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Tom Paine Speaks Out on Immigration

Thomas Paine, one of America’s founding fathers, is back—and weighing in on the national dialogue around immigration.

Channeling Paine, actor Ian Ruskin describes how Paine and all those who came from other countries to found the United States were—drum roll, please—immigrants (see video).

In Paine’s immortal words, these brave men and women who made the difficult decision to leave their homes to improve their lives in an unknown territory, sought to “make the world new again.” 

Ruskin, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and founder of the Harry Bridges Project, a one-man play in which he dramatizes the famous International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) leader, seeks to reclaim Paine from the clutches of reactionaries. Ruskin is urging progressives to watch the Paine video to: 

help balance the 14,000,000 hits of Bob Basso, tea party hero, who portrays a Paine who rants against multiculturalism, government and “illegal" invaders from south of the border. 

Harvey Kaye, professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, says: 

ever since Ronald Reagan recited Paine’s words in 1980 [“morning in America”], not only progressives, but also conservatives, quote Paine. Yet the latter really do not embrace him and his arguments—truly, they cannot. Furthering the interests of corporations over those of working people, they have subordinated the Republic to the marketplace and overseen a concentration of wealth and power recalling the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age. Carrying on culture wars, they have divided the nation and undermined the wall separating church and state. And lying or hiding the truth,they have corrupted American public life and jeopardized our standing in the world.

Check out Ruskin’s portrayal of Paine and pass it along.

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