Two Fronts, One Cause: Next Steps in Immigration Reform

As talk of  immigration reform dominated the new Congress, editor Duane Campbell conducted separate interviews with DSA Honorary Chair Eliseo Medina (former secretary treasurer of SEIU and former Executive Board member of the United Farm Workers) and immigrant rights activist Alma Lopez.

The interview with Medina was posted here on Feb.14, 2014. See below.  Both interviews will appear in the spring issue of Democratic Left.                                                             

Alma Lopez, an activist in Sacramento, was a co-presenter with Campbell at an immigration workshop at the DSA national convention, held in Oakland in October 2013. Here, Campbell talks to her about young people and immigrant activism.


Alma.jpgDC:
 What do you think has been the effect of immigrant rights activism on young people?

AL: Students and young people have been playing a major role, along with immigrant community members. In Sacramento, our group has been working with people in northern and southern California who have been arrested in protests against ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and deportations

The civil disobedience and the arrests have played a vital role in telling the community and the general public how important it is to keep families together and to come up with a policy that is fair and just for everybody.

DC: How has your own viewpoint developed as you participated in the immigrants’ rights movement?

AL: I have seen that there are many groups with different perspectives. I've had to rethink my position on how to advocate for people and I’ve concluded that educating and empowering people is the best way, rather than me trying to tell people what should be the best position.

These families have to be the ones making the decisions about goals, strategies, and tactics.  Once you include the people who are being affected, then the legislators will have to reconsider what they are proposing, and develop something that is much better, something that is fair for the people already here.

We in Sacramento are planning a couple of acts of civil disobedience (CD) in the near future to tell the public how very important this issue of immigration is. I think that CD is a powerful way to educate the people.  If we do it properly, we can frame the message in such a way that even the folks who are anti-immigrant understand.

DC: Some advocates, such as the folks in the Fast for Families in Washington, made the point that they are talking with very broad segments of the population, they are building the broadest possible coalition.

AL: We are also doing both. We are focusing on educating the Latino community about policy effects and their rights and we are reaching out to the broader community. We are developing informational packets, including one on the positive impact of immigrants here in our state.

Once society has a really good understanding of the immigration system,  they will understand  the importance of passing an inclusive and fairer immigration reform so that everyone is  respected as a human being.

Once you get that movement going, including the people who are being effected, then the legislators will have to reconsider what they are proposing, to develop something that is much better, something that is fair for the people already here.

I think that education and empowering the people is the best thing rather than I myself trying to tell people what should be the best position. 

We here in Sacramento are planning a couple of acts of civil disobedience in the near future to tell the public how very important this issue of immigration is.  I think that CD is a powerful way to educate the people.  You are risking your freedom.  I think that if you do CD properly, in such a way that it makes sense, then we can frame the message in such a way that even the folks who are anti-immigrant understand, then I think it will have a very, very powerful impact.

Once everyone sees undocumented immigrants as people, as our neighbors, they will see that they are just doing what everyone else would do: trying to feed their families and provide for a better life. There needs to be a focus on what is forcing people to migrate versus the symptoms of immigration.  Once this happens, people will see immigrants as human beings, not criminals.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist, and chair of Sacramento DSA.  He has worked on immigration reform issues for more than thirty years. To stay up to date with immigration reform, check the Democratic Left blog at dsausa.org

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

June 27, 2017
· 78 rsvps

Join DSA activist Judith Gardiner to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT.

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

July 06, 2017
· 22 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

July 09, 2017
· 6 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

Running for the National Political Committee

July 11, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join this call to hear a presentation and ask questions about the role, duties and time commitment of a member of DSA's National Political Committee. In the meantime, check out the information already on our website about the NPC.

Feminist Working Group

July 12, 2017

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 11 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.