Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Racist State Assault on Immigrants
I appologize for the tardiness of this post. I wrote it on the suggestion of Comrade Edie. Enjoy, and please comment and discuss.
The recent round of struggles around the rights of immigrants has several components. First, is the state assault upon the rights and lives of immigrants, including the twin racist Congressional bills, the chauvinist-militarist furor over "secure borders" under the pretext of "terrorist threats", and the mobilization of the so-called Minutemen, a new version of Ernst Rohm's Nazi Brownshirts. The second component is the defensive actions and mass protests and strikes by immigrants and their supporters across the country.
The context of the current anti-immigrant furor is largely that of US imperialism's global war against "terror" which includes guerilla movements (FARC, Zapatistas, Southern Philippines, ETA...), workers, ethnic minorities, muslims, and the poor. As many people realize the September 2001 attacks have been used as a pretext to increase the already swelled US imperilaist military, further expand the mammoth police state apparatus, to tie-up the lose ends of US global imperial policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to threaten the existing potential contenders with the US for global or regional hegemony, namely the deformed workers state of China, and the other junior imperial powers Japan and Western Europe. These global level actions of imperialism are mirrored on the national level by the ethnic profiling of Arab-like peoples, the mass monitoring of the population by capitalists and the state, and the racist exclusionary reaction by the right wing, aided by a similarly racist second class citizen program by the Democrats with the President aiding both sides.
The anti-immigrant policies of the Republicans, Democrats and the state in general is meant to stir resentment and hatred toward immigrants among many whites and some non-white groups already hobbled by and subject to capitalist austerity, job and wage degradation, unstable employment prospects and a lack of clear anti-racist internationalist proletarian leadership. The Democrats for their part accept most of the lies about the ill effects of immigration, except in their obscure policy papers by the Economic Policy Institute. The purpose of the so-called Guest Worker Plan is to enshrine the vulnerable and dependent status of immigrnat workers in a new bracero program creating indentured servitude.
As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the brain-child of US capitalists, Mexico need to open up its agricultural sector to more competition. This sector was populated by peasant tillers with relatively few means of modern agricultural production. Compared to the large commercial and highly capitalized farms in the US and to some extent Canada, the Mexican peasant tiller could not compete and thus millions have been driven from their lands in the same way that Marx observed that English peasants were encircled, dispossessed and later became proletarians. This has created a mass of new workers to populate the reserve army of labor to be used by capital as a wedge against currently employed workers.
The unions have presented a weak and expectedly tailing response to the curent immigration stuggle. They have not lead but have abdicted mass participation in the protests by immigrants, deciding instead to sit back and passively watch or contribute some time and money rather than forcefully making it their priority. This would be a real internationalist and anti-racist position to take. Why do they not? I propose that the bureaucracies' class collaborationist stance with the capitalist Democrats and their nationalistic stance, makes the misleaders oppose taking the lead in such struggles. A second reason could be that the bureacrats and misleaders take a dim view of the workers they represent, and figure that they would not go for this. I have heard this kind of talk from some union officials and wonder is they are not just undersestimating their own members?
There has even been a strange response from a minor African-American leader in the form of Ted Hayes. I checked this guy out, he is a homeless advocate and head of a futuristic homeless shelter community in L.A. He has openly made common cause with the racist Minutemen who in a minute will be attacking Blacks as soon as that comes arround. I must say though that he is an oddity.
Labor and all those who claim to be progressive, leftists, believers in democracy or even "the American dream" must take up the defence of immigrant from racist attack and reaction. This can be argued from seeral perspectives. First the purely economic. In a competitve labor market the least skilled workers are forced into competition with the skilld and unskilled immigrant workers. This increases labor supply and decreases the wage. However agrigate demand increases which increases the overall demand for labor in the economy. This is all hampered when one group of workers has a different status than other workers such as the "whiteness wage", and the enormous constraints placed on so-called free laborers such as segregation and Jim Crow for Black wage workers, Chinese Coolies (most abducted or forced into debt bondage and hownded by white mobs), and other oppression of non-white labor. Whites did not suffer these special oppressions but had to endure the regular exploitation of capitalism: long hours, hard and dangerous work, etc. By creating different tiers in the working class, treating some with priviledges and others with punishmnet, thereby is created racism. It is these labor market and social engineering preactices whereby the bourgeoisie and their state create the materail basis for racism. In combating this the working class also combats its own oppression. Thus it should be in the economic and the political interests of the working class to fight racism and to embrace immigration.
Thus the labor movement and the left must raise the demand for Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants! Not only would this be an enormous blow to racist and hyper-xenophobic American ideology and practice but it would give the proper enema to the constipated and sluggish unions to get them going. An injecting of militant foreign workers full of fiber is just what the American working class needs. Defend Immigrants! Full Citizenships Rights Now!