In response to the March 21st pro-reform March for America being called by the Reform Immigration FOR America coalition, Numbers USA, The John Tanton network organization that prides itself on having a mission to reduce all immigration, and the growing Tea Party movement, is organizing four days of counter action. Their action is named “S.T.O.P Amnesty in Four Days”. S.T.O.P stands for “Speak-out Teach-in, Organize and Protect U.S. Workers” and each day will focus on a different organizing strategy.
I had the opportunity to listen into one of their organizing calls last night, and while their strategy was nothing surprising, the hate speech, directed at Latinos, revealed the true depths of their racism and hate and their willingness to use divide and conquer politics to move forward.
One particular participant on the call wanted to raise the issue of women, specifically how Mexican women were the new “welfare queens” with their “anchor babies”, taking an old stereotype waged against African-American women in the age of Reagan and revamping it to use against Latina women. This caller was not dismissed but rather praised for his message and told to use the word “dependents” instead of “babies” or “children” because that word was emotional for “them”, meaning Latinos and other immigrants. “We have children, they have dependents”, another caller guided.
Divide and conquer politics seemed to be the name of the game on the call. When talking about jobs, one caller asked why the African-American community wasn’t angrier at immigration. The same caller who made the “welfare queen” comment chimed in saying that it was all the “Spanish” people who were taking the jobs in the United States, ignoring the fact that Spanish refers to either a language and/or the people from the European country and that Latino unemployment is actually higher than the national average.
Strategy wise, S.T.O.P includes a mixture of Congressional visits, faxing, phoning and watching the pro-migrant side on the 21st. People on the call were told that they would be given talking-points to focus on. While it was repeated multiple times that the issue of immigration was a fiscal one, not about where “they” were coming from, the chatter among the organizers made it clear that Latino women and children remain a target and that the far right is willing to try and play people of color communities against each other in order to move their agenda of hate.
Campus Progress also was listening in. Check out their post here.