American leftists today yearn for a more receptive proletariat. They have virtually given up on the white working class, which they feel has been subverted by bourgeois values and the consumer society. Instead they have turned towards people of non-European stock to build a new base. The anti-Western “multiculturalism” that has become so controversial at universities across the country cannot be separated from the grass-roots activism seeking to hold together nonwhite racial voting blocs and to open America’s borders to Third World immigrants.

Paul Buhle, a Marxist who favors more immigration, explained in his book Marxism in the U.S.A. (1987) why the past use of this strategy makes it so appealing today:

The [Communist] Party encouraged the uncertain relationship between revolutionary politics and ethnic culture, providing the immigrants with essential services: labor defense, propaganda, English-language spokesmen and organizational contacts. The groups in return gave the bulk of funds for the Party’s operation, produced enthusiastic crowds, and formed an authentic radical proletariat. And by the thousands these immigrants proved doggedly loyal, unlike the American recruits.

Buhle envisions Latin American liberation theology as the means to return communism to its chiliastic roots. The collapse of secular socialism has been offset by the “rise of religious-based support groups for international revolution.” Again, the failure of the American working class to embrace revolution leads to a frightening solution: the racial and religious liquidation of the undeserving native proletariat. “Immigration patterns to the United States have altered drastically from the very geographical direction of the new revolutionary faith,” notes Buhle. “At the present rate, in less than a century, more than half of the U.S. population will be of Caribbean Basin origin. Unlike the European immigrants, their radicalism is based not in the secular left but in the Church.”

In Prisoners of the American Dream (1985) Mike Davis, another Marxist theoretician, foresees an alliance of nonwhite Americans and Third World revolutionaries, all taking their marching orders from white Leninists like himself. To be sure, the dream of a black “vanguard” is not new; it was popular in both Old and New Left circles during the 1960’s. But the rise in America’s Hispanic population (discovered in the late 1970’s and the subject of intense political battles over immigration reform since the early 1980’s) has given it a fresh twist: the “real weak link in the domestic base of American imperialism,” Davis claims, “is a black and Hispanic working class, fifty million strong. This is the nation within a nation, society within a society, that alone possesses the numerical and positional strength to undermine the American empire from within.” Socialism can be brought to the U.S. “by virtue of a combined hemispheric process of revolt that overlaps boundaries and interlaces movements.”

When Marxist professor James D. Cockcroft of Rutgers said that “American democracy may well be the ultimate domino,” in his book on immigration policy Outlaws in the Promised Land (1986), he uses the reverse logic for which leftists are so well-known. He argues that

since Vietnam, this society has displayed a deepening “anti-communist,” racist, nativist, and class-biased character in its treatment of immigrants and in its immigration policy. . . . It has also experienced a wave of legislative, administrative, and court decisions that may curtail the basic civil rights of not only immigrants but of all U.S. citizens.

His examples include such dangers as allowing the police more discretion in questioning suspects and submitting evidence. He denounces in general terms “the dangerously open-ended grounds of ‘over-riding considerations of public safety.'” He also dismisses measures prompted by “national security” and the specter of terrorism. “These proposed laws could make it illegal to protest U.S. government policy anywhere.” He voices a special concern for the fate of “anti-interventionist and antinuclear groups.” But Cockcroft sees help on the way:

The emergence of a Latino minority outnumbering American blacks and the likelihood of its rapid growth during the spread of turmoil in Latin America adds to an ever more assertive bloc of voters anxious to affect national and foreign policies in ways not necessarily compatible with the goals of recent Presidents and the transnational corporations.

It is the aim of these radicals to increase the level of conflict as much as possible; to kick over the “melting pot” that has served in the past to transform a “nation of immigrants” into the United States. Neoconservative advocates of increased immigration want to give preference to professionals, skilled workers, anticommunist refugees, and Europeans (a step in this direction having been taken by the 1990 Kennedy-Simpson bill) who, they say, will benefit the country. Leftist advocates of an open border hope to build a larger underclass of alienated anti-Western proletarians from the mass of unskilled and half-literate illegals who fill sweatshops and poverty-level service jobs. They want a policy that will harm the United States as presently constituted. This objective is so clear that leftists feel that the defenders of the status quo must surely see it and be acting to counter it. “The threat of a strong Latino population . . . leads the government to attempt further control over immigration,” claims Cockcroft.

The Ford Foundation has played a major role in bankrolling left-wing groups involved in immigration projects. In its 1984 study Hispanics: Challenges and Opportunities, Ford announced an initiative to “dispel” the following image:

The growing Hispanic population of the United States is a source of controversy and, at times, of apprehension among non-Hispanics. To some, that population represents a kind of “fifth-column” threatening to rend the nation’s social fabric through its apparent unwillingness to assimilate; to deprive other minorities and displaced blue collar workers of jobs by accepting work at low and substandard wages; and to act as a monolithic and powerful special-interest group on such issues as immigration and bilingual education.

However, Ford’s solution was not to dispute the image but to defend and expand upon it. “What Hispanics have need of today is what blacks needed twenty-five years ago: greater knowledge and understanding of their economic, social, and political situation and of the roots of their disadvantage, and the development of an infrastructure that will increase their participation in the mainstream of society.” Ford has committed tens of millions of dollars to this end, supporting over two hundred groups working to liberalize American immigration laws.

