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On the picket line

October 22, 2004 | Pages 14 and 15

OTHER STORIES BELOW:
News from the Nader campaign
Stop the war

Fight for immigrant rights
By Sarasvati Ting

LOS ANGELES--Some 3,000 people took to the streets of East Los Angeles on October 16 to demand equal rights for immigrants.

The California Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Against the Raids organized the march to denounce the anti-immigrant raids conducted by the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Southern California. The march also commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the 100,000-strong march against anti-immigrant Proposition 187.

Felipe, who brought his whole family to Saturday's march, also organized a contingent from South Central LA in 1994 to march against Prop 187. "When we arrived downtown and we saw the big protest and joined up with it, that was the best feeling I've ever had in my life," he said.

Groups came together from across Southern California to make the demonstration a success. Meanwhile, a smaller demonstration of about 800 was organized by the ANSWER coalition at the same time in another part of downtown LA. This disunity was unfortunate, but ultimately didn't take away from the main march's success.

"We have to send this message to the politicians of both parties," said Mexican-American Political Association President Nativo Lopez, who recently reregistered from Democratic Party to the Green Party. David Cid, a middle school teacher in East LA spoke out against military recruiters invading high schools. Peter Miguel Camejo, vice presidential running mate with Ralph Nader, also spoke.

Other speakers, like UNITE HERE Local 11 President Maria Elena Durazo, supported Democrat John Kerry. "We have to go out and vote, not just sit home in front of the TV," Durazo chastised protesters. "That's how we're going to kick Bush out of the White House. That's how they're going to respect us!"

But we won't get respect, or any of the march's demands, by voting for a Democrat. We need a strong immigrant rights movement to beat the attacks on immigrants in the name of the "war on terror." As a hotel worker at the march put it, "We are here to demand amnesty and to say no to discrimination. We are workers, not terrorists."

-- In the Southern California suburb of San Ysidro, which borders Mexico, more than 600 protesters--from both sides of the border--marched on October 2 to mark the 10th anniversary of "Operation Gatekeeper." Because of Operation Gatekeeper's lockdown of Southern California's border, thousands of immigrants have been forced to cross through the deserts east of Southern California. An estimated 3,000 people have died in the process.

Ty Coronado and Gillian Russom contributed to this report.

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News from the Nader campaign

"IN NO European country would you have a candidate running for president like Kerry, where the majority of people who plan to vote for him don't agree with him," independent vice presidential candidate Peter Camejo told an 800-strong crowd at the University of California (UC)-Davis.

Davis was one of the stops on independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's tour of Northern California universities, which also included UC-Berkeley and San Francisco State University (SFSU), on October 11. Paraphrasing American socialist Eugene Debs, Nader argued, "I'd rather vote for a candidate I want that loses, than vote for a candidate I don't want that wins."

At SFSU, Camejo and Nader were greeted by over 1,000 enthusiastic students and local activists. Nader called for withdrawal of U.S. troops as well as U.S. corporations from Iraq. He also compared the emphasis that both candidates place on fighting terrorism to the tactics of the McCarthy era. "Terrorism is the new Communism," Nader said.

Also speaking at the event was Matt Gonzalez from the Green Party, who nearly won San Francisco's mayoral run-off election last year.

-- In Seattle, Nader and South Central Los Angeles Green Party activist Donna Warren spoke to more 600 people at the Seattle Center on October 10. "Ronald Reagan unleashed poverty that was responsible for my son's death in the '80s," Warren said. "Now I see these mothers today who have lost their sons in Iraq."

Nader hammered home the bipartisan nature of the war in Iraq and the attacks here at home on workers' living standards. "We can't leave our fight up to the Democrats because they are funded by the same corporate money, and you don't bite the hand that feeds you," he said.

That week, Camejo also spoke at Seattle Central Community College, where 100 people turned out. He pointed out the hypocrisy of the claim that he and Nader have allied with Republicans--when the Kerry campaign has received millions of dollars from pro-Bush sponsors.

Jeff Boyette, Tonya Douraghy, Jesse Hagopian and Kolya Ludwig contributed to this report.

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Stop the war
By Andrew Jagunich

NEW YORK--About 60 demonstrators picketed the Times Square Army recruiting station on October 14. At the event, sponsored by United for Peace and Justice, protesters carried cardboard coffins draped in black, while others carried signs with the number of civilians killed in Iraq since the war began.

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