EDITED and AMENDED AND IN THE NEXT DAYS I WILL HOPEFULLY PUBLISH AN AMPLIFIED VERSION OF THIS PIECE
And to all my friends, family and readers, the best to you in 2013.
By Javier Rodriguez from Lake Forest 1 January 2013
I’m hoping that behind you, on your sides or on top of you there’s a potent coalition of immigrant rights forces that will move thousands to lobby Congress and the White House in DC, hundreds of thousands, better yet a million to land on the capitol to put the pressure on Congress as the president has requested on several occasions. Additionally I hope you have the online and cell phone machinery to stage meetings with 60,000 activists at a time and of course to inundate congress with hundreds of thousands of emails, faxes, texts and direct calls while at the same kick the shit out of the extreme right with these same lobbying political instruments of the social internet networks just as the broad immigrant rights movement displayed in all of 2010. I am also hoping you are a serious responsible person who has in mind, first and foremost, stopping any future deportations and separation of immigrant and Latino families. And lest not forget that the coalition has to include 60 senators, 218 congressm@n, including also the minimum of two of each from the Senate and the House to write the bills with everything you want in it and exclude what you qualify as undesirable, and walk them in to both chambers.
In January 2010, at that year’s Latino Congreso held in El Paso, Texas, Congressman Luis Gutierrez was the keynote speaker and he had a bill. It wasn’t too bad because it included the legalization component with the Dream Act, the AgJobs Bill and only a one year residential requirement to qualify, with approximately a five year waiting period to obtain the legal residence. Meantime the right to a license, work permit, go to college travel out of the country, protection from deportation and family separation and of course another five years to citizenship and all its benefits, including the right to vote. I can tell you that Gutierrez gave a resounding and motivational speech and he received a standing ovation. However, he didn’t have the forces in the gathering to withstand the disparate opposition. On his side were only Rev. Emma Lozano and Rev. WalterColeman from Chicago. So the opposition, which spontaneously coalesced during the three day gathering, and made up of our friends Isabel Garcia, Nativo Lopez, the Boycott the Census Man, Carlos Napoleon Arango from Chicago, Antonio Gonzales and a few others, they zapped the momentum and promised the best of the best immigration bills to come. In the next two months, the specific group of Congreso Latino ideologues formed a sort of Ad-Hoc National Committee. They got a significant amount of air plsy on progressive radio venues, primarily Radio Pacifica and its signature national program “Democracy Now” where they presented the ideal version of an immigration reform proposal, but their ideological vision did not land in a real political terrain with an included analysis of the present correlation of forces then and logically an organizational, political and media strategy, plus, a real immigration bill to seriously campaign for. However, after and exchange of emails with a three page version of an ambitious immigration proposal, they went their own way, se esfumaron pues a sus chambas.
During that same period and precisely a week after the El Paso encounter, in Los Angeles, in a full house rally that took place atthe historical “La Placita Catholic Church” with -again- with Gutierrez as the keynote speaker, he sent a sarcastic but stern message to the ideologues, “if there are others who have a more progressive immigration bill, well let them bring it out and present it to congress/Si hay otros que tienen una mejor propuesta y mas progresista, pues que la presenten al congreso.” That same year Schumer and several other democratic senators presented a bill but both that one and the Gutierrez proposal didn’t go anywhere.
Let me say that it’s extremely important to see as much of the whole political panorama as possible and for that research is essential, especially to find the comparatives to enrich our analysis and develop mature political positions based on the observation of the correlation of forces at play. In other words to land and place into praxis, the political reality to advance the cause of the people.
Time is of the essence, for the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama to commence his second term is only 19 days away and exactly four months for the May 1st national movilizations. From my observations of the political process and of this grass roots movement, the tribes that make up the factions, especially in LA, the historical bedrock, have yet to publicly call a regional or national meeting to bring together, discuss, analyze and unite all the major forces and agree on a strategy and a plan of action. At this juncture, the moment and the magnitude of the historical task are staring and screaming at the same time for the broadest and unified front to move this 27 year struggle to a powerful conclusion. ZAZ, Javier
Javier Rodriguez is an independent journalist and a media and political strategist. He recently completed his third trip thru Mexico, observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, the drug war and migrants. A long time social activist, he was the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006 as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott. Blog Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org.