In late March, HBO featured a new film Walkout by Latino filmmakers Edward James Olmos and Moctesuma Esparza. While the film was created using the 1968 Chicano Walkout as a model, none involved in this Hollywood production anticipated the dramatic impact it would have on Hispanics throughout the United States. Over a million demonstrators marched in the streets in response to the recent House bill making felons of an estimated 13 million illegal immigrant workers and anyone assisting them. This inspirational mass protest has sparked a national debate on immigration and workers rights.
The United States may have been founded upon genocide, racism, sexism, and worker exploitation; but it has been built with the labor of African slaves and immigrant workers. People fleeing Kings and dictators throughout the world have sought refuge in this nation that professes constitutional liberty and justice for all. The ideology of economic freedom, i.e., that anyone can work hard and have a better life, has taken root and battles have been won as workers continue the struggle to make the dream real. Human rights and civil rights have finally connected the dots to labor rights.
Today our society stands at a crossroads, literally and figuratively. Capitalist extremists have become emboldened through militaristic adventurism and global expansion. Jobs have been used as a weapon against all workers, exploiting both poor and rich countries with divide and conquer tactics. Privatization, outsourcing, and off-shoring are strategies used by big global corporations in brutal attacks on union organizing to weaken labor. It is the classic eternal struggle of authoritarian power against egalitarian principles in the distribution of social wealth produced by collective labor.
Workers, who produce the wealth, are getting tired of being pitted against one another, denied their fair share, and shut out of the democratic process. They are entitled to their piece of the pie. They are sick of being heavily taxed to support their own exploitation through wars of imperialism. They are enraged that their children and grandchildren must pay the price in blood, sweat, and tears, while the richest 1% parasitic minority live in luxury with lower taxes and social privilege.
Basta! Enough! Shout the masses of exploited workers and enlightened citizens. Civil rights and human rights depend upon labor rights. Walk out of institutions, workplaces, and superstores that support social parasites and their corrupt politicians. Take charge of public domain and privatized industries built with public funds.