Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist League

Regional Autonomy for the Southwest

Chapter IV: The Mexican National Minority outside the Southwest

Mexican National Minorities began to appear in areas outside of the Southwest region shortly after the First World War. Their immigration to the Midwest can be traced basically to the sugar-beet industry, the railroads, and the industries of the Midwest.

The sugar-beet industry has been identified with the Mexican National Minority since its inception. Today sixty-six per cent of the 100,000 workers in the industry are Mexican National Minority. In states such as Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota they constitute seventy-five per cent of the sugar-beet labor supply.

The earnings are so low in the sugar-beet industry that the beet workers very often would stay during the winter months. That is why wherever Mexican labor was brought in to work the fields, small Mexican communities developed.

As a result of the vast amount of Mexican labor who worked on the railroads many of the Mexican National Minority began to work in the Midwest. Especially as a result of the wartime economy, many Mexicans began to migrate to such industrial cities as St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago, Gary, and Detroit. Small settlements began to develop in these cities as they obtained permanent employment. Later, coal mines, steel plants, and other industries recruited Mexicans to work in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan.

The workers of the national minorities come to the imperialist countries poverty racked, often in ill health, often unable to speak the language, poorly educated and often of an alien religious background or different color. Capitalists cannot fail to recognize that such immigrants are especially vulnerable and defenseless.[1]

Historically, the Mexican National Minority has been used to break strikes and has been a source of cheap labor that allows the profit-hungry capitalists to divide the working class by pitting national minorities against each other and Anglo-American workers against the national minorities through bribery and white chauvinism and national privileges.

Here in the Midwest industrial centers, the Mexican National Minority has been brought into much sharper and fuller contact with Anglo-American culture than in the Southwest. Here they are interspersed with workers of other nationality groups in large factories. Because so many of the Mexican National Minority are single men, the rate of inter-marriage is much higher than in the Southwest. In the Midwest, Mexicans are merely another national minority, dispersed throughout industrial centers. But in the Southwest they are a compact group with historical and cultural roots. Further, because of the proximity to Mexico, the Mexican National Minority here is constantly expanding as a result of migration of Mexican workers. Thus, the whole region provides a source of superprofits for the imperialists. In the North, the Mexican National Minority is subjected to the chauvinism to which other national minorities are subjected, particularly in employment, housing, education, language; but the terrorism of the Immigration Service which is always on the rampage in Mexican National Minority communities is the main form of chauvinist brutality that the USNA state uses to harass the Mexican National Minority.

The Mexican National Minority worker links the Anglo-American workers to the Southwest region and through the Southwest to Mexico, Latin America, and the whole colonial world. It is with this link between the workers of the oppressor nation and the toiling and oppressed peoples of the colonial world that the “...dependent and colonial countries can be transformed from a reserve of the imperialist bourgeoisie into a reserve of the revolutionary proletariat, into an ally of the latter.”[2]

Therefore, it is imperative for the Anglo-American proletariat to fight for the unity of the working class and to struggle against white chauvinism and national privileges. As Communists we call for national equality for the Mexican National Minority. Comrade Stalin and the Bolshevik Party made a similar demand regarding national minorities in the Soviet Union:

There finally remains the question of the national minorities. Their rights must be specifically protected. The Party therefore demands complete equality of rights in educational, religious and other matters and the removal of all restrictions on national minorities.[3]

In regard to national privileges, Lenin said:

The national program of working class democracy is: absolutely no privileges for any one nation or any one language;...introducing any privilege of any kind for one of the nations and mitigating against the equality of nations or the rights of a national minority, shall be declared illegal and ineffective...[4]

Therefore, in the interest of the Anglo-American proletariat, we communists call for: Equal rights for the Mexican National Minority! Regional Autonomy for the Southwest!


[1] Op. Cit., Communist League, pg. 95.

[2] Stalin, J.V., Foundations of Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1950, pg. 101.

[3] Op. Cit., Stalin, “Report on the National Question”, pg. 66.

[4] Op. Cit., Lenin, pg. 15.