Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Left Case Against Open Borders - A Review

A review of the article, The Left Case against Open Borders, by Angela Nagel - American Affairs Journal
Tens of thousands of Hondurans, El Salvadorans and Guatemalans are fleeing  hunger and death.  Usually they do not flee in caravans but alone or with their immediate families. Caravans are formed for protection from crimes, assault, rape and extortion. As the Exodus Caravan from Honduras has reached our borders, there is a heightened sense of fear in the nation promoted by Donald Trump and his administration.

To  begin with, the caravan of poor people at our border should not be stopped.  Instead, those eligible for refugee status should be admitted required by the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1946) and current U.S. law. 

When writers  propose an immigration policy and a critique of a movement, it is important to get the story right. People’s lives depend upon it.

In the article, “The Left Case against Open Borders”, writer Angela Nagel  gets most of the economic conditions correct, but like Trump, she argues without evidence that the problem is that  unions, the Left  and immigrants’ rights activists support  “open borders”.  

  Atossa Araxis Abrahamian,   In the Nation online on November 28,  describes the peculiar lineage of Nagel’s writing and review some of the literature she sites.
 In the following I deal with the false accusations about the role of unions  in the immigration policy  debates.  

Let’s try a thought experiment.  Imagine that no one advocated open borders. How would that change the lived conditions of these refugees?  Not at all. 
The  Angela Nagel essay has many positive features including the descriptions of how global neoliberal capitalism, including NAFTA,  causes many of  the major problems of migration.  
However, Nagel is wrong  in asserting that the left and labor favor open borders. This is accepting the false narrative of Trump and the anti- immigrant forces as an accurate description of their opponents’ views.  They are not. 

There has been a long and well developed movement for immigration reform, along with connected policy proposals – few of which argue for open borders. Progressive  policies and practices have emerged from within U.S. communities and the labor movement.  The writer seems to not be aware of this history. Instead she describes critics of the current attacks on immigrants as “Useful Idiots.”

She notes the Reagan Administration policy  known by Republicans  as amnesty without noting that the  Simpson- Mazolli Act was the consequence of a multi- year struggle for immigration reform by both corporate forces and community groups. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Number of Undocumented Declines

The study, published by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday, put the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States at 10.7 million in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.
As Pew analyzed new data from recent years, its researchers found that “it wasn’t just that the numbers declined, but also who these unauthorized immigrants are had changed since 2007,” said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at Pew Research.
The estimates are derived from figures published by sources like the Census Bureau, which accounts for foreign-born people living in the United States, along with other demographic data including death rates and legal border admissions.

As Pew analyzed new data from recent years, its researchers found that “it wasn’t just that the numbers declined, but also who these unauthorized immigrants are had changed since 2007,” said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at Pew Research.

The estimates are derived from figures published by sources like the Census Bureau, which accounts for foreign-born people living in the United States, along with other demographic data including death rates and legal border admissions.

Monday, November 26, 2018

antiracismdsa: Conflict at the Border

antiracismdsa: Conflict at the Border: What’s happening with asylum-seekers at the border ? Nation Nov 26, 2018 6:45 PM EST. pbs newshour The busiest port of entry along th...

The Honduran Exodus

It should tell us something about her home country that a mother is willing to travel 2,000 miles with her 4-month-old son to come here. Should tell us something about our country that we only respond to this desperate need once she is at our border. So far, in this administration, that response has included taking kids from their parents, locking them up in cages, and now tear gassing them at the border.
People are leaving violent countries where they fear for their lives. Without money, they are subsisting on hope for their kids, for themselves, that they can get to safety. After being denied the ability to lawfully petition for asylum for the last 10 days, they are desperate.
We choose how to respond to this challenge.
Let’s do this the right way and follow our own laws. Allow asylum seekers to petition for asylum at our ports of entry. They must do so peacefully and follow our laws; but we must also ensure the capacity to effectively and timely process those claims (right now 5,000 waiting in Tijuana and only 40 to 100 are processed a day).

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tony Thurmond Wins Superintendent of Public Instruction

 As of Wednesday evening, the California Secretary of State reported that progressive Assemblymember Tony Thurmond has surged ahead of the former charter school operator by nearly 75,000 votes in the ongoing count of an estimated 4.8 million, mostly mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Honduran Exodus

International Call to Action for the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus

As thousands of our refugee relatives—children, elders, brothers, sisters, LGBTQI+ siblings and people with disabilities—make their way to the border, we are calling for an InternationalDay of Action in Solidarity with the Caravan and Exodus from Central Americaon Sunday, November 25th, 2018.We, an ad-hoc Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition, composed of migrant rights and social justice groups, invite individuals and organizations across the country and globe to organize demonstrations in their cities, and if they have the capacity, to join our rally and march to the border.  
We call for an action on November 25th to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 Honduran election stolen by the US government-backed, right-wing military dictator Juan Orlando Hern├índez (JOH). We are demonstrating on this day to acknowledge and draw attention to the current social and political crises driving the exodus from Central America. We understand that these crises—drug wars, military coups, destruction of indigenous lands for the benefit of corporations, and environmental catastrophe in the region—are all symptoms of US foreign policy, corporate profiteering and war-making. 
Moreover, we see that the Trump administration is creating a warlike atmosphere against the caravan. It should be clear that they are not just acting with the support of a cabinet of white supremacists and a majority GOP in the Senate but are also emboldened by the last few decades of bipartisan militarization of the border, mass raids, expansion of for-profit detention centers, and mass deportations—with more than 2.5 million migrants under Obama and Trump alone. Further, these policies are a continuation of a long history of anti-Indigenous colonial violence and genocide.
These attacks have been complemented by decades of pushback against the migrants’ rights movement and years of terror against all who participated in the mega marches for Migrant’s Rights back in 2006 and since. We must continue to build and consolidate our gains no matter how large or small. 
Legal precedent, “civility,” regard for life: the administration has no respect for any of it. The only thing that it responds to is resistance from below.
The US government, as with all governments, and the people of the United States have a choice: We can reject the humanity of the refugees and buy into the racist anti-migrant rhetoric of the Administration and the media. OR, we can do what humans have an obligation to do and what the US government owes the people of Central America: insist on allowing all the refugees the right to seek asylum!
  1. Respect for the right of asylum for all members of the Central American Exodus. Stop the profiling and criminalization of refugees; lift the executive order limiting access to asylum. 
  2. Process all asylum claims made at Ports of Entry with expediency. We reject Custom and Border Protection’s claim that Port of Entries lack capacity to let in refugees. We also reject the shift away from decades of international asylum agreements that allow for requests to be made anywhere on the border.
  3. The US government must publicly acknowledge a) its role in Honduran Coup in 2009, b) that the Honduran government is a US supported dictatorship, and c) recognize the political and social crises throughout Central America as caused by US foreign policy. 
  4. Call for international solidarity beyond the US and Mexico. The United Nations and Red Cross must also recognize the Humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico Border.
  5. We demand freedom for incarcerated migrants now and free movement for asylum seekers. No incarceration of migrants in shelters or for-profit detention centers.
  6. No impunity for governments that violate international asylum agreements and processes. Prosecute officials who violate the human right to seek asylum in any country of their preference.

Endorsing Organizations: 
Pueblo Sin Fronteras
Otay Mesa Detention Resistance
Union Del Barrio 
People over Profits 
QTPOC colectivo
American Federation of Teachers 
Border Angels, San Diego
Defend Boyle Heights
Yano Project
Democratic Socialists of America- San Diego Chapter
Democratic Socialists of America – Immigrants’ Rights Committee
International Socialist Organization

Friday, November 16, 2018

What To Do If ICE Comes Calling

To read the 12 page document: Click on the link in the post  below.




Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Politics is About Power

These notes were the basis for a presentation to the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild on November 8, 2018.
Max Elbaum 
Politics is about Power. One of positive things this moment is that the question of power has moved central to discussion on the left. Not just how to speak truth to power, or how to protest those in power, or pressure those in power. Rather, how to take chunks of power from those who have it now and get it for exploited and oppressed. I haven't seen that on the scale of today since 1960s, when the question of a path to power was put before the left in a different way. The differences are important, but the main thing is that radical discussion is again focused on finding a path to power. That's the context of our discussion tonight.
Elections are also about power. They are a barometer of relative stre3ngth of different social and political forces; and within certain constraints, they can shift that power. Those constraints vary, sometimes outcome of elections can shift things only in tiniest of ways, other times they have big consequences. This just-completed election, and likely even more the one in 2020, the stakes are quite high. There are three inter-related reasons for this.
First is the special danger posed by Trump and the GOP which under him has been captured by white nationalism and is permeated by the politics of racial and imperial revenge. Of course, Trumpism is not some fluke; reactionary anti-democratic blocs driven anchored in white supremacy have been common in U.S. society because of deep structural factors - a country founded on the genocide of the indigenous people and the enslavement of people of African descent. But if Trumpism represents pattern in US life, it is also something new.  In context of demographic change, decline of US global hegemony and failure of economic model dominated US since Regan, it is turn from dog-whistles to bullhorns and an attempt to put in place a semi-apartheid authoritarian system. There's debate on the left of what Trumpism does and does not have in common with classical fascism, but little debate that this is something different and extremely dangerous.
The second reason, flowing from the first, is that the country is polarized to a degree not seen at least since early 1960s and more likely since the Civil War. White nationalism's capture of the GOP has meant that racial polarization in country and partisan political polarization all but totally overlap and reinforce each other. Add in geographic polarization, and the way media has evolved means different sectors of society have nearly completely different sources of not just analysis but basic facts, and the chasm is even more severe. These and other factors rooted in political economy and the shifting power relations in global politics also means that the ruling class itself is more divided than its been in decades. That means the battle between the Trump and anti-Trump camps has squeezed out middle ground and past patterns of so-called bipartisan cooperation. It is now take-no-prisoners trench warfare.
The third factor, especially important for us in this room, is that within the anti-Trump camp there is a surging social justice motion rooted especially in communities of color, and among youth, women and the LGBTQ community. And host of progressive organizations of different types threw themselves into the electoral fray in ways not seen in decades or longer. More on this later if I have time, but for a quick sampling:

