No wall, no ban, no state of emergency

Border wall protest at the border
Border wall protesters at the National Butterfly Center wildlife preserve near the Rio Grande River in Mission, Texas | Photo: Veronica Cardenas/Reuters

By Communist Workers League

The only crisis at the border is the one Trump and the ruling class are creating. Thousands of refugee and immigrant children have been held in camps at the border, and some are dying in detention. Central American refugees, including large numbers of women and children, are fleeing extreme violence, caused by U.S. “drug wars” and anti-democratic policies in countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. We support asylum for the Central American and all refugees! U.S. government sanctions and war threats against the legitimately-elected Bolivarian government of Venezuela, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, are causing even more instability in the region.

Trump has attacked Mexicans and all people of Latin American heritage, calling them “rapists, criminals, drug-dealers, and bad hombres,” and issued executive orders to exclude Muslim immigrants with his travel ban. He moved to deny temporary protected status to refugees from countries such as Haiti, Nigeria and El Salvador, who he referred to as “shithole countries.” He claims that immigrants and refugees are coming to take jobs, but Trump was the one who took jobs away from workers in the United States, most recently with the month-long government shutdown! This week’s budget agreement, averting another shutdown, was accomplished with the Democrats’ allocation of over a billion additional dollars towards “border security.” Instead of challenging the narrative on the need for this, they challenged the practicality of a wall vs high tech and other more efficient solutions to the non-existent problem.

What’s the significance of Trump’s “state of emergency”?

Trump’s justifications for declaring a state of emergency to fund his border wall serve as a convenient cover for a broader move toward authoritarianism. By declaring a state of emergency, Trump has just opened the door to a set of broad legal powers that have the potential to challenge “democracy” as we know it in the U.S. He could use this power to enforce his white supremacist world view, taking money from Sanctuary Cities, challenge LGBTQ2S legal identification, compel the National Guard to pick up all undocumented people, impose stop-and-frisk policies in communities of color across the country, and many other repressive actions. He could also take over internet traffic, block any website he deems unacceptable, interfere with individuals’ emails, and enable only his own fake news to hit the airways. He could even deploy the military within the United States to suppress political protesters.

Is this a step towards fascism?

Presidential states of emergency are almost always associated with sanctions, trade, or war – all to support the U.S. empire. They have been declared 60 times since the power was enabled by Congress in 1976. This ongoing presidential encroachment is part of the broader shift away from the semblance of democratic control in the U.S. – a semblance which, while superficial for whites, has scarcely existed at all for the nationally oppressed.

In declaring a state of emergency to usurp Congress’ “power of the purse,” Trump is essentially disenfranchising the entire population of the U.S. by saying that he, as president, can “trump” or overrule Congress. In the U.S., bourgeois democracy was designed with three seats of power as a balance against autocratic or fascist rule. The Supreme Court has already been stacked in such a way as to enable the rollback of countless years of struggle to pass progressive legislation. If Trump gets away with overruling Congress, this will lock his control to a new level.

It’s up to the people

We can’t rely on the Democrats to put an end to this legislatively. We need mass mobilization in the streets and workplaces, by unions and mass organizations, to defeat this attack. The gains that are under attack were not won in the electoral or legislative arena. They were won by mass struggle. Now is the time to fight back. Get in the streets. In the weeks to come, we need to continue organizing and planning many ways to protest. Say no to white supremacy, yes to families and refugees, no to bans and walls.

This statement was originally posted on on Feb. 17, 2019

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