The Weekend of Solidarity with Refugee Caravan took place from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13, with the first of a series of events held Jan. 11 by the San Diego Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition. The same coalition organized the San Ysidro portion of the Nov. 25 Day of Action.
The weekend kicked off with a march on the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol and ICE that included hundreds of attendees from various organizations – including the International Migrant Alliance, Party for Socialism and Liberation San Diego, Unión del Barrio, Migrante San Diego, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), the American Indian Movement, Anakbayan San Diego – and many individuals. Before the march commenced, Cristian of PSL spoke on the consequences of U.S. imperialism:
“Police stalk our streets, pretending to be my protector when they behave like my predator. Cops, not refugees! We don’t see the refugees raining tyranny through drone strikes and troop mobilization in lands foreign to them. The Pentagon, not refugees! These are the actions carried in the direct orders of the capitalist class, a class that doesn’t wait for the approval of the people but will spoon feed you to make you think that their wants are our wants.”
The march began at the Consulado General De Mexico and proceeded through Little Italy and around downtown San Diego, stopping at one point in Little Italy in front of a building where the Border Patrol rents floors alongside multi-million-dollar corporations. A member of the Democratic Socialists of America spoke at this stop, praising the caravanistas as an example of international solidarity and compared them to Rosa Luxembourg, who “like the Caravan, refused to back down when attacked by the rich and powerful.”
The march ended at the Federal Building by Horton Plaza, with authorities and journalists surrounding it as individuals and organization members spoke. Here a speaker from Unión emphasized that the struggle of the migrants is a “class struggle” whose number one enemy is U.S. imperialism. “For 500-plus years,” he detailed, “we’ve had a foreign entity invade us, occupy our lands – to wage a war against Indigenous people!”
The following day was the March on La Migra at the border. Folks from south of the border, including members from the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) joined the protest. The San Ysidro community welcomed the Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition. Many local residents joined the protest, including several children who marched on the sidewalks with their fists raised. A speaker from the IMA stressed:
“We are here because we know that this so-called crisis that Trump is talking about is not something new. It’s not isolated just to the Central American refugees we are seeing right now in Tijuana – but is really a struggle that connects all of the migrants in every country when we are forced to flee from our homes!”
There were also half a dozen “MAGA” supporters who counter-protested, following and harassing members of the coalition while chanting before being drowned out by the coalition and the local San Ysidro community. A member of the International Socialist Organization said, “The contradictions of U.S. imperialism and capitalism are pushing migrants and refugees – including all the women and children being displaced … to the front of every struggle.”
On Jan. 13, a public forum on The Roots of the Migration and Border Crisis was held, which included panelists from Unión del Barrio, the PSL, the International Migrant Alliance, and the African People’s Socialist Party. Members from organizations Peace & Dignity Journeys, Anakbayan, and Migrante San Diego also helped organize the event.
The forum began with Benjamín from Unión explaining that U.S. intervention in Central America – especially in Honduras – created what the bourgeois press is calling a “crisis” at the border. The IMA and the PSL both presented videos documenting the current migrant struggle in Mexico. One, featuring PSL member Adán Plascencia and Gloria La Riva, included testimony from a migrant trans-woman who was fleeing Honduras because her partner had been murdered and she had been threatened with the same fate.
Speakers at the forum stated that migrants do not want to leave their homelands and embark on dangerous journeys across borders, but U.S. imperialism has left tens of thousands with no other choice. They also stressed that class struggle includes not only the right to migrate when U.S. businesses deplete resources out of one’s country but also the right not be forced to become refugees in the first place.
Currently, the U.S. government and its allies are attempting another coup in Venezuela. Were President Nicolas Maduro to be overthrown, millions of Venezuelans would be at risk of slipping into extreme poverty while repressive violence sweeps the nation. This would in turn likely displace tens of thousands of working-class people and create a new wave of migration to the global North.
The economic blockade spearheaded by U.S. imperialism against members of the Bolivarian Alliance – especially Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua – is an act of war. Every member of the U.S. Congress voted in favor of the Nica Act, which intensified the blockade of Nicaraguan trade relations. Not a single Democratic or Republican politician was willing to break from U.S. imperialism.
There is a pressing need for a commitment to defend the global South from perpetual U.S. government intervention and domination. That includes building a mass internationalist, anti-imperialist solidarity movement akin to what thousands witnessed during the Weekend of Solidarity with Refugee Caravan.