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Re: <nettime> Latino political influence in the US?
coco fusco on Sun, 7 May 2006 11:56:48 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Latino political influence in the US?


As a US based Latina and child of immigrants, I think it would be a mistake to presume that there is a substantial connection between an
emerging left in Latin American and the US-based immigrants' rights movement. What is key here is how immigrants are thrusting themselves into
the American political scene, and how the rest of the country is taking notice of people who are usually invisibile to them.
 
 The US-based Zapatistas are a small fringe group and are composed of American leftists, with a smattering of leftist Latino college students.
It is not an immigrant based solidarity movement, although some immigrants come out for large scale events. The principle connection immigrants
have with Latin America is familial and economic - the money they send home is crucial to the economies of many Latin American states,
especially Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador. 
 
 The important connections here are with American labor organizations and other immigrant non-Latino groups. American labor has usually been
pretty xenophobic and racists toward undocumented immigrants, seeing them as unwanted competition and union-busters. That attitude is changing.
South Asians also marched in large numbers on May 1st. And for a change, the Spanish language media, which is usually very conservative, has
shown support for immigrant political organizing by covering it and spreading news about the boycott.
 
 There are not very many influential Latino politicians in government, however those who are of Mexican descent, such as the mayor of Los
Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, have come out in support of the immigrants. 
 
 These immigrant protests are more important for American politics and the role of immigrants within American political life than they are for
strengthening connections with Latin America. American politicians will seek to add to their voting pool by pandering to the immigrants and
finding ways to enfranchise them. There are precedents in US history for this. In the past, when it served political interest, non-citizens
have been allowed to vote at many levels of government.
 
 Coco Fusco


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