by Miles Wilkerson*
On January 20th, 2017, the United States, the Americas and the world entered a new era of reactionary politics as Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on Earth.
The recent executive orders seeking to eradicate sanctuary cities, build a massive border wall across the southern border of the United States and preventing refugees from entering the country stand directly and diametrically opposed to the inter- and transnationalist viewpoint to which América Solidaria adheres. In no uncertain terms, we will continue to fight against bigotry and hatred in any form across the hemisphere by building up our communities through teamwork and understanding.
Last week, the Women’s March mobilized millions of people across the United States in the world against the Trump presidency, and now, thousands of protesters across the United States are standing in solidarity with immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.
We at this organization believe in solidarity rather than charity, and the solidarity we believe in was exemplified by the Women’s March and the protests at airports throughout the country. Whereas charity is vertical in nature, solidarity is horizontal. Solidarity builds up communities for their own mutual benefit rather than to assuage the guilt of the wealthiest. It also has a multiplier effect: through solidarity, skills are exchanged between localities and countries, making it easier for people to market their abilities and provide for themselves and their families.
Much of the immigration from Central and South America to the United States is a direct reaction to the policies of structural inequality instituted by the Washington Consensus. By weakening the ties of indigenous people and campesinos to their land, the elite in the United States have uprooted millions from their homes. In order to survive, these manual laborers have little choice but to go to the United States to seek higher wages to send as remittances to their families. This organization believes it is the responsibility of every global citizen to work with rather than against our neighbors across the hemisphere.
Rather than increasing foreign aid to countries struggling with mass emigration problems or by adjusting those countries’ debts, this administration has doubled down to build a border wall. This does not deal with the fact that many people who are in the United States without documentation have simply overstayed their visas; they came here legally but were unable to get a green card. We should make it easier for immigrants to come here legally rather than waste money on attempting to keep hundreds of thousands out. We must work with immigrant communities to make life in their adopted country less difficult and more fruitful rather than tell them to “get lost.”
We will continue to voice our opposition to policies we consider detrimental to the lives of vulnerable people and work with people across the Western Hemisphere. By volunteering for or donating to América Solidaria, you are taking direct action to fight a hyper-nationalist and isolationist agenda. The next four years will be difficult, but, in the words of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, “[O]ne by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us.”
*Miles Wilkerson, a recent graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, is our new communications intern. Please welcome him to our organization by sharing this piece!