May 1st: Work Stoppages against Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Politics!

LA May 2006 immigration rally-strike

By La Voz San Jose

Let’s Build a Resistance to Confront Trump’s Anti-Labor, Anti-Immigrant and Racist Policies!

Right from the moment Donald Trump was declared thee elected U.S. president,  a process of mobilization erupted throughout the country – which has not stopped to this day. The first who came out to protest were young immigrants who left their classrooms in schools and took to the streets shouting the slogan “Donald Trump, not our president!”.Since then we have seen that slogan has been taken by millions of people of all ethnicities who go out into the streets  to face his anti-working class, racist and homophobic policies.Hundreds of thousands protested the day of his inauguration in Washington DC and other cities.

On January 21, more than 3 million people answered the call for the mobilization for women in more than 50 cities across the country and hundreds of thousands more protested around the world demanding the right to abortion, equal pay in the workplace, and rejected the sexist and anti-immigrant policies of Trump and his government.This giant mobilization, never seen in the history of the country, not only showed its impressive force, but armed the masses with confidence to fight. This was clearly demonstrated a couple of days later in mass protests at airports in major cities of the country. These protests were protesting Trump’s executive action that prevented the entry of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim nations. The protests were of such magnitude and force that airports were paralyzed for several days.The righteousness and strength of this mobilization was crowned with a win in the courts where three federal judges unanimously blocked Trump damn executive action.But the government offensive hasn’t stop and it’s preparing a new   law against Muslims.Meanwhile,  a target has been placed on undocumented Latino immigrant workers. Most of these workers are Mexicans and Central Americans immigrants and  he depicts them as criminals . The most brutal part is that he is trying to deport them.

The announcement made by  Trump’s government on February 22nd that all immigrants who entered the country illegally will be subject to deportation. Furthermore, the new policies will affects  parents who entered alone and later paid to bring their children. They will be judged as committing  human trafficking crime . This new legislation was preceded  by the great day of fighting on last February 16, called “a day without immigrants”. It was convened by the many pro-immigrant organizations nationwide.That day was a step forward in the efforts for a May Day (May 1st) of national work stoppages as a response to government attacks.

The aggressiveness of the Trump government has understandably created fear and anxiety within the immigrant undocumented community. However, many are beginning to realize that there is no choice but to organize and fight.The fate of immigrants will now fully depend on their own struggle,  their own organization and their own mobilization independent of the Democratic Party.  And above all, with the solidarity and support that the American working class sectors can provide.The preparations are already starting to unfold for this great action of struggle and it is the duty of every honest activist and revolutionary to be of service to make May 1st. happen.

May 1st : Let’s Stop Production!

The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are mainly Mexican and Central American workers. They form part of the Latin@ working class and more widely, that of the American working class. They are mainly employed in the sector of production and services industry. The working sectors in which the majority of undocumented workers labor in are construction, mining, clothing manufacturing, agriculture, and the meat industries. In the services sector, the most common among undocumented immigrant workers are cleaning houses, gardening, restaurants, cleaning offices, hotels, buildings and land. It is estimated that after the economic depression of 2007-8, the number of undocumented immigrants Latin@s in the United States stabilized at about 11.5millions. The 11.5 million undocumented are part of a total of 57 million Latinos in this country. The threats of massive deportations from the Trump government affects not only the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants but the total of the 57 million Latin@s in the country.

Immigrants have carried out major struggles against the racist and discriminatory policies of the U.S. government. The first was the great marches of undocumented migrants in April and May 1, 2006. All this was a response to an attempt of the Bush administration to criminalize immigrants to through bill 4437. This struggle forced the government to withdraw the bill. Today, 11 years later, Trump’s government revives similar policies that promote the expansion and construction of the wall at the border with Mexico and of massive deportations. In response, on February 16, undocumented workers and Latinos held a day of protest by withholding their labor and organizing work stoppages. Social networks deployed videos of major mobilizations, strikes in production and boycotts to stores and shopping centers.

This action is considered a step in preparing for a new action on May 1, 2017, called “A Day Without Immigrants”.If we consider that Latinos in states are about 16% of the total population of the country (about 57 million in total) and that the 11.5 million undocumented are the children, the uncles, the nephews, the wives, and spouses of the other Latin@s that have papers. We perceive this to be a force that can deploy a successful action and struggle not only of undocumented immigrants workers, but also with the support of their family members that are documented. The advantage of the struggle of immigrants today is that it occurs in the middle of an unprecedented rise in mass mobilization throughout the country against Trump. All these mobilizations have raised in their demands a stop to the policy of criminalization of immigrants by the government and of being against deportations.

In California, SEIU-USWW, Calls for Work Stoppages

In California, some unions have taken the defense of immigrants, and in particular of undocumented immigrants, because of the fact that many of them have many undocumented members in their ranks. It is important to highlight and to give as an example the important struggle of the ILWU Local 10 dockworkers who had work stoppages & paralyzed the 7 ports in the Bay Area in California last January 20, Trump’s day of inauguration. In addition, the union of precarious graduate student teachers at the University of Berkeley (UAW 2865) and the student protests have been confronting the new Trump government. UFCW, at the national level, had also called its members to march against Trump. The struggle carried out by these unions is an example for the rest of the unions and their leaders to take a serious commitment to the defense of the interests of the working class, particularly of undocumented immigrants workers.

Special attention must be paid to the call of  SEIU-USWW, a key union that represents 40,000 cleaning, maintenance and security workers in private industries in California. SEIU – USWW has made a call to make work stoppages on the May 1st. The vast majority of its members are undocumented immigrant working women who work as janitors and that have been a vanguard in the fight against the policies over-exploitation and discriminatory patterns of the U.S. government.

While the call by SEIU-USWW is an important step, a call alone is not enough. To organize a strike and stop production on May 1st against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies we have to go further that agitation and words: we have to organize it democratically and massively everywhere in the workplace, & we have to plan pickets and organize the community solidarity. SEIU-USWW leaders should do more than just take advantage of a progressive discourse. They should be publishing in social media and demonstrating in their coalition meetings their support for the struggle of immigrants, and particularly of work stoppages on the 1st of May.

If these leaders really want to have a role in this fight, they must present a concrete plan of preparation for its members. This should be built on a basis of implement broad trade union democracy in such a way that the tasks and actions that are defined are those that are voted in rank and file assemblies and not those made by the leaders without consulting the base. It is necessary to raise the most agreed on demands and slogans of janitors: No to Trump’s Deportations! No to the Border Wall! No Sexism and Sexual Harassment! Minimum wage of $ 15 now and free benefits!

Because of that, we propose to workers to support the call of SEIU-USWW and for them organize through the rank and file to make it a reality: let’s start by agitating through leaflets, meetings and mass actions in workplaces to preparation for work stoppages on May 1st. This action will be successful and win workers’ sympathy if it occurs within the framework of a total independence from the Democratic Party and the bosses.

Long live the half of production on May 1st!

Long live the struggle of the workers!

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