Towards a Resolution on Mexican American Equality

June 22, 2005

This resolution was submitted by the Mexican American Equality Commission as part of the preparations for the CPUSA National Convention and also based on discussion in the CPUSA National Board. It was prepared by Rosalio Muoz, Secretary of the Mexican American Equality Commission.

The struggle today.

In 2005 Mexican Americans are approaching a 10% proportion of the US people and are a necessary part of the political, economic and ideological struggles against right wing domination of our nation and world. The slogan of Chicano Liberation in the 70’s and Mexican American Equality in the 80’s and 90’s, still ring true. Today an updated slogan would be Equal Partners In Struggle against the Bush Agenda, against the right wing dominance of the most reactionary sector of US global monopolies.


The importance of Mexican Americans economically is increased qualitatively by their growing alliance with other Latino groups particularly on issues of special oppression on key language, cultural, social and economic questions. The Mexican American -Puerto Rican alliance has been developing for over half a century and Cuban and other Caribbean peoples, as well Central American, and now South Americans have increasingly joined in. While the particular character of each group must be assessed and addressed on all political matters, it is also necessary to see the groups in alliance. In each region of the country there is a different alignment of forces in the alliance. However nationally and regionally there is a material basis for considering Latinos as a cohesive group deriving common and parallel forms of oppression and joint struggle in strikes, organizing drives, nation, state, and neighborhood issues in political, religious and cultural live.

Indeed in the 2000 census over 6 million Latinos identified just so, as Latino, chosen over origination from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Caribbean, Central or South America or Spain. In addition to there being greater leverage and clout in alliance each group brings to the alliance additional ties with labor, African American, women’s, youth and other democratic forces

One out of seven of the US people are Latino. Latinos are a critical political and economic factor in every region of the country especially in the larger metropolitan areas and as well as agribusiness.. Their largest concentrations are in the states with the largest electoral votes and Congressional delegations.

Mexican Americans

Mexican Americans and Mexicano immigrants make up some 60% or more of Latinos. The have the longest history of struggle and the strongest alliances, and are the biggest targets of the right wing attack on Latinos. The corporate globalization of economics and politics has qualitatively sharpened the historical trends related to Mexican Americans. The century long increasing immigration of Mexicans into the US work force sharply has accelerated sharply since 1990. Mexican and Latino immigrants, documented and undocumented, as well as citizens face greater economic and social differentials.

Increasing struggle for labor and political representation faces greater repression and disenfranchisement. Increased Mexican American and Latino influence on US culture is met with greater ideological and psychological attack and commercialization of culture. (In the general Southwest region, and in the Chicago area Mexican Americans are critical to labor and political struggles). The fastest demographic growth of Mexican Americans today, however is outside the Southwest, in the South, Mid Atlantic, New England, Midwest, North and Northwest regions. In many of these states there are established Mexican American communities, two, three and four generations old. Like the Southwest trend, the basis is the same, mano de obra barata- cheap labor.

Statistics show Mexican Americans, especially immigrants, have the lowest of median income and highest poverty rates, highest concentration in the labor market especially in blue collar/service categories. Most census statistics show data for Latinos as a whole and usually not for separate Latino groups, but when separate groups are reported Mexican Americans have the highest working class characteristics and lowest living standard and quality of life profiles.

Surveys show that Mexican Americans and Latinos as a whole want more public service, more immigration opportunity, more sanctions on racism, oppose the war. The highest percentage of progressive though patterns of Latinos are of Mexican Americans. There are growing numbers of Mexican Americans in all walks of life, income levels, including the higher brackets. However the growth in numbers in the higher strata are this is not proportionate to overall population growth. Nevertheless the greater number of more affluent create a base for more conservative less working class tendencies that are disproportionate to the percentage of the actual Mexican American population as immigrants cannot vote.

Despite media reports to the contrary, the Mexican American vote in 2004 was overwhelmingly anti Republican anti right wing. Media exit polls disproportionate surveyed precincts with more affluent Latinos. The major media exit poll had 45% of its interviewees have a college education or more, while the actual percentage about one third of that level. Close to 2/3 of the Latino vote was anti Bush, with larger numbers among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans.

