The Spark

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

Referendum attacks on immigrants
– aimed against every worker

Nov 13, 2006

Voters in Arizona passed four proposals attacking immigrant workers. The attacks are similar to those passed earlier in the state of Georgia, in the town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and in at least five other U.S. towns.

The Arizona proposals say that illegal immigrants cannot be granted bail if charged with felonies. Illegal immigrants are denied the right to sue for any sort of punitive damages. They are not allowed into state-funded literacy classes or any other state-funded education or social service. A final symbolic proposal prevents state and local governments from using any language but English on official documents in the future.

The Georgia laws signed this past April allow the state to legally fine bosses who hire undocumented workers, to prevent companies with state contracts from hiring undocumented workers, and to deny such workers the right to unemployment or workers’ comp.

The Hazleton, Pennsylvania laws would fine landlords for renting to illegal immigrants. Licenses of bosses who hire these immigrants can be suspended. And English is declared to be the only lawful language for city affairs. Hazleton’s laws are not yet in effect because of a court injunction.

Attacks such as these serve several purposes for politicians and large corporate interests. The attacks are camouflaged as “helping” the ordinary worker who has trouble finding a job and trouble earning enough to pay for things like kids’ tuition, and who pays more and more taxes while seeing less and less benefit.

Corporations with money coming out of their ears cut hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs to boost their profits still higher. They reduce wages and eliminate benefits. They join with politicians to divert workers’ attention away from the enemy who has truly hurt them, onto the immigrant who is supposedly “taking their job.” It’s camouflage.

Immigrants or no, the bosses still won’t pay good wages to anyone who won’t stand up and fight for them. Immigrants or no, the bosses will continue to evade taxes and force workers to pay the difference.

Every law that represses one part of the working class is a roundabout way to attack every worker. Harsher laws against immigrants won’t create jobs. But harsher laws will force a larger number of immigrants to accept even lower wages and even worse conditions, just scratching to survive. Grinning, the bosses will say to everyone else, “See, I can get labor for less. You want a job or not?” When we let the bosses attack any part of the working class, we help them to attack all of us.

If someone works here, someone should have full legal rights. Absolutely no exceptions!

Demand that every boss pay full wages and respect the full legal rights of every worker. It’s the only way for us to protect all of our wages, jobs and working conditions.