One of the larger recipients of Ford money is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Foundation (MALDEF). Between 1982 and 1988 MALDEF collected over $6 million from Ford, and it jumped to prominence during the debate over the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform Act of 1986. MALDEF provides a prime example of the radicalization of the immigration debate. As MALDEF’s associate counsel John E. Huerta stated at a 1983 immigration conference organized by Wayne Cornelius’ Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies:

We seem to be headed for a new kind of McCarthyism in this country, one that might be called Simpsonism, after Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming. Simpson has no blacks in his community, no undocumented workers, not even Hispanics displacing the white labor force. He has no political base other than a group of white voters in his community who feel threatened, who identify with “white power.”

(The Center received over $1 million from Ford during the 1980’s. Huerta was then also vice president of the National Lawyers Guild.)

MALDEF refuses to accept that any immigration reform advocates could have legitimate motives, calling them “groups that use a supposed concern for the poor, the environment, and the economy to turn public opinion against dark-skinned immigrants.”

MALDEF opposes employer sanctions, interior enforcement, and any increase in border security. MALDEF is an example of the shift from assimilation to autonomy among immigrants. MALDEF was created in 1968 by members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), who had obtained a $2.2 million grant from Ford to create a Hispanic equivalent of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. LULAC was primarily a middle-class civil rights organization attempting to end discrimination against all Mexican-American citizens. Its code stated: “Respect your citizenship; honor your country, maintain its traditions in the minds of your children; incorporate yourself in the culture and civilization.” The LULAC constitution stated that the goal was “to develop within the members of our race the purest and most perfect type of a true and loyal citizen of the United States.”

LULAC warned its members not to associate with groups that stressed Mexican nationalism or Hispanic separatism. It wished to avoid any charge of being a group of radicals or agitators. LULAC organized classes in English and in American civics. Mario T. Garcia has said of LULAC, “It believed that the ‘genius’ and ‘quality’ of Americans had made the United States great and that Mexican-Americans should develop such virtues. These included individualism. LULAC maintained that only in the United States could citizens progress and retain their individuality.”

However, MALDEF nonetheless fell victim to the New Left, becoming involved in the antiwar movement and feminism as well as the protection of illegal aliens. The battle over bilingual (actually multilingual, as other minority groups joined the fray) education was part of the larger struggle. When the question is whether schools are to help minorities assimilate into American society or to help them live outside American society, MALDEF chooses separatism, even irredentism. In its official history, MALDEF traces its origins back to “The expansionistic fervor of the newly forming United States. . . . If the land of the Southwest could speak, it would have an amazing story to tell. . . . The story of a people who were conquered and brutally subjugated.” A political Reconquista of the Southwest plays a role in much of leftist thought on both sides of the border.

What happened at MALDEF was part of a larger transformation outlined by Armando Gutierrez in Dissent:

While at first Chicanes appeared to accept the negative impact of illegals, the reversal of Chicano opinion represents one of the more dramatic instances of the effectiveness of the Chicano left . . . to cement a solidarity between Mexican illegals and Chicanos. . . . The Chicano intelligentsia has largely moved from a colonial analysis of Chicano conditions to a Marxist orientation.

Another Ford-funded project is the Joint Center for Political Studies, a black think-tank that stresses “the demographic trends that will make minorities a majority of the U.S. population at the turn of the century are beginning to be felt. The time has come for black and white leaders to change some of the references and terms of the public policy debate in America. . . . Blacks are already approaching twenty percent of the American labor force . . . in the 21st century we are looking at a labor force that is half black and brown.”

These radical ideas have worked their way into the Democratic Party via Jesse Jackson. In her tract The Rainbow Challenge: The Jackson Campaign and the Future of Politics, former Jackson aide Sheila D. Collins writes that, “if current immigration and birthrates continue, by tHe year 2000, Latinos will be the largest ethnic group in the United States. Since 85 percent of all Spanish-speaking people are concentrated in nine states and twenty cities that control 193 (or 71 percent) of the electoral votes needed to win the Presidency, they constitute a critical swing vote in future elections.”

The radical plan, of course, has no guarantee of success. The United States still has the sovereign ability to control both immigration and the terms on which it will grant the rights of citizenship. And American society can still deploy great social pressure on behalf of assimilation. However, the extent to which well-organized and well-financed groups are working to undermine both national and social authority under the guise of multiculturalism and civil rights is not wellknown. Adequate countermeasures are therefore not being implemented.

Ernest Renan wrote movingly of the nation as “A living soul, a spiritual principle.”

Two things . . . constitute this soul, this spiritual principle. . . . One is the common possession of a rich heritage of memories; the other is the actual consent, the desire to live together, the will to preserve worthily the undivided inheritance which has been handed down. . . . To have shared glories in the past, a common will to do them still, these are the essential conditions of a people.

The assimilation of immigrants into this consensus, even the adoption of the national “memories,” is no different from the assimilation experienced by each new generation of native-born citizens. As Renan argued, this process is not a matter of race, ethnicity, or religion. Anyone who wants to carry on the heritage can claim it for himself, as have generations of immigrants. It is the worthiness of the American heritage that is under attack. It is this heritage, not just the geographical border of the United States, that must be defended.