at EGT. But that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily an overall trend in the class/in society along those lines – that this is driven by managing labor markets and so on.
Of course, in all this, I don;t have an alternative explanation of why the deportation boom is happening, I should dig into that. I have a hunch that it’s partly about particularly and relatively small fractions of the capitalist class (like the scum who run private detention facilities) and their politicians (I think there’s a kind of frightening potential in the present where people who used to be too extreme right to be publicly acceptable are becoming more publicly acceptable rightwingers; the group FAIR is an example of this, they’re shaping immigration policy and have some roots in/ties to openly racist forces). I think the role of other capitalists here is either to shrug their shoulders in indifference, or to be annoyed about it (like the farmers in the south who have labor shortages) but they have less political clout right now. I understand if oyu don’t find any of that convincing, it’s not at all worked out on my part, I should dig into this stuff in a serious way.
Good discussion. I just want to add that I think undocumented workers are being targeted for political and not economic reasons. It works every time. Divide the class especially against the most militant sectors. The capitalists are targeting immigrants as a way out of their political crises of capitalist legitimacy, in particular because this tactic works with nativist workers who may see other workers as competition and blame them for their problems. It sucks but white supremacy works as a logic of resentment. As pointed out in this piece, the bottom layer of the class is acting up and inspiring white workers (which is dangerous!) so capitalists need to scapegoat them to minimize the political crises. As you both know, we need a political response. Palante comrades.
“I’m not convinced that the expulsion of immigrants is driven by fear of their revolutionary potential.”
I think it all has to be rooted in history. For instance, in the1600′s, England was sending the surplus population who was becoming violently discontent to the Americas. This is a case of the ruling class sending the toiling class far away because it 1) was surplus and 2) it was discontent and hostile.
More recently, deportations are explicitly used to send away militant layers of the working class:
“Now the war is over and the voices have become
a roar and the roar has become action. The workers
are seething with dissatisfaction-dissatisfaction that
may at any moment become revolt. The master class
is nervous and nervousness begets precipitate action.
Deportations become the order of the day.
American Capitalism has awakened to the fact that
jailing men can not stop the spread of ideas. It has
taken it many years to realize this fact and it has
realized it only to turn to the deportation of men in
order to accomplish the same result. Jailing men
does not succeed in jailing ideas, consequently deporting men will result in the deportation of ideas! ” http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/revolutionaryage/v1n18-feb-15-1919.pdf
And of the same struggle:
Click to access v1n19-feb-22-1919.pdf
Above, in the article I also speak of the raids done by ICE after the 2006 struggle.
Overall, the necessity of horizontal centralization becomes obvious. Why? because the immigrant proletariat cannot be free unless it starts moving en masse with it self, that is, the proletarian class in general. The threat of deportation is always looming, and ONE of the ways to surpass this is by the immigrant layer of the proletariat to have a strong bind with the other layers, so if the Bourgeois wants to threaten, the class can threaten it with actions in other industries. To do this we will speak to and agitate immigrants, and all layers of the toiling masses, of the necessity of a DEVELOPING vanguard, centralization, Worker Committees, the State, programmatic precision, the (wildcat) Strike, and surpassing Anarchism, Unionism, and vulgar Marxism.
Of course, we will try to do this with the best of pedagogy. Being part of the working class, AS and AS members have the ability to do this.
Pa’ adelante pinche gueyes!! 😀
I think we’re at an impasse here. I mean that as respectfully as possible. I’m not convinced that the current push against immigrants is motivated by short term economic goals (labor costs etc) nor by short term political fears (radicalized proletariat). I know that both happen as general trends in history and in particular instances now like ICE being called by particular employers. I think the over all push may come from somewhere else (maybe straight up racism and xenophobia on the part of the ruling clique of the political layers plus lobbying by interests in the privatized repressive apparatus – the private prisons etc), and that the individual companies who call ICE in response to militants are making opportunistic use of the larger tendencies in the present. I realize I’m not being convincing myself here, so I’ll bow out. This is an area I need to study further and think more about. I agree with the gist of the political proposals here, and thanks for hearing me out on these points of disagreement. It’s good to be able to have comradely differences of view.
@RedTrackWorker (@RedTrackWorker) “I’m not sure about some of the details in the post, as there’s a lot put out that isn’t explained. I know about anarchist “horizontalists”–is that the same kind of “horizontal” referred to here (“centralized and horizontal revolutionary Marxists organization”)? Just never seen “centralized and horizontal” and don’t know if that’s meant to convey “genuine” democratic centralism or an alternative?”
Horizontal Centralism is a theory that Advance the Struggle is developing out, comrade. We will have a piece devoted to this theory that is based on our practice and international history. Sorry I cannot delve into it yet. “)
“Also, I don’t think the “Mass Strike” is the only immediate way forward to break through the class struggle (which I think the essay as written implies but I don’t assume AtS or the author thinks so). I do think a general strike is the best way forward to *propagandize* for and popularize now, but given the weakness of the unions (or perhaps one should say the strength of the capitalist labor bureaucracy) and other factors, in the United States the breakthrough might come through very disorganized riots/rebellions and there a revolutionary organization is definitely needed to help build from such explosions but transcend their limitations, including by building from them to a mass/general strike if possible (see http://www.lrp-cofi.org/PR/CincinnatiPR63.html for an example of such analysis)”
I agree the mass strike is not the necessarily the only way forward (I mean, a mass strike only happens at a peak of struggle at any historical point). We say: “When the proletariat in the US in general, not just the immigrant layer of it, enters the international stage through the Mass Strike, we must already be spread in strategic sectors and come together in a centralized and horizontal revolutionary Marxists organization”. I say “already”, because we MUST have done practical work BEFORE the mass strike arrives.
I do not agree that riots/street fighting/etc are going to be the breakthrough in the US. I don’t know of revolutionary organizations that came out of the LA 1992 riots, for instance. But i could be wrong, IVsho! “D In any case, ANY explosion from the working masses is good, i agree. I do believe that a Mass Strike is a 1000% times better than a riot. A strike has to eventually take organizational form, with a stable, but fluid structure. A riot does not. The LA 1992 riots compared to the Oakland 1946 General Strike, i believe would not considered a step forward. But yeah.
Hey, by the way! That revolutionary transit website is super dope! Thanks for sharing that.
“This is an area I need to study further and think more about….. thanks for hearing me out on these points of disagreement. It’s good to be able to have comradely differences of view.”
Hell yeah i need to keep studying too!! Thanks for reading the piece and please share, as debate around the party, centralization, and workers committee is necessary!
Comradely debates and rich argumentation is what AS is about! Not solely this, but hell yeah. Lol its always the tendency that you least expect, that has the most to offer.
Viva la Revolucion internacional!!
@el chaco, OK I think I misunderstood what you were saying about the mass strike. I agree with you that riots have lots of limitations that need to be overcome but I think that various factors like the strength of the union bureaucracy here and the anger building up disorganized rebellions are a strong possibility and those of us who want to help work toward socialism I think should prepare for how to help transcend the limitations of those struggles in the direction of more organized and more political struggles. I didn’t mean they’d be a breakthrough on their own but they might be the initial break through the current logjam (like OWS had the potential to become but failed) *if* they are then able to transcend their limitations. Does that make sense?
“Hey, by the way! That revolutionary transit website is super dope! Thanks for sharing that.” No problem, I’d be interested to hear more feedback on that from AtS comrades.