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The Continued Need for Our Movements to Connect the Local and National with the International
It is important that any analysis of the electoral, labor, immigrant, and racial inequities in the U. S. include the relations between the local, national, and international. Of primary significance in that analysis must include the U. S. involvement in Ukraine, its policies toward China, and the results of those policies on the working class in the U. S. and the countries of the global south.
Biden’s policies are taking billions away from needed resources in the U. S. to expanding the war in Ukraine; to advancing militarization policies from Japan and South Korea in the northern Pacific to Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore in the south and India and China – as part of policies aimed at encircling China and advancing support for an independent Taiwan. The Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates has resulted in corporate profits being the biggest contributor to inflation. Many neoliberal economists and Western central bank officials have ignored the rise in corporate profits and instead have blamed inflation on workers’ wages. Today’s inflation and the use of economic sanctions throughout the world has caused the U. S. Dollar to continue its dominance, to becoming more expensive, to driving up costs, to deepening poverty conditions, causing food shortages (in the global south, Middle East, North Africa, and worldwide), and forcing increased migration from the South to the North. This soaring inflation and the devaluing of currencies have created a debt crisis in these regions resulting in their currencies depreciating, the U. S. dollar strengthening, and an inability for these countries being able to service their debts.
There is no getting around how the Ukraine war and the economic war with China is affecting many countries of the Global South that are principal trading partners and investors. Argentina, for example has an inflation rate that has reached 100%. As in the debt deal here in the U. S., the governments in the Global South, including eight countries in Latin America who are now led by left administrations, are having to cut health, education, and welfare programs. The result has been massive protests in these countries as well as looking for alternative solutions such as developing their own currencies and regional cooperations (such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as an alternative to the Organization of American States (with a recent meeting where there were agreements on strengthening economic trade cooperation).
In following with the analysis that the families who are coming here from Central America, Mexico, Haiti, Africa, Asian, and Latin America are coming as a result of historical colonization and this country’s foreign policies (that have historically separated immigrants into political and economic refugees based on the relationship between the U. S. and whether it supports the government and policies of their country of origin) we have 450,000 refugees admitted legally to the U. S. in the last two years – and a double standard applied with 300,000 from Ukraine and with Afghanistan and Latin America accounting for the rest.
While the Biden administration has extended Temporary Protective Status for 670,000 immigrants from 16 countries (a program that Trump wanted to terminate) – and a (temporary – 2-year) parole program for up to 360,000 immigrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the administration has followed up its support of asylum bans similar to those implemented by Trump (such as Title 42 that was used to deport nearly 3 million asylum seekers) with another measure prohibiting immigrants and refugees from seeking asylum at the border without first applying for protection in a country they passed through (a measure blocked this week – by a federal judge in California). Meanwhile, three Republican governors are implementing a strategy, proposed by Trump back in 2018, to bus and fly thousands of immigrants from the border to sanctuary cities and places such as Martha’s Vineyard. The xenophobic strategy is now part of the election campaigns of right-wing politicians and candidates, including Trump, who are placing the immigration issue at the top of their agendas in criticizing the Biden administration for its “lax” immigration policies.
There is no getting around the existence of world capitalism and the economic wars that are going on and how they affect our internal politics and economics. There is a continued need to deepen our vision for systemic change, something that the social movements in the Global South are dealing with in overcoming the obstacles of international capitalism and neo-liberalism.
There is the need for a social movement that includes organizing for peace and channeling needed resources to climate change and quality of life – a movement that is able to cross borders and build alliances with movements in the Global South with strategies that are aimed at the same source that is fueling militarization, sanctions, encirclement, scapegoating and corporate profits at the expense of working people, a movement that organizes our communities against immigration and refugee policies that only focus on enforcement, that fights for policies that will lead to permanent residency and citizenship for our immigrant and refugee families, and that steps-up citizenship drives and voter turn-out efforts to expand the number of representatives who can advance systemic changes for our quality of life and for global pro-immigrant and non-exploitative development policies.
UCLA Labor Center project director Victor Narro and Pitzer College professor José Calderón have released a new book as part of the “Taking Freedom” book series collaboration between SEIU’s Racial Justice Center, the MIT CoLab, and CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. Organizing Lessons: Immigrant Attacks and Resistance! features a collection of essays from immigrant rights activists, labor activists, and activist scholars working for immigrant and workers’ rights.
“The road to securing justice for immigrants and workers is a long and challenging one. Yet, the history of resistance movements is dense with stories of inspiring resilience, tenacity, and solidarity,” said Narro. “My hope for this book is to document and share these historic moments, so that we can better understand and utilize the power that the intersectional, multiracial immigrant rights movement has built.”
