By Freedom Road Socialist Organization, May 2010
On Friday, April 23rd, Republican Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed SB1070. This law makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant and requires police to stop and arrest people who they suspect of being undocumented. While the law will not go into effect for more than three months, some police and sheriffs in Arizona are already stopping and arresting Latinos, including native-born citizens.
This law legalizes racial profiling of Latinos and Native Americans and is a step back to the days of Jim Crow segregation in the South when African Americans were second-class citizens. It is a green light to racist police to unleash terror among Chicanos, Mexicanos, Central Americans and indeed anyone who looks Latino, speaks with an accent, or is otherwise “suspicious.”
SB1070 is part of a right-wing offensive against the “Browning of America.” It is an intensification of oppression of Chicanos and Mexicanos. Thirty percent of Arizona’s population is now Chicano and Mexicano. Together with Native Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans, oppressed nationalities and indigenous people make up 45% of Arizona. Immigration from Mexico and Central America is making the Chicano Nation stronger. The Chicano people of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas have been forged into a nation through their history of racist oppression and economic exploitation in the Southwest. This nation has a right to self-determination.
The Chicano people have a history of fighting back. The struggle of Chicano mine workers for equality and the struggle of Chicana women for equal participation in the movement was dramatized in 1954 classic “Salt of the Earth.” In the 1960s, the fight of Chicano, Mexicano, and Filipino farm workers to unionize mobilized support from across the nation. Chicano youth walked out of their high schools in the 1960s to protest their inferior education, and in 1970s tens of thousands of Chicanos marched in the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles, the single largest protest against the war in Vietnam in an oppressed nationality community.
Five years ago the racist Sensenbrenner bill, HR4437, that would have criminalized the undocumented, passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives. In response, more than a million people, mainly Chicano, Mexicano, and Central American, poured into the streets on May 1, 2006 to protest this bill, demand legalization and a stop to raids and deportations.
Today, outrage about the racist SB1070 is also inspiring a wave of people’s struggle. High school students have walked out their classes and there are almost daily protests around Arizona. There is a broad call for people outside of Arizona to boycott the state and its leading businesses. Many people recall the boycott of Arizona called by African Americans over the states refusal to recognize the Martin Luther King, Junior birthday as a legal holiday.
May 1 is a day of struggle for immigrant rights. Freedom Road Socialist Organization will raise the following slogans:
- Legalization not Raids and Deportations!
- Expand Legal Immigration and No Guest Worker Program!
- Stop the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border!
- Full Equality for the Chicanos, Mexicanos, and Central Americans!
- Self-determination for the Chicano Nation!
- And last but not least: BOYCOTT ARIZONA!