By Cajeme Iniciador. The banner in the cover photo was spotted in Los Angeles this weekend. In English, it reads, “Alert! Watch out for ICE! They are the enemies of the people!”
After making threats that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will raid 10 major cities throughout the country to deport “millions” today, President Trump Tweeted on Saturday that he would delay the raids for two weeks pending concessions from Democrats on immigration policies.
This news follows a week-long effort from the Trump administration to drum up anti-immigrant sentiment, provoking fascists and reactionaries to violent action against immigrants and even Spanish-speaking Chicanos and others who could be mistaken for immigrants.
In a statement made last week, the Trump administration defended the President by justifying the ICE raids and deportations.
“Countless illegal aliens not only violate our borders but then break the law all over again by skipping their court hearings and absconding from federal proceedings,” an administration official said in a statement. “These runaway aliens lodge phony asylum claims only to be no-shows at court and are ordered removed in absentia.”
Both the White House and ICE say the undocumented immigrants being targeted are criminals who largely evade law enforcement and fail to comply with the courts. But it’s just imperialist rhetoric. Even where it is true that undocumented immigrants missed a court date, they cannot be faulted for struggling to remain free from detention center dungeons, from being deported back to their countries where reactionary violence waits for them like a hungry vulture.
While the Trump administration may be instigating racist reaction, the agenda of ICE is driven by the recurring crises of capitalism: economic recessions and depressions, mass unrest, reactionary attacks to public services, deregulation, and inter-imperialist conflicts and wars. In its struggle for survival, US imperialism is aided by bourgeois non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits and revisionists.
How NGOs/Nonprofits and Revisionists Defend US Imperialism
In response to the impending ICE raids this weekend, NGOs/nonprofits immediately started planning “Know Your Rights” workshops and circulating “Know Your Rights” messages, flyers, emails and general propaganda on social media throughout the country. But many NGOs/nonprofits are funded in part by the very same imperialist state that attacks and deports immigrants! What hypocrisy and treachery!
Under imperialism the role of the NGO/nonprofit is to defend imperialism, not combat or resist it. They are collaborators who negotiate with imperialism.
The farther “left” NGOs/nonprofits have created campaigns like “#AbolishICE” led by their “woke” staff and supporters posturing as being confrontational but ultimately still seeking reforms exclusively, albeit more radical-sounding ones. Similar to the “bad apples” argument used to defend police departments, #AbolishICE defends US imperialism in singling out ICE as the rotten fruit of an otherwise bountiful and redeemable tree.
Social-fascist organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have followed the lead of NGO/nonprofits as they continue jumping from campaigning for defensive reform after defensive reform. The DSA and revisionists like the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, sloganeer for revolution and socialism but are incapable of organizing for revolution. Instead, they choke the revolutionary potential of the masses. They are mostly only distinguishable from the NGOs/nonprofits because they raise their phony red flag of “socialism.” In this way, they are far more treacherous and dangerous than the NGOs/nonprofits because they lie to the masses that they can make revolution.
This narrow-minded and limited response to the fascistic assault of ICE exposes how these organizations accept and perpetuate the myth that capitalist society is as good as it gets. By promoting rights and reforms alone as the only defense to ICE, these sell-outs and revisionists serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. They have the gall to tell undocumented immigrants to place their faith in the ruling class and the government it controls, the same one that exploits them, oppresses their home countries, and terrorizes them wherever they go.
The reformists and revisionists lure the popular immigrant masses with progressive-sounding slogans, but they take the creativity and energy of the masses and squander it on a strategy exclusive to desperate conciliatory reforms. Unless reforms are won through combative class struggle and serve revolution, they are merely pittances subject to reversal.
The undocumented immigrant masses in the US, especially the Spanish-speaking masses from the oppressed nations of Latin America, clamor for more than knowing their rights or small reforms. What good is knowing your rights as an undocumented immigrant if it is well-known that ICE breaks the law to detain and deport undocumented immigrants?
They cry out for resistance against ICE raids and state repression. The yearning for revolutionary solutions is ever-present in the popular immigrant masses. It has always been this way.
