Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Proposal to ELN Coordinating Committee on Immigrant Rights' Work" presented to the 2011-07-24 "ELN Central Committee" by Rodrigo Ibarra from "Sacramento LCLAA (AFL-CIO)" and "Alliance for a Just Immigration Policy", translated from the Spanish by Alan Benjamin and published by "El Organizador"
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are facing imminent attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- all in the name of debt-reduction. These attacks are coupled with attacks on collective-bargaining all across the country and with heightened attacks on, and repression against, immigrant workers, particularly undocumented immigrants. The powers-that-be, with this unprecedented assault, are preparing the conditions for a social explosion in this country.
The ELN Action Program calls for building Labor-Community Fightback Committees and Popular Assemblies to promote our overall fight around the central demand of "No Cuts, No Concessions!" -- but also incorporating the other fighting demands of working people and the communities of the oppressed.
It is now time to put this proposal into action. Time is short. The key to our success as the ELN will be our ability to provide an organized framework for workers and the poor to come together, discuss, and take action. Yes, we need to issue appeals to the union and community leaders to take action. But if we are to be effective in building a strong fightback movement, we need to expand our network through organization. These Labor-Community Fightback Committees are the best vehicle to do so. We need to pay special attention at our leadership meetings about how and where we can help get these committees off the ground.
With regard to immigrant workers, it is important that the ELN promote through its web site and its public statements the independent demands and fightback actions of the immigrant rights' movement that are included in Point No. 14 of the Action Program. Immigrant workers are both a central component of the working class, and as such, they are hard hit by all the budget cuts and concessionary demands made by the bosses and the politicians who do their bidding. But they are also members of the community, and they are being scapegoated, criminalized, deported, brutalized and killed by rogue cops (as is occurring today throughout the Central Valley of California) simply because they are Latinos.
The ELN, with its clear independent focus and demands, can help bring together the fighting wing of the immigrant rights' movement -- which has become disenchanted and now angered by Obama's failure to deliver on his promises -- with the fighting wing of the labor movement. It will be necessary for ELN activists and supporters to help build Labor-Community Fightback Committees and local coalitions that tie in the struggle against the budget cuts and concessions with the specific struggles waged by immigrant workers for their rights and dignity.
We here in Sacramento, California, have begun to take action on some of these points. The Sacramento Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) has submitted the resolution adopted July 5 by the San Francisco Labor Council on "No Cuts and Concessions" for a vote of the Sacramento Labor Council.
Through the LCLAA chapter and the coalition work of the Alliance for a Just Immigration Policy, we are taking the main ELN Kent State documents (Action Program, Open Letter to the Labor Movement, and "Statements Are Not Enough") -- which we have translated into Spanish -- to all our community partners to get them involved with us in this fightback against the cuts and concessions. We are especially seeking to involve the folks working on the "Voto en el Exterior" (the struggle of Mexicans abroad to be able to vote in the Mexican elections), in the farmworkers' organizing campaigns, in the May 1st coalitions (particularly the San Francisco May 1st Coalition), and in the anti-police repression work into this broader independent, labor-community fightback effort.
One of our main goals at this point is to get these groups and coalitions to work with us in promoting a large labor-community mass demonstration across California on October 1, combining the fight against the attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with our specific demands as Latinos. Our goal is also to have this coalition-building for October 1 serve as a springboard for building huge mass mobilizations next May 1st.
During the ELN Conference at Kent State, a series of proposals were made to conduct tours of the immigrant rights' activists present at the conference to places like Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It will be especially necessary to forge the Black-Brown Alliance in the South, to prevent the bosses from pitting those on the bottom of the heap against each other.
Is it possible for the ELN Coordinating Committee to get in touch with the union president from Savannah, Georgia, or the sister from Atlanta to see if we can begin organizing together a fall tour to build the foundations for the fightback committees and local coalitions that are so desperately needed?
It will also be important for the ELN Coordinating Committee to see if it is possible to organize forums with immigrant rights' activists who are part of the ELN in cities like New York, Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City. These are all cities where participants at the Kent State Conference said that forums and organizing events could be planned.
The Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Sacramento LCLAA do not have the necessary funds to organize these tours. It will be necessary for the unions and organizations that expressed an interest in organizing the tours to step forward and finance the tours.
Rather than act bilaterally from Sacramento with the sisters and brothers who made these proposals, it would be best if the ELN Coordinating Committee took stock of these proposed tours and got back to the participants in the cities mentioned above to help coordinate the tours and the events needed to lay the groundwork that will make it possible to fully integrate the work in defense of immigrant rights into the ongoing activity of the ELN.

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