04 June 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Truths and (then some more truths) – Immigration and Neo-Liberalism

I found this written as a letter to the New York Times. Lets put my intellectual disagreement with grand truths and meta narratives aside for the moment.

Truths: (1) The United States cannot support the rest of the world.

(2) One cannot blame the United States for trying to limit the influx of people across its borders.

(3) One can blame the United States for having allowed illegals to cross its borders illegally in the first place.

(4) One can blame the United States for applying inhumane methods of returning illegals to their countries, but

(5) One cannot blame the United States for trying to return those people who are within its borders illegally.

I think what this ‘blame’ game misses is a double consciousness to the problem of undocumented migration. These so-called ‘truths’ offer a skewed perspective and are quite incomplete.

1. Of course the United States cannot support the rest of the world — THE UNITED STATES IS SUPPORTED BY THE REST OF THE WORLD! We are 5% of the world’s population but consume one-quarter of the global available energy and produce one-third of global waste. Our trade-deficit is project in billions–China and Japan are supporting our heavy consumption at the moment. Multi-national corporations headquartered in the United States exploit cheap labor sources in foreign countries, buying up farm land for private production, thus rendering millions of workers landless. In the meanwhile, we continue to fight so-called just wars as a way to steal the precious commodities of other countries like oil. Who do we blame when our foreign policies have created dire-enough conditions that force people to leave everything they know to take a chance at life in a foreign land?

Sure, we cannot blame the United States for trying to limit the influx of workers crossing the border or returning them home but we can certainly hold the United States accountable for a CAPITAL WITHOUT BORDERS. By not regulating capital flight, regulating the movement of migrant bodies and encouraging the intrusion of neo-liberal policies into developing and underdeveloped countries, the United States–with 85% of the voting power on the IMF–gives capital and corporations a major advantage over workers. Who do we blame when capital sneaks across borders, rapes, pillages and plunders lives, and destroys debt-ridden countries struggling with SAPs, hence forcing people to migrate North as a way to survive and start over?

And true to #5, Can you really blame a country for trying to get rid of unwanted and undesirables like multi-national corporations? After all, the corporation is a person–we must hold them accountable to the same standards, laws and moral codes. Next time a country goes ‘socialist,’ tries to institute capital flight controls, form a counter-hegemonic economic bloc against the G-8, I hope we would get a manifesto of truths such as:

1. be it resolved, that for every ten people the G-8 displace from their lands, the G-8 should provide for ‘resettlement’

2. be it resolved, that for every job or public services ‘entitlement’ lost to structural adjustment programs, the G-8 would provide ‘relief’

3. be it resolved, that for every precious commodity stolen and drained from countries rich in resources, leading to the DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT–the G-8 shall pardon all ‘debts’ and instead, start paying back to the economies they ruined.

4. be it resolved, that the illegal migrants of Europeans–the unwanted and undesirables–now all over the world who slaughtered natives and indigenous peoples to make a future for themselves in foreign countries (especially the criminal convicts in Australia), shall compromise and welcome immigrants with open arms as they themselves were welcomed.

5. be it resolved, that no human being can be illegal–it is not a permanent immutable characteristic. Lets stop criminalizing the natural and age-old phenomenon of human migration.

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