- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Thursday, 08 November 2012 13:05
- Written by basicsnews.ca
It’s rare these days when profesional athletes take progressive political stands, especially on a stage such as the world series champion’s parade. This happened last week on November 1st. We thought our readers should be aware of it and discuss it. We saw the article on basicsnews.ca.
Triumphant Giants Pitcher Sparks Debate With ‘I Just Look Illegal’ Shirt
SAN FRANCISCO, US – The San Francisco Giants completed an epic 4-0 sweep against the Detroit Tigers to claim their second Major League Baseball World Series title.
However, since this impressive win, it has been one of their Relief Pitchers, Sergio Romo who has stolen the headlines. Taking part in their celebratory parade through the streets of San Francisco, Romo was seen sporting a t-shirt that read “I just look illegal”.
Pictures of Romo’s shirt sparked immediate reaction, with some denouncing his use of the term ‘illegal’ and other praising what appears to be cheeky commentary relating to the recent number of laws passed in US states such as the infamous SB 1070 in Arizona. Among other things, SB 1070 requires police to stop and detain anyone ‘when there is reasonable suspicion’ that they may be undocumented. Latino and Civil Rights organizations have criticized this law as racist and unconstitutional.
Born in Brawley, California to Mexican parents, Romo has been part of the relief staff with the Giants since 2009, achieving impressive statistics including a 20-9 win-loss record, and ERA of 2.20 and 277 Strikeouts. Romo was also one of the stars of the Giants post-season run, acting as the closer and recording striking out the final 3 batters to record the save and seal the Giants victory.
Romo is not the first baseball player to make a statement against this law. The Major League Baseball Players Association came out against this law, stating that “If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.” The number of Latino players in Major League Baseball has surged in the last two decades, jumping from 13 percent in 1990 to 28.3 percent in 2011.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:09
- Written by eric ribellarsi
This summer, I spoke with a young Albanian communist who is a member of the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE). The interview starts with her own story, then moves to the notoriously anti-immigrant group Golden Dawn and her thoughts on revolutionary strategy in the 21st century.
“How do we meet the basic needs of the people in a way that leads to our final goal of communism.”
“The people must come to administer the society themselves, rather than having a group of people administer it for them.
“KOE has a view of emancipation through participation. The people must know that their participation in the movements is a part of them coming to administer the society.…
“I want to say that my views on Golden Dawn have been mainly shaped by my orientation as a communist in KOE. I don’t fight them in the struggle as Eva the immigrant, but as Eva, the member of KOE.
“Golden Dawn is a social problem. Golden Dawn came to prominence through the absence of the Left. The Left has offered no reasonable answer or program to the people in relationship to immigration. At this point, there is an immigration question related to huge numbers of migrants who have come, but cannot be assimilated by theGreek society.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Eric Ribellarsi: Can you tell me about how it was that you came to Greece?
Eva Z.: I was born in Albania in 1989. I came to Greece when I was ten years old. We came here by accident. My father’s friend made us a visa to come to Greece, and found a job that paid more than we could make in Albania.
My father couldn’t afford for me and my sister to go to a university in Albania, so we came here. Immigration now has fallen substantially, and many people are now going back to Albania.
It has been very difficult because of the racism here, and when I came here I could not speak Greek. We did not have friends. My parents would work all the time, and my sister and I focused on going to a language school. There was a particular racism against immigrants during this time, and there were almost no other immigrants in my school. Racism kept me from having many relationships.
When I joined the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), I was nineteen. My sister joined when she was fifteen. My cousin joined when she was fifteen too.
During the December 2008 rebellion, I participated in many occupations, and I decided that I would join KOE. KOE spoke of a unity of left, and tried to overcome divisions of groups working independently. No other group worked in this way. At that time, I wasn’t very familiar with the ideologies of Stalin, Mao, and Trotsky which divided the movement, and I didn’t care.
In the time since then, KOE has been much more advanced than the rest of the left. Its positions have been adopted by the other organizations months and even years after KOE developed them.
The rest of the left and the system were constantly attacking KOE even though we are a relatively small organization. We are not an organization that is interested empty revolutionary slogans, but rather sound revolutionary practice.
Eric Ribellarsi: So what about today? How is the situation now?
Eva Z: At this point, I’m a student in Greece. The difficulties I’m facing are very similar to the difficulties of the other Greek students. My parents don’t have the same rights that the Greeks have. And like most Greeks, they don’t have a job.
