The Spark

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

Fueling a Climate of Anti-Immigrant Hate

Jul 19, 2010

Two Utah state employees released a list of 1,300 Hispanic state residents who they claimed were possible undocumented immigrants. They gave the list to news media and law enforcement agencies in the state. They violated privacy and confidentiality by using information held by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. The list included addresses and Social Security numbers of the individuals, as well as whether the women on the list were pregnant, and their expected due dates!

In doing this, these reactionary idiots have exposed every person on that list to the danger of terrorist attacks against them – just when such attacks are on the rise.

That danger exists because of a climate of hate set by governments, politicians and media at all levels of the country.

Just south of Utah, in Arizona, a law is set to take effect which will make it legal for police to demand to see citizenship papers of anyone who fits the “profile” of an “illegal immigrant.” That is, anyone who looks Hispanic or “foreign” can be subjected to repeated harassment, merely on the basis of their appearance.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just sent the California National Guard to the border with Mexico – a massive military mobilization that can only pump up a feeling of panic in the population.

The Obama administration may have gone to court to block the Arizona law; but in fact, it has carried out an even worse attack at the federal level. Barack Obama has proven even more vehement in attacking immigrants than Bush was. Federal prosecution of immigrants has overwhelmed court systems in the southern border states. There were 4,145 cases referred to federal prosecutors in March and April, more than any other two-month period. Prosecutions included deportation cases against immigrants found to have a criminal record – even legally documented immigrants who had nothing more than an ordinary misdemeanor on their records.

The New York Times reported that the Obama administration has, in addition to carrying out overt immigration raids on workplaces, shifted to “silent raids” – audits requiring companies to fire undocumented workers. This has led to many immigrant workers losing their jobs, including workers with young families.

At the same time, deportations have skyrocketed, from 185,944 in 2007 to 387,790 last year – the highest number ever recorded in the U.S.

This is all presented as if it will solve the problems of unemployment for the rest of the working class. That is a complete lie.

In the first place, in some communities the economic hit has been catastrophic, as cars and appliances were returned and mortgages defaulted on – and that has an impact on other workers.

But even more so, the attack on immigrants undermines the strength of the working class. The WHOLE working class, including immigrant workers, has been under attack for years, by a capitalist class that has found ways at every turn to squeeze more labor out of fewer workers, creating higher and higher unemployment and driving wages ever lower.

The strength of the working class is its force of numbers, when united against this enemy.

The idea that you can protect yourself by attacking another part of your own class, while leaving your REAL enemy alone – that is a recipe for defeat. And all these actions by officials, and all the hype in the media, are designed to push that idea.

The politicians may cry that these reactionaries in Utah are “deplorable,” and they are. But it’s the politicians themselves who are truly deplorable.