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may1.2006 0552.jpgA marvelous May Day here in Los Angeles on Monday. Nobody knows the real count, but something like another half million or more came out for two competing but complimentary pro-immigrant rallies (my colleague Jon Wiener sorts out the difference between the two). I went to the afternoon march and rally supported by the larger institutional players -- organized labor and the pro-immigrant NGO's. The march stretched for miles down the central L.A. thoroughfare of Wilshire Blvd. and culminated with some speeches from the local Catholic cardinal as well as from L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (see some of my pictures here). The Mayor had originally planned to be in Dallas to plead for an NFL franchise, but Mayor Tony has great political instincts. And instead of being a no-show, he stole the show, waving a big American flag and saying how proud he was to be the mayor of all who stood before him in the streets. I found the entire day-long experience invigorating and rife with the exuberant optimism that has marked this movement since its public eruption less than six weeks ago -- after all, these are people who are pleading to be included in the American Dream. With what dishonesty and malice do some commentators refer to these demos as "pro-illegal immigration." Quite to the contrary, the demonstrators are asking to become legal, to come out of the shadows and to be recognized for their work.   I had expressed some discomfort last week with that fringe faction of the movement pushing for a boycott. I thought then and continue to believe that a call to boycott clouds the overall message of wanting immigration reform. But the huge turn-out for Monday's protests rendered these nuances fairly irrelevant and, further, I was pleased that the bigger of the two events in Los Angeles was that which did not explicitly endorse the boycott.   Difficult to say what the economic impact of Monday's events were (another reason to oppose a one day boycott). Anecdotally, I can report that along a couple of main avenues I cruised in predominantly Latino South Central L.A., most of the shops and corner markets were shuttered by mid-day. Press reports estimate that 90% of the truckers who service the Port of Los Angeles also stopped work. And about three times the average of 25,000 LAUSD students strayed from classes.   A dazzling discipline, both organizationally and morally, allowed these massive events to come off in absolute tranquility and serenity. One more sign that we are dealing with hard-working people with a very clear notion of what they want. No disturbances, no violence, no arrests. Behind the lines I spent some time with the LAPD field command who were in a mellow and relaxed mode. One Latino sergeant told me: "All's cool. This is what America is all about." The mood among the guys and gals in blue was so mellow I expected that at any moment the lazing cops were about to whip out some bongs.   One aspect that made Monday's march so attractive, at least to me, is that this was an authentic demonstration of workers, for workers and by workers. So many other protests are, to tell the truth, lightly disguised acts of noblesse oblige -- middle-class and student activists demonstrating on behalf of this or that other group, or for some abstract cause. How refreshing it was, then, to be among scores of thousands of ordinary people protesting on their own behalf. No need for the usual paraphernalia of your standard lefty march. No giant puppets. No freaky costumes and face paint. None of the self-indulgent counter-cultural poses and postures. No Radical Cheerleaders, thank God. Not a single Free Mumia poster. No sad sacks hawking copies of the Revolutionary Worker. And, best of all, no endless roster of professional activist speakers on the dais shouting out their single-issue slogans, nor a gaggle of frustrated and self-righteous movie stars hogging the mikes.   The only two celebrity speakers were the Cardinal and the Mayor. The handful of other speakers were anonymous workers and students offering peer-to-peer testimonies to the audience. And all of the rally logistics and security in the able hands of unionized janitors, security guards and hotel workers thanks to volunteers from the SEIU and HERE-UNITE. The operative slogan was: Today We March. Tommorrow We Vote. I think this third wave of pro-immigrant demos will underline that point. I also continue to believe that while those who already have a beef with immigrants will only harden their attitudes, the political momentum is still building for the "pro" forces. Monday's demos contributed to that cause. There will be more to come.   P.S. In my incarnation as a USC Annenberg Senior Fellow for Justice and Journalism I did quite a bit of media interviews around Monday's events. Here is the link to the nationally syndicated To The Point public radio show where I go mano a mano with a leading anti-immigrant gasbag.   P.P.S. Kudos to the L.A. Times which has ginned up an immigration blog.

104 Responses to “Maravilloso”

  1. Virgil Johnson Says:

    Great stuff Marc, straight up. You captured the essense – thank you.

  2. Virgil Johnson Says:

    What a contrast this is from the scare tactics barrage coming out of major corporate media – kind of makes you wonder what their job is, dosen’t it?

  3. leslie Says:

    I spent the evening at the protest in downtown San Diego–it was wonderful! The crowd was huge, peaceful…thousands in the park and then hundreds marched downtown stopping traffic and yet everyone seemed very supportive. The police did a great job of handling the crowd–it was an amazing night for bland San Diego.

    I was so proud of everyone there–it has been years since I have seen such energy in a movement….El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!

  4. rosedog Says:

    Wonderful stuff, Marc. I’m really proud too. I listen to some of the frowning national talking heads on Larry King and it’s clear they don’t get it. Hammering out the right policy is a complex matter. But these demonstrations are quintessentially American. (Loved AV’s flag swirling. As you said, the dude’s got great instincts.)

    Today is a really great day.

    The local LA news has been fascinating. Although there’s an earnest effort to get words from the immigration contras, the underlying mood—even among the TV anchors and the usually sober cops their reporters occasionally managed to interview— is almost entirely one of exhilaration.

    PS: Marc, indeed you kicked serious butt on To the Point. The housebreakers-cleaning-our-toilets metaphor, as you disemboweled Mark Krikorian, was fabulous.

  5. Bill Bradley Says:

    A very impressive day. I think the demonstrators — once committed to their course — handled things very well.

    Marc, are the misgivings you had going into this assuaged?

    Do you think that real potential for a backlash to these demonstrations no matter how well they were conducted is no longer a problem?

    Or do we need to wait a few moments and see what the actual reaction is before making an assessment?

  6. Marc Cooper Says:

    Every action brings a reaction. Backlash is inevitable. The question is always which force has the greater momentum. Anti-immigration forces held it from 1986 until last March 25. Can the pro-immigrant forces retain it? I don’t know. No one knew they were going to seize it six weeks ago.

    The future course will depend a lot on what sort of political leadership is offered. George W. Bush’s refusal to play Pete Wilson has held the backlash to a minimum. If the Republicans get desperate enough before November, that might change. But it will be at great risk.

    What I saw in the streets of Los Angeles today looked very much like the city of Los Angeles. I suspect that the farther you get away from large, mixed urban centers, i.e. the farther you get away from actual living breathing immigrants, the more anti-immigrant sentiment you will encounter. Just like folks in the great flyover think that blacks make up 30% of the American population. But who carries the political weight?

    As to rash, snap judgements — that’s one of the perks of blogging as I figure it.

  7. Suzi Says:

    Great piece Marc — and matches my experience too with one exception. On the metro on the way home I saw a few people reading (women, clearly workers who took time off to march) reading….yes… Revolutionary Worker.
    but you capture the mood and it was an authentic expression of power and everyone I saw was smiling ear to ear.

  8. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, I’m breathing a sigh of relief, because as you know it only takes a handful of incidents, if that, on the day of. But they didn’t happen.

    This will play out in different venues over time. In electoral politics, it is not necessarily the force with the greater momentum — which can be measured over varying time periods, of course — that is most significant for an outcome. If most of the people who are part of that momentum were already on one side to begin with, it may be that it is the effect on a smaller swing group that is actually more significant.

    I think, hopefully, that we are moving toward a new consensus that the illegal immigrants who are here should, for the most part, remain, that there should be criminal penalties attached to the circumstances of their coming here, and that the pathways to green cards and citizenship and, oh yes, driver’s licenses, should be expedited.

    That will be a huge accomplishment in itself.

    Expelling large numbers of people is an insane idea, and would generate a backlash of its very own.

    The other questions, of a guest worker program, and of border security, those will be more difficult.

    To what extent do we believe that people who are already here can’t or won’t do certain jobs? And whose estimates do we believe as to the numbers of “guest” workers necessary to meet this need which has never been spelled out publicly before, much less fully debated?

    With regard to the security question, how quickly do we want this country to change? Change is inevitable. The pace of change is not inevitable.

    These demonstrations may shock some into realizing just how much the country has already changed. It may be that most voters will want to assimiliate this dramatic new presence in their midst — as previous immigrants have been assimilated — before deciding to allow substantial new immigration.

  9. Bill Bradley Says:

    OOPS. See, I’m used to being able to edit my typos. Here is kind of a big one.

    “that there should be criminal penalties attached to the circumstances of their coming here”

    That should read: “there should NOT be criminal penalties”

  10. Michael Balter Says:

    “Expelling large numbers of people is an insane idea, and would generate a backlash of its very own.”

    It also just simply isn’t going to happen, and I think those who spout this know it–in which case it becomes a slogan intent on demonizing immigrants and keeping them in their place. In my view, that is what much of the current “backlash” is all about, at least from the right. On the left, there are too many people who can’t conceive of the immigrants as anything other than cheap labor for the capitalists, and that’s clearly a role the immigrants are telling us they won’t play any longer either.

  11. Natasha Says:

    No Radical Cheerleaders, thank God.”

    But daaaaad I just made head cheerleader! I can recite Marx’s German Ideology whilst atop of a human pyramid.

