Workers of all nationalities,
support full rights for all immigrant workers!

(from Detroit Workers' Voice #73, May 1, 2008, which also has an appeal to support the American Axle strikers)

. The struggle for full rights for the so-called "illegal" immigrant workers deserves the support of all workers, regardless of nationality or country of birth. In the past couple of years millions of immigrant workers and their supporters have taken to the streets to fight anti-immigrant legislation proposed in Congress. The worst proposals were beat back, but the problems facing the undocumented workers persist. Millions of poor foreign-born workers are treated as criminals merely because they want to work and support their families; they have been forced to come here due to the crushing poverty and lack of jobs in their homelands. The undocumented immigrants face low pay. They must live an underground existence lest they be swept up in raids by the immigration authorities. And they are scapegoated for unemployment and other social ills caused by the capitalist system itself.

. Workers in the US! Do not fall for the scapegoating! It's not undocumented workers who have taken away a million jobs from the unionized auto plants over the last three decades ­ it's the billionaire corporations! If we allow our foreign-born class brothers and sisters to be worked to death and paid starvation wages, that will only help the capitalists drive us all down. The only solution is full rights for immigrants so that they can organize and fight for better wages and conditions. This will strengthen the class struggle here and make things better for all workers, whether native or foreign-born.

The capitalist politicians vs. rights for the undocumented workers

. The big-shot politicians represent the capitalist class, not the exploited workers, whether immigrant or native-born. This is true of both the Democrats and the Republicans. They both aim to oppress the immigrant workers. But they are divided over the best way to do this.

. Some politicians, including most Congressional Republicans, want more police-state measures. They back the giant wall which is being built on the Mexican border. And they dream of rounding up, jailing, and deporting many of the 12 million "illegals' that are already in the country.

. Other politicians want to ensure that there is an ample supply of immigrants for low-paid jobs. But they agree with the other politicians in demanding more police-state measures, because they want to stop immigrants from organizing for higher wages and other rights. Thus Bush, a minority of congressional Republicans, and most Democrats, have advocated a so-called "comprehensive solution". They talk about a path to legalization for the undocumented workers currently in the US. But the immigrants would remain under constant threat while seeking this legalization. And it would be so hard to obtain legalization that few could get it. There are obstacles like large fines, the threat of deportation for even minor criminal offenses, having to document your entire work history, etc. It might take 15-20 years to become legalized. And a lot of the undocumented immigrants won't be able to take part in the process at all.

McCain, Clinton and Obama:
no friends of the immigrants

. Look at what the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are doing. Republican John McCain used to say he was for legalization. But he has repudiated his own proposal for immigration reform (S1433, the McCain-Kennedy bill). This bill combined anti-immigrant measures with a long, long path to legalization. But today McCain says that bill was too idealistic since it offended those Republicans who want to throw undocumented workers out altogether. So now McCain is waving his fists at undocumented workers. He says he wants to "secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our border are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem".

. Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sound more friendly than McCain. They denounce Bush's immigration raids where parents are deported and separated from their children. But don't be fooled. They back police-measures against immigrants.

. Thus Obama says he wants "stiff penalties" for "illegals" seeking legal status. He would insist they "go to the back of the line" and wait many years for legal status. He has also voted for building the 700-mile wall on the Mexican border.

. Clinton's stand is similar to Obama's. She tells immigrants how much she loves them, but she voted for the 700-mile wall to keep them out. She also backed the McCain-Kennedy bill with its stepped-up militarization of the border and its huge hurdles for those trying to win legal status.

Workers, native and foreign-born,
unite against the capitalists!

. All workers in the US should rally in defense of the so-called "illegals." We share with them a common enemy, the capitalists who are cutting wages and benefits of both native and foreign-born workers. The bosses want to pit one worker against another so we won't unite in strikes and demonstrations and unions and stand up for our rights. But by coming out in public demonstrations for their rights despite their illegal status, the immigrant workers have shown they are a force that can help rebuild a militant workers' movement.

. An injury to one is an injury to all. If immigrant workers suffer special abuse, this makes it easier to abuse all workers. But if all workers unite, we can defend ourselves. Support full rights for immigrant workers, now! Their struggle is not only just, but helps build strong bonds among all workers. []

Support the American Axle strikers!


. We are entering the third month of a bitter strike at American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM). 3,650 workers walked out on February 26, and about half of them are from the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. AAM made a $37 million profit last year, but it wants to cut their wages in half, eliminate retiree health benefits, and replace worker pensions with investment plans.

. Auto workers have taken major wage and benefit cuts at Chrysler, Ford, and GM as well as at auto parts suppliers like Delphi and Dana. Up to now, the worst cuts are usually inflicted on new hires. It is a scandal that the UAW has allowed new hires to be abused like this. But now AAM is demanding that all workers take similar cuts. If AAM gets away with this, there will be a new round of wage-cutting all through the auto industry and beyond.

. Unfortunately, the UAW is led by pro-capitalist bureaucrats who try to get along with the auto capitalists. As a result, the UAW has accepted concessions at one company after another without more than a token fight. But the UAW leadership couldn't bow deep enough to satisfy AAM. Meanwhile rank-and-file workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant have a history of opposing concessions demands, and workers at the AAM plants in New York are upset too. So this time there has been a major strike. The workers are fighting both AAM and the efforts of the UAW leadership to hold back rank-and-file worker militancy. The UAW leadership even called off a major strike rally which was supposed to be held in Hart Plaza on April 18. But a week later, on April 24, workers organized their own spirited march and strike rally outside AAM corporate headquarters in Detroit.

. Thus the workers face a difficult struggle on two fronts: against the greedy capitalist exploiters and against the UAW leadership. But the auto workers are once again showing their fighting spirit. The AAM strikers deserve the support of all workers, whether in auto or other industries.

. An injury to one is an injury to all. As the auto capitalists cut wages, all the other employers cut wages proportionately. On the other hand, the more the American Axle workers fight back, the more hesitant other employers will be to abuse their workers. Let all workers unite in a single class-wide battle. All workers should support the American Axle strikers, just as all workers, native-born or foreign-born, should support full rights for immigrant workers! []

Back to main page, write us!

Modified: August 16, 2008.