The 150 Walkers for Truth, Justice, and Community linked up with over 100 members of Oregon's farmworker union PCUN for a colorful, solidarity march through Woodburn Tuesday evening.
The walkers were put up for the night and hosted at PCUN' s labor hall in another astonishing example that another world of unity is possible.
After a excellent meal and great dancing from the PCUN children's dance team, two workers from the Three Mile Canyon dairy in Boardman spoke about their three year struggle for union recognition, led by the UFW, PCUN's sister organization. One key organizer told of being isolated, forbidden to speak to anyone on the job, sent out to work alone in isolated fields at the height of Eastern Oregon's summer, without water, food, or facilities. Finally he was fired from the dairy, the third largest dairy in the US, where the concentration of ammonium and methane gas reaches toxic levels. This worker, Alessandro, continues to go door to door in Boardman, organizing for the union. "Slavery exists at Three Mile Dairy," he said in Spanish."If Bush wants to promote democracy in Iraq, he should start right here. And he should know this: We're not going anywhere!"
With these words, Alessandro underlined the central point to the Walk for Truth, Justice, and Community: The war in Iraq is just another front in the right-wing's war on working people of all backgrounds here at home. The Real ID Act, federal legislation that converts the driver's license into a national ID card in order to profile undocumented immigrants, was passed in the Iraq Appropriation bill, and justified as part of the war on terror. There is no doubt that in the 2006 elections, the Republicans will use immigrants in the same way they used gays and lesbians in 2004 - as scapegoats to divide people against each other. Currently there are 19 anti-immigrant bills in the Oregon legislature. Get ready for another one of those phony populist ballot measures just in time for the 2006 elections, this time targeting immigrants.
Some liberals fall for the anti-immigrant bait, forgetting that the only sectors of the US labor movement that are growing today are with unions that organize immigrant workers.The lessons of history are simple: Everyone who works for a living is a sister and a brother. When we unite, we win. When we get split up, we lose. The Walk for Truth, Justice, and Community is about making unity real and visisble. Viva la unidad del todos pueblos!
JOIN THE MARCH THIS FRIDAY, JUNE 17, FOR A RALLY @ SENATOR GORDON SMITH'S OFFICE, WORLD TRADE CENTER, SW 2ND & SALMON, DOWNTOWN PORTLAND - 4-5:30 PM