Defend and build the movement for immigrant rights--

Confront the Minutemen, August 18!

Leaflet by the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, August 9, 2007.
Also see the report on the demonstration.
(CV #40, August 2007)

The ruling politicians are on a rampage against the 12-13 million undocumented immigrants peacefully living and working in this country. This is part of a class offensive of the rich to beat down all workers and other oppressed people. The August 18 Minutemen march in Seattle is a provocative manifestation of this reactionary offensive.

The ruling class offensive

In Congress, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans have several times united around "comprehensive immigration reform" bills that would treat people without papers as outlaws, enact semi-slave "guest worker" programs, and create a national I. D. card. They would also offer financially expensive paths to citizenship that could take from one to two decades to achieve, with bureaucratic requirements nearly impossible for most people to meet. These Congressional efforts have temporarily fallen apart, but leaders of both parties promise a renewed effort after the presidential election. Moreover, they talk about passing piecemeal attacks before then, one of which would use undocumented youths as cannon fodder in the U. S. war machine.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has not only supported the reactionary reform legislation, but it has stepped up Gestapo-like raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cops, whose budget has been padded in recent years.

This bipartisan political offensive is being conducted on behalf of the employers and very rich--the capitalist class. They not only want to super-exploit migrant workers, but they want to use this super-exploitation as a club to drive down the wages and conditions of all workers, citizens or not. As part of this, they deny the millions of undocumented workers the same rights as everyone else so that they dare not strike or raise their voices in protest against their conditions lest they be deported. And they offer "paths to citizenship" that are so long, costly, and filled with obstacles where one misstep can lead to jail and deportation that many immigrants would dare not register for them. Furthermore, the capitalists and their political mouth-pieces cynically point to the immigrant workers as the cause of unemployment and lack of social services when it's their policies and their system that are the real causes. In this way they pit worker against worker in order to prevent them from uniting as a class in order to wage a fight-back in their common class interests.
The stand of the working class and all progressive people must therefore be that only when immigrant labor has rights and gets organized can the efforts of the capitalists to use them to drive down all workers be foiled. Hence, the necessity of building a powerful movement demanding full rights for all immigrants, now! Part and parcel of building this movement is work to politically isolate and defeat the anti-immigrant Minutemen.

The Minutemen,

pitiful little helpers of the rich

In 2005 the Minutemen split into two groups, but each grouping maintains the same essential stands. The Minutemen differ from the dominant Washington consensus that some path to citizenship (no matter if it's almost impossible) be included in reform in order to sell it to the people. And, they pride themselves for "defending the borders" by migrant hunting and snitching to ICE, and they want to draw more people into this. In this way they objectively help the employers and government by driving migrants into "the shadows", where they're more easily exploited. Further, they help the government and the rich by working to build an anti-immigrant mass movement that would pit the working people against each other. Thus, the Minutemen press and radio shows fear-monger about an "invasion" by "aliens"(!), and "alien criminals"; and they scream that undocumented workers cause unemployment and crumbling social services.

But, according to these scoundrels, they're not racists, they're only interested in enforcing the law! Why, they even say that they're multi-ethnic! And they actually try to get African Americans and other victims of racial discrimination to join their reactionary movement. We're just supposed to forget that Jim Crow was once the law--according to the Minutemen logic, people should have formed groups in that era in order to enforce Jim Crow laws while innocently proclaiming that they weren't really racists. Their logic is also that people should have joined with the racists of the time who shouted that African Americans from the South were "taking 'white' jobs", while also proclaiming that they really weren't racists! But, returning to the real world, the migrants who the Minutemen hunt in the deserts of the Southwest nearly always have brown skins, and the Minutemen press is even "horrified" when some politician they don't like says something in Spanish. Further, U. S. immigration law has always been racist, and the very ICE and Department of Homeland Security that the Minutemen love so much are themselves racist to the core.

The Minutemen's alleged concern about citizen's jobs is equally threadbare. It has not been Mexican or other migrants who've carried out massive layoffs in basic industries across the country, but the capitalists. In fact, unemployment is a product of the capitalist system of production, and it exists in countries that people migrate from, just as much, if not more, as countries that they migrate to. The way to fight unemployment is to build unified movements against plant closings and layoffs, as well as a larger movement demanding work or good compensation for all. Scape-goating "illegal" immigrants sabotages this necessary struggle.

Mobilize for August 18!

Politicians at all levels of government have long been making the same racist anti-immigrant appeals as the Minutemen do, so there's nothing new or original in them. But this shows that work to politically isolate the Minutemen among the masses by debunking their rubbish also serves to politically isolate the politicians of the anti-immigrant establishment. It's therefore an important part of building the immigrant rights movement. Furthermore, the Minutemen have been holding rallies and marches all over the country during the past months in order to build up their reactionary movement, and this should not go unchallenged. In fact, in Los Angeles and other cities the "feared" Minutemen have more than once had the wind taken out of their sails when large numbers of workers, youth, national minorities and other progressive people surrounded them, denounced them, and broke up their rallies. In Seattle we should strive to build a movement that can do the same. Several groups have already called an anti-Minutemen action against their scheduled Seattle Center rally and, to prepare for it, we think that this call should be spread more widely among the masses of people.

Down with the Minutemen!
An injury to immigrants is an injury to all workers!
Full rights for all immigrants, now!

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
August 9, 2007

Meet at the foot of the Space Needle, Saturday, August 18, 12:00 noon

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September 8, 2007.