(Latinos made up about 7% of the national vote, about half their proportion in the population because of the large immigrant population. Nevertheless the progressive Mexican American vote is the largest base of the constituency for democracy in the nations two most populous states California and Texas as well as New Mexico. Their votes can be decisive in Arizona, Nevada and Colorado, and are critical in Illinois. Latinos progressive , primarily Puerto Rican but with other Caribbean peoples and growing Cuban sectors are essential in Florida and critical in New York and New Jersey. As with other racially and nationally oppressed groups in US history the Mexican American voter turnout increases as more of their groups are nominated for and win elected positions. )

Parallel trends are evident in trade union developments. Indeed about 1.8 million Latino workers are represented by unions, roughly the percentage of the population, Mexican American, Mexicano and Latino workers are a mainstay in industries where organization and contract battles have been successful., however, the Bush policies are reversing the growth of unionization among Latinos.

Important Trends

The most effective paths to better living standards for Mexican Americans are first union membership and second education. 2001 Bureau of Labor statistics data showed a 50% and more increase in weekly income with union membership, far above that for African Americans and whites. The gap between wages for Mexican Americans and those of others narrows with union membership, but does not close. Though higher education raises living standards for them, actually income differentials with whites increase as the educational level raises indicating, among many things, that Mexican American citizens continue to face racism as well as the immigrants.

Throughout the nineties the number of Mexican Americans and Latinos in unions steadily increased while those of other groups declined, however the percentage of union members among them fell. However in 2002, with George W. Bush the absolute numbers began to drop. The same is true for voting, in the nineties the percentage of immigrants in the growing Latino vote increased, but fell in 2004 while the total Latino vote grew dramatically. SWVRP says the increase is due to young voters often children of disenfranchised immigrants.

These latter statistics help get to the essence of the meaning of the Bush Agenda for Mexican Americans, undercut working class participation in unions and politics to cut living standards and democracy for global corporate profits.

Anti-Immigrant Offensive: An Anti-Mexican American, Anti-Latino, racist, Anti-Labor Wedge

After 9/11 2001, the Bush administration moved immigration functions from the Justice Department to that of Homeland Security. As a matter of policy immigrants, documented and undocumented, especially along the Mexican border were viewed as a nationally security problem. Right wing ideologues and Republican politicians have gone even further, they see Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans and all Latinos as a national security issue. Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, who for half a century has been a national security establishment pundit, is the intellectual father of this trend.

The reality is that Mexican Americans, the sleeping giant, have long been an important reserve for progressive politics in this country whose potential is being realized more and more in the fight against the right wing. The growing Mexican American and Latino progressive constituencies are necessary to shifting the balance of power in national politics and the, in the class struggle.

The anti-immigrant, anti Mexican American/Latino policy and propaganda by government and corporations is basic to the most reactionary corporate sectors attack on the working class people of the nation and world. This is why there are Minute Men and other vigilante men patrolling the border right now!

The Ideological Challenge

The antecedents of the Mexican and Mexican American peoples have been in this hemisphere, in the continental US, for scores of millennia, they were the first to make this area human environment. The first Western civilization settlers on the continental US were come from what is now Mexico, indios, negros, mulattos, meztizos and very few criollos and espanoles. Yet the dominant ideology has Mexican Americans as strangers in their own land, foreigners, newcomers, a threat to national security., diseased, criminal, pagan, racially inferior, ignorant, greasy, lower class, lazy cannibals who talk funny. (ADD Ever since US paramilitary forces invaded Texas in 1836 every generation of Mexican Americans has had to prove its Americanness )

Mexican Americans have always fought these stereotypes, at first defensively, nationalistically, some tried assimilation. Experience and contributions of the left, especially communists have brought more progressive approaches to the racially and national oppression of Mexican Americans. Bert Corona, a 20th century Mexican American hero of the labor, political and immigrant rights struggles drew on his heritage and learned from partners in struggle like Harry Bridges, Carl Yoneda, Rose Chernin, Lorenzo Torres, Bill Taylor and others on the left and labor activists.

In this new century with increasing dangers from the right and new conditions, a Marxist Leninist understanding of racism and national oppression is needed more than ever. The immigration, national and racial questions are at the heart of the ideological challenges of the capitalist global economy and political policy. Along with the greater movement of capital is the greater movement of the commodity of labor power, class consciousness needs to increase as a result. In questions of peace, international democratic and cultural rights, the national and racial questions as they affect Mexican Americans and others here in the US are critical for our planet. The left upsurge in Latin America and the struggle here have important interrelationships.

There is great and increasing progressive awareness on these questions today especially among those struggling against the right in the emerging labor led coalition. The greater the awareness of the need for a greater role for Mexican Americans and Latinos in the mass movements the greater the possibilities for breakthroughs on immigrant rights, other struggles for equality, organizing the unorganized many issues of international solidarity. While there is growing awareness of those in motion the ideological attack is aimed at the weakest points and has a chilling impact. (ADD While democratic pro immigrant support increases, the right wing attack accelerates.)

