Last Thursday members of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor attended a rally entitled “No to Visa and Immigration Ban”. The demonstration was organized by a group called Academics United, to oppose the Trump administration’s ban on immigrants and refugees. Similar rallies were held simultaneously all over the country.
Several hundred university students, other young people from the area and university staff took part in the demonstration in Ann Arbor despite bitterly cold temperatures and no promotion from the university itself.
Members of the IYSSE distributed information for their own meeting on the defense of immigrants’ rights held later that evening. One member, Carlos Delgado, spoke at the open microphone after the official speeches were over.
Most of Delgado’s speech was caught on camera phone and can be viewed below:
Delgado stressed that while the anger and demonstrations against the ban were important signs of the widespread eagerness to fight against the reactionary Trump administration, the central question students and young people face is one of political perspective and orientation.
“The fight against the Trump administration and the reactionary social forces that it represents is not merely a fight against an individual or a single political party; it is a fight against a social and economic system—the system of capitalism, from which all forms of oppression, chauvinism, reaction and war arise.”
He also stressed that Trump’s policies did not simply fall out of the sky or represent a reversal of previous policies. Rather the groundwork for the attack on immigrants was paved by both political parties. These efforts were dramatically increased under the Obama administration, which deported 2.5 million immigrants, more than all previous administrations combined.
Delgado warned students that the Democrats, just as much as the Republicans, were responsible for the illegal and criminal wars in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia that have created the worst refugee crisis since World War II. He warned that the extreme nationalism and anti-immigrant policies being carried out were part of the broader breakdown of global capitalism, and were driving the ruling class to larger wars and harsher repression of workers and youth.
He outlined some of the basic demands of the Socialist Equality Party and the IYSSE. “We call for the dismantling of ICE and the US Border Patrol completely. We uphold the principle of open borders and the free movement of labor, the right of workers to live and work in whatever country they choose with full citizenship rights.”
He urged “students and young people to turn to the working class, the great producing mass in society which has an objective interest in overthrowing the system which exploits them. A mass international revolutionary movement must be built within the working class for the overthrow of capitalism and the reorganization of society on the basis of socialism.”