    Our favorite chant :
    “1-2-3! Down with the bour-geo-isie!!”

    didn’t rhyme when we translated it into Spanish so we just instructed people to “rise up with the people of the world” instead. Woo!

  12. Natasha Says:

    ps. the human pryramid represents fuedalism. Go Team Red!

  13. Natasha Says:

    ps. the human pryramid represents feudalism. Go Team Red!

  14. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Most Immigration “news stories” are missing relevant facts: how many legal immigrants are from Mexico, from Europe, from India, China, the rest of Asia, Africa; how many from Canada.

    How many are on waiting lists for immigration, how many are waiting for green cards (visas that allow legal work)? How long does a Mexican have to wait to come to America legally?

    Even without knowing how long the waits are (facts), it is possible to state some principles. Honest people willing to work should be able to come to America without waiting more than 5 years — I think 4 years is better, and even 2 years is a reasonable target.

    How many people in the world have been on waiting lists for more than 5 years? — immigration reform should offer all of them some path to get to America, fast.
    Justice in a trial requires a “speedy trial” — justice for immigration also requires lines that are reasonable; more than 5 years becomes “unjust”.

    There is no fair or just way to solve the illegal Immigration mess. Enforcing the current laws, meaning forcibly sending the illegals all home, is not just. Continuing to tolerate their stay as illegals is not just. Granting them amnesty, rewarding their lawbreaking, is not just to those waiting for the legal process.
    “Justice” is not an option — this is why immigration reform is so hard.
    Continued toleration at least has the political fig leaf of not actively favoring enforcement of an unjust solution, like Michelle Malkin and other “nativists” do.

    At least almost everybody agrees that “there is no free lunch” available on this issue, which is one of the two main economic points that must be followed. The other big point: incentives matter. A reasonable compromise must get the incentives right. To get the incentives right, the end-state goals must be clearly defined:
    1) All workers in America are legal
    2) Many illegals have become documented
    3) Many illegals have left
    4) Those who want to come to America prefer to wait in line rather than to come illegally.

    It is ONLY if goal (4) is true that goal (1) is reasonable, as long as poor Mexicans would rather try to get in illegally, many workers will not be legal. The fence helps, but only a little bit, at making it better to wait than to cheat.
    4b) The legal line wait must be less than 5 years.

    But there need to be incentives for the employers, too:
    5) It must be cheaper to hire more expensive legals than to pay lower wages to illegals.

    At least most reform “talk” includes point (5) — higher fines on the firms who hire illegals.
    The fine should start at a $1000 / per illegal, and increase by $1000 every quarter until there are 12 million new “documented” workers in the USA.

    The issue of “guest workers,” which is highly addressed, has overshadowed the issue of increasing the number of legal immigrants. There should be 1.5 million/year; 1 million from the rest of the world, and 500 000 from Mexico. The number from Mexico should be scheduled to increase by 100 000/year until it reaches a level so that nobody on the waiting list has been waiting more than 5 years.

    Marc, great post for feeling — what about some of the facts I’m missing?

  15. reg Says:

    MC: *With what dishonesty and malice do some commentators refer to these demos as “pro-illegal immigration.”*

    With far less dishonesty and “malice” than anyone who would refer to these demonstrations as simply “pro-immigration” and anyone who raises doubts about them as “anti-immigration”. Frankly the dishonesty of the commentators I’ve seen who act as cheerleaders for these demos has been stunning. They obviously don’t see unfettered integraiton of Mexico’s labor market into our own as a problem and will leap at a “solution” sponsored by one of the most conservative men in America, allied with a liberal who thought he was getting a good deal when he helped push through the Big Pharma bill for “seniors”, which will institutionalize “guest workers”. This is primarily a movement about one class of “immigrants”. Those who can easily access our southern borders and establish themselves here de facto. The rest, be damned.

    If that’s “dishonesty and malice” compared to the Rah-Sis-Boom-Bah we’ve been getting, frankly I could give a fuck.

  16. reg Says:

    “that this was an authentic demonstration of workers, for workers and by workers. So many other protests are, to tell the truth, lightly disguised acts of noblesse oblige”

    People were demonstrating in their self-interest. That’s great. We all should. And of course it was “by and for workers”, because if it wasn’t so many employers – like much of the meatprocessing industry – wouldn’t have given their workers the day off. I eagerly await the next wave of demos for raising the minimum wage, unionization and enforcing labor law – of, by and for the workers – and let’s see how happy these same employers who want to stop Sensenbrenner and push through McCain-Kennedy with a large “guest-worker” provision are with the “new social movement.”

    Marc – proponents of this “movement” who I’ve heard in the media can’t discuss the range of immigration issues honestly or delve into the more complex aspects for fear of offending segments of their coalition who basically have an agenda regarding a single class of immigrants – illegals, mostly from the south. To hijack pro-immigrant feeling – which is broad and deep in this country – as being all about that group is bullshit and obfuscation. From the few times I’ve heard him discuss this on the tube, Lou Dobbs is more honest about the range of issues than you are – by a long shot. This movement is no more about an across-the-board fair and workable immigration policy than the “drug bill” was about benefiting needy seniors. You’re a cheerleader and that’s that. Which is fine and dandy – but don’t accuse other people of myopia, “dishonesty”, “malice” and the rest of it. It makes you sound like an idiot – which I know you’re not.

  17. Timotheus Says:

    I received notes from participants referring to the May 1st date and suggesting that immigrants may just have reclaimed that holiday for the United States. A cozy thought.

    Curious–no, pathetic, actually, to hear the panicky TV ‘experts’ warning darkly of the backlash that will now follow the peaceful demand by a million people for a decent life with a job and a neighborhood. What’s wrong with these Mexicans? (you can hear Loud Doobs saying) Why aren’t they cowed by me?? And the supposed sympathizers can get off that little hobbyhorse now, thank you. Or are they also secretly afraid?

  18. reg Says:

    Also, Marc – sorry about the “noblesse oblige” regarding, say, Darfur. That, of course, is an “abstract cause”. Not authentic…and, of course, egad…George Clooney !

  19. Nathan Says:

    It’s painful watching you call it “anti-immigrant sentiment” Marc. It has nothing to do with immigrants, but with ILLEGAL aliens.

    You interviewed a couple people yesterday on the news, and I even transcribed the interviews over on my website. You asked one lady if a path to citizenship would make her happy, and she said yes. Well the ignorance shined through, because there IS a path to citizenship!

    I also loved how the two most important things most reporters felt they needed to mention was A) it was mostly peacefuly and B) it was mostly American flags. The funny part is that at the same time you’re saying that you still see Mexican flags in the back, and people with signs that that say this should be Mexico.

  20. Nathan Says:

    haha, excuse me for saying “you” interviewed….I meant “Marc Brown” interviewed.

  21. Woody Says:

    Marc: public radio show where I go mano a mano with a leading anti-immigrant gasbag.

    Was he a gasbag because he was “anti-immigrant,” or is he naturally a gasbag, or just a gasbag in your view because that scores you points–which has nothing to do with the validity of his positon? What if I read on his website that he went “man to man” with a “pro-criminal, Lenin-loving, fat fisherman with wet socks who smelled like bait and needed a shave?” Well, that might discredit anyone who met that description (and, I certainly don’t mean that describes you, of course)–with no regard to the validity of his statements. Stick to facts about the issue and avoid attacks on the individual. Wait! What am I thinking? I forgot who comprises most of the audience here. That would take away their main weapon to avoid reason. Go ahead and preach to the choir. We may see you on South Park one day. I’m serial.

    Okay, where was I? To the disucssion…most of you like Marc and rosedog believe that you see the situation more clearly than everyone else that you consider “clueless.” Maybe you need to spend more time in L.A. to know how the average American feels–I mean Lower Alabama, not Los Angeles.

    Who is clueless? Does having a job writing about this issue from a narrow perspective make someone smarter than a person who gets elected by serving the needs of the legal majority? You people had your minds made up before you heard any facts. But, you’re only in step with the protesters and are going in the opposite direction of the rest of America disgusted with the real intents communicated by the leaders of the marches. The masses may just be their “useful fools.”

    From what I’m seeing, every time the pro-criminal marches in L.A. expand, the support for these criminal immigrants in other parts of the nation contracts. BTW, I thought it was highly symbolic in a negative way for the marchers to pick May 1st as their day of protest.

  22. Woody Says:

    Views from another gasbag….?

    A Day Without an Illegal Immigrant

  23. Randy Paul Says:

    Haven’t listened yet, but if it was Mark Krikorian, he’s definitely a gasbag.

  24. Jake Elmore Says:

    Well Woody paints grim picture of Cooper as shill in chief, but he does take up the reins deliberately it seems so that’s to be expected.

    Nothing will come of this. We allow protests. There will be no mass amnesty and there will be no pressure on Mexico to stem the flow, and frankly no much will come of it except stronger laws regarding illegality. A nation of laws not men.

  25. modestproposal Says:

    I too was on Wilshire Blvd yesterday afternoon with my nine-year-old son (who was riveted), and also marveled at the sheer spontaneous joyousness of mass participation — which extended not only to the marchers themselves but to the police, the city government, local businesses, casual commuters, everybody.