Anti-Immigration Policy Is Part of the History of Mexican National Oppression
For years now, going back a century, immigrants from all backgrounds have been targeted by the capitalist state. This included Chinese, Japanese, Irish and Eastern Europeans like Russians, Jews, and Serbians, just to name a few.
While the repression of some of these ethnic minorities and immigrants has waned, Mexican immigrants have been the target of constant repression, now alongside Central Americans (who now make up the majority of undocumented immigrants).
Mexican immigrants have always traveled in and out of the US. However, immigration skyrocketed after the implementation of the imperialist North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, which pushed out scores of the Mexican peasantry and rural proletariat from the countryside. NAFTA allowed US imperialists to purchase Mexican land, to compete directly with Mexican companies in the Mexican economy, to flood their markets with US commodities, escalating the national oppression of Mexico.
Many Mexican immigrants have always had a strong connection to the Southwestern region, which is understood to be the oppressed Chicano Nation. Chicanos, while not immigrants, share some similar aspects of Mexican culture and language, and they have also been subjected to repression due to the anti-Mexican ideas spread by US imperialism, i.e. that Mexican immigrant workers, while lazy, are stealing jobs from US-born workers, that Mexicans immigrants are rapists, gangsters and criminals, etc.
In order to understand ICE and US imperialism, we must know the history of US imperialist domination of Mexico. Immigration has always been tied to imperialism, and before that, colonialism.
How Do We Combat and Resist ICE and US Imperialism?
Combating must mean one of three options: 1.) forming revolutionary anti-imperialist organizations 2.) joining the general progressive anti-ICE struggle as individuals who are fed up with bourgeois NGO/nonprofit and revisionist business as usual or 3.) joining already established tried-and-true revolutionary organizations throughout the country that support the reconstitution of the Communist Party and the initiation of People’s War. This last one is the most crucial and the most important. In places like Austin, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis and Charlotte, revolutionary organizations are growing.
But we also must resist. Resistance must mean uniting the advanced, like progressive activists fed up with reformists and revisionists, winning over the intermediary, the disorganized broad masses, and isolating or raising up the backward, like conservative-minded people who still support some law enforcement and other elements of the old bourgeois state. The intermediary makes up the majority and will bravely fight for revolution with the proper proletarian leadership.
The masses have already acted bravely and heroically in resisting ICE. Two years ago in the popular New York City neighborhood of Queens, dozens of people came out to protect an undocumented immigrant who was on his way to court. Earlier this year, the executive director of an immigrant rights group that works closely with sanctuary churches, Colombia County Sanctuary Movement, was able to turn away ICE agents and stop them from arresting two undocumented immigrant passengers in his car simply by challenging the legality of the warrant.
The masses have also attempted to block ICE vans from carrying away detained immigrants, like last year in Los Angeles and two years ago in Arizona. They have laid their bodies down in front of the tires of the van. In some cases, the masses have pelted rocks and thrown paint at ICE vans. However, these cases are far and few between.
Get Organized – Fight ICE with Fire!
US imperialism is the greatest enemy to the international proletariat, oppressed nations and people of the world. Communists must organize the rebellion of the masses into revolution.
There’s a revolutionary slogan that is sometimes used, “Fight ICE with fire!” first popularized by the now-concluded Red Guards Los Angeles. The slogan quite literally means to make revolution, armed revolution against US imperialism. The fire of an armed socialist revolution is the only thing that can incinerate ICE as part of the inferno that will engulf and destroy US imperialism.
It is time to break from the dead-end politics of revisionists and reformists who try to smother the revolutionary desires of the rebellious masses. It is time to lead the rebellious masses and organize that rebellion into revolution!
Struggle against the nonprofits and revisionists who are content with business as usual. Revolutionaries emerge from class struggle, from going among the masses and fighting alongside them.
Communists, combatants and the people must organize to combat and resist against ICE as an armed agency of US imperialism. Defend undocumented immigrants! Unite under a revolutionary anti-imperialist political line!