“it was the political organizational myopia, the egos and personal and organizational interests that prevented the movement from wresting immigration reform and legalization
from the state in this past contemporary stage of history.”
Brother Manny, I agree with you on your last two sentences, “How convenient for the President to say that it is our responsibility for not getting the super majority in the Senate… It was your responsibility to show a spine and twist some arms for the very people that put you in you office.” However the vision has to be amplified. Knowing, and it was not easy to foresee right away, that the democratic machine was to cave in and that Obama immediately began to play the bipartisan game, the Latino and immigrant rights leadership did not have the moral strength nor the wisdom to convene the unity as soon as Barack took office. And recall that May 1st 2009 was 3 months away and in LA as well as nationally, we failed and exhibited the worst organizational and political dysfunction. We displayed the divisions, and still do, it for all to see, meaning our people, the political class, the White House, the media, etc.
Theoretically speaking, our role then was to massively continue the pressure and not let them off the hook. If you followed his press conference comments of this past Super Tuesday on immigration, he committed to place a bill on the floor of congress immediately after the election. And once more, as in his El Paso speech of two years ago or so, he emphasized and called on Latinos to take the streets big time after the election and put the pressure on, because he can’t do it alone. I agree with him, the Dream Act and the AgJobs Bill were defeated primarily by a majority right wing vote, including the few switch hitting democrats.
Now you recall also that the official line against the demand that Obama take administrative positions to end deportations and act on officially protecting the undocumented college students was and is, “we have to follow the law.” And that’s been the line, which Cecilia Munoz was criticized for, when she defended it. Well, way before that incident, sometime early last year, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis spoke at an event at ELAC to promote the president’s position on several issues of interest to Latinos, including immigration, and hundreds of people from several sectors were present. She was emphatic and essentially scolded the crowd, declaring that the demand for the president to make those administrative moves could not be met because of the political sensitivity of the issues. The White House and the powers that be did not want to give the right wing the tools to motivate a right wing upsurge for the upcoming elections in November 2012. She minced no words and I really appreciated her frankness.
In conclusion, yes we have to call the president to the mat, but at the same time we have to also look at ourselves as a people, as a movement and as leaders and analyze our political and organizational strategies, our accomplishments and our failures. One of the reasons we don’t do that is that we don’t organize forums, conferences and debates, within us, the leadership, at halls or radio or TV venues. In 2009 I and members of the March 25 Coalition knocked on all the Coalitions’ doors to promote unity and one massive event for May 1st to no avail. And the same thing is happening this year. Through Occupy LA where I am pretty active, I have put out the feelers for unity and there are no takers, and trust me, the reasons are flimsy, almost comical. Have you not noticed that we in LA, the bedrock and most important and influential region on the struggle for immigrant rights, we don’t have one single unified, year round coalition to guide us in the titanic fight to empower the 11 million undocumented immigrants, our people.
I am of the opinion that it was us, primarily in 2009, who did not meet our responsibility as leaders maturely and objectively and it was the political organizational myopia, the egos and personal and organizational interests that prevented the movement from wresting immigration reform and legalization from the state in this past contemporary stage of history, 2009-March 2012. ZAZ, Javier