    This was indeed America — or anywhere else for that matter — at its finest. I don’t think anybody, not even Woody, could have been there and failed to be impressed by the quiet expression of human dignity and common purpose. Regardless of political beliefs, there really was no argument against that huge tide of people.

    The only thing in my experience that might be remotely comparable for emotional and symbolic power were the mass demonstrations I attended in Leipzig in 1989 as the Berlin Wall was coming down. In Germany, the slogan was “Wir sind das Volk” — we are the people. It was the same powerfully simple message yesterday.

  26. Lynn Says:

    I watched yesterday, with fascination, the protest/boycott/march in Los Angeles. I don’t deny feeling a some pride at living in a country that fosters this type of peaceful demonstration. Or watching a half million people marching for, nay, demanding that the laws of their chosen country be changed or amended to benefit themselves, unafraid of being stomped on by the police and politicians who are paid by the “elite”. They know that if this demonstration were attempted in their country of origin they would be handcuffed and led away.

    Many children, born in the United States, of 12 to 16, citizens of this country, were interviewed by the news media. These are the kids who were born in this country and fear that if laws like the Sensenbrenner bill were to be enacted their parents or grandparents would be deported, while they, as citizens can remain here. That, indeed, is a pretty scary thought for a child. As a parent, I understand that sentiment. But another thing that struck me, was the inability of these children to speak English with proper tenses, basic terminology, or pronunciation. Why is that? Because the school system is not working here in Southern California. Certainly it is mostly because of bad management in the LAUSD, but the problems of bad management is majorly increased by the burgeoning population it must serve — a population that was never foreseen by planners of said system. The data shows that a huge number of these children are not even graduating, and why bother? It’s not much of an education. (I was speaking to a friend’s child, she is 17, and was born here. I told her I was born in Ohio. She asked me if that was in the United States.) This lack of education guarantees us a class of people who will always be relegated to doing those jobs others “don’t want to do” anyway. They will be free to work in car washes, and fast food restaurants without fear of deportation. And as citizens of this country they will have rights, and can legally redress those who do not pay minimum wage.

    I’m trying to see what our country will then do when these citizens are then replaced by a new wave of slave labor to replace them. Can we have a march, then, of a million or two million, to stop the illegal immigration to protect our young citizens, who cannot move up the ladder of success? This is the American dream?

    What’s the plan, when the glow of marching for dignity wears off?

  27. Jake Elmore Says:

    More ignorant massess propagating at high rates, using more fossil fuels as the place gets warmer and wamer and warmer…

  28. Paul Moloney Says:

    “One aspect that made Monday’s march so attractive, at least to me, is that this was an authentic demonstration of workers, for workers and by workers. So many other protests are, to tell the truth, lightly disguised acts of noblesse oblige — middle-class and student activists demonstrating on behalf of this or that other group, or for some abstract cause. How refreshing it was, then, to be among scores of thousands of ordinary people protesting on their own behalf. No need for the usual paraphernalia of your standard lefty march. No giant puppets. No freaky costumes and face paint. None of the self-indulgent counter-cultural poses and postures. No Radical Cheerleaders, thank God. Not a single Free Mumia poster. No sad sacks hawking copies of the Revolutionary Worker. And, best of all, no endless roster of professional activist speakers on the dais shouting out their single-issue slogans, nor a gaggle of frustrated and self-righteous movie stars hogging the mikes.”

    Wonderful paragraph. Summarises better than I could my own alienation from many marches/protests I’ve previously gone on.


  29. evets Says:

    reg -

    re: “People were demonstrating in their self-interest.”

    Isn’t that true of any mass demonstration or movement (the civil rights movement for ex.)? The best of these movements go on to combine the self-interest with something broader. Is that inconceivable with this movement? Is it possible that these demonstrations could lead to broader concern with issues of economic justice? I doubt that will happen, given the spirit of the times, and the opposition of those with a vested interest in continued cheap labor, but see no better vehicle on the horizon.

    BTW, I’m also a bit turned off by Marc’s rating of protests on quasi-aesthetic grounds, grading the authenticity of the participants. If we had a military draft and more folks had a self-interest in ending the war, I’m sure demonstrations against the war would immediately grow in size and ‘authenticity’.

  30. Paul Moloney Says:

    BTW, I’m also a bit turned off by Marc’s rating of protests on quasi-aesthetic grounds, grading the authenticity of the participants.

    Why? What use are protests where the participants seem to only be doing it as a life-style choice? If some people are willing to go on these things at the drop of a hat, why should anyone else take them seriously?


  31. Michael Pugliese Says:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Michael Pugliese
    Date: May 2, 2006 8:55 AM
    Subject: National Council of La Raza: : Denver Rally
    Being unemplyed again I could make it to a daytime, weekday rally.
    It was huge. 50-100K, my guess.
    Denver Post ‘sez 75K. Made it to the steps of state capitol,,roberts,73070,2.html
    where in a sea of US flags, roars of approval when ex-Mayor Frederico
    Pena noted, “we didn’t fly panes into skyscrapers…and thousands of
    immigrants are serving in Iraq, “and spontaneous chants of, “USA,
    USA!!!, ” if I closed my eyes would have made me think I was at a
    Super Bowl game. Whatever the paranoid fantasies of freepers about,
    “Reconquista, ” via a , “Aztlan Liberation Army, ” this is an
    assimiliationist movement, albeit w/ the standard pluralist, ethnic
    pride flourishes.

    Michael Pugliese

  32. Lynn Says:

    Why do you keep harping on our inattention to the situation in Darfur? We’ve got a thing going here, which deals with a proud group of people who want to live with dignity in this country. Sure hundreds of thousands are being slaughtered in some country far, far away, but we’ll get around to being outraged when millions have been tortured, raped, murdered, and are dead and gone, and a movie is made. Then it will be easy to say “How could this have happened?” So relax, already. In the meantime we’ll focus on feeling good about our “authentic” protests and authentic speakers/supporters (who have NOTHING to gain from millions of new constituents) like the Cardinal and the Mayor. Where’s your pride, man?

  33. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Is nobody going to call out Marc on how blatantly wrong he was in his last LA Times article?

    “COUNT ME AMONG those — like Cardinal Roger Mahony and various labor and immigrant advocates — who oppose the planned May 1 “Day Without Immigrants” walkout and economic boycott.”

    I understand your concerns about the boycott, but the walkout componant was enormously successful. I saw scores of employers who instead of responding confrontationally, sympathized with their employees and just accepted the difficulties the day would bring.

    Reg and Lynne, that’s pretty nasty to accuse us of not caring about genocide because right now this blog is talking about immigration. As if we don’t have any brain cells left after our time at

  34. Lynn Says:

    Marc said: “I had expressed some discomfort last week with that fringe faction of the movement pushing for a boycott. I thought then and continue to believe that a call to boycott clouds the overall message of wanting immigration reform. But the huge turn-out for Monday’s protests rendered these nuances fairly irrelevant and, further, I was pleased that the bigger of the two events in Los Angeles was that which did not explicitly endorse the boycott.”

    What more does he need to say to please you?

    Further, I am more than happy to discuss the immigration issue here. It’s just that reg has a point, and it is a very important one. The immigration issue has gotten lots of space, and the Darfur travesty has not had much coverage because it’s not in-our-face.

  35. Marc Cooper Says:

    Mavis: I’ve been very forthright in dealng wih what I said last week about the boycott..I am completely comfortable with what I said and stand full by it.

    Reg, ur a smart (and loquacious) guy but you’ve really got a problem on this issue. I hope u work it out someday because Im certainly not going to be of any service to you on this. No surprise you would disagree with me. But to favorably compare Lou Dobbs to yours truly really doesnt pass the giggle test.

    I was listening to old Lou on the radio yesterday. And referring to the presence of Mexican flags, he said; “I am nauseated when I see any flag other than the American flag involved in any political activity.” These are the more nuanced views you appreciate? Good luck, mon.

    Also, Reg… I find your bleating about Darfur to be a total red herring. Im a personal blogger, not a wore service. I dont intend or purport to “cover the news.” I have time to write about one item per day, at most. Sometimes it overlaps with the national agenda or your agenda and sometimes it doesnt. That said, Ive written quite a bit about Darfur and quite early on.

    When I did a piece a couple of years ago featuring Samantha Power I was lynched by lefties and progressives who accused me of being an apologist for a filthy interventionist like her. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  36. evets Says:

    Paul Moloney -

    I must admit I’ve very rarely gone to demonstrations in recent decades, so haven’t experienced firsthand the phenomenon Marc’s described (on more than a few occasions). While some of the demonstrators may be clowns (or worse) some certainly aren’t and shouldn’t be mocked for their lack of working class authenticity and the failure of others to show up. I don’t think the we stay away in droves from Iraq war protests because the speakers are radical hacks (as Marc has described them) but because our bodies and our kids’ bodies are generally not on the line (the element of self-interest that reg referred to is missing). The clowns would fade into the woodwork once more were drawn to protest out of self-interest.

    My daughter went to the Darfur rally with her school, was quite moved by what she saw and heard, even politically energized and didn’t describe anything particularly clownish or celebritized. She didn’t even get to hear George Clooney.

