Thoughts on the March

It was historic. And just the opening move.

From the ANSWER Coalition listserv, about yesterday’s huge Immigrant Rights march in L.A.

At the rally, Juan José Gutiérrez, Director of Latino Movement USA [and member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. LA Steering Committee], said, “We are people of dignity and we demand respect. This is the beginning of a movement that is going to call for a national work stoppage.”

Gloria La Riva of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition said, “The racist politicians thought they could step on us with their racist legislation but they have awakened the immigrant giant and they will feel our strength when we stop work.”

The match was lit in Chicago on March 10 when organizers expected 20,000 and ten times that came. The detonation was yesterday in Los Angeles. Immigrant Rights is now a central issue nationwide and you bet it’s making Congress nervous.

This isn’t happening because Latinos signed Net petitions. It’s happening because they launched major protests that put millions in the streets. That’s what’s getting the attention of legislators in DC.

Interestingly, the Net wasn’t even a primary way they built the demonstrations. It was mainly done by word-of-mouth, radio, phone calls, and buzz.

L.A. Times, Sunday front page. A headline in the print versions says “A thunderous display of clout” for this, the biggest demonstration ever in California history.

At a time when Congress prepares to crack down further on illegal immigration and self-appointed militias patrol the U.S. border to stem the flow, Saturday’s rally represented a massive response, part of what immigration advocates are calling an unprecedented effort to mobilize immigrants and their supporters nationwide.

It coincides with an initiative on the part of the Roman Catholic Church, spearheaded by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, to defy a House bill that would make aiding undocumented immigrants a felony. And it signals the burgeoning political clout of Latinos, especially in California.

“There has never been this kind of mobilization in the immigrant community ever,” said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “They have kicked the sleeping giant. It’s the beginning of a massive immigrant civil rights struggle.”

We of ANSWER LA passed out 1700 placards and 15,000 flyers yesterday. The double-sided Spanish/English flyer detailed the ANSWER call for amnesty.

A.N.S.W.E.R. believes that all working people should back the demand: “Amnesty! Full Rights for All Immigrants!” Immigration has increased in recent years because of U.S. neoliberal policies that rob countries like Mexico of the ability to develop and sustain their own economies. Thousands of people die trying to cross the border to survive.

The media, government and corporations boast of the global economy that eliminates borders to enrich them. But those same companies and politicians – both Republican and Democrat – are erecting borders against humans and waging war on immigrant America.

More about the upcoming work stoppages when I know it. This tiger is out of the cage.

PS Educational Justice details how the peace movement and the immigrant rights movement are joining together, something march organizers also mentioned at the press conference on Friday.

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