:: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 ::

A Nation of Immigrants

I'm in San Jose California right now. That means I was lucky enough to attend one of the massive demonstrations that took place all across the USA to protest against the proposed anti-immigrant law. Unfortunately the battery on my digital camera has died and I neglected to bring the charger (duh). So thanks to SlashChick on flickr for the above pic of the rally in San Jose.

It was a huge march, which I never saw the end of. Marchers were predominately dressed in white and were carrying a variety of flags, Mexican, Nicaraguan...but by far the most common was the stars and stripes. Now you won't see that too often on a demo in Europe, unless it is in the vicinity of some kerosene, but it clearly symbolised the struggle for full citizenship rights by people who are working hard at the jobs most Americans don't want to do. The TV news here was reporting that illegal immigrants generate $1.2 billion a DAY for the US economy. A quarter of agricultural workers are illegal. The economy could quite simply not function without them.

The march here in San Jose had everything from priests to Elvis impersonators but many young people and families. The most common chants were 'Si Se Puede' and 'La Raza Unido, jamás será vencido!' (apologies for my Spanish).

The truth is that this movement is moving beyond the legislation in question. Latino people in the US have found that they have real power and that they don't have to remain silent and in fear. Crucially they have power as workers and are conscious of that. This movement has developed almost entirely without the input of the small organised left in the US (they were invisible on the march I attended bar a couple of ANSWER placards). Working with this vibrant and dynamic new social movement will be a challenge that will need to be addressed.

:: Alister | 5:03 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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