  37. Jcummings Says:

    As horrid, even genocidal, as what is going on in Darfur happens to be, the coalition behind the Darfur rally is at least as duplicitous, if not more than ANSWER etc. This along with Global Exchange’s inane “Out of Iraq, Into Darfur.” I know Marc is not a fan of Monthly Review, but I lead readers to these two stories from Yoshie Furashi. It seems that certain groups don’t want Muslim or Arab speakers, even when Arab groups tried to speak. It also “is no accident” that it is Arab Muslims that are being targetted for intervention.


    Over the weekends there were talks going on between the rebels (some of whom are Bin Laden fans) and the janjawed funding Sudanese government. The rally was timed perfectly to give the rebels a chance to forgoe a deal, which will only make the situation worse.

    The African Union is able to deal with this issue. A US intervention would only make matters worse. Of course there is deep inter-imperial intrigue going on.

  38. Jcummings Says:

    The fact that the aggressors in Darfur are Arab Muslims — though it should be said that the victims are also mostly Muslim — and are supported by a regime in Khartoum that is backed by the Arab League has made some people question the true motives of some of the Jewish organizations involved in the rally. (Gal Beckerman, “US Jews Leading Darfur Rally Planning,” Jerusalem Post, 27 April 2006)

  39. Peter K. Says:

    “Also, Reg… I find your bleating about Darfur to be a total red herring. Im a personal blogger, not a wore service. I dont intend or purport to “cover the news.””

    Yeah, that’s a weird complaint for Reg to make. Jcummings, I wonder if you are truly knowledgable about what has happened in Darfur over the last few years. Furuhashi shows no proof concerning his assertions.

  40. Jcummings Says:

    I know quite a bit, (Yoshie is a she) – and I believe what is written there is backed up.

    I in no way dispute that 200 to 400,000 have been killed, not unlike a recent study that shows that at least 200,000 Iraqis were killed by America. My argument is that America has no interest in saving people…and every interest in its own geopolitical gain.

    In no way do I detract from the idealism and good-heartedness of the Darfur movement, though its quite a safe cause.

  41. Lynn Says:

    Marc does a great job running this blog. He’s an honorable person, and a good journalist. The very fact that he allows people to air their hostilities (often directed squarely and offensively at him) here is an incredible thing, that is not present in many personal blogs. I appreciate that. He is and should be free to name the issue, (I was drawn to this blog because of the discussion of illegal immigration) and if you don’t like or want to join in, go to another blog. Those of us that wish to discuss the history and intricacies of what can be done about the situation in Darfur should comment where that is the posted issue. The Washington Monthly has had recent coverage, for instance.
    However, to diss reg or anyone else for calling attention, every now and then, to an overlooked issue of GENOCIDE, and call it a “red herring…” You’d think he was referring to the trials and tribulations of Paris Hilton. People stray from topic all the time here, and are tolerated — I’m thinking of a long discussion of carbon dating that went on and on and on… The issue here is the boycott, which in turn gives us reasons to question human rights. In this respect a reminder of Darfur is not completely off-topic.

  42. Michael Pugliese Says:

    Lunacy about Darfur (in Monthly Review)

  43. Michael Pugliese Says:

    >…all Yoshie and her allies on marxmail can bleat is
    calling Barbara Ehrenreich a racist for her comments on Darfur.)
    Better excommunicate leftist Barbara Lee for sponsoring the Darfur
    Accountability Act. Which would have
    the appearance of forceful action matching the fears of Yoshie et. al.
    of some imminent round of USAF sorties over Sudan and expanded NATO
    support to the OAU peacekeepers, until one reads Eric Reeves
    and also sees how UN Amb. Bolton weakened already toothless sanctions
    against Sudanese officials
    >…U.N. Ambassador John Bolton successfully managed “to keep top
    Sudanese commanders” from being targeted. Thanks to Bolton, the
    sanction list was whittled down to four from eight, only one of whom
    “is a Sudanese government official, and a mid-level official at that.”
    A piece linked from one of the above URL’s from the left-liberal
    American Prospect
    lays out what a real liberal, not the caricature of Yoshie et. al.
    advocates for Darfur. The Options for Darfur
    Liberal hawks, don’t do unto Darfur what you did to Iraq.

    By Mark Leon Goldberg
    Web Exclusive: 04.26.06

    Lastly, there are liberals in Congress esp. Sheila Jackson-Lee and
    Bob Filner, alas, that do advocate (and are quite close personally to
    the leaders of) not a US military invasion of Iran, a totally bonkers
    idea but, overt support for the MEK guerillas. (ex-Marxists that had a
    bit of popular support in Iran during the leadup to and beginning
    stages of the clerical counter-revolution of ’79 until they were
    repressed brutally, just like their Tudeh Communist Party opponents by
    the IRI.) Dennis Kucinich recently tried to draw attn. to the covert
    support the USG is giving to the MEK and PKK (!!!) inside Iran,

  44. Michael Pugliese Says:

    Note the post from a former Weather Underground cadre. Via comments at

    Dear Yoshie,
    I am an anti-imperialist and an anti-zionist Jew. I have grave doubts about asking the U.S. to intervene militarily anywhere, given our country’s political intentions and track record. But I find your article to be anti-semitic and quite irresponsible. Do you really mean to say that anything that is organized by Jewish organizations or people is therefore suspect? That is, it seems to me, what your article implies. If by “Jewish organizations” you mean pro-Zionist organizations, then I think you need to prove your point better (that is, that the efforts to address the genocide in Darfur are motivated by Zionism, and that ALL the Jewish organizations named are, in fact, Zionist). I hope you will better explain your objection to the initiation of the Darfur efforts by Jewish organizations.
    laura whitehorn | 05.01.06 – 12:36 am | #

    “She thinks the strong Jewish response has to do with the memories of Rwanda. “The Jewish community has probably had a higher level of lingering guilt over Rwanda than the average person,” Messinger says. “And now learning about another genocide, I think people are beginning to understand that we are close to making a mockery of the words ‘Never Again.’” ”

    Your use of the article in the Jerusalem Post is quite misleading. You also omitted the above quote from RM.

    The problem with you account is that you have really no understanding about Jewish outlooks following the holocaust. Rather, you interpet Jewish action through what you no doubt see as a realist account of world and global politics. Masquerading as progressive or “left” you reduce the entire complexity of world politics to the a question of power. This simplification is intimately connected to your personalising of that instrumentalist power which means that, like the petit bourgeois of Sartre’s day, you see the world in terms of personalised dark cabals and commmunitarian secret conspiracies.

    What makes all of this nonsense so depressing is what views like yours would lead to if ever you found yourself in a position of authority yourself. Believing that politics is about the monoply of power, your notion of liberty and emancipation would spell the oppression of all opposition. Please educate yourself before thinking you have anything interesting to say about world politics, or anything else.
    A Marxist | 05.01.06 – 1:26 pm | #

  45. patrick neid Says:

    from a early april post……

    ah yes, the comforts of a familiar circle jerk…………
    “arrest illegal immigrants, arizona wants control of its borders, second line of defense”
    ooh scary. give me a f”king break. they want no such thing. take a look at this map, remembering it’s almost six years old. look at it, and look at it good…..

    have we all become crack heads. there will be no “enforcement of any laws” which as i have told you is code for “do nothing”. it has been this way for forty years and will continue for forty years. 15 million will be 30 million. who are we kidding. look at the color saturation of arizona on the map above. if you think any law is going to be enforced you are eating to much peyote. don’t give me any crap about “well laws should be followed”. they are not, they are not going to be. the repubs pass a law to cater to their base and the dems veto it to cater to theirs. HELLO. meanwhile back at the ranch 10,000 more illegals come here every week. yes, week after week, year after year. meanwhile we pass new resolutions and everybody claims the higher ground.

    close the F’n border with a fence, legalize the illegals with a ten year green card and be done with a problem of our own making.

    people against a fence along the entire the border are just making excuses. they want/will get a police state instead with greatly enhanced IRS, FBI, INS etc. they want/will tear this country apart with a new race war because of something we did. we let them in–don’t ever forget it. if people think 40 million hispanics are going to sit still while a bunch of crackers on the left and right jump up and down screaming “its not right, its illegal or whatever” we’re sending you home after extended stays in our wonderful internment camps while the “illegals” legion of attorneys battle us for years in court, while we discuss root causes and other such nonsense, you don’t need a vacation, you need therapy.
    you had better hope we get this

    otherwise we are definitely getting this even though it was never planned.

    yesterday’s march proves/enhances my point. we are getting a fence and the folks here will be legalized……….it was a good day.

  46. Aaron Says:

    Marc cooper wrote “I had expressed some discomfort last week with that fringe faction of the movement pushing for a boycott. I thought then and continue to believe that a call to boycott clouds the overall message of wanting immigration reform. But the huge turn-out for Monday’s protests rendered these nuances fairly irrelevant and, further,”

    –Man, I couldn’t have said it any better, the successful boycott protest and the huge huge turnout rendered your criticisms of the boycott planners irrelevant. Congrats to this century’s new civil rights movement!

