A few things come to my mind when I think of what the next steps need to be in regards to the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) and the Immigrants Rights Movement (IRM) in general.
- “Coming Out of the Shadows”
- Connecting the struggles
- Long Term Perspectives
“Coming Out of the Shadows”
The political importance and personal empowerment of coming out of the shadows is crucial. Hosting events (dances, panels, etc.) that create safe and welcoming space for undocumented workers and youth is crucial. This will help put the face of the very people that are oppressed at the forefront of the movement.
To explain why I think that education is so important, I want to first draw some parallels, comparisons, and contrasts. For example, the anti-war movement has been around since 2003. During that time the anti-war movement has become expert in explaining all of the political and scientific logic of opposing the war. But in that same time, the anti-war movement has been unable to unite its forces and build sustainable organizations.
The IRM, on the other hand, has been able to spread its message and build long term organizations. But when a debate begins regarding the politics of immigrant’s rights, the arguements are always the same: “we are all human, we all deserve to be here.”
So what I am saying is that the IRM needs to improve itself politically.
To do this, we need to study the politics of Immigration.
We need to combine the best of the anti-war movement with the best of our own movement.
Education will also become more necessary as the movement begins to rebuild itself and begins to build regional and national conferences.
Connecting the Struggles
The right-wing in this country worked hard connecting up the issues of Immigration and Abortion Rights with Health-Care.
Its important to point out that the Republicans and the Democrats both joined in linking and attacking all of these issues together.
We need to connect these issues as well. But we need to connect these issues so that we can reinforce each other.
Connecting these issues will not only benefit the IRM, but it will also benefit rebuilding a Left-wing in this country.
The fact is that the bigger picture of rebuilding the Left in general will benefit all three of these struggles as well.
Long Term Perspectives
Making another parallel with the anti-war movement, I would like to point out something else.
The anti-war movement is clear about its principle demand: “Troops out now.”
The demand for the IRM has always been “Amnesty Now” but all of the most recent legislation (STRIVE, DREAM Act, CIR ASAP, etc.) has all been about providing legalization for some, but never for everyone.
The reality is that similar legislation that passed in 1986, worked well for some, but is not a perfect blue-print for long term perspectives. IRCA only providing legalization for some, and has placed us in today’s situation of having to make the same fight AGAIN.
Until we develop a movement-wide perspective that emphasizes the need to do away with Borders and that does away with the undocumented status, we will have to keep building and rebuilding the exact same movement over and over again.
These are my thoughts on the matter.
We need a world without borders, where no human being is “illegal.”
– Ken Barrios
PS: here are some books to start off the education.