Surely, CNN doesn’t stand for Communist News Network. But CNN’s Soledad O’Brien went looking for the "grass roots" of the pro-illegal immigration movement in Chicago during Tuesday’s Your World Today at mid-day. She interviewed a man she described as "Shaun Harkin of the March 10th Movement." She did not describe him with ideological precision: he’s a fervent Leninist.
An instant Googling of "Shaun Harkin" quickly brought up an article from Socialist Worker Online, where "SHAUN HARKIN explains why the Russian revolutionary Lenin and the theory that Lenin developed about the rise of imperialism remains so relevant today." Harkin concluded: "The dynamics of imperialism that Lenin analyzed are still present. His approach continues to offer the best framework to understand imperialism -- and is an essential tool for revolutionaries today."
On CNN, anchor Jim Clancy asked: "Soledad, what are they really expecting to see there today?" O’Brien noted from Chicago’s Union Park "There are organizers here who’ve told us that they expect to see twice the numbers of marchers that they saw last year. Now on the other side of the spectrum, we've also heard people say you could just see under 10,000....What's interesting to me is to see how quickly it has really filled up in the last hour or so."
Then she turned to the protesters and touted their usual palette of diversity:
O’BRIEN: "Now, because it's a grass roots organization, lots of people with lots of different agendas taking part in the march, also, lots of different groups. We’ve seen Muslims and Puerto Ricans, we’ve seen Filipinos, we’ve seen Koreans, you know, you name it, we've seen it here. In addition, of course, a large Mexican [presence], illegal and legal, by the way, turning out. When you ask people why they march, there are a couple of things in which they all see eye to eye. Here’s Shaun Harkin. He is one of the organizers with the March 10th Movement.
HARKIN (with heavy Irish brogue): There's a united message today. We’re here to say that the raids and the deportations that have been escalated over the last year are wrong and unjust. And that immigrants are here to work and they’re not criminals. And that we think that the best solution to this problem is legalization with full rights for all the undocumented.
O’BRIEN: He talked a little bit about these raids, immigrant raids, criminal raids that have been taking place over the last year. Some people were concerned about the most recent one, a criminal raid, they were concerned that might scare people, clamp down on people turning out for this march. Other people predicted exactly the opposite, that the furor your over that raid would actually make more people turn out."
It’s odd that the March 10th Movement would complain on its website that "The undocumented worker is situated on a most flexible and precarious edge, giving rise to extreme forms of labor exploitation." It would have been interesting for O’Brien to ask Harkin if the "undocumented worker" is so extremely exploited, why are they streaming in to capitalist America illegally?
Clancy also raised the prospect of the march being ruined by conservatives (although he granted them some momentum), and O’Brien agreed and then did another publicity turn for the protesters, noticing the relative absence of foreign flags:
CLANCY: Soledad, what could really rain on these people's parades is very strong, very vocal opposition to any kind of amnesty, opposition that seems to be growing in a lot of quarters. This is really quite a debate in the U.S., isn't it?
O’BRIEN: No question about it. That is going to, as you say, metaphorically, rain on the parade. Also what's interesting to me is the visual, and concern to the visual message, as well. Last year, you have a lot of people marching with Mexican flags, and that visual made a lot of people around the country concerned about illegal immigration. They felt that they couldn't support it because of the visual message, and now you’re seeing here today, look behind me, the number of American flags. I've seen maybe four Mexican flags the whole time we've been here.