Statement of Workers’ Voice/La Voz De [email protected] Trabajadores on the current situation at the US border
23 September 2021
Our party stands in solidarity with immigrants from Haiti who are being brutalized by the US capitalist regime, and with the people of Haiti suffering the most recent and acute crises impacting their country. Open the borders! Allow all asylum seekers – Haitian and others – in. This is not a moral slogan. As the world’s imperialist hegemon, which profits from the extractivism and hyper-exploitation of the Global South and the Americas, in particular, the United States is more complicit than other countries in the suffering of the Haitian people.
Haiti is currently in deep crisis, a crisis propelled by the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse in July and by the August earthquake which was 7.2 in magnitude. Gang violence is rampant. According to the United Nations, the August quake impacted 800,000 people. A month later, 650,000 were still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
This situation impelled tens of thousands of Haitians to seek refuge in the United States. Most are coming to the immigration center in Del Rio Texas, site of horrifying brutality enacted by US border agent thugs on horseback, reminiscent of their slave catcher ancestors. Biden has said he is enacting and will continue to deploy Trump-era border policies to expel over 14,000 Haitian asylum seekers over the coming three weeks. According to a report by the New York Times on September 19:
At least a dozen of the migrants said they felt tricked by the United States. They said they had been told by uniformed officials that the flight they were getting on was bound for Florida. When they learned otherwise, some protested but were placed on board in handcuffs … The director of migration and integration at the Haitian office of migration, Amelie Dormévil, said several of the returnees told her they had been cuffed by the wrists, ankles and waist during the flight.
Citing “ongoing security issues,” Haitian officials have said that it will be impossible to provide adequate security or food to those being deported back by the United States.
Biden’s campaign promises to run a more “humanitarian” regime than that of Trump are empty words.
There really is no difference between the two parties of the US ruling regime, either in terms of brutality or their deeper material, class function as capitalist parties. For them immigration is for one purpose: to serve the US capitalist class, and in particular its agribusiness, domestic, retail and hospitality workers, and high tech industries. For capitalists, immigrants and other workers who don’t fit their profit logic are, in effect, subhuman.
We should also remember imperialism’s long history of oppression of Haiti. Haiti was the world’s first country founded by formerly enslaved people who made a revolution against their racist oppressors. The racist former French colonists and the American imperialists could never forgive this. We should remember too that France made Haiti pay tens of billions of dollars (in today’s terms) for the “property” – in land and human form – it “lost” during the Revolution, debts which it took Haiti nearly 150 years to pay. The imperialists of the North have for centuries subjected the small Caribbean country to debt servitude, proxy dictatorships, and a regime of wage suppression leading to labor migration to serve regional and imperialist capital.
At a deeper, class level, we recognize that the bordered state is a creation of and serves the capitalist class. Borders are there to prevent the free movement of workers while allowing the free movement of capital. Imperialism devastates communal reproduction and suppresses wages in the countries of the South, generating a vast surplus army of low wage workers who can be exploited through selective immigration in the North. Moreover, borders serve the capitalist class because they promote patriotic ideology and chauvinism, and thus divisions within the working class.
Our party believes that workers have the right to live and work where they wish. We are for full freedom of movement for workers, regardless of whether there is a “legitimate reason” (imperial exploitation of their home countries) for their migration.
We stand for the rights of all workers and oppressed peoples from the despoiled global south to migrate to the imperial north, with the same economic, social, and political rights as native-born workers who have in one way or another benefited from the imperial ventures of their nation’s capitalists. In the United States, we fight for the right of all immigrants to immediate and unconditional full citizenship and for their equal economic rights.
In the US, we also fight for an end to all ICE raids and other policies that instill terror in immigrant communities. Ultimately, we seek the abolition of ICE altogether, and with it an end to imperialist border enforcements that exist to hurt workers, but this requires a greater level of independent organization and mobilization. Like the demand for the abolition of the police, this latter task cannot be accomplished without a direct confrontation with the system it defends. Like the police and the army, ICE is part of the executive, armed power of the capitalist system. It is an organization that defends private property and the private appropriation of the value that workers create. Abolishing any of these bodies, therefore, cannot be accomplished through moral appeals, as their sole function is to brutally repress the working class. It cannot be accomplished through legislative reform, where the most daring proposal is simply to substitute one police force for another and keep enforcing the border, as proposed by AOC and Dansers. Abolition of ICE, moreover, is not a task for immigrants alone: it can only be accomplished through mass independent and revolutionary action by the working class as a whole.
The fight for full rights for immigrants in the United States is not a fight for immigrants alone. All workers must support the right of all immigrants to organize and form unions. Only through joint struggle can the entire working class in the United States resist anti-union legislation and conditions in right-to-work states, recovering the right to organize and to strike.
A main obstacle to our class’s ability to fight back is the lack of a mass US organization of the working class, capable of directing our class’s struggles against both the bipartisan regime and against imperial capitalism as a whole. Workers’ Voice/La Voz de los Trabajadores fights to build such an organization, without which it would be impossible to build a workers government. Such a government would be a government where immigrants and racial minorities would be overwhelmingly represented, given the current composition of the working class in this country and the commitment of its own ruling class to maintaining a policy that sustains immigration.
Such a government would reverse the United States’ imperial relationship to the Caribbean and Latin America. Instead of the strings-attached aid, unequal trade relationships, and brutal border policing currently on offer by the United States, a workers government would create an international works program, sending brigades of US workers to build infrastructure, construct workers’ economies, and prop up rural and urban production all without sacrificing the environment. Only a government by and for the working class will be able to place workers of all nationalities on equal footing, partners in the construction of a society organized for the good of the many instead of the profits of the few.
Solidarity and Free Movement to Our Haitian Brothers, Sisters, and Siblings of all Genders, and to all Immigrants!
Halt All Deportations!
Papers for All!
Reparations for Haiti!