We face the difficulty of racism. The children of immigrants won’t say they are immigrants because of the racism. And we have to deal with being forced to use different ID cards. We don’t tell people we are immigrants. It is the only way to have ties with the community here.
Eric Ribellarsi: So, many people internationally have heard a great deal about the Nazi political party called Golden Dawn. One evening here in Greece, we ourselves saw a Golden Dawn attack on people in a bus.
Could you share your thought on this party?
Eva Z.: Golden Dawn is a Neo-Nazi party that mainly organizes in the middle schools and high schools where the left has not been present, something the Golden Dawn has taken advantage of.
High school students face the lack of ability to get a job, social problems at home, and many other problems where the left is absent. Golden Dawn takes advantage of these problems by saying that immigrants are the source of all the social-ills.
My appearance allows me to hide from groups like Golden Dawn.
I want to say that my views on Golden Dawn have been mainly shaped by my orientation as a communist in KOE, more than being an immigrant. I don’t fight them in the struggle as Eva the immigrant, but as Eva, the member of KOE.
Golden Dawn is a social problem. Golden Dawn came to prominence through the absence of the Left. The Left has offered no reasonable answer or program to the people in relationship to immigration. At this point, there is an immigration question related to huge numbers of migrants who have come, but cannot be assimilated by Greek society.
The previous Greek Left relied on empty slogans like “immigrants are our brother and sisters” which are of course true, but which lack political substance and don’t get at the actual essence of the contradiction.
More recently, the Left has adopted positions on opposing the Dublin II treaty, which demands that the Greek government not give travel papers to the refugees who come here.
Golden Dawn grew by being the only political force that would raise questions of national sovereignty and patriotism, which the Left refuses to acknowledge. When the Left does this, it yields territory to Golden Dawn.
Many people voted for Golden Dawn as a punishment to the parties that passed the memorandum. People on the Left did not vote for Golden Dawn. The voters of Golden Dawn are people on the right who are against the memorandum who do not want the rise of the Left.
A lot of people actually believed that if they entered the parliament, they would beat and attack the two main political parties of Greece.
I believed that Golden Dawn’s electoral percentage would fall in these elections, but it did not. KOE has not yet been able to have a conversation about this.
Golden Dawn is over-emphasized. Let me point out that the Italian fascist right consistently gets more votes than the Golden Dawn, and Golden Dawn is much smaller than parties like SYRIZA or even the other far-right parties. Half of the riot police may have voted for Golden Dawn, but really, the riot police beat us with or without the Golden Dawn.
The riot police cultivate an ideology of beating elderly people and students. They are a separate unit of the police that has voluntary recruitment, with a very difficult brainwashing training. The riot police are brainwashed fanatics.
For many years, Golden Dawn has been carrying out actions against immigrants in buses. Now after the elections, they believe that their attacks are legalized.
These attacks are the result of the Left not providing a program and solution to the questions of economy and immigration in Greece. The most important thing for dealing with the Golden Dawn attacks is developing the organization of the people.
Eric Ribellarsi: I’d like to ask you a side question… Could you share with me your thoughts on Albania, and the history of the communist movement in that country?
Eva Z: There are many differences.
While I did not live in Albania under Enver Hoxha, I am familiar with the right-wing propaganda after the collapse of that regime. The bourgeoisie used anti-Enver Hoxha propaganda to destroy the Left and all communist organization. But the truth is that quality of life of everyone was actually much better with Enver Hoxha. But there were also real problems of democracy and free speech in that society.
Very small countries like Albania and Greece have problems of dependence. It is very difficult to have socialism in such a society. The international environment has a major impact on these societies. The balance of powers is now very different, and socialism will have to look very different.
The main question is: How do we meet the basic needs of the people in a way that leads to our final goal of communism. The people must come to administer the society themselves, rather than having a group of people administer it for them.
KOE has a view of emancipation through participation. The people must know that their participation in the movements is a part of them coming to administer the society.
We must study history, and learn what went wrong in China and the Soviet Union, socially and economically. We must take lessons from these attempts, both good and bad. We have to recognize the conditions are very different, that revolution in 21st century will be very different, and socialism in the 21st century will look very different.
The international situation for a socialist country will look very different, and KOE will become a new kind of organization before that can happen. It will have to play a very different role than the organizations of the past. Will it become a party? We still don’t know.
For example, we are not explicitly against the form of the socialist state of the 20th century, but we also think this kind of form is very unlikely in a society like Greece. The form of socialism for Greece we still do not know. These days, time is very compressed, and things are changing very quickly.
