Texans hit the streets on May 1 for immigration reform and against the new Arizona anti-immigrant law. The Dallas newspaper estimated 28,000 in the "Mega-March" there. Houston communists estimated their crowd at 10,000; and the Texas AFL-CIO estimated that there were 10,000 marching in Austin. Crowds were not as big as those of 2006, when Congress last considered immigration reform and hopes were high, but they were much larger than most protests in this state.
One reason that Texas drew big crowds had to do with fear that right-wingers in Texas government would pass a similar law here. Both major governor candidates have taken their distance from the Arizona law, according to the Dallas newspaper.
For the most part, arguments for and against immigration reform are framed as a matter of racism or of intolerance. However, the materialist approach is entirely different and completely superior.
Materialists look at the situation as it is and as it is changing. We evaluate possible outcomes of different activities and choose whichever is best. We don't fall into the idealistic trap of arguing abstract concepts of "legal" and "illegal" or "right" and "wrong." After all, slavery was completely legal and usually considered to be endorsed by scripture in our country for hundreds of years.
In 1999, the AFl-CIO gave up its century-old policy of calling for all undocumented workers to be deported and began, instead, to call for organizing all workers regardless of their immigration status. The old system had worked well -- but only for the bosses!
What the workers got from the old system was lower wages, as the bosses manipulated their government to bring undocumented workers in or out as employers wanted. American workers have nothing to lose at the hands of immigrants, but we lose consistently at the hands of our capitalist bosses. When we organize and raise somebody's wages, we tend to push our own living standards up as well!
There are relatively few middle and upper class people among the undocumented. Nearly all of them are workers, and the same rules of worker solidarity apply to them as they do to any other worker. In this photo, workers at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Dallas came out to urge the Mayday marchers on!
One of the important issues facing young immigrants is the "Dream Act"that would give college students the chance to finish school and use what they have learned to build a better life.
Another important issue has to do with the way that deportations divide families. Children born in the United States are citizens, while their parents and other important adults may be subject to deportation!
The racist, and probably illegal, law passed in Arizona is uniting those who seek immigration reform in America.
Even larger demonstrations are probably coming!