By Greg Moses
There is enough wisdom in a few of the replies below to carry the reader forward. So rather than respond tit for tat to each of the emails pasted below, I’d like to clear new ground. Along with my article offering a steady human rights keel in our approach to migrant workers, CounterPunch posted a sobering article by Paul Craig Roberts on the continuing failure of employment policy in the USA. Americans who re-elected a zero growth President may now try to blame the Mexicans, but the Mexicans do not prevent the Chamber of Commerce from creating jobs.
It is entirely too predictable during listless economic times that workers of the world are tempted to set themselves against each other, their heated frustrations gladly fanned by well placed bellows of racism and nationalism. A Philip Randolph used to love saying: let the little dogs fight among themselves so that the big dog can run away with the bone. The little dogs in this case are the Minutemen and the migrant workers. The big dogs meanwhile are burying their bones overseas.
In his CounterPunch article (of May 12) Roberts says two things relevant to this discussion. First, the USA economy is only producing service work. And second, sixty percent of the new service jobs created have been filled by Hispanics.
Under these conditions, again, it seems quite predictable that frustrated workers find it satisfying to fan the flames under the feet of some Hispanic workers rather than under the feet of the Chamber of Commerce. Indeed Roberts verges on the suggestion that there is nothing the Chamber of Commerce can do.
But simply considering the Hispanic workforce, on what basis are we supposed to believe that their willingness to work in the new jobs has caused a no-growth economy? No, we have to see the loop in that logic. If Americans stand ready to work, where are the employers, what is their labor plan, and why are they feeling no heat?
Here then are the questions that need asking. Has “sundown on the Union” changed from prophetic lyric to good enough answer? Is there not a job policy proposal that would improve the employment picture? Has capital seriously and irrevocably begun its final emigration to another future outside the USA? And are we going to let the Schwarzenegger-Minuteman gambit play us for fools by duping us once again into scapegoat-style politics, transforming ourselves into a booted society too mean and stupid to create productive labor?
Jean-Paul Sartre says somewhere that when an economy sets out to “fulfill all the needs of the nation by mass production” then the workforce will never be large enough. But where an economy depresses itself in fear of depression, there we find too many people, too many workers, or in the fine words of Scrooge, a need to reduce the surplus population.
So here is the top question for Minutemen and border governors alike: is there any freedom left in your vaunted free enterprise? Then prove it. Reverse your cycle of depressing unfreedom and demonstrate that the nation you love most is the most capable of producing freedom and justice for all.
Attention to this line of inquiry begins to pull us out of the quagmire of immigration reform into a more serious and worthwhile question. Although we work against historical roots that tie us to a fate of racism, we know enough to pull away from those roots this time around.
Under the objective conditions of the global economy manifesting themselves right now in the USA, the one thing we should keep in front of us is a humanistic human rights civil rights commitment to finding a way out — together. If we continue to turn our fellow workers into alien populations and blame them for our troubles, we will have made ourselves all into little fighting dogs too busy to notice that the bone we fight over is already long gone.
Given the challenges before us, why don’t we see the heritage we adopt when we answer with Gov. Schwarzenegger that the most creative work to be done at this time is the building of higher walls and nationwide patrols? Gov. Schwarzenegger, you talk like a smirking despot. If the Minutemen are impressed by your plans, so much the worse for them, too. In your leadership we have found an utterly disappointing answer to the problem of freedom and justice for all.
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You said: “I have visions of Mexican workers building
their own Northern wall.”
That’s a great idea, did Arnold come up with that? If
not, I’m contacting my senators and congressman to let
them know I’m all for this idea.
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In your recent column I had to laugh when I read the quote by the Governator: “We have the money to do it. It’s not a lack of money. When we can afford the war in Iraq, we can afford to control our own borders.”
The fact is that we didn’t have the money for invading and occupying Iraq. It was only possible by means of borrowed money, mainly from China. It’s like someone saying, “I’m not broke. I have credit cards!”
Also, I’m not aware that severe California’s financial problems have been solved. Since the Governator assumed office, they’ve received much less national press, but I doubt the state is even close to being out of the woods yet.
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Concerning your latest screed in Counterpunch in defense of illegal immigration, you may want to actually understand what a neo-conservative is before you banter them around, as it makes you look like an idiot.
In point of fact, neither the Goveronator Arnold or the Minutemen are “neo-conservatives”. Arnold is a liberal Republican, and the Minutemen are ‘Paleo-conservatives” along the lines of Pat Buchanan.
“Neo-conservatives” are in point of fact, ex-jewish leftists like David Horowitz and Elliot Abrams, and their motivation is defense of Israel. They are the intellectual muscle that used to be the “Scoop” Jackson wing of the Democrat Party, who at that time used the cold war, and the threat of Soviet Imperialism to justify … defense of Israel.
. . . .
I would hardly expect you to understand what you are talking about, since the rest of your article rests on the premise that attempts to enforce immigration laws is the same as the discrimination against native black people in the USA.
Such stupid assumptions and misunderstanding of facts just proves how little the LEFT is able to understand the issues, and engage in any meaningful dialogue on the important issues of today.
Foolishness by state or national officials will probably end only when the lenders cut them off, and then things should get very interesting.
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Thanks again. I think your impression of the MP [Minuteman Project] as a PR pincer is spot on.
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Another great piece. Things are just lining up rather conveniently aren’t they? National ID, guest slave worker
program, Schwarzenegger and the Minutemen. I’m really expecting [Texas Governor] Rick Perry to jump on board any week now.
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Forget the guest worker program! Deport them all, secure the border and let them apply for a visa properly and immigrate to this country legally and properly as immigrants from Europe did in the early 20th century. Then they will truly be immigrants and not illegal aliens. Streamline the visa and immigration process so it can be done fairly quickly and with less red
Punish harshly corporations that hire illegal aliens. It’s not really about national security or anti-terrorism its’ about survival of the American melting pot (i.e survival of our multiethnic society). Why is it xenophobic to want controlled immigration and assimilation into the American melting pot? Have you ever heard of the term balkanization?
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Your analysis of the immigration problem is interesting. But you say that “progressive activists” should “take to heart” the following quotation form Bacon: “Both sending and receiving countries are responsible f
or protecting migrants, and retain the right to determine who is admitted to their territories, and who has the right to work.” I wonder: Do you take your own advise–take to heart–the last half of this sentence? My sense is that you don’t.
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If you take the time to read Hannah Arendt’s On the Origins of Totalitarianism (the section on totalitarianism) , the purpose of the political policy of “securing the borders” will become clear to you. Like in Stalin’s Russia, you couldn’t come or go without “government approval”. The wall that keeps folks out also keeps folks in. America is fast being made into a sort of prison. You can go to work and you can stay home and watch TV. Otherwise, it’s a risk. You can do your prison job and you can stay on your bunk and watch TV. Otherwise it’s a risk. If you have no job, then your worthless to the state and have no privileges, thus, to be discarded, ignored and disrespected. In other words, a third world country.
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The party that preached fiscal responsibility has thrown it away. The people who supposedly worship the market will ram cheap oil down its throat or die (most likely, die). A very undiplomatic Bolton is sent to a very delicate diplomatic post. And the politicians that want foreigners out, will promote instead their illegal entry and their illegal driving. We seem to live in a very, very interesting time…
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Note: the editor has also received an offer to join an “anti-immigration” group online for the purpose of discussing our disagreements “in a civil and friendly manner.” It sounds like something worth trying. Damu Smith sez if you want to do real spiritual work, you got to get out of your own house.–gm