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'We Have To Keep Organizing, We Can Not Stop' ...

DSA's newest Congresswoman

In a galvanizing victory speech to an electrified crowd of admirers, Ocasio-Cortez waved away the latest criticism—of her admittedly skeletal plan to pay for an expensive agenda—with the assurance that will finds a way. "They will always call the ambitious naive, they will always call the ambitious uninformed," she said, but the overwhelming excitement her primary win engendered matters—precisely because it was not partisan. Neither party does enough for its constituents, and her victory emphasized a widespread readiness for a fresh political approach, and the possibility of real change that new course presented. 
"Our deepest challenges are not left and right, they are not red and blue; they are top and bottom, they are right and wrong," she said. "It is not good enough to throw a rock at our neighbor's yard, we need to clean up our own house."
She also acknowledged disappointment at the evening's mixed bag of returns: Democrats won the House, but lost key gubernatorial races across the country to Donald Trump-approved candidates: Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams seemed poised to lose, narrowly, to Brian Kemp (although Abrams had not conceded at time of writing); progressive Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum lost to the same windbag who underestimated Ocasio-Cortez.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Sending Troops to the Border is an Election Tactic

Sending the troops is not about the caravan.
It’s about an election.
It’s a culture war being waged by the Trump Administration.
The migrant caravan is 800 miles away from our southern border. These Central American families will literally walk for months with small children in tow. Some humanizing reports are already showing stories of burnout and fatigue among asylum-seekers.

These are families – mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers – who are walking in horrendous conditions, unlikely to reach the border.
The Trump Administration is exploiting the vulnerability of these families as part of his culture war, entirely for political gain.

The reality is, the families are:
  • fleeing violence and lack of economic opportunity
  • traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum, which is legal
  • in no way a national security threat
Despite articles sensationalizing “record migration,” net migration to the U.S. is on the decline and has been since 2005.

And the caravans are nothing new and in no way are a “crisis.” Humanitarian groups have been organizing similar caravans since 2010.

Like the Irish "coffin ships" of before, these caravans are made up of families escaping horrors. They are simply families trying to go through our legal application process for asylum.

This election is going to end, but the fight for the soul of America will continue. And we must continue to fight. 
"Dear America" by Jose Antonio Vargas is now available at available wherever books are sold. The author will donate a portion of his proceeds to Define American.
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Thursday, November 01, 2018

NPE Action Endorses Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction in California!

California is a mess because of the intrusion of billionaires into education, billionaires who do not send their own children to public schools but want to control and privatize them. They pour millions into school board races, and they are now pouring millions into the state superintendent race, in hopes of capturing that important position. 
Tony Thurmond’s opponent, Marshall Tuck, has a long history in the charter industry. Although he claims to be a Democrat (as in DFER), Tuck was endorsed by the California Republican party. Thurmond won the support of 95% of the delegates to the California Democratic party convention. Tuck was also endorsed by Arne Duncan, and Duncan’s endorsement means support of charter schools, high-stakes testing, and misuse of test scores to evaluate teachers. 
California desperately needs accountability and transparency for its unregulated charter sector, not a fox in charge of the henhouse.

, Broad, and the other billionaires, should spend their money to improve schools rather than to attack teachers.

From the Sacramento Bee
Fresh off a Supreme Court loss that stripped them of millions of dollars in an annual revenue, California public employee unions are finding that they still have the big money they need to run statewide political campaigns.
It just might not be enough cash to keep up with their opponents.
The first test of California public-sector union spending after labor’s June defeat at the Supreme Court in Janus vs. AFSCME is unfolding in the race for state superintendent, a contest that typically attracts intense interest from education unions and groups that want to embrace charter schools. 
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