Hope for the Americas

As an immigrant, I know something of the trauma and stress that other migrants experience in their dealings with authorities. Thus, I am very concerned about the fate of many “undocumented” Mexican and other migrants to USA. Not only do many of these people have education and skills needed in USA. Through their productivity and work, as well as consumption, they make contributions to the American economy.

In the Guardian, there are warnings that the expulsion of migrants may also threaten the real-estate market.

The employment related skills and knowledge these migrants have are important, but they also have an additional ability – they understand Americans, and the American market. Thus, each of them could make and sell products and/ or services to the American market, either from within or outside of USA.

From an outsider’s perspective, one of the challenge at the moment is the lack of a collective. It appears that each individual and family is addressing their own personal challenges. Much like the American immigrants of a century ago, they may find that by banding together they will be able to improve their lives.

Over 111 years ago, in 1905 the Wobblies banded together, forming the Industrial Workers of the World. Twentieth-century capitalists were no more benign than twenty-first-century capitalists. Joe Hill was an important organizer throughout Western North America.  However, In British Columbia, Ginger Goodwin is probably better remembered. Their lives – and deaths – show that unionizing is a risky business. Both Hill and Goodwin were killed under dubious circumstances.

The funeral procession of “Ginger” Goodwin, shot by a police officer in Cumberland on Vancouver Island, in 1918. There were no witnesses to the shooting. (Photo: Cumberland Museum & Archive)

While it is not my place to tell anyone what to do, I believe that immigrants need to organize themselves in something akin to “One Big Union”, inside USA, but more importantly, outside USA, if they are expelled. Once  expelled, these former immigrants could be more successful if they organized themselves physically into “barrios” (neighbourhoods) that provide for community needs including schools, and medical clinics. By living and working together, they can work more effectively. These neighbourhoods do not have to be adjacent to the USA, as the Internet offers excellent means of communicating across borders.

Since I lived most of my formative years close to the banks of the Fraser River, I will close this post with Where the Fraser River Flows by Joe Hill:

Fellow workers pay attention to what I’m going to mention,
For it is the fixed intention of the Workers of the World.
And I hope you’ll all be ready, true-hearted, brave and steady,
To gather ’round our standard when the red flag is unfurled.

Where the Fraser river flows, each fellow worker knows,
They have bullied and oppressed us, but still our union grows.
And we’re going to find a way, boys, for shorter hours and better pay, boys
And we’re going to win the day, boys, where the Fraser river flows.

For these gunny-sack contractors have all been dirty actors,
And they’re not our benefactors, each fellow worker knows.
So we’ve got to stick together in fine or dirty weather,
And we will show no white feather, where the Fraser river flows.

Now the boss the law is stretching, bulls and pimps he’s fetching,
And they are a fine collection, as Jesus only knows.
But why their mothers reared them, and why the devil spared them,
Are questions we can’t answer, where the Fraser river flows.

Youtube offers Utah Phillips singing it.