As the 2016 presidential election approaches, Republican candidates and corporate CEOs are seeking to undermine the unity of working people by employing the politics of fear and division. Time and again, they have tried ugly and manipulative ways to pit us against each other, but working people know that these tired attempts to divide us are simply a distraction from the important issues we face in our lives.
Our national conversation around immigration has taken a shockingly hateful and corrosive turn. But instead of succumbing to fear and hate, working people must do what racist and backward-looking politicians fear most—stand together.
In the video above, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka unequivocally called out these derogatory comments against hardworking aspiring citizens:
My view is very plain: These are hateful and racist viewpoints. They are not accidents. They are intended to demean, and divide.
Trumka urges America’s working people to remember that the American Dream is based on unity, hope and solidarity.
Accepting that challenge means saying “NO” to hate and racism. It means saying “YES” to hope, to unity and to building an America that works for all of us.
He also uplifts the historic visit from the pope to underscore the starkness of our alternatives in the trajectory of the immigration reform debate and America’s values, concluding:
Let’s welcome His Holiness here with our own message—that we will not succumb to fear, but instead will govern ourselves with dignity, with respect for human life and with a purpose worthy of the American Dream.
This is not the first time Trumka has spoken out against politics of division, racism and hate. Back in 2008, Trumka gave a historic speech at the United Steelworkers ( USW ) convention, where he called out those who would refuse to support Obama because of his race.
Solidarity is a founding idea of the labor movement, and the lone source of power that working people can wield to create change.
That is why the current moment we are in is so important. If we allow a serious national debate to be co-opted by outrageous proposals such as mass deportation and citizenship revocation, then Donald Trump has won. His ideas are not serious policy solutions. They are nothing more than race baiting.
The immigration priorities of the labor movement are based on the simple idea that working people are strongest when we stand together. We believe in the dignity of all work and in respect for one another.
In the face of red-meat racist appeals, working families will demonstrate that we know our fates are linked, so our arms will be also.
We will answer base attempts to divide us with our most powerful weapon: Unity.
Read more about the AFL-CIO's stance on immigration policy reform .