The ideological challenge means we must struggle for full equality at all points, immigrant workers, documented and undocumented need more rights, more visas, and yes citizenship and voting rights, the working class and people of this country need this to defeat the right and move forward! It also means we must struggle for event the smallest advantage democratically that opens the door to greater struggle.

Problems in Policy

Of course the right wing anti immigrant, anti Mexican American offensive is not just in propaganda. It is daily implemented on the shop floor, by landlords, banks and other usurers, thugs in the barrios, city halls, state houses, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, high-rise buildings and penthouses.

The increased deportations, militarization of the border, inland raids, denial of drivers licenses, health care, social security, etc., etc, are a direct attack not only on immigrants but on the working class and people of the United States. The anti immigrant offensive is a basic part of the stepped up attack on labor, public services, and the drive for more cannon fodder. If the offensive is not met politically, economically and ideologically, the workers and people will suffer and the tendency to blame the victims will grow.

The labor led immigrants rights freedom ride of 2003 was an important start in this direction. Mass deportations of Mexican workers have been basic to US immigration policy since the Cold War and have continued unabated, the super-profits and division they create have been an important and growing part of the economic and political strength of reaction.

Fighting Back

The increased representation of Mexican Americans and other Latinos is due to greater struggle of these people and greater solidarity from labor, other nationally and racially oppressed, women, and youth, as well as religions, senior, environmental, gay and lesbian rights and other in the democratic struggles. The alliances with labor, African Americans and Asian Americans have been bulwarks of strength for recent advances. Yet while the Democrat legislatures of California and Texas pass drivers license laws for undocumented immigrants, the Republican governors veto them, and the Republican dominated Congress moves the issue nationally.

More advanced concepts and images are emerging culturally. The movie Motorcycle Diaries brings out the importance of the indigenous and meztizo heritage to hemispheric politics. The movie A Day Without A Mexican often hilariously exposes the economic, political and cultural absurdity of the right wing attack on Latinos and immigrants. The play They Shoot Mexicans Don’t They exposed the deadly Hollywood stereotypes of the Latino. These underscore a greater understanding for increased struggle for equality for Mexican Americans and Latinos.

Greater coalition struggle opens more doors to greater understanding and overcoming of stereotypes and biases and back to greater struggle other democratic rights. Mexican American representation in politics and labor is vital to defeating the Bush agenda and moving forward. Winning greater rights for immigrant workers, Mexican Americans and Latinos can only be won as part of a greater center left movement against racist and national oppression. Mexican American communities have among the greatest need of and support for public services like education, health care social security, as well as civil liberties and labor rights. Mexican Americans, Latinos and African American organizations are forming more and stronger alliances among each other and with labor and other democratic forces. The fight for immigrant rights needs to been seen as a necessary part of the struggle for equality and necessary for winning victories for democracy.

There are weaknesses. On a national level, groups like the National Council of La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens endorsed Gonzalez for Attorney General and helped him win Senate approval. They and others look to bipartisan approaches and working for positive results from the Bush Administration. It is not complete abandonment, there is fight in these groups on the issues, but the direction is very dangerous. There is a critical mass of the small minority of Mexican American and Latino affluent and conservatives that is coming more into play. This must be countered with greater left center initiatives and activity on the issues of Mexican American and Latino Equality and for stronger alliances on democratic issues with labor, African Americans, women’s and youth movements.

The Role of the Party

It has to grow. The problems in the Southern California District had a stunting but temporary affect on our work, pointing to some weaknesses but also to the parties overall and long term strength in our work on these questions. The national party’s commitment to rebuilding the district and strengthening the work of the commission is a critical step forward.

It must be followed up with increased concentration on the most critical aspects of our work on the question. The entire party needs to raise its level of awareness, activity, and effectiveness. Careful attention and commitment needs to be given to recruitment and the development and assignment of cadre in the party and publications. Bilingualism must be a reflex action. More work is needed on improving the sections on equality and the national questions in our draft documents. The necessity to defeat the right, move to an anti monopoly government and socialism in order to win full equality needs to be substantiated ideologically and in practice. All districts should include the struggle for immigrant rights in their plans of work and activities for equality. Assessments and appropriate action should be taken about the positions of national, state and local representatives as well a groups and coalitions.


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