  47. Andy Gezalyan Says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that I am witnessing some historic moments here in L.A. which are not only inspiring but have taught me a great deal about my lifelong neighbors. Marc’s discussion of the issue on TO THE POINT with the hack Mark Krikorian is also testimony to the fact that even those like Krikorian (whose grandmother taught him to not get fooled again) are no strangers to injustice and intolerance. Yet they diguise themselves as patriots and perceive these events to be unpatriotic. Krikorian should ask his grandmother(if she is alive) how she felt around the early 1900′s when over a million Armenian people were displaced.

  48. reg Says:

    “Reg and Lynne, that’s pretty nasty to accuse us of not caring about genocide because right now this blog is talking about immigration.”

    I didn’t say that. What’s been said that strikes me as most obtuse, if not nasty, is that I’m “bleating” about Darfur as a red herring, when Marc makes a comment that implies that anyone who demonstrates for something other than their immediate self-interest is some sort of middle-class poseur. I don’t have any problem analyzing this immigration issue at all – because I can see it in it’s complexity. My reaction is that Marc is evading the complexity because he doesn’t provide analysis, just cheerleading. I’m not saying Lou Dobbs is all right and Marc is all wrong – I’m saying that I’ve heard more complexity on more dimensions of the issue from Dobbs than Cooper. As for Dobbs on foreign flags, it’s no more preposterous than the attacks Cooper made on those of us who criticized the Mexican flags as tactically moronic for our “nativism” or “alarmism”, when in fact those criticisms impacted the tactics of ensuing demonstrators. This is not a simple issue that lends itself to emotional reductionism. I’m not criticizing Marc on this because I think he’s an asshole, a sellout or someone who’s been seduced by mindless leftism. I’m criticizing the perspective he pushes because I feel he doesn’t serve his readers very well by skimming over the downside of illegal immigration or of the McCain-Kennedy bill. I’d be more inclined to credit his perspective if he dealt with the whole. I’ve not seen a single word from Marc that actually deals with my criticism. All offered as IMHO. And I could give a shit if I’m seen as politically incorrect.

  49. Jake Elmore Says:

    I concur.

  50. GM Roper Says:

    Marc Cooper: “Difficult to say what the economic impact of Monday’s events were (another reason to oppose a one day boycott).”

    So, Marc, would you support a two week boycott, a two month one? Just curious.

    Marc and company seemingly view this as a kind of morality issue as in “Let these poor benighted people in and recognize their contribution.” I suspect that they said the same thing when the first “reform” was offered in the ’80s under Reagan. But, too often those on the left show their appaling ingnorance of human behavior in that what you reward, you tend to get more of. I’d be more inclined to think this is something other than White Guilt as noted by Shelby Steele in the WSJ today, if they even recognized some of the complications that illegal immigrants cause. Are they basically good people? You bet, the vast majority are and I would be proud to call them neighbor. In fact, I do have a couple of neighbors who are here from Mexico and they waited a long time to be able to live here legally. What is more, many (most?) of them think that the illegal makes it harder on everyone else.

    Now, I fully expect to be called all kinds of names by someone without enough guts to read and really analyze what Steele is saying.

    I’d be more inclined to believe the liberal position as a valid one if I saw more argument against the Mexican immiration laws and declaring it a felony and the horrid conditions that illegal immigrants into Mexico are forced to suffer under.

    No, I think reg is probably right (gasp!)

    …proponents of this “movement” who I’ve heard in the media can’t discuss the range of immigration issues honestly or delve into the more complex aspects for fear of offending segments of their coalition who basically have an agenda regarding a single class of immigrants – illegals, mostly from the south. To hijack pro-immigrant feeling – which is broad and deep in this country – as being all about that group is bullshit and obfuscation. From the few times I’ve heard him discuss this on the tube, Lou Dobbs is more honest about the range of issues than you are – by a long shot. This movement is no more about an across-the-board fair and workable immigration policy than the “drug bill” was about benefiting needy seniors.

    Yeah, the issue is not about the issue as much as it is a “feel good” for the left. The movement needs to be about a fair and workable immigration policy, not freebies, not felonies, not “guest workers” and for sure not about pro vs. anti immigration. It needs to be about what is fair and good for America first, and increasing the possibility of being fair and good for others that want to come here in order to better their life. Amnesty isn’t the answer now any more than it was in the ’80s.

  51. Aaron Says:

    Reg says, “I’m not saying Lou Dobbs is all right and Marc is all wrong – I’m saying that I’ve heard more complexity on more dimensions of the issue from Dobbs than Cooper.”

    –Reg, how can you take a guy who rails on and on about ‘illlegal’ immigration like Lou Dobbs, when his own ancestors benefitted considerably from all kinds of perks for their type that came from the Chinese Exclusion Acts, Jim Crow, and other illegal acts of political coercion when they came over? I mean isn’t he a tad hypocritical?

  52. Jake Elmore Says:

    Yeah Roper’s right on this one.

  53. reg Says:

    “I mean isn’t he a tad hypocritical?”

    Yeah…but not nearly as hypocritical as people who conflate illegal immigration with legal. If you don’t believe in borders or the right of a country to control immigration, say so. It’s a crackpot position, IMHO, but it’s the only logical one for folks who think that U.S. immigration policy is unfair to people who evade the rules and anybody who can hop a fence deserves a job in the U.S. – even at the expense of kicking the bottom rung off the labor market ladder. We have one of the most expansive legal immigration programs in the entire world. “Progressives” who pride themselves in their tolerance for illegal immigration are the biggest hypocrites in this entire debate. I have more respect for the ethnic lobbies on both sides – at least they’re honest about their agendas and aren’t schizophrenic.

  54. Aaron Says:

    “but not nearly as hypocritical as people who conflate illegal immigration with legal.”

    If it was ok for Lou Dobb’s parents or grandparents, why isn’t it ok to conflate ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ immigration”? I mean it seems reasonable, maybe the whole ‘legal’ ‘illegal’ thing is just a game set up to scare immigrants into thinking they shouldn’t organize unions? And I have no idea what you mean by ‘expansive’, it is drawn up to systematically make it far easier for people of means to immigrate than for those who work hard jobs for low pay. Progressives are just saying what people like John Sweeney say, a labor movement has never won anything when it supported only part of the working class. Employers of “illegals” love it when anger is directed at immigrant workers, whether ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’. It makes it easier to control them and pull down the overall wage pool, “legal” and “illegal” alike.
    Lou Dobbs just wants the good ol’ days when the world was white, petit-bourgeois farmers, and Christian small towns. That world he recalls so fondly couldn’t have existed without the systematically illegal violations of the US constitution such as the Chinese Exclusion Acts, anti-Asian worker hysteria, Jim Crow, covenants, etc. Poor Lou, we can’t go back to the good ol’ days to solve the problems of globalization.

  55. Marc Cooper Says:

    Reg says: “My reaction is that Marc is evading the complexity because he doesn’t provide analysis, just cheerleading. I’m not saying Lou Dobbs is all right and Marc is all wrong – I’m saying that I’ve heard more complexity on more dimensions of the issue from Dobbs than Cooper.”

    Marc answers: Well, Reg, Im not rich enough to take the time to restate to you my 6000 words of non-analysis on this subject that appears in this month’s Atlantic (based on a review of 6 books on the issue). I guess you’ll have to continue to make-do with the infinitely more complex arguments made by Mr. Dobbs on his very high-brow CNN show!

    If ur assertion wasn’t so ridiculous, I’d actually be offended. But it’s hardly worth it. And the Darfur stuff is silly. You know that.

  56. Jim Russell Says:

    Patrick Neid and Reg strike at the heart of the matter, as they do on other of Marc’s rosy posts about the support these “Immigration Rights” marches have generated for those here without permission.

    Outside of the Peoples Republic of California, the reaction by citizens, including Latino citizens btw, has been decidedly negative. Impressed with the numbers of illegals that have actually invaded our country, the large majority, as reflected by the comments on Marc’s posts here, are definitely not impressed with the organizers of these demonstrations and their apparent threats and demands on the residents of a home they have occupied uninvited.

    The Mexican people are hard working and gently and kind. I very much like them and certainly not in favor of deporting families. But
    they are a tax burden and a drag on wages of our citizens. The bleeding across our border must stop before anything else can happen regarding their legal status in America. Anything else would clearly not a solution at all, but just more incentive to batter the borders.

    No bill will pass until border and work place problems are solved to the voting citizens satisfaction. They are damned mad of being taken for granted and taken advantage of by what appears to be a massive ungrateful, unthankful, and unassimilated problem.

    Any bill will be well after the 2006 elections and will depend on enforcement RESULTS only.

    You heard it here first.

  57. GM Roper Says:

    Did Jake say what I thought he said?

    Sheesh, is there no more loyalty in the left than to say (perhaps with tongue firmly imbedded in cheek) a neandertholithic knuckle dragger like me is right on this one?


  58. Virgil Johnson Says:

    Recently, I have come to the conclusion that this issue of immigrants having full citizenship rights is the only course of action. If based upon the wanton explotation of the West (Euro-American), which has ransacked these countries – I say the price of citizenship has been paid! Trillions of dollars of resources and human enslavement, death and destruction, and the stolen potential of any life in their own country is enough of a price. If that is not enough than what is?

