RAY O’ LIGHT NEWSLETTER
by RAY LIGHT
Also included in this issue:
* A new CBS poll reported that 60% of the U.S. population believes that the U.S. “should not be involved in Libya.” And the recent Big City Mayors Conference voted to oppose U.S. expenditures on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, motivated mainly by the urban crises being driven by the economic depression in the USA. This was a first foray into international politics for the mayors group since the Vietnam war. Finally, the tea party movement, as it has emerged, has tragically misdirected justifiably angry voters into directing their anger against the immigrant working class and into support for the cutting of their own social safety nets. At the same time, it has nonetheless mobilized many of these same voters to oppose costly U.S. military adventures.
In the process, the actual collaboration between the Obama Democratic White House and the Boehner Republican-led House of Representatives has been revealed beyond any doubt. “Republicrat” rule of the U.S. Empire’s political process on behalf of U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism has been laid bare.
In Defense of Libyan Sovereignty and in Opposition to the new U.S. Imperialist War
At the beginning of June, the U.S. House of Representatives acted on two resolutions, one introduced by Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the other by Ohio Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. Both resolutions addressed the unprovoked and undeclared U.S.-led war against Libya. Both resolutions received bipartisan support.Arguably the most progressive and “left-wing” representative in the entire Congress, Democrat Kucinich introduced House Resolution 51. If passed, HR 51 would have directed President Obama to remove U.S. armed forces from all hostilities in Libya within 15 days of its passage. Kucinich’s measure invoked the 1973 War Powers Resolution arguing that Obama violated the part of the law that prohibits U.S. armed forces from being involved in military actions for more than 60 days without congressional authorization. On June 1st, the House was prepared to vote on the Kucinich resolution; and, apparently, it had a strong chance of passage. This would have been a real blow to U.S. imperialism and a support for the rights of the Libyan people, including their right to self-determination.
And this is when the conventional wisdom about Republican and Democratic Party politics was “thrown out the window” as the Republicrats closed ranks and scrambled to protect and defend the U.S. Empire.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, the leader of the Republican Party, was the man whom the Democrats and their labor lackeys in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win leadership and the NAACP and Latino NGO leadership as well as the revisionist/reformist Communist Party USA (CPUSA) had demonized as a justification for defending Obama and mobilizing voters for the Democrats in the 2010 election. Now it was none other than Boehner who came to Obama’s rescue!!
|Obama – Boehner “Golf Summit,” 6/18/11
House Speaker Boehner told reporters that “technically” he did not think Obama had violated the War Powers Resolution. To undercut the Kucinich Resolution, Boehner introduced HR 292 which provided the Obama Administration 14 days to give proof to the Congress that the Administration had indeed consulted with Congress before U.S. forces were committed to the war against Libya. Beyond that, HR 292 required only that Obama report back to Congress within 14 days with information on the operation’s costs, goals, timeline and other matters. As Boehner said during the House debate on his resolution, “We have an obligation to support our troops in harm’s way and stand by our allies.”
Boehner’s HR 292 passed by a vote of 268-145, with Afro-American Congresswoman Maxine Waters voting present. Forty-five Democrats joined 223 Republicans in support of HR 292, while ten Republicans voted against it. HR 292 had placated enough of the Republican majority that the Obama Regime was able to continue U.S. imperialist leadership of NATO’s warfare uninterrupted.
The House then defeated Kucinich’s much stronger anti-war resolution on Libya by a count of 148-265. More Republicans than Democrats voted for the anti-war Democrat Kucinich’s resolution. Eighty-seven Republicans and sixty-one Democrats voted for Kucinich’s HR 51. Twenty-five Democrats voted against the Kucinich resolution but managed to vote in favor of the far weaker Boehner alternative. Thus, more Republicans voted for the stronger Kucinich anti-war resolution (eighty-seven) than the number of Democrats who voted for the Kucinich and the Boehner resolutions put together! The CPUSA revisionists, the liberal-pacifist “left,” the AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor bureaucrats, the NAACP and Latino liberal groups, and the “anti-Republican Party war movement” should be shaking in their boots!*
* The wonderful anti-war heroine, Cindy Sheehan, has consistently warned that the contemporary U.S. anti-war movement has actually been an anti-Republican party war movement. The truth of sister Sheehan’s words, as she had argued, was reflected in the fact that, since the election of Democratic President Obama, the anti-war movement in this country had largely disappeared. This was evidence of the power of the Republicrat political duopoly. The votes on the two House Resolutions on the U.S. war in Libya have now provided the most precise confirmation yet of the truth of sister Sheehan’s words!
This recent activity in the U.S. House of Representatives provides unimpeachable proof of the criminal political duopoly exercised by the Republicrats, now under the political baton of the Democratic Party Executive Branch Regime of President Barack Obama in collaboration with the Republican Party dominated House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker of the House John Boehner. In this setting, not only proletarian revolutionaries in the USA, but anti-imperialists, anti-fascists, civil libertarians, pacifists and many others in the U.S. “left” need to be rallied to make the mobilization of mass opposition to the new U.S. imperialist war on the people of Libya a top priority. And this unjust, unprovoked, imperialist war provides another urgent reason to smash the political duopoly defending the U.S. Empire.
Obama Following in the Footsteps of Bush, the Emperor
Emboldened by his political rescue by Republican leader Boehner, in response to Boehner’s HR 292 (having escaped Kucinich’s resolution), President Obama boldly responded that he didn’t have to consult with the Congress at all! In taking this stand, Obama was rejecting the legal opinion of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. The acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Caroline Krass, told the President that he had to abide by the requirements of the War Powers Act. Since the 1930’s, this office has served as the authoritative voice on matters of legal interpretation after hearing arguments from the White House and other executive branch departments. As Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman wrote recently, Obama’s decision to have his White House counsel cronies “pre-empt the Justice Department’s traditional role” is setting an even worse and more dangerous legal precedent than the fascistic George W. Bush had done in abusing his executive war powers in the early years of his war of terror.
At that time, Bush’s White House attorney, Alberto Gonzales, had gotten the concurrence of John Yoo, then representing the Office of Legal Counsel, who prepared his infamous “torture memos.” Professor Ackerman observed that, “Although Mr. Yoo’s memos made a mockery of the applicable law, they at least had the approval of the Office of Legal Counsel. In contrast, Mr. Obama’s decision to disregard that office’s opinion and embrace the White House counsel’s view is undermining a key legal check on arbitrary presidential power.” As Ackerman points out, “Unlike the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, the White House counsel is not confirmed by the Senate – which means that the president can appoint whomever he likes.” Ackerman concludes: “Allowing the trivialization of the War Powers Act to stand will open the way for even more blatant acts of presidential war-making in the decades ahead.” (“Legal Acrobatics, Illegal War,” New York Times Op-Ed, 6-21-11)*
* The infamous John Yoo, author of Bush’s torture memos, recently wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal mainly aimed at attacking the seven Republican Congressmen who joined Dennis Kucinich and two other House Democrats in filing suit in court against Obama’s War Powers abuse. Failing to see the irony in his remarks, Yoo nonetheless observed quite accurately, “This [flaunting of the War Powers Act] from the president, who, as a candidate in December 2007, assumed the leadership of the Democratic Party’s anti-war base by declaring: ‘The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’ Mr. Obama’s constitution position today on war powers is little different from that of President George W. Bush, whom Democrats portrayed as a war-mongering dictator.” (“The GOP Plays Politics With the War Powers Resolution,” Wall Street Journal, 6-17-11)
All the more reason we should be thankful, once again, to Democratic Congressman Kucinich. Upon learning of Obama’s refusal to consult with Congress on Libya as per the Boehner resolution, on June 15th, led by Kucinich and North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones (representing a heavily military district!), a group of ten members of Congress, including seven Republicans, filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order the President to pull the U.S. military out of the Libyan operation because Congress did not authorize it.
This positive initiative precipitated more “Republicrats,” coming out of the closet to rescue the increasingly dictatorial and war-mongering Democratic President. In the U.S. Senate, where most members are millionaires and where the Democratic Party has retained a slim majority, John Kerry and John McCain have joined together to sponsor a bill to give Obama the ability to continue to prosecute the war against Libya for up to one year.*
* In a recent column for the Wall Street Journal, mouthpiece for the dominant wing of U.S. finance capital, Kimberley Strassel bemoaned the fact that, “a few weeks ago [Republicans were] incoherently losing 87 members to antiwar Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s resolution to end military engagement in Libya. This caused an open rift in the party, compelling Sen. John McCain to stand up for U.S. victory and sponsor a resolution giving Mr. Obama freedom of action for another year.” (“The GOP’s War Powers Opportunism,” Wall Street Journal, 6-24-11, Our emphasis, ROL)
Yes, that’s Massachusetts Democratic Senator Kerry, who was Bush’s “opponent” in the 2004 Presidential Election and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, Obama’s “opponent” in the 2008 Presidential election! Clearly, the current McCain-Kerry leading role in support of Obama’s illegal war on Libya exposes the fact that, on the terribly important question of war and peace, there was no choice for the people of the USA (and the world) in the presidential elections of 2004 and 2008!
Moreover, the Republicrats are trying to utilize a House version of the McCain-Kerry bill, to get it through the Republican-led House with its many new Tea Party isolationists as well as its few anti-war Democrats like Kucinich and Massachusetts Democrat Michael Capuano. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, as the Democratic Party leaders in the House, have declared their support for the President’s position and for the McCain-Kerry approach. But the Republicans are split. Nevertheless, Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, whom the media and the Democrats have depicted as Obama’s nemesis has already been exposed as Obama’s most important supporter in the U.S. House of Representatives on this key question for the U.S. working class as well as the oppressed peoples of the Middle East and the world. All the Republicrats have rallied around President Obama in his unprovoked and undeclared war on the sovereign state of Libya.
Obama: A More Sinister Adversary than Bush
Since Obama became a viable candidate for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination in 2007, we have repeatedly warned the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples that Obama would differentiate himself from the brutal and arrogant George W. Bush mainly by being a more formidable helmsman for U.S. imperialism, a more dangerous and powerful adversary of the workers and oppressed throughout the world. Since President Obama was inaugurated, there have been over two thousand six hundred arrests of activists protesting in the USA. (See Bill Quigley’s “The Resistance in Obama Time,” www.counterpunch.org, 5-24-11, for the exhaustively detailed list.)
In late May, as Congress and the Obama White House rushed to enact new legislation to prevent a lapse in several Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) powers under the PATRIOT Act, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado), legally bound not to divulge the specific information, nevertheless, warned, among other things, that, “the executive branch had come up with a secret legal theory about what it could collect under a provision of the Patriot Act that did not seem to dovetail with a plain reading of the text.” As Senator Wyden declared: “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon: When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” (Quoted in “Senators Say Patriot Act is Being Misinterpreted,” New York Times, 5-27-11) Senator Udall stated: “Americans would be alarmed if they knew how this law is being carried out.” (ibid.) Indeed, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, has recently declared that the Administration would like to see the PATRIOT Act provisions made “permanent” – a public declaration never uttered by the Bush Regime.
Also in June, the FBI rewrote its own operations manual giving its agents more autonomy than ever to conduct low-level searches without a paper trail. As Charlie Savage wrote, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.” (See Savage’s “FBI Agents Get Leeway to Push Privacy Bounds,” New York Times, 6-12-11, and Adam Martin’s “The New Powers the FBI Just Granted Itself,” 6-13-11) Other invasions of citizens’ privacy that they will now be able to undertake with no record of the decision or any justification for it are the following: lie-detector tests, multiple uses of surveillance squads, surreptitious participation in organizations on which they are gathering information, less burdensome oversight of investigations into public officials, scholars and journalistic bloggers.
This expansion of FBI powers is taking place simultaneously and in conjunction with the growing merger of the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus with and under the aegis of the U.S. military. It is worth noting in this regard that, at the end of May, it was the Pentagon which announced that Computer Sabotage coming from another country can now constitute an act of war. A military official declared: “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.” (“Cyber Combat: Act of War,” Front page feature story, Wall Street Journal, 5-31-11)
As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates leaves the Obama Administration two and one-half years after being the first Secretary of Defense (or Secretary of War) in U.S. history ever held over from one Party’s presidential administration to the other, the growing domination of the U.S. military over the entire U.S. society is becoming clearer. We are now witnessing Obama’s reassignment of four star General David Petraeus to the position as Director of Central Intelligence to replace Leon Panetta who is leaving that position as head of U.S. intelligence to move up to the position of Secretary of Defense (Secretary of War), i.e. the head of the U.S. military.
And this merger of the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus, domestic as well as foreign, into the U.S. military and under its control is being worked out in a real life secret war that U.S. imperialism is waging against the people of Yemen, even as the tyrant who invited the U.S. military to carry out this war is in the process of being driven out by popular uprising.
All of this incessant and accelerating drive toward a military dictatorship in the USA is being facilitated by the connivance and collaboration of the Democratic and Republican Parties, i.e. “Republicrat Rule.”
Wall Street Journal Worried About Republicrat Rule
In mid June the Wall Street Journal weekend Review’s entire front page was an intriguing article entitled “Death of the Duopoly.” (Wall Street Journal “Review,” June 18-19, 2011) Three sets of photos accompanied the article. Each set contained a photo of a Republican and a Democratic President and a third hybrid photo suitably captioned Republicrat. The first set included a photo of the current Democratic President, Obama, as well as a photo of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and a hybrid drawing of the two together, entitled “Republicrat.” The second set, also in color, gave the same treatment to Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan and their Republicrat hybrid drawing. Finally, the third set included Richard Nixon and his Democratic predecessor, John F. Kennedy and their hybrid Republicrat “photo.”
The fourth graphic accompanying this story provided the motivation of the Wall Street Journal for publishing the article as well as the motivation of the article’s authors, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, whose forthcoming book is entitled, “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America.” This graphic shows how between 2000 and 2011 the numbers of voters identifying as either Republican or Democratic Party supporters has been shrinking, while those identifying as Independents has been growing. Both the Wall Street Journal and the libertarian authors are concerned that the U.S. Empire, the U.S. imperialist state, and therefore U.S. capitalism itself, is becoming more fragile and vulnerable.
With the connivance of the right revisionism, reformism and pacifism of the CPUSA and of an international communist movement riddled with bourgeois nationalism, for almost fifty years Republicrat “two party-one class rule” has been so successfully unassailable and unchallengeable in the USA, that it has become ever more clearly the special repressive apparatus Lenin so brilliantly described in his State and Revolution, almost one hundred years ago. With the persistence of the global economic crisis in the USA, Republicrat rule is increasingly exposed to the masses of the USA and to the masses of suffering humanity.
Gillespie and Welch open the article with the following observation:
“Nothing in American life today seems as archaic, ubiquitous and immovable as the Republican and Democratic parties…. Though rhetorically and theoretically at odds with one another, the two parties have managed to create a mostly unbroken set of policies and governance structures that benefit well-connected groups…. Americans have watched, with a growing sense of alarm and alienation, as first a Republican administration and then its Democratic successor have flouted public opinion by bailing out banks, nationalizing the auto industry, expanding war in Central Asia, throwing yet more good money after bad to keep housing prices artificially high …”
The authors cite a 1970 Harris Poll in which 49% considered themselves Democrats and 31% called themselves Republicans. The figures are now 35% Democrats and 28% Republicans, while the numbers of independents grew from 20% to 28%. They also cite a Gallup poll from this January that shows Democrats at 31%, about their lowest point in more than twenty years, and the GOP at 29%. Meanwhile, independents are at 38% and growing.
Gillespie-Welch point out that, “There is a positive correlation
between an organization’s former dominance and its present-day
inability to cope with change.” They and the Wall Street Journal
are concerned that the current lock on the U.S. political system that
the Republican-Democratic duopoly maintains in defense of U.S. monopoly
capitalism and imperialism is leaving the political-economic system
increasingly remote from the people and vulnerable to a revolutionary
change which they are trying to help prevent.
Of course, from the proletarian revolutionary standpoint, the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA is happy about this vulnerability. We want to deepen and accelerate this process of smashing the “two-party system” which is the main political prop of the U.S. Empire.
Tragically, the CPUSA revisionists, the labor chieftains of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, the Black Bourgeois leadership of the NAACP, opportunist-led Latino immigrant NGO’s and other social democratic props of U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism have been able to keep large sections of the oppressed and exploited masses in the USA contained within the Democratic Party orbit and Republicrat Rule – until now.
We believe “Republicrat Rule” is documented in this article (with the help of Congressman Kucinich’s persistent opposition to U.S. imperialist war from Bush to Obama). Furthermore, we see the connection between Republicrat Rule and the alarming political trend toward fascism and military dictatorship which has continued to accelerate in the USA under the impetus of the U.S. and global economic crisis and as U.S. imperialism remains actively engaged in a number of wars against sovereign peoples and the international working class. We hope it will serve as an alarm bell that will help awaken the workers and oppressed within the belly of the beast to the need for militant struggle against our real enemies starting with the ruling class of “our own” country and in alliance with the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world, starting with our Arab brothers and sisters.
SMASH THE TWO PARTY – ONE CLASS RULE OF THE REPUBLICRATS IN THE USA!
SMASH THE DICTATORSHIP OF U.S. MONOPOLY CAPITALISM AND IMPERIALISM!
WORKERS OF THE WORLD AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES, UNITE!
by PAT KELLY
The U.S. imperialist Obama regime in March of this year began waging its unprovoked and brutal war against the Libyan people. The U.S. enforced “no fly zone” was established on the basis of the U.S., European Union and NATO bombing of Libya. The savage bombing raids on Tripoli by U.S. and NATO imperialists, the death and destruction, the suffering and sorrow of the Libyan people is being carried out in the name of “protecting” the Libyan people from “genocide,” allegedly making the U.S.-led intervention a “humanitarian” crusade.
In the March-April issue of the Ray O’ Light Newsletter, we stated “U.S. imperialism has taken these drastic actions on the basis of the flimsiest of pretexts. It is using media ‘reports’ from Libya, Egypt and elsewhere packaged by the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), established in 1981 and trained and financed by the U.S. CIA ever since. The NFSL and other such organizations are being used to ‘document’ that the Gadhafi government is killing Libyan protesters, allegedly in greater numbers than the U.S. client governments all over the rest of the Middle East are doing.” (“The Arab Masses are Taking their Future into their Hands!” Ray O’ Light Newsletter #65)
In an excellent editorial in the Boston Globe, April 14, 2011, “False Pretense for War in Libya?” Alan J. Kuperman, Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, confirmed much of what we had written. He said:
“Evidence is now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a ‘bloodbath’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.
“But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government....
“Obama insisted that prospects were grim without intervention. ‘If we waited one more day, Benghazi ... could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscious of the world.’ Thus, the president concluded, ‘preventing genocide’ justified US military action.”
In the same Ray O’ Light Newsletter cited above, we said, “The U.S. imperialist-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in over one million civilian deaths. Yet this same shameless U.S. imperialist state apparatus now claims to be ‘concerned’ about the killings of people in Libya by the Gadhafi government only.”
Continuing from Kuperman’s Boston Globe article:
“The actual prospect in Benghazi was the final defeat of the rebels. To avoid this fate, they desperately concocted an impending genocide to rally international support for ‘humanitarian’ intervention that would save their rebellion.
“On March 15, Reuters quoted a Libyan opposition leader in Geneva claiming that if Khadafy attacked Benghazi, there would be ‘a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda.’ Four days later, US military aircraft started bombing. The New York Times already had reported that ‘the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda’ against Khadafy and were ‘making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.’...
“On March 31, NATO formally warned the rebels to stop attacking civilians. It is poignant to recall that if not for intervention, the war almost surely would have ended last month.” (Boston Globe, 4/14/11, Our Emphasis, ROL)
U.S. imperialism is waging war against the people of Libya for the same reason it wages war against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, to rob them of their vast oil wealth and maximize their profits and to maintain their dominance over their imperialist partner-rivals. This is the economic and primary motive for imperialist wars. The “humanitarian” face is a cheap political lie. The future belongs to the new and rising movements of workers and oppressed people in Arabia and world-wide.
STOP THE BOMBING OF THE LIBYAN PEOPLE!
U.S. OUT OF LIBYA, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN!
VICTORY TO THE ARAB REVOLUTION!
SOCIALISM IS THE ANSWER TO IMPERIALIST WAR!
by ROSE BROWN
In the Ray O’ Light Newsletter entitled “The Positive and Negative Significance of the Obama Election Victory” published in December 2008, the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA warned that: “ON IMMIGRATION POLICY: Obama and McCain were both in agreement with George W. Bush (and Ted Kennedy) on a fascistic, corporatist path for immigrant workers in the USA. At odds with many right wing Republican congressmen and much of Bush’s openly chauvinistic mass base that wants to keep out immigrants, Obama and Bush are both in favor of a combination of vicious attacks and repressive federal government repression of immigrant workers with a regulated semi-slave path to U.S. citizenship. Obama’s large Latino vote may serve as a vehicle to disarm much of the resistance to this draconian plan for a time.”
We further pointed out in January 2011 that “under the impetus of the U.S. economic crisis, on behalf of the U.S. monopoly capitalist ruling class, the U.S. imperialist state needs to keep alive its option of making immigrants and especially Latino immigrants, a scapegoat as the system comes under greater pressure from the increasingly jobless and impoverished U.S. masses.... At the same time, this same ruling class needs to continue to super-exploit the millions of undocumented workers, especially from Latin America, who have become a cornerstone of U.S. imperialist super profits. This is why the immigration question has been such an intractable one for Bush and his real base of the super-rich as well as for Obama who essentially represents the same super-rich base.” (Ray O’ Light Newsletter #64, January-February 2011)
In 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration, a record 389,834 immigrants were deported from the USA according to the U.S. government’s own data. This was more deportations than at any time during the George W. Bush Presidency! In 2010, Obama Administration deportations topped the record reached in 2009 and this year deportations are on the road to reaching an all-time high.
The “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) program is a deportation program of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) which was initiated under Republican President George W. Bush. It was funded by the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2008 and has spread like a plague under the Democratic Obama-Biden Administration, nearly doubling in the last nine months. According to ICE, the program has been expanded from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 1,300 in 42 states today. The Obama Administration currently plans to expand the program to all law enforcement jurisdictions around the country by 2013.
S-Comm has become a key tool of the U.S. Obama Administration to deport undocumented immigrants. S-Comm requires local law enforcement agents in jurisdictions that have signed on to the program to submit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprints of every individual that they charge with alleged “crimes” (whether minor traffic violations or major criminal offences). The fingerprints are then submitted to ICE to check the immigration status of the person detained. This transfer of information from local law enforcement to ICE takes place when an individual is “booked” at a local or county jail, not when he or she is convicted. Thus it violates the presumption of innocence until proven guilty which is supposed to be a hallmark of U.S. “democracy.” S-Comm has resulted in tens of thousands of mainly Latin American immigrant workers who have absolutely no criminal history being deported from the USA!!
