New York, N.Y., Thursday, April 13, 2006 — Dressed to the nines in tuxedos and ball gowns, delighted Billionaires For Bush will gather in cities across the country to say to American taxpayers, “Thank YOU for paying OUR fair share!”
According to Time magazine, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) decided not to support the Republican-led Senate “compromise” bill on immigration reform because he felt he was walking into a trap. This recalls Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “I smell a rat,” when the U.S. Constitution was first proposed without a Bill of Rights.
Rumors of history’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Spring 2006 has blossomed with millions of workers and students in the streets in London, Paris, Athens and Los Angeles defending the rights of workers and youth. It’s history in the making, as the people flex their marching muscles. And it’s only mid-April. The size and unity of the people’s anger at the “free market” pro-corporate assault by governments on these continents keeps growing.
The Senate debate on immigration “reform” was moving toward a dramatic showdown during the week of April 3, and no one can say what kind of legislation will eventually be passed, or if any legislation will be passed. There are competing bills from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and there is a possibility of a filibuster or a stalemate, both of which would delay the whole issue.
CHICAGO — Broad unity is the key challenge facing the anti-ultra-right electoral coalition in the wake of Illinois’ March 21 primary. Victory in two congressional battleground races in suburban Chicago will also require winning independent and moderate Republican voters.
If you are a young person under the age of 30 you probably know more about the elimination and under-funding of social services and programs for youth than your parents’ generation ever did.
It’s a recurring theme in American history: The mass media plays up the demagogy of reactionaries who use ignorance and prejudice to blame immigrants for major social ills. Reactionary politicians who rely on disunity to achieve their goals use the resulting hysteria to push through repressive measures. This makes the immigrants more vulnerable. Businesses exploit them for superprofits and to lower the living standards of the general populace. Then the demagogues blame the victims again and so it goes.
Many New Yorkers were inspired by the strike of Transport Workers Union Local 100 against the efforts of the Metropolitan Transit Authority to cut back on workers’ pensions and health care. People understood that the two-tier benefit system being insisted on by the MTA would create mistrust between veterans on the job and new workers, damaging the union’s strength and credibility.
Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous head of state in 500 years. The day before his inauguration on Jan. 22, a huge assembly of Bolivia’s indigenous people, who represent two-thirds of the country’s population, ceremonially granted him power.
Months of growing grassroots pressure for immigrants’ rights and against proposed harsh repressive measures are beginning to open new avenues of struggle for a fair and humane approach to immigration reform.