    However, that does not mean that this process of fascist globalization can go on it’s merry way. It must be stopped, and if this means putting out the apple of this junta’s eye than so be it. As I said before the only element left out of the equation of these reprobates is people, and these people deserve what they ask for without question. On the other hand, if you think this solves the problem of what creates conditions like this you are sadly mistaken.

    Giving those what they deserve in terms of citizenship is not even half the story, it is treating the symptom and forgetting the disease – and this is a case where it is eventually going to have to be “physician heal thyself,” and that surgeon is the people. Don’t even try to remove the symptoms from the disease, unless you are a quack.

  59. Josh Legere Says:

    Maybe if you read recent UN research you will find that migration to urban centers is occurring at breakneck speed across the globe. Unlike the 3rd world where millions are migrating to megaslums with an unofficial economy and hideous living conditions, immigrants come to the US and find that they can easily gain employment. The US has actually not had to endure much migration at all. Check out

    The most hypocritical aspect of this is how capital is privileged over real human beings. Corporations can move all over the globe leaving ruined ecologies and empty factories in their wake as they search for more desperate people to exploit. But real human beings on the other hand, they cannot migrate to where their labor is in demand.

    If all of you were true global capitalists than you not want to regulate the labor market. I mean, all markets shouldn’t all markets be free of regulation? Pull out the Hayek and Friedman.

    Life is miserable in Mexico. In the 6 years I have been going to Baja on a fairly regular basis to my trailer in Punta San Telmo, things have gotten MUCH worse and I don’t blame anyone for wanting to come to the US. TJ is gotten hellish in the last few years.

    Economic instability due to neoliberal globalization is causing migration all over the globe and has led to hemisphere wide economic problems. Socialists and demented populists are winning elections in Latin Ameirca for a reason. Until we address the bigger issues abroad and the realities at home, the debate will still be simple minded.

  60. Aaron Says:

    “Outside of the Peoples Republic of California, the reaction by citizens, including Latino citizens btw, has been decidedly negative.”

    Huh? The state run by a republican governor? yeah, some ‘people’s republic’. I’ve scanned newspapers and blogs that are local around the country and found the opposite, the reception has been quite favorable and surprised that the boycott could be pulled off. Minutemen types are feeling pretty lowly, but then again nativists who wish for the good ol’ days of the Chinese Exclusion Acts and Jim Crow should feel that way. There’s hope.

  61. Marc Cooper » Blog Archive » It’s Those Jews Again Says:

    [...] A hat tip to reader and correspondent Michael Pugliese. [...]

  62. reg Says:

    “Well, Reg, Im not rich enough to take the time to restate to you my 6000 words of non-analysis on this subject that appears in this month’s Atlantic (based on a review of 6 books on the issue)”

    I just picked up a copy and will be reading it today on the plane. I guess I should subscribe, because I find myself grabbing the Atlantic off the stands nearly every month. And I’ll give you a serious, non-sarcastic or glib response – for what it’s worth. I’ve been responding to your blog comments – which have been rather extensive. I’m not trying to offend you – and I don’t think any of my comments have descended into some of the crank personal stuff we’ve seen here from your left – just poking you a bit to widen your lens.

  63. reg Says:

    Aaron – you’re on the same side as the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable – not to mention the remarkably corrupt Mexican bourgeousie – on this one. That’s okay, but don’t pull out your lefty bullshit against Lou Dobbs, who’s economic populism in response to the dynamics of international capitalism is consistent. Of course it’s petite bourgeous and more than a bit nostalgic. But it’s also a political impulse the left – at least the left that’s not nuts, mired in identity politics, “third-worldism” and other arcane ideological nostalgia of its own – should be making common cause with. The only thing I’ve seen challenged substantively here that Dobbs says on this issue was about his emotional reaction to foreign flags. I could care less about that. He actually had some very upbeat positive comments on the demonstrations on a Larry King debate I happened to catch. Of course that might be because he knows his old friends over at the Chamber of Commerce approve of any movement that’s primary political impact is to build support for the McCain-Kennedy “guest-worker” compromise bill and expose Sensenbrenner’s as wildly punitive and impractical. The “left” angle on this thing continues to be a bunch of mushed rhetoric that doesn’t even begin to respond to the real range of issues driving people’s perceptions and responses to this issue. Of course, if you want to spend your time excoriating the nation over the Indian Wars and the Chinese Exclusiion Act, as the key to understanding the dynamics of the Mexican labor market in the context of the most exploitative sectors of U.S. capital (along with the nanny/yardman crowd) go right ahead. Crank it up. Capitalism is Doomed!

  64. Abbas-Ali Abadani Says:

    Hey, Lynn

    With respect to this post, I just wanted to say kudos.

  65. Aaron Says:

    Reg says “Aaron – you’re on the same side as the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable – not to mention the remarkably corrupt Mexican bourgeousie – on this one. That’s okay, but don’t pull out your lefty bullshit against Lou Dobbs, who’s economic populism in response to the dynamics of international capitalism is consistent.”

    Reg, you don’t get it, Lou Dobbs and the CofC are on the same side. Both help those who want to maintain a political environment that keeps all labor, be it ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ cheap and unorganized.
    Where do I say the Chinese Exclusion Acts or Jim Crow, etc. “explain” the dynamics of globalization? I just say people who rail against ‘illegal’ immigrants like they’ve committed some awful sin crossing the border ‘illegally’ are hypocrites since their ancestors, if they’re European at least, relied on all kinds of violations of US law to help them reach these shores. No?

  66. reg Says:

    “Lou Dobbs and the CofC are on the same side”

    Because…uh…Aaron says so.

  67. Aaron Says:

    Nope, because, uhm, employers of “illegals” love “illegals” to be dreadfully afraid of the possibility of employers turning them in to the INS if they try to organize and because, well, uh, the CofC loves to see cheap labor afraid of union organizing because…well…for the same reason as employers of “illegals” love the same. This is why Lou Dobbs and George Bush are part of the same political party. Both are on the same side, just different tactics toward the same end.

  68. Aaron Says:

    Published on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 by TruthDig
    My Mother the Illegal Alien
    by Robert Scheer

    It was Monday evening, and there I was on a downtown Los Angeles street corner as dusk fell, watching the pro-immigrant marchers stream past, as they had done all day, heading toward City Hall.

    I had just been moved to tears by one sign carried by what seemed to be a family stating, “We are workers not criminals,” when a fellow spectator began heckling the marchers. Reacting without thinking, I heckled him — there was this instant hatred between myself and this man I had never met.

    It startled me, this pent-up yet still raw rage over the persecution of immigrants. I know where it comes from: My immigrant mother always lived with the fear of deportation.

    Like so many May Day protesters taking part in “A Day Without Immigrants,” I know about having an otherwise law-abiding family member who spends decades working long, hard hours for abysmally low wages under miserable working conditions, ever attendant to the orders of employers who don’t care that they are violating the law. And if you object by joining a union and going on strike? Well, they can turn you in to the INS, and you’re trouble no more.

    I don’t know exactly how my mother, Ida Kuran, got into this country, but unlike my German Protestant father, who had a far easier time, her name does not appear on the Ellis Island immigrant rolls. What I do know is that she fled Russia soon after the Soviet revolution when the Communists, upon consolidating their power, began imprisoning members of the leftist Jewish organization for which she was a very active youth organizer.

    Thus, she could have been one of the many Soviet Jewish dissidents welcomed to United States citizenship a half-century later. Being European, she could have easily become an American had she turned apolitical once she entered this country. But she wouldn’t abandon her radical beliefs, and was involved in stormy labor struggles on the streets of New York City within months of getting off the boat.

    Soon, she had a growing rap sheet of strike-related arrests. Somewhere along the way, a lawyer convinced her that if she applied for citizenship she would be deported as undesirable. She registered every January as an alien, obtained a legal Social Security card, and paid her income tax every one of the 45 years she operated a knitting machine in New York’s sweatshop garment factories.

    At one point, she received notice from the government that she no longer had to register annually. That was fine for years, until she happened to be hospitalized during one of those inevitable phases of anti-immigrant hysteria and somebody reported her to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    The INS didn’t show up at my house, where my mother, in her 80s, then was living. It just sent increasingly threatening letters telling her that if she didn’t appear at the INS office in downtown Los Angeles, she faced deportation.

    I got involved in trying to get my mother properly registered so this seriously ill Parkinson’s disease patient would not be deported before she died. I visited the INS office, properly neck-tied and suited, assuming this could all be quickly cleared up by my obtaining some forms my frail mother could sign at home.

    I was told firmly that my mother’s personal appearance was required for a meeting with a hearing officer. I left the Los Angeles federal building, looked at that long line snaking around the block—everyone was told to show up at 8 a.m. and waited for hours to be seen—and proceeded to procrastinate about the entire matter.

    Then came the morning when I opened a particularly nasty letter from the INS, followed within days by a phone call from an INS official. I told the guy my bedridden mother was too weak to go through the downtown drill and asked if something else could be worked out. He said no and brought up the prospect of deportation. I asked him just what country he intended to deport her to and he said, “Her country of origin.”

    I knew I had him. I pointed out that it would be difficult to explain to his boss, President Ronald Reagan, why he was deporting one of the first Jewish refugees from Communist Russia back to the Evil Empire. I told him he would have to come and get her.

