Dallas Organizers involved in immigration reform were talking throughout the week about what strategy and tactics they could devise to have a chance to win real reform in 2010. It’s probably the wrong question and with any frankness no one would like the answer since the odds are so improbable for any real reform in 2010 and possibly for years after that unless….
The imponderable would lie in fanning the embers of a real movement still burning from place to place, scaling that work, engaging deeply and fully in the firefights that matter (Arizona, DREAM, enforcement resistance, boycotts, Utah, and more!), and finally getting realistic about both winning and politics. Like I say, the chances of a change in strategy this radical, regardless of how necessary, are slim and none, but that shouldn’t change the arguments between organizers looking for a real plan.
The various initiatives and campaigns seem to be squandering the opportunity and challenge presented by SB 1070 in Arizona. There are depressing divisions between the local efforts and the national campaigns. There are splits around voter engagement and registration efforts which have created two “tables” squaring off in the squabbling for outside resources and funding on a 50,000 new registrant goal. I’ve been told that SEIU, which had been the largest labor participant in the reform efforts, has virtually left the campaign over the split. Now the Arizona work has devolved more into a legal battle than a field effort, and this is tragic, regardless of the outcome. Without full support for a field operation and movement building operation in Arizona, we have lost the messaging war already to preemption rather than human and family rights, and the Governor and the right have done surprisingly – depressingly! – well arguing that they are “little ol’ Arizona” doing what the feds and Congress wasn’t willing to tackle. Ugh! I understand messing with the major leagues about the all-star game next year, but I do not understand why there has not been a drastic national step up in the boycott efforts around Arizona? This seems to be a more critical ball that is squiggling into a blooper pay on the battlefield.