Xenophobia: a 21st century vector for fascism

BY:Taryn Fivek| March 21, 2024
Xenophobia: a 21st century vector for fascism


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

In 1954, the US Government deported more than 1 million people, the overwhelming majority of them of Mexican heritage. Among these were labor leaders and WWII veterans, their presence in California and the southwest seen as a threat by the capitalists and military-industrialists who sought greater control over the area. Many of those deported were actually born in the United States. Many were descendants of families who lived in the area for generations. It was as the famous slogan goes: they didn’t cross the border, the border crossed them. Yet, despite having worked to build the West and despite having fought for the United States in WWII, these workers were not seen as full citizens. Greenlit by Dwight Eisenhower and designed by Lt. General Joseph Swing, the official name of this ethnic cleansing campaign was “Operation W*tback”, utilizing a racist slur. Swing himself came into the military by invading Mexico to attack the revolutionary forces of Pancho Villa. Racism was at its very genesis and core.

Donald Trump praised this ethnic cleansing campaign as “effective” and “very successful.” His confidant and close colleague Stephen Miller sees it as a blueprint for the future: utilizing the US military to build concentration camps and implement the mass deportation of families and workers. Meanwhile, the Biden administration squares off with the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who has set up razor wire and buzz saw blades along the border and seeks escalation by ordering the Texas national guard to do so. He is already building camps. Florida governor Ron DeSantis uses taxpayer money to hire private planes to traffic asylum seekers and migrants from the south to northern cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Martha’s Vineyard.

The majority of the American people have no stomach for this. The demographics of the country have shifted significantly since 1954, as has our progress in the fight for civil rights and racial equality. To implement such a fascist campaign requires winning over a plurality of the working class to implement this mass terror. Governors like Abbott and DeSantis, mayors like Eric Adams, and the bourgeois press are pushing for it. Scaremongering “migrant crime waves” that do not exist and have no basis in fact align with Trump’s language about migrants “poisoning our blood.” The world’s richest man and owner of Twitter/X, Elon Musk, calls it an “invasion.”

The fascist propaganda campaigns are working: the number of Americans who believe welcoming immigrants is what makes this country great dropped from 66% in 2021 to 57% in 2024. Indeed, a section of the Democratic party wants to harness this noxious hatred as a possible winning strategy in elections: Tom Suozzi, who took George Santos’s seat in NY-03, was lauded as running a campaign that was “going on the offensive on immigration.”

It does not take an academic or an expert to see the connection between US imperialism destabilizing regions elsewhere — Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras, Afghanistan, El Salvador, the Sahel, Central Africa, and Horn of Africa with AFRICOM, and so much more — and the increase of refugees and asylum seekers both in the United States and elsewhere. Many migrants are simply “following the money” — as is their right, as their livelihoods and lives were stolen from them by capitalists located mainly in countries like the United States. Despite what bourgeois economists say on paper, we are in the throes of a crisis of capital of epic proportions. Working class consciousness and struggle is on the rise. It becomes cheaper, and in the face of this domestic fightback, more important, for the ruling class to turn the guns aimed at the working class abroad back on sections of the working class based here in the United States.

The military-industrial complex is a major engine of production in the United States, with $1 trillion of the annual Federal budget being spent on the Pentagon. A rising working class consciousness understands that money is better used to house the poor, feed the hungry, and heal the sick. This requires wresting the control of the means of production from the warmongers and capitalists, which is the seat of their power. Diverting working class concerns and woes by blaming them on other workers has proven an effective means of diverting the attention from where it needs to be. Every successful strike action, every successful mobilization to the ballot box that asserts the will of the working class, every successful pressure campaign that threatens business as usual is exercising this power. It is how we build towards taking that seat for ourselves as a class

The Communist Party USA must do what it can to bring attention to and fight back against this fascist tactic by informing our families, friends, co-workers, and communities. We should seek to build closer ties with the immigrant rights movements, drawing in working class leadership to efforts otherwise often led by bureaucrats and non-profit professionals. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into this blind spot, we will surrender this front to the fascist threat and deprive our cause of what is necessary to achieve it: unity of the working class. When we say “workers and oppressed of the world, unite!” we must back it up with our analysis and actions.


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