This statement will be distributed by supporters of the SEP at protests organized throughout the US on Saturday, June 30. A pdf version is available for you to download and distribute at a rally in your area. Contact the SEP if you would like to join a team.
Today’s demonstrations against the attack on immigrants take place amid a series of dangerous, unprecedented attacks by the Trump administration that have shocked and horrified the entire world.
Two thousand children remain separated from their parents, held in cages or detention centers throughout the US. The Navy announced last week it plans to build a network of “austere” concentration camps to house 120,000 people.
In Trump v. Hawaii, the US Supreme Court handed Trump a major political victory by upholding his anti-Muslim travel ban, giving him unbridled power to exercise “executive authority” and paving the way for further authoritarian measures. With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump will now have the power to move the court even further to the right.
Trump has coupled these maneuvers with fascistic language. He has called for the abolition of due process for immigrants, tweeting recently, “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order.”
These words are all too reminiscent of the speeches of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.
There is growing opposition to the persecution of immigrants, as evidenced by today’s demonstrations. But this opposition requires a clear political focus and perspective.
1. The attack on immigrants is an international phenomenon and there is no viable national strategy to defend immigrants.
The UN published figures showing that the number of people forced to flee war, violence, persecution and oppression reached 69 million in 2017, setting a record for the fifth straight year. These immigrants are escaping poverty and violence that are the product of imperialist war, led by the US, which has destroyed countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.
In Europe, the ruling classes are whipping-up xenophobia to scapegoat immigrants from Africa and the Middle East for the loss of jobs and wages.
In Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere, far-right parties have risen to prominence in the vacuum produced by the pro-corporate, pro-war policies of the so-called “left.”
2. The attack on immigrants is an effort to divert attention from the real cause of poverty and inequality: the capitalist system.
Trump claims that his racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant policies are a defense of the jobs and wages of native-born workers, casting immigrants as the source of “crime” and social decay.
These are lies meant to divide the working class and pit one section against another for the crumbs allotted for wages, benefits and essential social services by an obscenely wealthy ruling elite. At the source of the crisis of working class living standards in every country is the vast monopolization of wealth by a tiny financial aristocracy.
3. The Democratic Party is responsible for the attack on immigrants and the growing threat posed by the military to democratic rights.
Before Trump, Barack Obama deported 2.7 million people, earning the nickname “deporter-in-chief.” For the first two years of the Trump administration, the Democrats have sought to divert and dissipate opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and channel it behind their warmongering anti-Russia campaign.
As for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who was asked on CNN if he was in favor of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency that is overseeing the Gestapo-like attack on immigrants, he declared: “I think what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way. … What we need is Trump to sit down with members of Congress and work on a rational program which deals with this serious issue.”
This is a capitulation to Trump’s anti-immigrant program. A “rational” immigration plan, in the eyes of the Democrats and Sanders, is one that jails or deports millions of immigrants, fortifies the border with military technology, and forces thousands of refugees fleeing poverty and violence to die in the desert.
4. The social force that can and must halt the drive toward dictatorship is the working class, the central target of the assault on democratic rights.
The conflict between Trump and the Democrats is a conflict between two reactionary factions of the ruling elite. A genuine movement against Trump must come from below, from the broad mass of the population, the working class, which is completely excluded from political life. Such a movement must treat association with the Democratic Party and all its operatives as the greatest political danger.
This year has seen significant expressions of working class struggle, which have developed independently of and in opposition to the corporatist trade unions aligned with the Democratic Party. These struggles must be extended to every section of the working class.
The defense of immigrants must be connected to the fight against inequality, the attack on jobs and healthcare, soaring student debt, and the destruction of public education. It must be rooted in an understanding that the attack on immigrants is an attack on all workers, and that the police-state methods of rule that are being developed will be used against all opposition to the policies of the ruling class.
Fight for socialism! Join the Socialist Equality Party!
The Socialist Equality Party demands:
- The formation of workplace, neighborhood, and school committees to mobilize friends, coworkers, and family in defense of immigrants under threat of arrest or deportation!
- The immediate release of all children detained in the United States, as well as all immigrants detained in camps and detention centers around the world!
- The abolition of the American Gestapo—Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection!
- Open borders! The right of workers to live and work anywhere they choose without fear of harassment or deportation.
- The provision of trillions of dollars in public services and job programs to all workers, immigrant and non-immigrant alike!
The Socialist Equality Party is spearheading the fight to connect the defense of immigrants with a revolutionary, socialist movement of the international working class. It advances a socialist program for a workers’ government to secure the rights of the working class, expropriate the wealth of the financial oligarchy, transform the giant banks and corporations into publicly-controlled utilities, and establish workers control over the workplace and the process of production.