The book’s essays also articulate how immigration policy is related to larger questions of nation building, racialization, political participation, and social and economic inequality, alongside discussing the vibrant and increasingly intersectional organized resistance against repressive policies within the immigrant rights and labor movements.
“I am honored to co-author this anthology, as part of the Taking Freedom Series, which is aimed at sharing lessons of participatory research, learning, and organizing from the past and in the present,” said Calderón. “The readings in this anthology draw out lessons on the importance of building multiracial and intersectional solidarity in our immigrant rights, labor, and community-based movements: to fight alongside our communities against immigration and refugee policies that only focus on enforcement; to organize for policies that will immediately lead to permanent legalization with no expansion of temporary guest worker (bracero) programs and with labor law protections; and to cross borders in building international solidarity to turn around the neo-liberal systemic policies that have historically served only the interests of capital and multinational corporations.”
Included in the book are two articles authored by UCLA Labor Center staff: “The 2006 Immigrant Uprising: Origins and Future” by UCLA Labor Center director Kent Wong, project director Janna Shadduck-Hernández, and Narro, as well as “The Future of Work: Organize the Immigrant Workers” by Wong.
Organizing Lessons is available in digital format for free. To support classroom, workshop, and organizing discussions, a set of guiding questions accompanies each chapter.
Link of digital format of book for free:
The 6 to 3 decision by the Supreme Court rejecting affirmative action at colleges and universities brings to mind an article that I wrote awhile back whose arguments are still relevant today.
The decision comes at a time when there is an increasing trend of competition for resources with some students and conservative organizations claiming that there is “reverse” discrimination in the admissions policies of numerous colleges. The cases are also coming when there is increasing competition for limited local and federal education funds and when racial discrimination is being written off as though it did not exist anymore. Memory is short, and some critics have forgotten how segregation divided this country not too long ago.
Today, there are those who argue that affirmative action has resulted in the development of a growing middle class among underrepresented minorities. They also argue that such policies do not serve the needs of those who are stuck at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. What they fail to point out is how affirmative action has helped in opening the doors to social mobility for some of these same individuals now in the “middle class.”
Critics also argue that we need “class-based” solutions such as full employment, national health care and quality education that can pull everyone up simultaneously. What they fail to point out is how people of color, even if they reach middle-class status, confront unequal resources and a glass ceiling that prevents them from moving into managerial positions.
Critics are hiding behind the argument that we need to strive for a “color blind” society, arguing that affirmative action only serves to divide working people by allowing one group to benefit at the expense of another. This logic leaves out that specific groups, because of racism and sexism, have been historically excluded or left at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. It leaves out the historical existence and use of special preferences for those who are more privileged, such as the children of large donors or alumni.
Affirmative action has not only resulted in diversifying our campuses with more women and students of color, but it has also been part of a movement to diversify the curriculum. Affirmative action has helped to pave the way for underrepresented groups to attend college, to graduate and to write the histories of individuals who have been excluded or left out. Affirmative action has been part of including these voices, to explain why one group got stratified at one level as compared to another and to interpret why some groups were institutionalized at the lowest levels of the society.
There would be no need for affirmative action if every individual who wanted to attend college were granted that right.
In the meantime, we need to support efforts that consider race, ethnicity, gender, and economic status in admissions policies. Real unity among all those concerned will be brought about as we direct our energies to the policy-making arena and promote the idea that there is no contradiction in preserving affirmative action alongside “class- based” solutions.
Purchase Your Tickets by March 27th!
Latino and Latina Roundtable is happy to announce our 19th Annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast.
Come celebrate with us by recognizing student activists and community leaders and honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez at our annual breakfast. Congratulations to all the honorees!
Please save the date for our breakfast and make sure to RSVP as soon as possible!
Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available.
For questions and more information call (909) 480-6267
MARCH MEMBERSHIP MEETING
You are invited to join us this Saturday March 18th for a virtual membership meeting via zoom.
The agenda includes a presentation on Safety Net for All (SB227) or Red de Seguridad para Todes which aims to provide unemployment benefits to excluded undocumented workers.
We will also share information about our upcoming event, our 19th Annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast.
Please join us from 1-2:30 pm using the information below.
Latino/a Roundtable Membership Virtual Meeting 3.18.23
Time: Mar 18, 2023 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 6326 3131
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Latino and Latina Roundtable invites you to save the date for our 19th Annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast Celebration. We will be hosting this event at the Fairplex in Pomona. Stay tuned for more information!
For sponsorship opportunities please call (909) 480-6267