Sat 15 Apr, 2006 02:43 pm
This is a thread to discuss strategy.
This thread assumes that a path to legalization is a good thing as is a politically active immigrant community.
If you disagree with this, or if you want to argue about whether illegal people have rights, or if illegal immigration is bad for the country or if people can be illegal please go to the very active thread about that topic.
The protests were successful with plenty of positive press, anti-immigrant people are fuming and even Republicans are blaming Democrats for stalling a path to legalization that many in both parties now seem to take for granted would be a good thing.
My hope is two-fold. I would like to see a short term solution that provides a path to legalization for people who are here now (again please argue this in the other thread). I would also like to see the Latino community and immigrants from other countries brought into the Progressive movement in general.
I think the protests did their job presenting real people who demonstrated respectfully and peacefully. I don't think any more are needed until there is bad legislation or no movement for a long time. Some groups were calling for a May 1 boycott. I think this is a very bad thing-- not only ineffective, but even counterproductive. Thankfully I think most groups agree and this will not be widespread.
I think efforts should go into two areas.
First is political empowerment and voter registration. Just like the civil rights movement before it, it is imperative that people from immigrant communities who are US citizens are registered and motivated to vote. They are the Americans who have the most at stake and are also the most in touch with the trials of new arrivals.
The second is continued education of the American public at large. The best way to counter the attacks of the right who want to use "illegal" as a noun and talk of immigration as "invasion" is to show real people. Stories of honor roll students who can't go to college because they are undocumented; honoring the soldiers gave their lives in Iraq; and showing the millions of real people who work hard, raise their families and don't look anything like invaders.
Overall, I am feeling hopeful that the immigrant rights movement has momentum and will cause lasting change in our country.
I would like to hear other opinions and ideas on how the immigrant rights movement should progress.
Good public relations, of course.
Never ending letters and petitions to politicians.
Waving American flags was very positive, image wise.
A charismatic spokesman would be such a plus. I don't know who would best fit the bill.
Smile a lot. (Don't look beleagered, or guilty).
Have a series of timed demonstrations, every six to eight months.
Simple: as we give them a ride to the border they have to pass the naturalization test, which of couse is written in English and they are not allowed interpritors. If they pass the test the must state how many years they have been in the US illegally. They are then put in prison until they pay all the taxes they owe. Once they are legal citizens they are not allowed to protest any laws regarding illegal immigrants.
Those who cannot pass the exam are deported and if caught comming back into the US illegally will be shot on sight.
Any illegal who is caught smuggling drugs or people are publicly executed on the US side of the border.
If anyone wants to come into the US under a work visa the must pass an 11th grade education exam in English with no interpretors. If they can do that that have 6 mos to become leagalized citizens.
That goes for illegals of ANY country.
but, thats just my opinion.
Nope not a bigot at all. All my relatives who came off the boat, or plane, did so legally and became US citizens as soon as they could.That inlcudes my Italian Granparents, my French Aunt and Mother-in-law.
There is a thread for that discussion elsewhere on A2K.
<<ebrown turns on the new ignore feature for inappropriate provocative posts>>
One key to civil rights movements is "Be more likeable than the opposition".
The phrase you hear within the Latino community about the protests is "Dignidad y cultura" (dignity and culture). It is impressive how the crowds have been been mainly peaceful and respectful, even without a central figure as a leader. There were a couple of banners of Che Guevarra, but the overwhelming tenor of the protests was dignified and restrained. The white shirts for peace and the American flags were made a pretty powerful scene.
The current anti-war movement failed at this. They had Cindy Sheehan cavorting with Hugo Chavez, and the socialists took over everything. Anti-war rallies turned into gaudy, even grotesque anti-bush affairs with expressions of anti-american anger that were difficult to not interpret as general hatred of the US. I have always been anti-war, but I was too ashamed to join any rallies.
But the immigrants rights movement is on the right track, and the opposition is resorting to angry tirades. They are undermining their own message.
The message they should be trying to get accross is legal vs. illegal. If they can make this a wedge and get a significant support of legal immigrants to go along, they will have a powerful simple talking point in this debate.
But gratefully, they are undermining their own message. The attacks on Spanish for example, including bi-lingual education and the ability to use Spanish (or any other language) in hospitals or courts are just great for the pro-immigrant side.
It makes the feeling in the Latino community that the anti-immigrant side is really anti-Latino very strong. This combined with the harshness of anti-immigrant legislation and rhetoric of "invasion" (i.e. race war) is the best kind of opposition one could hope for.
Do we need a single vocal leader? I have seen this question discussed in several places. My feeling is that at this stage the culture and tone of the movement has been set and it is clear that the movment has the ability to mobilize and communicate.
I think that if something bad happens (i.e. the religious right forces through one of its draconian measures) there may be the need for a single leader, al la Martin Luther King. I suspect that when this is necessary, one will rise up.
If I remember the civil rights movement started without a single leader, and that Martin Luther King took prominance during the Montgomery Bus boycott (i.e. a specific crisis).
The real civil rights movement predates ML King and the bus boycot by decades.
Of course, anything that smacks of violence, anti Americanism, or sheer lunacy plays right into the hands of the opposition. I think they are on a basic right track at this time. Most important I think is to keep up a dignified, friendly, peaceful mein. They are already revered, even by opposition, as industrious and strong.