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In Texas, there is no democracy

José Torres & Manuel Torres  |  Issue: July 2017
SB-4 protesters

On May 29, more than 1.000 anti SB-protesters filled the gallery shouting chanting and waving signs.
Photo: Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News


On May 7, the Texas legislature and Governor Greg Abbott signed into law SB-4, which criminalizes members of law enforcement who do not comply with requests to hold detained immigrants for federal pick-up. It bans so-called sanctuary cities and it empowers individual officers to ask about the immigration status of people they detain. SB-4 is being called the “Show me your papers” law.

Since then, hundreds and thousands have come out and protested.  In Austin, city council members were arrested and jailed. On May 1, state representative Victoria Neave went on a one day hunger strike. Texas cities and towns are filing lawsuits against SB-4 based on the fact that it’s unconstitutional.

On May 29, more than 1,000 anti-SB-4 protesters filled the gallery bringing light to the end of the legislative session shouting, chanting and waving signs. They wanted to let the lawmakers know what the community thinks about the bill. Some of the signs read, “I am illegal an immigrant and I am here to stay.”


SB-4 protester

Photo: Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News


State representative Matt Rinaldi from Irving told other lawmakers that he had called ICE on the protesters. Some Democratic lawmakers were offended and called Rinaldi on the floor and made counterthreats to the point that Rinaldi threatened to shoot one of the Democrats.

This tension in this legislative session is about who is going to control the state politics. The Republicans have been in control since 1994 and have isolated the Democrats. The Republicans have control of the Senate and House.

With the price of oil at $45 a barrel, production has been shut down. The revenue from oil companies to the state is not the same as it was five years ago. There are fewer jobs and repressive laws are the way to control the people of Texas. When people start questioning the legislature’s inability to provide jobs and basic necessities, a repressive state government is necessary.


SB-4 protest

Photo: Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News


SB-4 specifically attacks the undocumented among us and aims to isolate and pit one section of society against the other. The most vulnerable are first, but the attack then extends to all workers. Fortunately, it’s not the 1950s or 1960s. It is not a color question. It is a class struggle.

This small group of right-wingers want to continue the old ways of “black,” “white” and “brown.” They can make their attempts to divide us, but because of technology we are noticing that the capitalists will get rid of workers regardless of their skin color, religion or sexual preference. This displacement of our jobs gives an objective basis for real unity among the workers. We must strive for unity and stand up together. An attack on one is an attack on all.

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