Marxist-Leninist Organizer and
Communist Party of Labor of the Dominican Republic
U.S. Regional Committee
U.S. imperialism (monopoly capitalism), through its export of capital to all parts of the globe, has turned the majority of oppressed countries into its neo-colonial dependencies. It and its puppets keep the majority of the world's people in poverty, toiling in sub-human conditions (if they can find work at all) to provide a bare subsistence for themselves and super-profits for the monopolists. The international economic organs of the imperialists, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, force the governments of the dependent countries to institute austerity programs that guarantee payments to the finance capitalists and increase the suffering of the working people. The high unemployment in the dependent countries keeps wages low and forces people to come to the United States to seek their livelihood.
Those who think that by coming to the U.S. they will find paradise quickly learn that they were wrong. First, many people have died making the trip, whether drowning on flimsy, overcrowded boats in the Caribbean or suffocating in boxcars coming from Mexico. In the U.S. they become part of a super-exploited sector of the working class. Though nominal wages may be high in relation to wages in their home countries, they are low in comparison to the costs of necessities in the U.S., and many immigrant workers must also send money back to their families at home. The great majority work in the lowest-paid, hardest jobs, with long hours, whether they are migrant workers in agriculture, work in garment or other sweatshops, or in fast-food and other service industries. These jobs are in their great majority non-union, sometimes even paying below the legal minimum wage, so that the workers are kept in poverty. Frequently the lowest paid workers are directly or indirectly exploited by some of the largest U.S. monopoly corporations, such as at McDonalds, or garment sweatshops under contract to Nike, Disney, etc., or agricultural workers picking vegetables for Libby's, Campbell's, etc.
This super-exploitation is the lot of immigrant workers in other imperialist countries as well, such as Turkish workers in Germany, North Africans in France, Caribbean and South Asian workers in Britain.
In addition to extracting super-profits from immigrant labor, the monopoly capitalists and their government carry out chauvinist attacks against immigrant workers. Many companies have rules forcing workers to speak only English on the job. New laws make it more difficult for immigrant workers to obtain residency papers ("green cards"), and also put restrictions on the ability of immigrant workers (both with and without documents) to obtain the meager social services (unemployment benefits, social security, Medicaid, welfare, etc.) available to U.S. citizens.
These attacks have a dual purpose: to increase the super-exploitation of immigrant workers and to divide the immigrant workers from U.S.-born workers. The lower wages of immigrant workers hurts the whole working class, by providing a cheap labor pool that drives down the wages of all. And a divided working class can not wage an effective fight against its common enemy, the capitalist exploiters.
The chauvinist attacks on immigrants are carried out by both parties of monopoly capitalism. While it was the Republicans in Congress who pushed for the new legislation restricting immigrants' rights and benefits, it was Democratic President Clinton who signed this into law. The Republican Governor of California Pete Wilson was the chief proponent of the racist, anti-immigrant Proposition 187. But it was President Clinton who, in his 1995 State of the Union address, attacked "illegal aliens," stating: "The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants." But this is a racist lie! First, it is the capitalist system itself that is responsible for unemployment and shortages of jobs, and second, many immigrants work for wages and under conditions that native-born workers will not take.
It is the duty of all workers, U.S.-born and immigrant, to fight for full equality and citizens' rights for immigrant workers. This is necessary to unite the entire working class to fight against the U.S. monopoly capitalists. Only such unity can help prepare the working class for its principal task, to get rid of the system of U.S. imperialism once and for all.
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