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Vol. 72/No. 34      September 1, 2008

Calero backs immigrant rights in Delaware
(front page)
GEORGETOWN, Delaware—“There is no ‘immigration problem,’” Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, told a group of workers here August 16.

“The rulers in this country want to pit workers against each other, to drive down wages, and worsen the conditions of all. Immigrant workers don’t take jobs away from anybody,” said Calero. The solution is not restricting immigration, in fact immigrants’ struggles strengthen the working class, added the socialist candidate. “The solution is in uniting together, immigrant and U.S.-born, to fight for union protection and jobs for all.”

Calero and his running mate, Alyson Kennedy, were certified for the Delaware ballot in June. Many people the socialist candidate spoke to were glad to hear a working-class candidate was participating in the presidential elections.

Calero was invited to set up a campaign table by Hidalgo Wilson, a Cuban-American shopkeeper who runs a convenience store on Race Street. Many area workers shop and eat on the block.

Wilson joined Calero and invited people to stop at the table to hear about the socialist campaign.

Georgetown is located on the Delmarva peninsula, home to many of the nation’s largest poultry plants as well as numerous chicken farms. The town’s population of 5,000 includes a large number of immigrant workers, many from Guatemala, as well as a substantial African American community.

Calero talked to a number of workers from both the Perdue plant in Georgetown and the Mountaire Farms poultry plant in nearby Salisbury, Maryland. Workers at the Perdue plant told him about attempts to bring in a union at that plant, and about the conditions there, especially the production line speed.

Several told the campaigners that la migra, the hated immigration cops from the Department of Homeland Security, had made a number of arrests on the street during the last couple of days.

Calero explained that championing demonstrations for legalization of undocumented workers, like those held on May Day the last three years, is a life-and-death question for the labor movement. The employers and their government strive to divide foreign-born workers from native-born in order to weaken the labor movement, he said.

Many agreed with Calero that organizing unions and transforming them into capable fighting organizations is necessary to defend life and limb.

A young man who works as a chicken catcher for Mountaire in Salisbury told Calero that he and his team of eight catchers are responsible for capturing and caging tens of thousands of chickens a day, while trying to avoid the birds’ sharp claws and beaks.

Another shopkeeper at Joe’s Market across the street took a pile of SWP campaign brochures and placed them on the front counter. He handed them out and introduced people to Calero as he campaigned at the store. A worker who stopped at the table suggested to campaign supporters making an announcement on the local Spanish-language radio station the next time they set up a table.

Over the course of the afternoon, 24 people bought copies of the Militant and four bought subscriptions.
Related articles:
Workers at Virginia airport protest raid
Anti-immigrant bill defeated in Nebraska town  
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