According to a recent article on “stateline.org,” an online publication of the Pew Center on the States, S-Comm “has led to the deportations of nearly 109,000 people from 42 states since 2008. Overall, three out of 10 of those people had no prior convictions. In a dozen states with 30 or more deportations, more that half of those removed had clean records.” (“Deportation record has states reconsidering Secure Communities,” Daniel C. Vock, 6/20/11) Furthermore, many undocumented immigrants have been deported whose “crimes” are minor misdemeanors like traffic violations.
In a recent article in the British bourgeois newspaper, the Guardian, columnist Daniel Denvir pointed out, “Secure Communities effectively turns local police into proxy ICE agents, since ICE gets information on everyone arrested by local police and deports them regardless of whether or not they are convicted of a crime. Like Arizona’s law, which forces local police to enforce immigration law ... Secure Communities undermines trust for law enforcement in immigrant communities and makes a mockery of President’s Obama’s pledge to focus precious enforcement resources on the dangerous criminal aliens.” (“ICE takes heat for deportation plan,” 6/6/11)
The “Secure Communities” program of the Obama Administration is a
direct attack on immigrant working class communities. The S-Comm
program serves to divide, disrupt and destabilize communities of Latino
and other immigrant working families, making it extremely difficult for
these communities to function as dignified, contributing members of
society. Such destabilization of one sector of our working class makes
the communities of all other sectors of the U.S. working class more
insecure and undermines the ability of our entire class to unite and
fight against our common enemy, the U.S. imperialist Wall Street ruling
class and their “Republicrat” political stooges, for our common needs –
jobs, housing, health care and real secure communities!
On April 28, 2011, hundreds of Latino immigrant workers and their families from the Greater Boston area, including many high school students, along with community members, community organizations and NGO’s, faith-based organizations, trade unions and lawyers’ groups, as well as local Chelsea city officials and representatives of the local police attended a community meeting at Chelsea High School. The meeting was one of a series of meetings called by Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration in an effort to rally support for his stated intent to sign on to the federal “Secure Communities” deportation program currently being pushed by the Obama Administration. But the predominantly working class immigrant community turned out in force to oppose this government attack!
One of the slogans shouted at the spirited protest rally prior to the meeting was “No one is illegal, Power to the people!” And the power of the people shone brightly throughout the heated meeting. Speaker after speaker, supported by the crowded auditorium of people, denounced the S-Comm program, in opposition to the Governor’s representatives who defended the program and to the relatively small number of Tea Party representatives present who vehemently pushed for the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
A key to the successful outcome of this meeting was that while Tea Party representatives made the most outrageous openly anti-immigrant statements in the meeting, e.g. claiming that “all twelve million” of the undocumented immigrants in the US today are “criminals,” the main fire of the meeting was directed against the liberal Democrat Patrick and his representatives who actually hold power in the state.*
* Patrick had been governor of Massachusetts in 2007 when a vicious military-style factory raid was carried out at a leather factory in New Bedford. The raid was led by ICE in coordination with state and local police and with the prior knowledge of the Governor. It resulted in the arrest and deportation of around 350 mainly Central American women workers who had been working for minimum wages under sweatshop conditions. Many of these women workers who were thrown in jail and subsequently deported had young children. Two nursing babies deprived of their mother’s milk by this vicious attack were hospitalized for dehydration.
Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick ran for re-election in November 2010. One of the few positive positions that he took in the election campaign, from the standpoint of the workers and oppressed, was his opposition to state law enforcement agents openly collaborating with ICE. It was on this basis that almost all of the NGO’s in the state with ties to immigrant communities supported his campaign, and was the basis for a significant Latino vote which contributed to his successful reelection. However, in December, 2010, a month after his re-election, Patrick betrayed his promise to the Latino community and all the voters of Massachusetts and announced his intent to sign the state of Massachusetts onto the Obama S-Comm program!
