The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Attacks on the Migrants in Texas Are Aimed against the Whole Working Class

Feb 4, 2024

A caravan dubbing itself “God’s Army” has reached Eagle Pass, Texas. Leaving Virginia five days ago, it now includes about 200 vehicles, whose declared purpose is “to secure our borders” and to reinforce Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Abbott pushed laws through his state’s legislature making migration into Texas illegal. Migrants who do get across the border are subject to prison—as is anyone who might aid them or offer them a place to stay when they get here. He presents himself as a “patriot,” leading the charge against what he calls the “migrant invasion.”

It is a dishonest, calculated attempt by a slimy politician to appear radical. And it is aimed far beyond the fools in the caravan who dub themselves “god’s agents.” Abbott plays to the insecurity touching a large part of the working class—white, black and Latino.

Abbott is not the only politician to play on our worries: “they are taking our jobs;” “they are driving down our wages;” “they are bringing in drugs and crime with them.”

We’ve all heard this litany of abuse that politicians of both parties direct against migrants attempting to come into the country. It is like the abuse heaped on the heads of black workers, aimed at fanning the flames of racism among whites.

It is not innocent, this language. It is not harmless. Its aim is to set up scapegoats, to divert our attention from the forces that ARE taking our jobs, from the economy that IS driving down our wages, and from the capitalist system that creates poverty, from which crime inevitably springs.

Who is taking our jobs? Look around you. Every workplace is driven by the push for greater productivity—meaning fewer people are working harder to put out more production. So jobs are cut. And who is taking the jobs? The bosses are—the same companies that freeze our wages while inflation cuts our paychecks, so they buy less.

Who benefits from inflation? First of all the banks, whose interest rates go up, but above all, the big companies benefit. They raise their prices faster than the rate of inflation, thus raking in more profit.

Yes, of course, the corporations are happy to have a whole large section of the workforce which has to take lower wages. And, yes, the migrants’ lower wages drive down other workers’ wages—just as two-tier in auto kept the wages of “legacy” workers frozen for over a decade.

But why do migrants—or immigrants as they used to be called—have to work for a lower wage? Because they have no rights. Politicians like Abbott, Trump, Biden, Obama, Bush and Clinton made them “illegal” with their laws.

The migrants will keep coming here because the capitalists want them here. They want a section of the workforce without any rights, a section that can be used against the rest of the workers.

Sometimes, they even bring them here. In Mississippi, black workers at chicken processing plants formed a union, and began to strike for higher wages and safer conditions. The bosses in that industry went to Mexico and hired workers from there, shipping them in to break the union. Today, the food processing industry in the South is made up of immigrants, many of them “illegal.” Slaughterhouses are employing 14-year-old migrant children—often in the most dangerous jobs.

The best protection for our jobs and wages is to fight so every worker has a decent job, every worker a decent wage. The best protection for all of us is the fight to make the migrants “legal.”

If there are too many workers for not enough jobs, then fight to spread the work around, with no one’s paycheck getting cut. Productivity can let us all work fewer hours—for more money.

We can’t stop the onslaught on migrants at just one workplace. But we can struggle so our whole class recognizes we are one class, migrant & native-born, black and white and Latino. This is our guarantee for success in future fights.