May 8, 2006
On May 3, the Minuteman Project kicked off a 10-day cross-country caravan to Washington, D.C. with a rally in Leimert Park, the heart of the traditional black section of south Los Angeles. The Minuteman Project is the anti-immigrant group that has gotten itself a lot of publicity for its supposed “patrols” of the border to stop so-called “illegal invaders.” On the stage with Minuteman leader Jim Gilchrist was a well-known black advocate for the homeless, Ted Hayes, who echoed much of what Gilchrist said about “illegal invaders” taking jobs and then demonstrably gave Gilchrist a big hug.
This supposed rally was little more than a cheap publicity stunt, and it got the tiny turnout that it deserved.
However, even though the rally was a flop, it still illustrates a political calculation that is being made by the extreme-right wing – that it can extend its base of support for anti-immigrant policies to part of the black population. After all in Los Angeles, there have been sporadic but ongoing clashes between Latinos and black people in schools, on the job and most spectacularly in prisons and jails. In the last few weeks, radio talk shows on black stations have been filled with anti-immigrant tirades. Black newspapers have been bombarded by letters blasting “illegal” immigrants. These reflect the ever worsening situation in the black population concerning jobs – a stark reality in which 70% of black men without high school diplomas between ages 20 and 30 are without work today, even while the capitalists continue to hire immigrants without papers at the lowest wages.
As the bourgeoisie cuts good-paying jobs and reduces funding for schools and other social services, it pits the most desperate parts of the immigrant community against the most vulnerable parts of the black population, creating an ever more explosive situation.
To defend themselves, workers have to respond with force to every attempt to cut jobs, lower wages and get rid of benefits. This means all the workers – black and white native-born, Hispanic native-born, immigrants who have legal status and immigrants without legal papers. The working class has strength only when it’s unified and mobilized. To oppose the attacks being carried out by the bosses, workers have to break through the things that divide them. These divisions were created by the bosses and serve only the bosses.
When any part of the working class is denied full legal status, every part can be more easily attacked.
Full legal rights for every worker! Jobs with decent pay for every worker! Down with violent reactionaries like the Minutemen, who are nothing but another KKK!