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Opposition to SB-4 is growing

José Torres and Manuel Torres  |  Issue: September | October 2017

What Texas governor Greg Abbott is trying to do is bring the people of Texas to its knees. In the first Legislative session, he was able to pass Senate Bill 4, the “anti-sanctuary cities bill,” which becomes law on September 1.

Meanwhile, he is up for re-election and is courting the “Hispanic” vote here in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. In general, he tells the Hispanic Texans that what we are hearing concerning SB-4 is just “fear mongering” and that the law “doesn’t pose any concern or threat for anybody who’s not a criminal,” which is an outright lie.

Just by reading the plain text of the law, we know that all Hispanic Texans are subject to interrogation by any law enforcement officer. On the campaign trail, he mentions that he is married to a Hispanic woman. But that in itself does not mean anything progressive. He is simply trying to wash his hands by pretending that he is not racist or supports racist laws.

All this anti-immigrant hysteria which was put out by the election of Trump has helped Abbott’s approval rating among whites while disapproval among Hispanics has soared in the wake of SB-4. Right after signing the bill into law, the governor and Attorney General Ken Paxton launched a pre-emptive strike.

They have been trying to do the same thing with the Texas bathroom bill, but this time these far-right legislators are up against giant global corporations IBM, Apple, and Facebook which have dispatched some 20 top executives to lobby lawmakers with a lot of envelopes full of cash, Texas-style.

These corporations have the money to make laws or repeal them. That’s the way they do their business. It’s all about money and profits and they do not care about the LGBT community.

The tensions at the Capitol are the direct results of the tensions in our communities throughout Texas. Before SB-4 became law on September 1, many state troopers, county deputies and local police were already enforcing it daily. These past two sessions have been called the “sessions of oppression.”

Texas has a long history of denying our basic civil and human rights from the days we fought for the right to speak our own language (Spanish), to trying to organize farm workers for collective bargaining rights to earn minimum wage, fair housing, quality education and better working conditions.

What we have gained when reforms were possible is being destroyed by a group of right-wingers who have taken control of the state government. Therefore, their answer is repression and outright fascism. Eventually, if we do not organize, they will stop at nothing to ensure that this dying capitalist private property is maintained.

Slowly, the community is responding by passing resolutions against SB-4. Small cities such as El Cenizo or entire counties like Cameron County and bigger cities such as Dallas and Austin have sent a message to Abbott that his anti-immigrant rhetoric is not welcome in our communities.

While the overall intention is to keep us divided, it allows us great opportunities to come together. We need the necessities of life, which the capitalist cannot provide any longer. Our plan is to defend ourselves from the right-wingers and we can win because their foundation is dying. Therefore, our banner says, “Forward we march for the repeal of SB-4! Let us unite in a common cause, Texans!

The Democrats are being completely run over by the Republicans. They are asking that protesters come out in full force to help them battle the right-wing fascist movement. This should have been done all along. Now, to a certain degree, it is kind of late. We are being led by ineffective Democratic leaders who sit back and allow the right-wingers to control Texas politics so, in essence, “There is no democracy in Texas.”

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