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Texas: As we battle forward unity will be our only weapon

Jose Torres and Manuel Torres  |  Issue: February | March 2018

Unity is our only weapon as we battle forward for clean and safe water, and the means to feed and clothe our families. Unity is also our only weapon to fight for our democratic rights —all of which are at peril with SB-4.

Texas unemployment is the lowest in decades and one of the lowest in the United States. One of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy is the oil and the gas industry.

The oil and gas glut has not stopped the global corporations from drilling because it takes less manpower to dig for these resources than it did 20 years ago. The south and central Texas oil and fracking boom has moved to the Midland-Odessa area in west Texas. There, water is worth as much as oil because it takes billions of gallons of water to get the black gold.

Now the west Texas farmers are leading the struggle for clean water against the big oil corporations.

Last Christmas, all over Texas, thousands if not millions of children lined up for free gifts. The question is, if there is so much prosperity in Texas, why are there such long lines? The answer is simple. Their parents cannot afford to give them any.

South Texas leads the state in poverty, more than it did in the 1960s. What’s the difference between then and now? It is in production of goods. Today it takes less human labor power to create a commodity due to computers and robots. Consequently, there is a greater abundance of products, but fewer people can afford them, because they don’t have jobs.

Hand in hand with the growing poverty is the attack on our democracy. The ruling class enacts laws to control and repress the workers’ dissatisfaction with their conditions. These new laws take away hard-fought democratic rights. For historical reasons in Texas, this assault on workers’ rights takes the form of first attacking undocumented immigrants, isolating and criminalizing this group, and then attacking all Texans.

This is the case with SB-4, the anti-sanctuary “show me your papers law.” Last May 7, Texas governor Gregg Abbott signed SB-4 into law. Though it was blocked by the courts, state authorities are enforcing SB-4 anyway. Local police and state troopers stop drivers who “look undocumented” and ask for their papers. If they don’t have them, the officer calls ICE. SB-4 has bred nothing but fear.

The deputy director of ICE, Thomas D. Homan, opposes sanctuary cities. “It’s time to start arresting these elected officials, put them in jail and prosecute them.” Under SB-4, an elected official who does not carry out Texas law will be prosecuted and removed from office.

Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings called Thomas’ remarks total hogwash and un-American. We couldn’t agree more. It looks like we are in for a fight. Laws like SB-4 only divide us.

Unity is our only weapon as we battle forward for clean and safe water, and the means to feed and clothe our families. Unity is also our only weapon to fight for our democratic rights – all of which are at peril with SB-4.

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