The Spark

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

Large demonstration of immigrants on July 1

Jul 18, 2005

On July 1st, a large demonstration of more than 10,000 immigrants took place in the Stockyards area of Chicago. The demonstrators were mostly Hispanic workers, mainly Mexican, but also from Central American countries. Their signs said things like, "Your justice isn't so just," "We are workers not terrorists," "Stop deportations," "Amnesty at a national level," "No discrimination, we are workers," and "All illegals pay taxes." A number of signs referred to children born in the U.S. who are citizens while their parents are not; these parents are in danger of deportation. Other signs referred to couples kept apart by repressive immigration laws.

Though the demonstrators were overwhelmingly workers and many of their signs spoke of being workers, those who organized and spoke at the rally were clearly something else.

This demonstration was called for by a disc jockey nicknamed "El Pistolero" of Spanish language station 105.1 FM and supported by his rival "El Chokalate," of 107.9 FM.

The radio stations that did the most to call out the marchers are themselves big business. 105.1 FM is owned by Univision with 66 radio and 28 television stations and 1.8 billion dollars in sales. 107.9 FM is owned by the Spanish Broadcasting System with 156 million dollars in sales. Not only do these companies get their revenues from the advertising dollars of some of the biggest companies in the country, reflecting their interests; their news broadcasts are as slanted as those of Fox News.

The speakers were Democratic Party politicians like Congressman Luis Gutierrez and others who may oppose the Bush administration, but were fervent supporters of the Clinton administration. During Clinton's presidency deportations and other policies led to deaths among immigrants crossing the border. The politicians were there to get votes in the Hispanic community.

Thousands of workers who turned out protested and articulated their demand for respect, amnesty, and full legal rights, as immigrants and as a part of the working class. But they should have no illusions in those who sought to use them.