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Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Below is the text of a Phoenix Insurgent flyer distributed today to unionists at the Labor Day AFL-CIO picnic, which happened to take place at exactly the same time that thousands of immigrant workers and their supporters were marching downtown in Megamarcha II for basic rights and respect. The AFL-CIO would rather hang out and listen to politicians blow smoke up their asses than go where the real workers struggle is.


Phoenix Insurgent

Solidarity is the basis for all workers struggles. Thousands of immigrant and Latino workers in this state face brutal repression and the threat of deportation from the police and racist vigilantes. And today, right now, thousands of these workers are taking the street in another Megamarcha downtown. This march aims to force the capitalists that benefit from cheap immigrant labor to stop their unjust and exploitative division of workers into legal and illegal categories.

This false division rests on the system of white supremacy, where rights and privileges are given to people in this country based on their skin color. White workers in the US generally benefit from higher wages, first hired/last fired protection, better access to health care, schooling, housing and other vital services, and reduced exposure to the police and prison system. This is part of the false cross-class alliance that binds white workers to the bosses that exploit us.

But because whiteness is a political alliance between bosses and white workers, white workers' relative privilege has come at the expense of people of color at home and abroad. Traditionally, white American labor has fought to reinforce this system, as it did in the 30's when the AFL advocated the deportation of Mexican workers, resulting in the uprooting and expulsion of tens of thousands of Latinos, many of them US citizens. The message was clear: US labor was for whites first and foremost.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, white supremacy is alive and well in this country. As with the AFL's position in the 30's, the racist Minuteman Project, supported by many white workers, proves that when pressed many whites still place their white privilege over their commitment to genuine solidarity. However much advocates for closed borders and deportation may say otherwise, increased policing of one section of the working class (undocumented workers) will impact all of us. Repression against so-called illegal workers will mean increased oppression for all Latino workers, and that will mean an attack on workers and our organizations in general. In this context, legal and illegal serve as codewords for white and non-white. Failure to defend undocumented workers therefore means defending the color line, which in turn guarantees continued profits for the rich. That means more exploitation for all workers.

However, this time some American labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO, have taken a more progressive stand on immigration and the rights of all workers, regardless of legal status. This is the correct position to take, as the bosses rely on workers and our organizations to reinforce the racist division within the working class that the capitalists legislate. This split in the working class is fundamental to the ability of the rich to exploit all labor - and workers of color most of all. To fight back, therefore, we need a genuine solidarity in which white workers stand together with workers of color, demanding equal rights for all and rejecting the false distinction between legal and illegal.

But, regardless of the AFL-CIO's position on immigrant labor, we rank and file must now take our solidarity to the streets. Solidarity is meaningless if it is not backed up by direct action. We call on all workers to join the struggle for immigrant rights. We must support the direct action of our fellow workers who risk everything to make better lives here in this country by demanding amnesty for all immigrants, regardless of how they got here. If it's legal for a television to cross a border, then so should it be for the worker who made it. We should demand an end to racial profiling and racist vigilantism and stand up against them with whatever means necessary. And we should head out to the streets today in support of our fellow workers!


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