May 1st is commemorated internationally as a day to celebrate workers rights and the labor struggle. Especially within the United States, a large contingent of those who observe the holiday are migrants. There are many ways that labor issues and migrant issues overlap. The Uprooted team attended this year’s May Day demonstration in New York City’s historic Union Square, where labor organizers and migrant activists held a joint demonstration for the first time in several years. Perhaps it was the inspirational outpouring of labor activism in Wisconsin or perhaps a general feeling that it is time for old methods to change, that led organizers to recognize the need to unite their movements.
At the demonstration Uprooted chatted with activist Leilani Montes of the Association of Feminist Filipinas Fighting Imperialism, Re-Feudalization and Marginalization (AF3IRM), a “national organization of women engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism”. AF3IRM, like Uprooted looks to tie together social issues which overlap and intersect, such as how modern day imperialism leads to migration and to laws that violate workers rights, much like the upsurge in temporary worker programs.
In the clip featured below, Leilani explained her opinion to us about the ways in which labor and migration issues mix together:
How do you feel labor and migration issues are related? Share your thoughts!
The goal of Uprooted is to bring together many different voices speaking out about migration. On this blog we have posted several videos of the DREAMers, those brave and unflinching youth who are fighting to pass the one piece of legislation they feel comes anywhere close to granting them real reform. These young people are spear-heading the fight to gain rights for people without documents. They feel that the DREAM Act is the only viable bill that could possibly gain them some of these rights, and they argue that whatever its shortcomings, it is still worth fighting for. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth the possibility to gain papers by either going to college or joining the military. Supporters of the bill contend that even the military provision should not be a deal breaker, for shouldn’t undocumented students have all the same rights as others, even the right to join the military?
Yet we feel we can not ignore those voices that critique and criticize the DREAM Act as well. Not because they oppose the principals that everyone is entitled to an education or the security to know that they will not be uprooted from their home and separated from their families; but rather because they oppose the militaristic aspect of the bill. There are those who see the military section of the DREAM Act as a virtual draft of undocumented youth, a sort of blackmail to join the armed forces in exchange for papers. There are those activists who say, “We must champion the DREAMers movement — that is, a real DREAM Act without any militaristic strings attached.”
For the perusal of all those interested in this discussion we would like to recommend the following articles:
Rethinking the DREAM Act by Alejandra Juarez
DREAM Act as Military Draft? A statement from the Vamos Unidos Youth