    I never heard from the INS again. Evidently someone decided to grant her amnesty, and that’s what I want for all of the mothers and their kin whom I watched in Monday’s march.

    Robert Scheer has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter confessed to the lust in his heart and he went on to do many interviews for the Los Angeles Times with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and many other prominent political and cultural figures. Email to:

  69. Virgil Johnson Says:


    That was a very good story. You keep telling others the same thing, you are on the right track. Keep massaging their hearts, until the tough callous around their hearts caused by privilege and ignorance falls away – someone has to do it. Keep speaking truth to power.

  70. GM Roper Says:

    “…until the tough callous around their hearts caused by privilege and ignorance falls away…”


    Could we have a little bit more Marxist dialectic from you Virgil, it just makes my day!

  71. Aaron Says:

    John Sweeney puts it best I think:

    “I believe deeply that immigrant workers are our sisters and brothers and that every person who works in this country is entitled to the full range of rights and opportunities America provides. We must support immigrant workers because supporting all working people is the core of what it means to be a trade unionist. We are always—always—stronger together than when we allow ruthless employers and the politicians they own to drive wedges between us.

    The AFL-CIO and our member unions demand a path to citizenship for immigrant workers and fair treatment and freedom from exploitation for all the workers of America. ”

    Actually Scheer’s story of his mother is probably even better, but Sweeney is spot on about an injury to one is an injury to all. It’s something both the Dobbs and CofC types understand very well, only from the opposite angle: Divide and Conquer.

  72. reg Says:

    Aaron – you’re totally clueless on this issue. The large employers see McCain-Kennedy as a good deal because it is a “guest worker” bill. They want to integrate the Mexican labor market into that of the U.S. – even if they have to follow certain rules to do it. Dobbs, whatever else one might say of him, is a fierce critic of companies that outsource, as well as those that have created a low-wage job magnet for illegal immigrants and want to “normalize” so-called “guest-workers”. Bush, the CofC, Tyson Foods etc. support McCain-Kennedy as the best bulwark against a tougher bill by right-wing populists run amok. Their interest in the guest-worker part of the bill – along with no serious enforcement provision – is reactionary IMHO, but Marc never discusses it – not here and not in his (generally excellent) book review in the Atlantic – just as the crowd enthusiastic over these demos never discuss the prospect of creating a verifiable ID card for workers to end the practice of hiring people who aren’t on a legal path to citizenship in major industries. If push came to shove, many of the groups behind these demonstrations really don’t want the practice to stop. Those who do are too chickenshit to raise it in this context. The bogus lefties like Aaron spill a lot of rhetoric but don’t address what’s really at stake across the board. There’s nothing wrong with a lot of rhetorical jerking off, but don’t act like it’s a coherent analysis of this issue. I totally support full and speedy amnesty for, at the least, families who are established here with jobs. I’m not for open borders, in the sense of surrendering any controlled immigration process. I also totally oppose “guest workers” and anything less than full enforcement of labor laws, including a verifiable electronic ID/SS card to certify eligibility for employment. That’s the only way, at the level of social policy, to stop abuse of the system and strengthen the hand of workers at the bottom rung of the ladder. To blow smoke about unionization of everybody everywhere is fine. But I’m not holding my breath. Unions have been reduced to shells. McCain-Kennedy is the Chamber of Commerce-approved compromise, and unions are too weak to ask for anything more. It’s what the Father Flotskys, the liberal pols, the business community, and the Latino ethnic lobbies – along with GWB – are coming together on. It’s better than Sensenbrenner, because Sensenbrenner’s not enforceable even if you believed in it, but Mc-K’s purely rhetorical on “enforcement” of labor law without a verifiable ID provision, and it’s giving the major assholes of the business community their consolation prize (assuming they can’t officially support just bringing people over the border in boxcars so they can pick them over at the company gates) which has been dubbed “guest workers”.

    From the Tyson Foods Website:

    (After a notice about the importance of talking to one’s manager about getting approved time off if you want to join the immigration reform demonstrations)

    What Tyson Foods Supports

    * Our company strongly supports efforts to create a new immigration law that is fair and supports our Core Values. We have been very active in supporting groups for comprehensive immigration reform.

    * Our company is a member of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), and supports guest worker provisions and a process for undocumented workers already in the U.S. to be able to earn permanent legal status.

    * We are also a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and have partnered with other national organizations to communicate with Congress on the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. Tyson managers have also been encouraged to share our company’s views on this issue with their respective members of Congress.

    (Marc – as I inferred above, the reviews were excellent and the meta-analysis was terrific, but you dropped the ball – as usual – toward the end and didn’t speak to the two issues that I perenially raise to your silence – “guest-workers” and a verifiable, 21st century ID card that isn’t easily forged. If we can run our personal banking off of ATM cards, I’ll assume America’s up to the task of creating an electronic SS card that can’t be any more easily falsified. Of course it won’t happen. But if we’re “pro-worker” we should support a measure that makes it harder for employers to break the law and game the labor market.

  73. reg Says:

    By the way Marc – what your Atlantic piece did best was show the need for a development initiative aimed at Mexico. Progressives in the U.S. should start thinking seriously about how that can be put on the table and some serious international solidarity can be built. I don’t know where this starts, but it’s essential to at least begin to work out some joint program. Otherwise we’re just prolonging the agony. We can’t simply absorb Mexico’s problems. That’s ludicrous. I’d be interested in hearing about something other than stopgaps that put me in bed with Tyson foods on bills sponsored by John McCain. If you can’t force yourself to deal with that stark bit of reality, keep baiting the Video Bighead, Lou Dobbs, as a way to avoid getting the same headache I have when I think about this issue across the bigger picture.

  74. Aaron Says:

    Reg writes: “Aaron – you’re totally clueless on this issue. ”

    Really? Lou Dobbs isn’t a corporate shill who has repackaged his marketed image as a nativist populist? How clueless of me to think such things. And I guess people like John Sweeney are ‘clueless’ too. I’m with Sweeney, without union solidarity with immigrant workers, “illegal” or “legal”, there’s no hope for either class of workers. And your national i.d.’s, walls, etc. ain’t gonna support either groups’ ability to organize.

    The video bighead is a Republican who has no interest in workers unless they’re the type who blame other workers for their problems, especially those who ain’t white and christian and beneficiaries of past massive vioaltions of US law to move up the ladder once they got here.

  75. Aaron Says:

    The Voices of Immigrants Must Be Heard
    By Nativo Lopez and David Bacon
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Wednesday 03 May 2006

    On Monday, May 1, over a million people filled the streets of Los
    Angeles, with hundreds of thousands more in Chicago, New York, and
    cities and towns throughout this country. Immigrants feel their backs
    are against the wall, and are coming out of their homes and
    workplaces to show it.

    In part, their protests respond to HR 4437 – the Sensenbrenner bill -
    that proposes to eliminate all social space in which undocumented
    immigrants can work, survive, and provide for their families.

    The protests do more than react to a particular Congressional agenda,
    however. They are the cumulative response to years of bashing and
    denigrating immigrants generally, and Mexican and Latinos in
    particular. The protests seem spontaneous, but they come as a result
    of years of organizing, educating, and agitating – activities that
    have given immigrants confidence, and at least some organizations the
    credibility needed to mobilize direct mass action.

    This movement is the legacy of Bert Corona, immigrant rights pioneer
    and founder of many national Latino organizations. He trained
    thousands of immigrant activists, taught the value of political
    independence, and believed that immigrants themselves must conduct
    the fight for immigrant rights. Most of the leaders of our movement
    today were students or disciples of Bert Corona.

    Together, these factors have produced a huge popular response, a
    fightback like we’ve never seen before.

    Unfortunately, however, these protests are also being used in
    Washington DC to justify compromises which betray the interests of
    immigrants and working people generally. Some more liberal Washington
    legislators, and their coterie of beltway lobbyists, even claim
    credit for the marches, or at least use them to justify their
    proposed compromises. But people have poured into the streets, not to
    support these proposals, but driven by fear of the harm they will do.

    All of the various compromises offered in the Senate have repressive
    Sensenbrenner-type measures within them. The three-tier
    Hagel-Martinez legalization program, for instance, would produce a
    codified caste system, a sort of Bantu Apartheid that is un-American,
    and would rip our families apart. The Democratic Party’s answer to
    the Sensenbrenner bill has been the McCain-Kennedy immigration
    proposal, which contains huge guest worker programs and increased
    workplace raids to punish the undocumented for the crime of working.

    The huge number of immigrants and their supporters in the streets
    find these Senate compromises completely unacceptable. We will only
    get what we’re ready to fight for, but people are ready and willing
    to fight for the whole enchilada. This is not the best that we can
    get, and we have nothing to lose.

    Our greatest problem is that the Democratic Party is unwilling to
    stand and fight to oppose the repugnant idea of second-class status,
    in its haste to make a deal. National advocacy organizations claiming
    to represent immigrants are showing signs that they will accept these
    deals as well. At the same time, Washington legislators and lobbyists
    fear the growth of a new civil rights movement in the streets,
    because it rejects their compromises and makes demands that go beyond
    what they have defined as “politically possible.”

