Malcolm X successfully separated the militant blacks from King’s peaceful non-violence movement. Malcolm preached the virtues of “black power” and the “separate but equal” mantra. King taught the patience of overcoming prejudice. Ironically, both men were assassinated, reducing the possibility of a major civil uprising by either side. The skeptics believed the U.S. government was involved with both murders — the same skeptics who believed President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a plot by his wife and Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
But how times have changed. Who could have predicted that the real racial divide and threat to white power would originate in Mexico, creating an even larger divide between the Republicans/ supremacist-backed Tea Party and the illegal immigration policies of the Democrats?
Since a federal judge overruled Arizona’s state law protecting U.S. borders in their state from illegal immigrants entering the country, Arizona has received more than $1 million in donations to appeal the case in the Supreme Court. On the other hand, opposition to the Arizona crackdown on illegal immigration is receiving support from Los Angeles labor unions. Last week, 11 buses packed with 550 people representing 32 unions in the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor left Southern California for Phoenix to demonstrate in support of the illegal immigrants and to register legal immigrants to vote.
A representative from the federation of labor said the members want to defeat the new anti-immigration law but also want to “help the Latino community be more active in politics.” Their goal is to motivate the Latino community to vote, citing 1994 as an example of the power at the ballot box.
In 1994, California voters passed a law restricting government services for illegal immigrants. Labor unions were on the opposite side, supporting the previous policy of giving illegal immigrants the same services as U.S. citizens.
After the election, the unions organized the Latinos. They joined together and registered to vote, giving themselves a huge voting block and the unions more political clout. If labor unions are successful in registering legal immigrants and creating a new political landscape in Arizona, they will have the power to prevent any anti-immigration laws proposed by the state of Arizona. Barry Goldwater, a conservative Republican but a true libertarian at heart, would have loved getting in the middle of this.
But as a union member, you have to ask why the union is collectively spending dues supporting illegal immigrants who are willing to work for less pay and possibly threaten the job security of their own members. I know the unions are responsible for collective bargaining, protecting seniority and job security, but why are they opposed to protecting our cities and national borders? As labor unions, why are they getting involved in border disputes and government policy that tolerates illegal drugs, possible terrorist and criminals smuggled across our border?
Instead of grandstanding and demonstrating against anti-immigration legislation, unions should use their influence to create a conduit for immigrants to become American citizens. Instead of handing out a voter registration form, they should hand out application forms for American citizenship.
If unions organized American businesses to sponsor an immigrant’s citizenship, provide him with a job and guarantee a wage high enough to keep him off of the welfare dole, that would be a start. If unions themselves sponsored citizenship for the illegal immigrants crossing our borders, they would build a strong organized labor base, provide labor at all levels of employment and save the government a lot of money.
In defense of the unions, they are primarily opposed to the possibility of racial profiling in Arizona and have been branded as liberals because of it. But again, that is not really a labor-related issue; it is a constitutional, legal and political issue.
But wanting social justice or eliminating social injustice is not a liberal philosophy. It is a moral as well as a legal requirement of our democracy. It is also somewhat of a virtue held by most religious believers. It’s strange how so many of the same religious zealots who believe in the moral and liberal concepts of faith, hope and charity seem to be opposed to political and moral justice for minorities.
Yet, while the sands of Arizona burn with racial tension, our president for change doesn’t have time to visit Arizona and support the protection of our borders. He does have time to sue Arizona and appear on “The View” to tell everyone what a great job he is doing as president of the other 49 states.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.