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The root of the problem

Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: July 2017
Protest to stop deportation

DETROIT, MI – Protest to stop deportation of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo. Sanchez-Ronquillo is from Mexico and has lived in Ann Arbor for nearly 20 years. He was scheduled to be deported on Wednesday, May 17. Due to support received his deportation has been postponed.
Photo: Daymon J. Hartley


With all the scandal and controversy surrounding President Trump’s first months in office, talk of war and terrorist attacks abroad, and state sponsored vicious attacks on the defenseless here at home — it is easy to get lost in the details.

As a consequence, we don’t see what is underlying the rapidly changing political landscape of today. New labor replacing technology is upsetting the global marketplace and profitability, eroding the basis for how goods and labor are exchanged, and uprooting age-old concepts of how society is organized, and for whose benefit.

At a time when 3D printing can make a $5000 or a $10,000 home in a day, thousands are condemned to homelessness. Thousands of others are forced to move, due to gentrification and soaring rental costs. In Hidalgo County poor Texans are living in rental storage units with minimal lighting, no running water, and inadequate bathroom facilities. When they complain, they are evicted.

Oil barons and fossil fuel promoters such as former Texas governor Rick Perry and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson are installed in Trump’s cabinet as secretaries of energy and state respectively.

With such people in charge, it seems that rural and migrant communities outside of Corpus Christi have no recourse to Exxon’s pollution of their drinking water. They are joining coal miners of West Virginia whose Appalachian waters are contaminated, Standing Rock Native Americans threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Flint, Michigan’s lead poisoned children — all covered in previous issues of the Tribuno.

But people are beginning to stand up and look for solutions, to answer the question posed in the contributed letter to the editor. Defense begins with such simple things as “knowing your rights” workshops for immigrants. Resistance is building to unfair laws such as Texas’ recently enacted SB4, which penalizes local communities who fail to cooperate with federal ICE raids and attacks sanctuary provisions.

In a recently conducted tour on homelessness in California the homeless are seeing the need to organize in their own interests and hold the government accountable.

Even university trained young people that billionaire Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg feels sorry for are protesting. Condemned to lifelong student debt, they were active participants in recent global climate marches, the March for Science, and leaders in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

As veteran activist Nativo López of Hermandad Mexicana states, fighting for what workers of the same social class have in common forges alliances and builds social consciousness. He also points out the dangers of just blaming Trump for everything.

The Democrats may not be much better. “My theory is that with Trump you have the more vicious face of immigration policies. Obama [known previously as the Deporter in Chief] represented a ‘happy face.’”

At the root of the problem is that the market value of human labor is being driven down towards zero, as computers and robots increasingly replace workers. The abundance produced benefits a tiny few.

For example, six individuals own more wealth than half the world’s population. Working people are increasingly seen as expendable. They are pitted against one another to prevent their uniting as a class with interests separate from the capitalists.

In order to achieve the lost “sense of purpose” and “community” that Mark Zuckerberg laments, “a social revolution must be built on top of the technological revolution going on before our eyes.” This will take extensive organizing and education as our contributing letter points out.

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