    People are willing to fight for more, and are making far-reaching
    demands. The immigration debate must be resolved by immigrants
    themselves, and their voice must be paramount – not the voice of the
    politically well-connected.

    Much of the leadership of Washington’s liberal hierarchy has already
    accepted the McCain/Kennedy proposal, and further Senate compromises,
    with no real consultation with immigrant workers. They have become
    compromised by ties to political parties and large corporations, all
    of which have more powerful voices than those of immigrants. This
    elitist approach has been rejected by millions of people in the last
    month’s marches and demonstrations who want a voice in the decisions
    that will affect their lives.

    These ties have never been honestly discussed with immigrant
    communities. Before the latest marches, those ties led these
    organizations to tell us not to stop work, leave school, or buy
    anything for just a single day. Yet it is obvious that the national
    debate has changed only because of our willingness to do those very

    The May 1st actions highlighted the economic importance of immigrant
    labor. Undocumented workers deserve legal status because of that
    labor – their inherent contribution to society. The value they create
    is never called illegal, and no one dreams of taking it away from the
    employers who profit from it. Yet the people who produce that value
    are called exactly that – illegal. All workers create value through
    their labor, but immigrant workers are especially profitable, because
    they are so often denied many of the union-won benefits accorded to
    native-born workers.

    The average undocumented worker has been in the US for five years. By
    that time, these workers have paid a high price for their lack of
    legal status, through low wages and lost benefits. The Senate
    compromises would have them pay even more – fines for legalization,
    as though they were criminals. These compromises would then have them
    wait over a decade to gain real legal status, not even considering
    the millions who would not qualify, and would then be deported.

    Undocumented workers deserve immediate legal status, and have already
    paid for it.

    On May 1st, immigrant workers demonstrated their power in the
    national immigration debate. Their absence from workplaces, schools
    and stores sent a powerful message that that they will not be shut
    out of this discussion, and that corporate-funded national
    organizations do not speak for them.

    They are rescuing from anonymity the struggle for the 8-hour day,
    begun in Chicago over a century ago by the immigrants of yesteryear.
    They are recovering the traditions of all working people.


    Nativo Lopez is President of the Mexican-American Political
    Association and the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, and was a key
    organizer of the LA boycott and May Day downtown march.

    David Bacon is a California photojournalist who documents labor,
    migration and globalization. His book The Children of NAFTA: Labor
    Wars on the US/Mexico Border was published last year by University of
    California Press. His new book, Communities Without Borders, will be
    published by Cornell University Press this fall.


    David Bacon, Photographs and Stories

  76. reg Says:

    Dobbs is a “corporate shill” who rails against multinationals outsourcing and condemns companies who hire illegals to drag wages into the gutter. You’re a “leftist” who, quite frankly, can’t follow an argument that involves any complexity beyond the rhetoric of the day.

  77. reg Says:

    That was directed, of course, to Aaron’s “response”…

  78. Aaron Says:

    That’s not true Reg and you know it, I’ve responded with people who are actually involved in helping to organize immigrant workers. Lou Dobbs has ever cared to promote such activity? Or even to promote any unions in his lifetime? Go back and read Sweeney and drop the ‘leftist’ nonsense. Try to make a serious argument against Sweeney with Dobbs’ hypocritical rhetoric. Ya can’t.

  79. Jake Elmore Says:

    Here’s another detraction and impact from human migrations.

  80. Aaron Says:

    Uhm, and a wall is going to somehow contribute to environmental preservation? Sure.

  81. Andrew Says:

    This website broadcasted the rally on the internet live. Check out the page for the movies uploaded into the Stickam player or check the below:

  82. Andrew Says:
  83. patrick neid Says:

    with all the talk of reasons, approaches, new rules, clamp downs, worker enforcements, etc it’s easy to forget the mexico is part of the problem and the solution. there are many reasons why i support a fence and citizenship for every current illegal via a ten year green card. however i won’t bore you with those details again. i think i have already written a small book. but i will say, i am very confident, that after the requisite dance of the cranes, a fence and a ten year green card will be the back door compromise with very little workplace law enforcement–we are not going to create millions of unemployed. having said what we want–below is why we have to close the border for the benefit of mexico. if you truly respect and embrace mexican ways and culture we have to close the border immediately.

    this was the final paragraph in my long rant i posted here and sent to our useless senators and congress people along with many columnists at the end of march:

    “and finally to the race baiters’……

    the “fence” sole purpose for existence is to secure the border from illegal immigration from primarily latin america. the fact that latin america is hispanic is strictly a coincidence. if canada was a third world country i would propose the same fence. for two hundred years we controlled immigration with quotas per immigrant group. i believe jimmy carter was the moron who changed this. the chief reason for quotas was for assimilation purposes–language, culture etc…. mexico encourages illegal immigration as an outlet so as to avoid the hard choices that it should be making to rectify a pathetic economic model it inherited from the spanish. there is a reason that english speaking colonies/nations have done better than spanish or french. every time you seduce a young hispanic to flee his country you further enslave the tens of millions they leave behind.”

    “to put the devastation that illegal migration causes to mexico in perspective this population link can be very instructive.

    mexico has a total population of 107 million with 68 million between the ages of 15-64.
    if we rule out everyone below 18 and over 40–and this is a guess, what are we left with — say 50 million? what remains is the startling fact that upwards of 20% of mexico’s fittest people have migrated north. we are hollowing out the country.
    there is no way mexico can survive on a long term basis without being resigned to third world status with its attendant pain and suffering. prediction: over the next 30 years, if we don’t close the border with a fence NOW, we will be blamed for causing the collapse of mexico. you may laugh, but there will be a sizable minority in this country that will demand, and their demands will be met, that we take responsibility and make some accommodation to the thugs in mexico city for having seduced their best and brightest to leave the country further enslaving the millions left behind. you know as well as i do, just read this board, that millions of americans already believe such a plot is taking place. it’s called evil corporations/repubs and dirt bag dems looking for votes.
    no country can survive when such a large group elects to walk out the door seduced by open borders.”

    things to think about………….

  84. Aaron Says:

    build a fence and the safety valve of immigration is gone. mexico experiences a socialist revolution. the US declares it a major threat and invades and gets mired down in an Iraq along its borders…
    but let me get this clear, if there is a fence, that will make it easier for workers in America to avoid getting fired for trying to organize unions?

  85. patrick neid Says:


    get some therapy. it does work……….

  86. Aaron Says:

    awesome reply patrick, really strong rebuttal. but seriously, deal with it. if you carry out your little pointless plan of the wall of all walls, you’re gonna have some major major social and political inequalities/conflicts coming to the fore and you know you guys ain’t thrilled when that results in a leftward resolution…or do you think that mexican workers and farmers are just gonna sit still for more unemployment rates skyrocketing out of control and no relief in sight? think about it, or does your thinking stop at “build the wall”. maybe this is one reason that neither wing of the US ruling class, repub or dem, really is enthusiastic about the loonytune plan for a “wall”.

  87. patrick neid Says:

    i could care less which way a revolution tilts. just get the revolution going. mexico is a “mob enterprise”. left or right outcome, who cares. the open border prevents critical mass from being reached.

    build the fence and legalize everybody that is here on a 10 year green card. sooner or later you will get it.

    the reason i never worry about revolutions is because i know they all end up at the doors of the free market. sooner or later, by whatever road people want their own freedom to succeed or fail. they love socialism/communism in the beginning until they realize its just a cradle to the grave nanny prison state with no life–think cuba-one of the shit holes of the caribbean–another great example of socialism/communism in the modern world.
    i think i stated it very clearly above how your outlook leads to, and continues, the constant rape and pillage of mexico by the US open border.

    i know, i know it’s your good intentions that count. save it for your therapist.

    oh and by the way–the fence is getting built.

  88. Lorie Says:

    yeah, the ‘fence’ is getting built. the 10 year green card, sounds like a good way to control the cost of the labor of these “illegals”, the employers of the “illegals” probably support both the “fence” idea and the “10 year” green card idea.
    you can ‘think’ up any ‘ideas’ you want, but keep in mind you ain’t of the class that runs the show and they aren’t going to do something that will make revolutions happen faster. sorry to disappoint ya.

  89. patrick neid Says:

    and so why exactly are you against the fence and legalizing all the immigrants?

  90. Everything Between » We Are America’s May 1 Rally Says:

    [...] Here’s my recap of the May 1 rally and march down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, focusing on the We Are America Coalition’s role in organizing, patrolling, and participating. The event drew an estimated 400,000 people and was capped off by a rally at La Brea and Wilshire which included an optimistic address from both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Watch Now:      May 1 2006 Rally, Los Angeles [1:52m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download document.getElementById(‘podPressPlayerSpace_328_label_videoPlayer_328_0′).innerHTML=’Hide Player’; document.getElementById(‘podPressPlayerSpace_328′).alt = ‘videoPlayer_328_0′; You can also bookmark this on or check the cosmos [...]

  91. Aaron Says:

    The fence is simply a way to pretend that the reason the US economy is experiencing the kinds of problems it faces are due to Mexican workers crossing the borders. So, no point supporting a distraction from real issues such as the power of workers, illegal or legal, to unionise without fear of being fired or deported.

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