I've made no secret of my support for legal immigration and my profound distaste for illegal immigration. This whole "immigration day," which is really a euphemism for law breaking behavior, really has me grinding my teeth. First, here's Carol Platt Liebau:
In endorsing the proposed May Day strike by all illegal immigrants and their political allies, the Democrats in the California State Senate may have thought they were taking a principled stand "about the tremendous contribution [illegal] immigrants make on a daily basis to our society and economy." Ironically, however, by supporting the boycott, its proponents have called for an action that will succeed only in producing a significant backlash against the cause they purport to advance.
For the proposed strike is un-American at its core. Some European countries, and some in South America, may agitate for social change through large-scale general strikes that seek to disrupt the country as a whole. That has never been the American way, in part because our democratic republic has been quite effective at giving a voice to those who are, in fact, eligible to participate in it. In the United States, strikes are narrowly targeted to the industry engaging in collective bargaining with the striking union — and, in fact, workers and management alike largely try to minimize inconvenience to unrelated third parties. In contrast, the point of Monday's exercise is to maximize the inconvenience to American citizens as a whole.
Through seeking to establish a new practice of taking to the streets — not simply as a way to voice a point of view, but with an explicit goal of causing damage to the economy — illegal immigrants and their allies send precisely the wrong message. Rather than emphasizing their love for and loyalty to America, the strike stresses participants' hostility to or alienation from mainstream American political practices and traditions. That's hardly an effective tactic for engendering broad-based support for a path to American citizenship.
Coincidentally (at least I think it's a coincidence), Mark Krikorian sounds almost the same note:
The question now is whether the government of the United States will give in to the mob.
France recently answered that question in the affirmative (for the umpteenth time), when Chirac backed down from his comically small employment reforms in the wake of mass protests. In Latin America, street protests have toppled two presidents in Bolivia since 2003 and one in Ecuador last year.
But the use of direct action to intimidate lawmakers is largely alien to American experience. The civil-rights marches, which the illegal-alien movement frequently points to as its inspiration, were explicitly patriotic and constitutional affairs. The 1963 march on Washington didn’t feature foreign flags and racist, anti-American signs; on the contrary, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech pointed to the promise of “the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” written by “the architects of our Republic,” and his peroration was based on the lyrics of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
The illegal-alien marches, starting almost two months ago in Chicago, have more in common with the anti-war marches of the 1960s in their hostility to the American constitutional order. Prominent among the organizers of the street actions have been CISPES, the ANSWER Coalition, and other communist organizations, with CAIR and its ilk joining in, Subcomandante Marcos sending Zapatistas to protest at our embassy in Mexico City—and even Mumia Abu-Jamal expressing his solidarity!
Of course, both the civil-rights and antiwar protests of the 1960s were by Americans demanding the attention of their fellow countrymen. By contrast, the illegal-alien marchers are morally identical to burglars demanding that the homeowner rearrange the furniture. And part of that rearranging became clear last week when a Spanish-language rewrite of the national anthem was released (by a producer with his own colorful Marxist backstory). And Mexico, following the example of Muslim countries boycotting Danish products, is expecting a boycott of American products, called the “Nothing Gringo” campaign. [Emphasis mine, just because I thought that was a great phrase.]
There is indeed something profoundly anti-Democratic about bypassing the ballots and going straight to economic blackmail and out and out intimidation. I hope that Liebau and Krikorian are both right in their belief that Americans will be repelled by this approach. If not, we're going to look a lot of Paris soon — and I'm not talking pretty towers and rivers, I'm talking maddened packs of students and immigrants taking to the streets whenever things don't go their way, or when they just want to throw their weight around.