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Vol. 81/No. 18      May 8, 2017

(lead article, Socialist Workers Party statement)

Socialist Workers Party: Amnesty for immigrants!

All out for May 1 protests! No deportations!

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights/E. Abreu Visuals
Chanting “Amnesty now, yes we can,” hundreds marched in Washington Heights in New York City April 23 as part of actions promoting nationwide protests set for May 1. Marches, rallies and work stoppages are planned in scores of cities and towns coast to coast.
Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Seattle, released this statement April 26.

All out on May Day! No to deportations! Amnesty for all immigrants in the U.S.! Join the fight to unify the working class and build our unions!

The propertied rulers in the United States need immigrants to maintain a superexploited layer of the working class to drive down the wages of all workers as they seek to bolster their profits and are driven to compete more rapaciously in the midst of a worldwide crisis of capitalist production and trade.

That’s why there are 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. today. It’s part of the normal workings of capitalism. But for the capitalists it’s a two-edged sword. As Henry Ford once complained, “How come when I need a pair of hands in the factory, I always get a human being as well?”

Immigrant workers are just like workers already here — proud of their work and ready to fight against injustice and exploitation. And they bring with them their class-struggle experience, lessons of great value for their U.S.-born fellow workers.

Working people don’t like deportations and raids. Over decades now they’ve gotten to know their immigrant co-workers, some with and others without papers. Polls released this week confirm what we see everyday — support for immigrants among workers is at the highest level in memory, no matter what party they voted for.

Depending on their production needs, the capitalist rulers sometimes open the immigration spigots to attract workers and sometimes try and close them down. Over the last couple decades, under Democrat and Republican alike, the U.S. government has stepped up moves to criminalize workers without papers. Roughly half of those in federal prisons today are workers whose only “crime” is meeting the needs of the capitalist bosses for cheap labor.

The fight against the victimization of immigrant workers is part of the rebirth of May Day as a day of united working-class action.

Today only 6.4 percent of workers in private companies are in a union. That means the bosses are able to cut wages and benefits, speed up production to a back-breaking pace, violate the most elementary safety measures, and trample on the rights of workers almost with impunity.

There is only one way to turn this around: Organize the unorganized! To rebuild the unions, to have a fighting, militant union movement that can take on the bosses, workers need to say: “It doesn’t matter where you were born, the color of your skin, if you have papers or not, what language you speak. Let’s fight together.”

Fighting for amnesty for all immigrant workers in the United States is a life and death question for the unions and the working class.

The same ruling class that is wreaking carnage on working people, seeking to make us pay for their crisis, is waging war against workers in the Mideast and threatening Korea. It’s a war at home and a war abroad.

With the relentless worldwide capitalist economic crisis, there will be more attempts to divide us — Black vs. white, men vs. women, employed vs. jobless, “we” Americans vs. workers elsewhere. If the propertied rulers can’t do this, they’re in trouble — working people are the majority. That’s why they are starting to fear us.

And there is an example we can look to for a future that has meaning. That’s revolutionary Cuba, where workers and farmers overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship in 1959, took power and ruled ever since, offering international solidarity from Angola to Venezuela. We can take political power here and join workers worldwide to build a socialist future.

Join my party, the Socialist Workers Party, along this course. All out for May Day! Amnesty now! Stop the deportations! Organize the unorganized!
Related articles:
Jailed immigrants’ hunger strike won support in Washington
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