Friday, April 21, 2006
A VIEW FROM MEXICO
Taking a look at the struggle for immigrant rights from across the border.
This article is from La Jornada (Mexico)
'What We [Mexicans] Can Do to Help the Migrants'
By Gloria Munoz Ramirez
Translated By Carly Gatzert
RECENT protests in defense of the rights of immigrants in the United States are being called historic by virtue of the enormous number of demonstrators. The protests have even been likened to the awakening of the Latino community from within the entrails of a monster, but another analysis identifies this phenomenon as the climax of a decades-long process of organization.
Resistance in the United States has been constant ever since half of our territory was stolen by the U.S. government. However, it wasn't until the second half of the twentieth century that the battle between the Mexican immigrant community and political agenda of the U.S. government began.
Erasmo Cruz, representative of the Xanichetic cooperative (Los Angeles), identifies the 70s as the pivotal moment in which the Mexican community, Chicanos and immigrants, began to gather strength. At this point in time, a political party united by race, that managed to win the mayor's seat in Crystal City, Texas; and there arose the Crusade for Justice, a militant Chicano alliance, led by Reyes Tijerina; the anti-war Movement of 1970s in Los Angeles; Brown Beret Cafes (inspired by the Black Panthers), in addition to high school student protests, and later on, the struggle of Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers.
All of these movements received the answer of the United States Government: repression, imprisonment and outright assassination. In the decade of the 80s we witnessed, beyond the growth of immigrant populations, the strengthening of Latino institutions, accompanied by the emergence of a political and financial elite, who reaped the benefits of the resistance of the 1970s.
According to Xanichetic's analysis, it was not until the 90s that symbols of resistance there was a renewed interest on the part of Mexican and Chicano youth in the search for identity. Today, this battle is taking place in the streets. Since March 7, the underdog has crossed the threshold, voicing resistance to the criminalization of the immigrant work force. These are the successors to the protestors of the 70s; young men and women, many of whom are legal U.S. citizens, either first or second generation immigrants.
What can we in Mexico do to show our support? One proposal is to boycott all U.S. businesses. There is talk of a suspension of immigrant labor in the U.S. on International Workers' Day [The Great American Boycott, 2006] as a pressure tactic, to make it widely recognized that Mexican immigrants should have the right to work, an education for their children and medical services.
This is a protest for the right to life and dignity. Whether or not you support this boycott from our side of the border, (in which we will purchase nothing of U.S. origin, nor from any U.S. franchise such as Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King, Walmart, Seven-Eleven, etc.), we simply can no longer remain indifferent.