It’s my personal opinion that the production relations in Greece are very different from societies like Russia and China. In the first world countries, the superstructure plays a much higher role, even in a peripheral first world country like Greece. The middle class is becoming impoverished. Their ideology and mentality is shaped by this, and to create socialism we must first reconstruct the culture of the people.
The Cultural Revolution is a big inspiration of the relationship between the communists and the masses. It exposes how the communist movement can overcome the rightist turns of communist parties. Some say the solution is gulags. Some say the solution is to duck our heads to counter-revolution.
Under historical circumstances, these choices were pursued by the communist movement. And we don’t want to judge them out of their historical contexts.
The Cultural Revolution also points to the importance of the mass line, “from the masses, to the masses.” In the squares, we used the symbol of the helicopter. The left thought it was politically immature, and that instead we should put forward ideology.
In the Chinese revolution, they had to cooperate with the GMD. They had to form united fronts. KKE in Greece thinks that fronts should be formed on the basis of one self. ANTARSYA thinks only the anti-capitalists should unite. We think very differently.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Sunday, 08 July 2012 14:52
- Written by Sara Khaled
"Maria made an important distinction:
“What we are doing is solidarity, not charity. There are many NGOs who come here like Doctors Without Borders, but what we are doing is very different.”
"...The solidarity healthcare is politicized and coupled with a view that this is a part of the resistance to the E.U. and I.M.F. rulers of Greece. And it is also a part of KOE’s view of 'reconstruction of the society.'”
This is part of the reporting by the Winter Has Its End team exploring revolutionary politics and possibilities in Greece this summer.
by Sara Khaled
HERAKLION, CRETE - I sat down at a small table in a café with two comrades from the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), Maria and Lefteris.
Maria and Lefteris have been pivotal in the initiation of the Social Solidarity Medical Center of Heraklion, a free healthcare center that has emerged in response to the austerity measures to public healthcare.
This center began after the Squares movement, initially to provide healthcare, mostly, for the undocumented. As the socio-economic landscape of the country has changed dramatically over the past couple years, the center has had to expand its services to many Greeks that have little to no income. Bathing in the always bright sun of Heraklion, I learned about the devastation of the people’s healthcare and the collective responses to it.
Maria and Lefteris tell us that the Social Solidarity Medical Center of Heraklion began in resistance to the neo-liberalization of the health sector. Maria says that the basis for this center actually emerged during the Squares Movement of Greece in 2011. Doctors and medical assistants were organized to care for those injured by the police brutality and heavy street fighting.
[Editors note: In European politics, the word "liberal" has a different meaning from the U.S. Liberal policies mean "free market" policies. The phrase "neo-liberalization of the health sector" means the privatization of the health sector.]
Initiators of the center used these foundations to create a medical center in the capitol city of Crete, Heraklion. The center was initially created to provide healthcare for undocumented immigrants for the large part, who had a harder time accessing free healthcare.
Since the continual implementation and stress of the budget cuts to healthcare, however, the scope of the center has expanded to providing care for the lowest strata of people who have no income, which now includes many Greeks. Our KOE comrades explain to us that although the center has been busy since its implementation, the volume of patients seeking care has rapidly snowballed.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Monday, 25 June 2012 13:02
- Written by YouTube
Press the CC button in the playerwindow to turn on english subtitles.
(Thanks to Kim from Goteborg for suggesting this.)
"Don't treat us like animals"
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Sunday, 17 June 2012 06:21
- Written by Eric Ribellarsi
"Could you please elaborate on the contention surrounding immigration? it is not clear from the article how Syriza or KOE treat migrant seasonal and domestic labor in greece country that has long attracted such workforce from the region."
Eric Ribellarsi replies from Athens:
Mariya, at some point, we are planning to travel to Patra, a port city where many immigrants go to try to get papers and leave Greece to the E.U. This city is also a place where Golden Dawn comes to terrorize them. Hopefully we should have a more complete view of these questions at that point.
But let me ake a few points though that I hope will be interesting and helpful:
1. Migrant workers actually really don’t come here to work. There is no work, and the unemployment rate is around 50% for people under 25.
2. A huge number of people, however, have traveled here to attempt to get work papers that they can use to enter the E.U. and work. Unlike immigrants in a country like the U.S., these workers are trying to leave, not stay, which creates a very different set of circumstances and contradictions.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:27
- Written by Karen Brooks
Lauren Wood/The Natchez Democrat, via Associated Press
Police on Sunday surrounded a Natchez, Miss., prison for illegal immigrants.
