The family farm crisis in the US, immigration within third word countries that has created massive slums and exploitation in mega-cities like Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Mumbai (Bombay), Manila, Nairobi and Johannesburg, and immigration from Africa, Asia and Latin America to the US and Western Europe are all expressions of these push-pull forces. Development of relationships with peasant-based rural movements by US religious groups, labor unions and community organizations is one step toward slowing, halting and reversing the massive concentration of power and wealth now going on in the world, and to making it possible for people to remain in their native countries if they want to. I have been present when North Americans hostile to or critical of immigration to the US saw the conditions people were leaving. It radically, and immediately, shifted their views. As one leader put it, "no wonder they leave; I would too."
In what follows, Mary Ochs and Mayron Payes provide an overview of how immigrants organize to struggle to realize their hopes and dreams in the US. Organizer Steve Schneider's documents provide a process that can be used in congregations, unions and other voluntary associations to build bridges of relationship and solidarity that cross historic lines of division. Brazil's Clodovis and Leonardo Boff introduce the liberation theology framework that moved large sectors of the Latin American Catholic Church from a status quo-enforcing fatalism to "taking sides" for justice. James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer present one aspect of the Latin American context, and show how an alternative "model" of development, one that is democratic, local, sustainable and environmentally friendly, is possible. It is at this point that "push" can be minimized if not eliminated. If people aren't pushed by desperation to leave a place, then the question of whether or not they move is one of real choice. And, in fact, when they can do meaningful work, earn decent income, be physically secure and live in community, they often want to remain. Finally, a number of views of FARC, Latin America's most controversial guerrilla group, are presented and Zapatista Subcommandante Marcos challenges the "vanguard" approach to change, arguing that it offers no real alternative to what it replaces.
In this issue's editorial, delegations to the Middle-East are urged as a way to find out what's going on there, and to counter mistakes, distortions and lies from US politicians and news media. This special feature provides another reason for domestic organizations to make similar visits, especially to our neighbors to the South.
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|Title Annotation:||Special feature: the push-pull of immigration|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2003|
|Next Article:||Immigrant organizing: patterns, challenges & opportunities.|