The recent action by Latino Immigrant H2-B workers in New Orleans demanding the arrest the contractor that took the visa from the workers, is a very important development for the struggle for democracy and a just Reconstruction in NOLA and the Gulf Coast.
The article is very good and makes the important connection and similarities between the US governments national oppression of African Americans and Latinos. It points out the role of the US government in facilitating the super exploitation of immigrant Latino workers/labor used by many "recovery" contractors in NOLA and throughout the Gulf Coast, and shows how this super-exploitation and denial of basic democratic rights to Latinos is being used as one of the ways of denying jobs to Black workers as part of the government and corporate strategy to deny the right of return of the Black majority.
While not knowing how this mobilization was organized in terms of its outreach to the Black majority activists coalitions and Survivor justice organizations like PHRF, POC, Common Ground, African American Leadership Committee, to name a few, it is important that efforts were made by at least one of the Black majority organizations ("New Orleans Survivor Council") to express solidarity with this action.
If there was not serious outreach efforts made to the Black majority activists Survivor and Reconstruction Movement organizations, it was a serious error and does not strengthen the critically needed direction and efforts at building African American and Latino unity as a part of strengthening the Reconstruction Movement in NOLA and throughout the Gulf Coast.
If serious outreach efforts were made and there was not serious efforts by the various Black majority organizations to mobilize and to express some level of solidarity with this action, then those organizations are guilty of narrow thinking and practice and of lacking a correct assessment about the areas of unity that need to be forged to build an effective and powerful fight-back throughout the Gulf Coast as a Key flank of the struggle for African American self-determination.
The Black majority as the most impacted of the working and poor masses in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, must express active solidarity with struggles for democratic rights of immigrants and all workers as an expression of the democratic character of the just Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast and throughout US that we are fighting for. We must do everything possible to prevent this important objective of building Black and Brown Unity as a pillar of the Reconstruction Movement, from becoming weakened do to the factionalism that exists in part largely because of the absence of a united democratic front capable of intervening in and resolving disputes in a democratic, non sectarian but authoritative way.
This further points out why a united democratic front is needed in the Gulf Coast to further consolidate strategic components and mass fight back organizations, develop unity and action and to elevate the struggle for Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast to the level of an anti imperialist movement. The 2nd Survivors Assembly must promote the building of an African American majority United Democratic Front as a major next step in the struggle for a just Reconstruction!
This "modern day slavery" of Latino workers needs to be one of the areas of testimony made at the International Tribunal and included as one of the crimes against humanity related to the Hurricane Katrina/Rita triggered disaster. We must also help raise up the identity of the Homa Nation and the government atrocities it suffered in this disaster. The Homa Nation and Latino Immigrants must be represented at the 2nd Survivors Assembly.
Organizing for the 2nd Survivors Assembly and the International Tribunal on Katrina and Rita are concrete places to begin the process of forging unity among the active forces of the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Movement. Both are directly in the interest of the Survivors and peoples of the Gulf Coast who want a Just Reconstruction and to build Black majority led peoples power throughout the Gulf Coast as part of the fight for self-determination. The Survivors Assembly and International Tribunal should be viewed as peoples institutions of the Reconstruction Movement and not as simply projects of any one organization, regardless of what groups take on the role of initiating the call and early steps in the organizing processes.
Survivors and progressive forces inside and outside of the Gulf Coast and internationally must urge the various Black majority activists coalitions and organizations throughout the Gulf Coast to take immediate steps toward forging a more unified movement for democracy and Reconstruction.
Saladin Muhammad is a UE Organizer,a leading voice of the Black Workers For Justice, & a CLR endorser