Typical media one-liner: "There was no immediate word on what sparked the riot."
But we all know the reasons: This is a prison for undocumented immigrants. Its very existence is unjust and intolerable. And the people trapped there suffered inhumane conditions, raw racism, hopelessness, and the courage to rebel.
What are we doing? What are we saying?... to amplify their voices, to support their struggle, to end such mistreatment?
Thanks to Greg A. for pointing this out in the Chicago Tribune. Anyone with more info, or voices of the prisoners themselves, please add links or news below in a comment.
Inmates riot in Mississippi prison, one guard killed
by Karen Brooks
(Reuters) -May 21 - Inmates seized control of a privately owned prison in Mississippi on Sunday after riots broke out, and a guard was killed in the chaos in the low security facility, authorities said.
Adams County Coroner James Lee said the 23-year-old guard died of blunt trauma to the head during the riot at the Adams County Correctional Center, a privately owned prison that houses mostly illegal immigrants for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Saturday, 05 May 2012 23:57
- Written by Committee to Stop FBI Repression
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression has created a video on the life of Carlos Montes, and the fight to beat back the attempt to jail him.
Montes is a veteran Chicano activist known for his leadership of the 1968 East Los Angeles student walkouts, the historic Chicano Moratorium against the U.S. war in Vietnam, and the recent immigrants’ rights mega-marches of 2006. Montes was a co-founder of the Brown Berets. In recent years he has be active in the anti war, Chicano, labor and immigrant rights movements. He currently one of the 24 anti war and international solidarity activists who have been targeted by the FBI, and is scheduled to go on trial May 15.
The video urges people to call Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, at 213-974-3512 to demand that all charges against Montes be dropped.
“Everyone should see this video and share it with their friends. It‘s the inspiring story of a heroic activists, Carlos Montes, who facing an FBI frame up. We can’t let him go to prison,” says Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Saturday, 05 May 2012 14:20
- Written by The Other School of Economics
This was originally posted on the other school of economics site.
In the first round of the French elections what stood out for many was not the results for the Socialists or Sarkozy, but that Marine le Pen of the National Front, a far right (some would say fascist) party garnered nearly 20% of the vote. That's over 6 million voters. Although she didn't make it into the final round, the first round results indicate a growing trend towards the mainstream legitimacy of ultra-right politics in France and in Europe overall.
Observing le Pen and the National Front beyond the emotion. Part 1: How did they occupy this place in French society?
Although Marine le Pen lost her bid to qualify to Round 2 of the French presidential election, she created a sensation and spread anxiety in scoring 17.9%: a record 6.4 million people voted for her.
A characteristic of the National Front is that it is divisive and acrimonious at many levels.
Firstly It is a self-evident observation that its Far-Right nature makes it an inherently divisive political choice. Its objective is to channel the anger of voters towards the rejection of anything and anyone that does not fit a narrow nationalist and authoritarian view of their world.
Secondly if having 15% to 20% of voters so frustrated that they prefer an authoritarian to a democratic alternative was not enough, the National Front also seems to possess a unique ability to violently divide its opponents among themselves on the way to analyse it, let alone address it and fight it.
In fact for the last 30 years the Left has been paralysed in its response. As Australian academic Geoff Robinson observed “when dealing with le Pen the Left keeps oscillating between blind panic and denial”.
The National Front has also become more divisive than ever within the mainstream Right. The ‘democratic republican Gaullist Right’ which emerged from the Resistance after WW2 traditionally refused electoral compromise with the Far-Right sympathetic to neo-fascist ideology. However in the last few years, the so-called ‘Popular Right’ faction inside Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party has been gaining influence and is clearly in favour of alliances with the slightly gentrified National Front that Marine le Pen has been ‘modernising’ since she took the leadership from her father Jean-Marie le Pen in January 2011.
- Category: Immigrants
- Created on Friday, 20 April 2012 20:01
- Written by Youtube
As Anastasio died in the hospital in 2010, the border police claimed he had resisted them violently at the border, and they were forced to taser him. However, his family discovered obvious marks of beatings and abuse on his body.
Now, two years later, audio and video tapes have surfaced of this immigrant worker pleading for his life as a swarm of border police brutalized him. Brace yourself.
It is infuriating and horrifying. This a murder by official brutality that is impossible to justify, or forgive.