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Decriminalize the “underclass”


The Peter Kwong Immigrant Workers Learning Center provides a space for working people across the country to analyze, question, debate, and learn from one another, bringing this back to their organizing work. In January they extended an invitation for Michael Yates to speak with Josephine Lee, a member of El Pueblo Primero workers center and the Break the Chains Alliance, a national effort to realize equal rights for all workers, with the repeal of the employer sanctions provision to end the criminalization of immigrants.

Michael Yates and Josephine Lee gave brief presentations outlining their work and perspectives to begin the conversation. Both speakers expanded upon worsening workplace conditions across trades, such as those facing restaurant workers, cruise ship employees, farm laborers, poultry packers, hotel desk clerks, adjunct professors, etc, and the criminalization of a subordinate group of workers. Additionally, Lee focused on the role the government plays in creating and maintaining this under-class as a tactic used to divide and control workers.

The goal of this event was to emphasize the importance of uniting the working class to fight for equal rights for all in order to raise working and living conditions beyond mere survival. Participants are encouraged to join the discussion and contribute their own experiences in how the declining conditions for workers of all trades have impacted their lives, what they see as the limits of reformism, and how the underclass and super-exploited can play an important role in leading the fight to end exploitation.

And in the meantime, take a listen to a recent interview with Michael Yates by Counterpunch

Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle


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