Public health activists in the American Public Health Association (APHA) have submitted a policy proposing universal vaccination, changes in global trade policy that protects manufacturers, and protection for asylee seekers and migrants. APHA must take a strong position for measures to prevent and treat Covid 19 and demand global working-class solidarity.
Adopting this policy will not guarantee action, but it gives credibility and science-based information to help advocates in the community, universities, and medical, health, trade, and labor sectors to organize more effectively. Writing it has given opportunities for more young public health students to learn about capitalism and to build relationships. What we learned:
In New York City and all around the country, activists are finding creative and safe ways to demand the release of prisoners in jails, prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. Yesterday, about 25 cars and as many bikers and those on foot from Close the Camps/Cosecha and other groups stood, rode, and drove around New York Governor Cuomo’s office. The cars honked and the standing protestors chanted, gaining much support from the few onlookers on the street. We demanded that Cuomo use his emergency powers to release immigrants and prisoners in NY state custody in order to save their lives. The caravan then proceeded to circle Times Square and ended at an ICE office on 26th St where Close the Camps had its first civil disobedience action last summer.
The metropolitan Washington DC area contingent of Doctors for Camp Closures (D4CC) demonstrated at the Customs and Border Patrol headquarters to protest racist immigration policies that divide and deport migrants along the Texas/Mexico border. Eight hundred and fifty thousand (850,000) to one million (1,000,000) people were arrested at the border in 2019, including 50,000 families and 76,000 children traveling alone! The US Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program requires asylum seekers and others to stay in Mexico while the US processes their claims. US immigration sent back approximately 50,000 people to Mexico to live in squalid and dangerous areas while they waited. (Washington Post, October 8, 2019; PBS News Hour, October 30, 2019).
What could be more ironic and
cruel than witnessing the increasingly racist and nationalist mistreatment and
expulsion of Haitians following the devastation wrought by hurricane Dorian in
the Bahamas? How does a former victim of British colonialism become a fount of
racist nationalism itself? How do the citizens of the only land to have
overthrown slavery in modern history deserve this treatment? Because,
unfortunately, racism and nationalism are the strategies with which governments
around the globe retain power.
On September 14, members of Close
the Camps (closethecamps.us) in New York City occupied the showy Microsoft
store on 5th Ave. to protest Microsoft’s $19.4 million contract with
Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Some protestors entered the store,
dropped banners and fake bloodstained money and occupied the main floor.
Another three rows of demonstrators blocked the front door with signs and
banners, while chanting against collusion with ICE, border walls, racism and
fascism. Although the police arrived quickly, Microsoft told them to back off,
and the action continued unabated for two hours. Meanwhile, other demonstrators
took up residence across the street after marching across midtown. Eventually,
the occupiers moved to block traffic on Manhattan’s central 5th Ave.
and were arrested, 76 in all. The ensuing publicity forced Microsoft, whose
store was closed for the entire day, to issue a statement. They tried to appear
innocent by denying involvement in locking up children and claiming to be
multiracial and multinational, but they were forced to admit that “our current
cloud engagement with ICE is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and
document management workloads.”
As we write, thousands of men, women and children are traveling to the southern U.S. border with Mexico. The largest group of the migrants who make up the “caravan” are from Honduras. They are fleeing poverty, corruption and violence that is largely the result of over 100 years of US domination, beginning with massive banana plantations. This American business took over most of the best land, and later the US came to dominate mining, coffee and banking as well. To keep its interests safe and also play a role in fighting the Sandanista rebels in neighboring Nicaragua in the 1970s, the US developed and dominated the military. Although a liberal reformer, Zelaya was elected in 2006, the military, with US support, overthrew him in 2009. Since then, poverty, crime, drug trafficking and police violence have driven ever more people to flee. Continue reading “How We Can Support the Caravan and Fight Racist Terror”
The news is full of tragic and shocking stories of the flight of refugees, such as the 12.6 million Syrians internally or externally displaced and over 1000 drowned in June in the Mediterranean Sea. Today, more desperate refugees are seeking shelter in Europe than at any time since World War II.
In this article we will examine why so many people in the world have been driven to flee their homes, the status of migration in the world today, and why capitalism and imperialism are responsible for this phenomenon. We will also explore how nationalism and racism, inventions of capitalism, are used to justify mass displacements and make them more acceptable. Continue reading “Migration: A Reflection of Capitalism”