Advocates of an open border between the U.S. and Mexico do their best to present a mellow American flag-waving image to the public. But when they gather in semiprivate, they communicate much differently to each other. Perhaps they need to be even more careful.
In the big pro-immigration marches this spring, Hispanic activists sought to present themselves as "civil rights" advocates in the gentle and inclusive tradition of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Oh sure, some of the recent marchers went "off message," carrying Mexican flags and calling for "reconquista," but for the most part, the demonstrators were well-behaved.
But offstage, as it were, a different and harsher truth comes out. It's not a "movement," they tell each other when cameras aren't watching, it's a "movimiento" - and that Spanish-language phrasing speaks volumes about the true tilt of pro-immigration activists.
How do I know this? On Tuesday, I attended a panel discussion entitled "The New Immigrants Movement," part of a "Take Back America" conference convened in Washington, D.C., by the left-wing Campaign for America's Future. The event was open to anyone, although fewer than 100 people showed up. But to give you a flavor of the meeting, here are the surnames of the people on the panel: Lovato, Salas, Contreras, Lopez, Ramirez and another Lopez. All Hispanic - and some quite angry.
Consider the words of Roberto Lovato, identified as a writer for New American Media, describing itself as "the country's first and largest national collaboration of ethnic news organizations." Speaking first, Lovato declared that he had problems with the words "civil rights." Why? In part because that phrase had been used by black Americans half a century ago - it was their term. But mostly, he continued, the term is inapt because today "a lot of the members of the movement were political revolutionaries in countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador." And that's why, he concluded, "this is not just a civil rights movement - this is the northernmost expression of a continental rights movement."
Got that? This is "the northernmost expression of a continental rights movement" led by "political revolutionaries" from Nicaragua and El Salvador.
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Thursday, June 15, 2006
Jim Pinkerton in Newsday: