Statement by Travis Morales
to the March for Dignity and Amnesty:
We Need a Determined and Defiant
Movement of Resistance

Revolutionary Worker #1026, October 17, 1999

The "March for Dignity and Amnesty" will take place on October 16 in Washington, D.C., organized by the National Coalition for Dignity and Amnesty of Undocumented Immigrants. The demands of the march are: Respect for human and civil rights of immigrants, indigenous people and the poor; General amnesty for all undocumented immigrants; Stop the immigration officials from raiding and deporting immigrants; Work permits for all; Fair wages for all workers; Stop the attacks on bilingual education. Following is a statement of solidarity to the march from Travis Morales, supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and member of La Resistencia.

Revolutionary greetings to all the compañeras y compañeros marching in the streets of Washington, D.C. Your actions today are an important contribution toward defeating all attacks on all immigrants. Together, we are all part of this growing national movement.

Our struggle has advanced since hundreds of thousands were mobilized against Proposition 187 in California. Tens of thousands marched three years ago in Washington, D.C. In California José Palacios was convicted of a felony for refusing to deny driver's licenses to immigrants without papers at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Over 1,200 were jailed in protests demanding that the cops who shot down African immigrant Amadou Diallo in New York be charged with murder. Many have marched and occupied school buildings in defense of ethnic studies and bilingual education.

Our fight has come a long way. But we still have a ways to go. The last seven and one-half years of the Clinton administration have seen some of the most vicious assaults on immigrants in several decades. Reagan and Bush had nothing on Clinton when it comes to attacking people from other countries in the U.S. The border has been turned into an armed camp. Thousands of Border Patrol and military personnel have been deployed with the latest high-tech battlefield weaponry. The military blockades at the border mean people are shot down by the Border Patrol or die by drowning in the Río Grande, heat stroke in the desert, or freezing to death in the mountains as they are driven to cross in more dangerous areas. Hundreds are dying each year in the U.S.-produced killing fields at the Mexico-U.S. border.

Our struggle can and must grow much bigger. We need a determined and defiant movement of resistance. We must unite and involve many more people of all nationalities. The government tells us that people come here to steal our jobs and take advantage of welfare. We say that people are driven from their homelands and come to the U.S. to survive, and that all people have a right to survive, regardless of legal status. The government tells us that merely by crossing the border without permission, a person from another country is a criminal and has no right to stay here. We say being an immigrant is not a crime, human life is more important than laws. The government has passed new laws requiring health care and social workers to report the undocumented to the INS. We say people with legal status have the responsibility to defy and resist unjust laws, to struggle alongside our sisters and brothers who have been deemed "illegal" and protect them.

Clinton has tried to pose as a friend of immigrants, praising those "good immigrants" who play by the rules. But he is like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Shortly after taking office, Clinton announced a new major offensive in the war on immigrants when he said, "The simple fact is that we must not, and we will not, surrender our borders to those who wish to exploit our history of compassion and justice." What the hell are these tonterías??!! What the hell is he, and the rich capitalists that he represents, talking about??!!

The "compassion" of these capitalists telling people who have worked here for years, pouring their very life into picking their crops, sewing their clothes or building their houses, that in their old age they cannot receive medical care? The "compassion" of telling our children that they must go hungry because they are now denied food stamps? The "compassion" of New York police pumping 19 bullets into Amadou Diallo? The "compassion" of Houston police breaking into Pedro Oregón's apartment and shooting him 12 times in the back? The "compassion" of denying millions the right to legally work and giving employers the green light to super-exploit them because the workers don't have the "proper documents"? The "compassion" of rounding up hundreds of thousands of people, ripping them away from their families, and deporting them back to the countries of their birth because the government has branded them "criminal aliens"?

Clinton and all the other officials scream that people from other countries are criminals because they have violated U.S. borders, coming here to survive without permission. I ask the U.S. government: Since when have you NOT violated everyone else's borders? To the Mexicanos in the house: Did the U.S. respect your borders 150 years ago when they stole half of your territory? Are they respecting your borders today as they arm and train the Mexican army to attack and crush the just uprisings of the peasants? To the Haitians: Did the U.S. respect your borders when they invaded so many times and when they put Papa Doc and Baby Doc in power? To the Boriquas: Did the U.S. respect your borders when it invaded in 1898 and has militarily occupied Puerto Rico ever since? To the Dominicanos: did the U.S. respect your borders when the U.S. Marines invaded in 1965?

The United States has absolutely no right to talk about the sanctity of its borders. Its whole history is based on invading, occupying and pillaging other nations and peoples at will. In Mexico, the U.S. is carrying out a scorched earth economic policy with NAFTA, profiting in the billions. They are totally wrecking the economy for the vast majority, driving millions off their farms and out of their jobs, leaving them with no choice but to head north. The Mexico-U.S. border region has been turned into one huge maquiladora. Young Mexican women are paid $3 per day, working with dangerous chemicals in factories run by major U.S. corporations. In California's Imperial Valley migrant farm workers pick the vegetables while evading the Border Patrol. In Central America, after the U.S. devastated the nations there by training, arming and funding death squad governments that killed hundreds of thousands, millions have been left to starve or leave. Everyone who has been forced to come to the U.S. to survive has an absolute right to be here!!!

To U.S. imperialism, the southern border means billions in profits. For those who live there and down south it means immense poverty and misery. But it also means that U.S. imperialism is mass-producing its own gravediggers. Peasants, workers and others throughout Mexico and Central America have come up against the reality of the American Nightmare. Millions have been driven to the border region and further north, trying to work and survive. Millions have come north not because they love the United States but because the crimes of U.S. imperialism have made life impossible. The U.S. rulers fear all these people --and their response is raids, roundups, concentration camps, deportations, militarization, beatings and murders.

We revolutionary communists welcome all these people with diverse experiences in both suffering at the hands of U.S. imperialism and in fighting it. Many have direct experience in the revolutionary struggle in their home countries and have much to teach people living in this country. The southern border is no longer just a way for the U.S. to squeeze billions in profits out of the people. It has become a possible catalyst for tremendous upheaval and social transformation. The millions who have been driven north and into the U.S. hold the potential for not only strengthening the struggle against the attacks on immigrants but for contributing to bringing down the monster of U.S. imperialism.

The U.S. rulers are deeply worried about losing control at the border. We say fine. Lose control. And all of us, from both sides of the border, let's work together to destroy their control. Let's work together to make revolution on both sides of the border as part of advancing the world revolution. Let's work together to put an end to this imperialist madness and create a whole different kind of world, free of their oppression and exploitation.

As Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has said:

"It is certainly a very real possibility, and even a real likelihood, that the revolution in what is now the U.S. when it does come will involve a very significant aspect of the battering down--not only in an ideological sense but literally in terms of the actual way the revolution goes--a battering down of the southern border, or much of the southern border, of the U.S. and very likely the phenomenon of the sweeping up of revolutionary forces from Central America right into the U.S.--horror of horrors and worst nightmares of the imperialists and their social base, but a very good thing and a source of great inspiration and further strength for the proletariat."

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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