An Exchange of Views: “Immigration Amnesty Would Harm African-Americans”

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Right-wing Propaganda  or Leftists Blinded by Their Own Rhetoric

Brother Yusuf et al,

This is an interesting piece of right-wing propaganda aimed at definitely dividing Black workers from Latinos and Black immigrants. The three people -who happen to be on the Civil Rights Commission- who wrote this 11 April letter are known right-wing defenders of the Capitalist Order.

Their task is to make a progressive immigration law appear to be a way to keep Blackfolk on the bottom of the employment heap and to divert our attention away from the rich and superrich setting policy in such a way that guarantees unchecked maldistribution of wealth through shrinking salaries and benefits, exporting labor and systematically deskilling the labor force that remains inside the US.

There is plenty of work that needs to be done inside the US! From infrastructure to alternative energy to advance technologies that require a skilled working-class to a expanded and revamped health care system, millions of permanent jobs can be created. Also, the other area of struggle ignored by this 11 April letter and implied in the Our Time Press article is the ongoing battle for a National Living Wage minimum wage.

Both the Democratic and Republican wings of the capitalist buzzard are bought and sold to resist this effort even though small and huge corporations can still make a profit if they paid living wages. This is what makes Black-Immigrant solidarity for a Living Wage so central to our Black Liberation Struggle: there is enough wealth in this nation to benefit ALL workers without bickering over crumbs of crumbs.

In addition to this, our struggle for Black Reparations is an essential struggle to further dismantle the capitalist system of class exploitation and racial oppression. Our demands for redress through free health care, free education, tax-free consuming and interest-free mortgages further pushes the issue of systemic economic disparities based on the legacy of vast capital accumulation via 400+ years of chattel slavery.

Lastly, the statistical info is mostly based upon the impact of undocumented workers- not documented workers. There are other factors attributing to persistent high Black unemployment:

A.  Blackfolk born in the US are not going to work for below minimum wage in great numbers.

B.  Blackfolk born in the US have been systematically miseducated and undereducated -especially over the past 25 years -to such an extent that we are a diminishing few in the skilled and semiskilled labor forces.

C.  Many jobs that may exist for us are now found further away from where we live… forcing us to spend more money in transportation than 25-30 years ago.

I’m sure others can come up with even more reasons why this divisive piece must be challenged. This question of African-Americans and Immigration Reform would make a great Left Forum Debate/Workshop… or anywhere else this coming summer.

In Struggle,

Sam Anderson

The writer Responds

Super Leftists Blinded by Their Own Rhetoric

Last week’s article entitled Report: Immigration Amnesty Would Harm African-Americans was called an interesting piece of “right-wing propaganda aimed at definitely dividing Black workers from Latinos and Black immigrants”. No. The article highlighted the impact of amnesty on descendants of this country’s chattel slavery system.

African-Americans, who survived and valiantly fought off the slave shackles of the world’s greatest superpower, have a right to own our issues. Our issues are distinct. A cursory history survey will reveal that immigrants of color were not clamoring to voluntarily enter this country prior to the Civil War. Though immigrants of color began to trickle in during the late 19

th and early 20th centuries, the massive waves of immigrants of color came with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 after the hard fought for 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Only myopic folk refuse to see “the rich and superrich” methods of turning a blind eye to rampant unauthorized and out-of-status immigration as a “way to keep Blackfolk on the bottom of the employment heap”. Why? Basic economies of scale. A surplus of unskilled, low-wage, unauthorized immigrant workers depress the wages and employment opportunities for low-wage, unskilled citizens – both Black and white – for the benefit of the wealthy classes. Haven’t you ever wondered who funds the myriad groups advocating for amnesty?

Those who have no problem accusing President Obama for allegedly ignoring the plight of unemployed and underemployed African-Americans oddly choose to ignore the direct impact of unchecked unauthorized immigration.

The United States has immigration laws on the books which includes a variety of Visa opportunities. About half of the current Diversity Visa system currently benefits immigrants from Africa who apply legally. The Congressional Black Caucus is correct to stand in support of the program’s continuance. The CBC also supports addressing the backlog of status transfer applications that lead many to fall out-of-status while waiting for their applications to be approved. African-Americans do (in fact) join in unity with Latinos and Black immigrants who apply legally.

But what about our issues? A better question is “What are our issues?” Spouting rhetoric about infrastructure and alternative energy are not enough. We do have “an expanded and revamped health care system” getting ready to roll out in 2014. It is euphemistically called Obamacare. And simply talking about a “Nation[al] Living Wage” is not enough. Who is organizing the “Black Liberation Struggle”?

Verbalizing a “struggle for Black Reparations” is not enough, nor is “demands for redress through free health care, free education, tax-free consuming and interest-free mortgages.” Free everything? Who is supposed to pay for it… the same oligarchs you rail against? Get serious. Even in the Netherlands where there are robust social services the tax rate is upwards of 40-50 percent. Talk is cheap. Where is the action? Where is the organizing? Talking into an echo chamber is not enough.

The statistical information cited in the article “is mostly based upon the impact of undocumented workers – not documented workers”.  That was the point. Legal documented workers are not the problem. The problem is unchecked, undocumented, unauthorized immigration by people who don’t respect this nation’s laws yet ironically demand those same laws be changed for them.

The assertion that “Blackfolk born in the US are not going to work for below minimum wage in great numbers” ignores the fact that African-American workers are being displaced by undocumented immigrant workers who do work for below minimum wage. Blanket amnesty would make matters worse due to a glut of low-skilled, low-wage unauthorized immigrant workers competing with citizens.

Solely placing blame on an education system for rendering Blackfolk born in the U.S. “miseducated and undereducated” is a tired and worn excuse. Education is an interactive endeavor. Self-proclaimed education activists who have been whining “over the past 25 years” should take a good look at themselves. Educational systems in NYC and nationally have undergone several organizational structures from community control to mayoral control and from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top. Yet, the professional Super-Leftist complaints remain the same.

There is nothing stopping educational activists from organizing “Saturday Schools” like the ones other ethnic groups provide their children to teach their culture. There is nothing stopping activists from challenging the males among us who impregnate barely educated little girls then expecting those same little girls to effectively educate and parent their own children by themselves.

We have had strong leadership on education. For the love of her people, Regent Emerita Dr. Adelaide Sanford gave us instruction. She was among those who led the fight for the Curriculum of Inclusion, but somehow we couldn’t figure out how to get it funded.  Bob Law spent an entire year conducting rallies and informational forums across the city in an attempt to inspire African-Americans to support independent Black schools. We didn’t take him seriously and follow through. Now we have fewer independent Black schools than 25 years ago.

I don’t know what to say to someone who would argue that distance and an increase in transportation cost from 25 years ago is a bigger reason for Black unemployment than unauthorized immigration. How far did unauthorized immigrants illegally travel and at what cost?

I will say this: Super-leftists who have no ability, willingness, or agenda to address African-American cultural impediments to advancement should stand down. Jumping on other people’s bandwagon to help them organize their well-defined, arguably hubristic agenda that will continue to displace African Americans who don’t have an agenda of our own is a recipe for disaster.

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