On June 3, 2011, Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, sent a letter to ICE at the request of Governor Patrick concluding that “Massachusetts will not enter into a memorandum of agreement to implement Secure Communities.” This was the same governor’s representative who had presided at the Chelsea meeting and had threatened to end the meeting if community participants continued to shout out their opposition to the S-Comm program. At that point, a strong woman fighter for justice yelled out from the floor, “You work for us!” This approach was overwhelmingly supported by the people present and the meeting continued ... Patrick’s rejection of the S-Comm program is a victory for the immigrant community and all the workers and oppressed.
Popular resistance to the S-Comm program has spread from Illinois to New York to Massachusetts to California. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn pulled his state out of the S-Comm program in May, 2011, stating that the program resulted in the deportation of too many people who had only minor convictions or no conviction at all. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended his state’s participation in the S-Comm program on June 1. According to the Christian Science Monitor (6/27/11), “Significantly in California – which has America’s largest immigrant population – a bill to opt out of the program passed a Senate committee in mid-June. The Assembly has already passed the bill.”
In all these states, key to the opposition to S-Comm, has been growing opposition of the Latino immigrant working class communities to the Obama Administration’s increased deportation program and the communities’ disillusionment over the lack of any positive immigration reform.
End the “Secure Communities” Program! – Stop the Deportations!
Legalization for all Immigrants! – Defend All Workers’ Rights!
Support National Democratic Revolutions leading to Socialism throughout Latin America!
– Fight for Workers’ Power and Socialism in the USA!
May 28, 2011
Dear Honduran sisters and brothers of the Boston Area,
Fraternal greetings from the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA!
As an organization of U.S. workers, filled with internationalist feeling, including a number of immigrant workers from Latin America, we share your happiness that Manuel Zelaya, the elected, civilian, patriotic and progressive president of Honduras has managed to return to your native land. This event represents a modest accomplishment of the struggle of the Honduran workers and peasant toilers who have courageously persisted in their just demand for Zelaya’s return. At the same time, it is a reminder that Honduras remains under the U.S. imperialist-sponsored military coup leadership of Micheletti-Lobo.
Honduran Masses Welcome Zelaya, 5/28/11
The same U.S. imperialism that has dominated Honduras for the past hundred years, primarily using violent repression, has frustrated the peoples will in relation to President Zelaya, using widespread illusions among the anti-imperialists of today about the current more “human and progressive face” of U.S. imperialism, what Fidel Castro has referred to as “the smiling face” of U.S. President Obama. We, the revolutionary workers in the USA, know all too well that the Obama Regime represents the interests of Chiquita Banana and the oligarchy in Honduras and the dictatorship of Wall Street capital in the USA itself.
We earnestly hope that the Honduran working class, in particular, keeps in mind that Obama-Biden-Clinton is largely responsible for the re-establishment of the iron grip of oligarchic rule in Honduras. We hope that the Honduran people do not let up the just fight for a living wage at work, for land for the peasants, for a democratic voice in the community, for a constituent assembly in the country. We hope that the Honduran masses continue to struggle for the ouster of the coup government of Lobo and the oligarchy and the liberation of Honduras from U.S. imperialist domination.
In this just struggle for freedom from U.S. imperialism, for national liberation and social justice in Honduras, we pledge our proletarian international solidarity, as fighters for a socialist USA and a socialist world.
With comradely respect and admiration,Ray Light
Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL), USA is a revolutionary working class organization that fights for working class power and the elimination of all human exploitation. Ray O’ Light Newsletter is the regular publication of ROL, USA. We believe, with comrade Lenin, that the working class “… needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable petty bourgeois lies.” In the spirit of Karl Marx who taught that “our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action,” we welcome your comments.
Ray Light — Editor