International capital crosses national borders invisibly, pursuing profits for a global minority that inflict loss on the global majority. In historic fashion but at electronic speed, It creates economic chaos, throwing peasants off the land and forcing them to illegally emigrate as low paid unskilled labor. Barriers of language, culture and overcrowding bring with them social animosity and help create a deadly serious global problem.
The American role in this international drama has seen millions fleeing here after their homelands were invaded by our finance capital. This has energized negative social forces, but also served to organize a maligned and misunderstood sector of the working class.
While many see an invasion of foreigners, which they liken to terrorist attacks, others see entering the country illegally and bringing down wages as perfectly reasonable. Self-righteous name-calling and simplistic individualism have taken precedence over analysis of the economic forces at work, and why they should be challenged.
If, as some believe, we are a nation of immigrants with doors open wide to all who would enter, how many can we welcome before asking how much room we have and how much work we can offer? There are billions of suffering souls in the world, and many owe their misery to U.S. intervention in their nation’s political economy. Should we invite them all here? Even if they will only find work by innocently serving commercial interest in lowering the wages of other Americans? And where will they live?
How many communities which adamantly fight against congestion and the loss of open space will gladly welcome much more of the first, and much less of the second, in order to accommodate more immigrants?
Ignorance of the real impacts of our foreign policy can only increase the animosity much of the world feels towards the USA. Many find us a beacon of freedom and democracy, but many more consider us a monster, bringing death and destruction to countries like Iraq, and creating economic programs like NAFTA, which all but force people to illegally migrate seeking the survival they were denied by American corporadoes in league with their own corrupt governments.
Calling all critics of immigration racists is a labeling practice of equally bigoted people. Some opponents of immigration are racists, but so are many immigration supporters. It hardly takes a super sleuth to find racists in America. It’s about as difficult as finding sand in the Sahara.
A nation built by immigrant labor was earlier developed by slave labor, and with many descendants of slavery still confined to shameful ghettos, it is galling to hear claims of moral superiority from those with high regard for immigrants, who are oblivious to the realities of their own citizens. This can only provoke more divisions among us, when we desperately need unity.
Some well-intentioned people think security for undocumented immigrants is a simple matter of getting work and finding housing. Often the work is in their own homes, but the housing is rarely in their own communities. A far more difficult reality can be revealed by examining conditions in our penal colony. In these concentration camps of mostly nonwhite prisoners, latinos and blacks are often at each others throats. Their sometimes mortal combat inside mirrors their socio-economic combat outside, but is hardly noticed by many engaged in a debate which excludes the Americans most directly affected by immigration.
Hostility between the heartlessly vindictive and mindlessly accepting extremes does not call for a moderate middle ground, but a radically democratic base from which to consider the very structure of the economic system that creates and profits from this chaos.
We need to understand the market forces of global capital in order to stop the damage it does to all nations when it exports skilled work, imports unskilled labor, and creates inequality, pollution and debt such as has never before existed in the developed world.
No less a labor hero than Caesar Chavez warned of the negative impact when business was allowed to import cheap, undocumented labor. He knew this would only hurt those he was trying to help. The farm workers organized the unorganized, but they were all legal, not illegal workers. It is madness to think we can allow selective forms of illegality in support of specific groups of immigrants, while throwing many of the native born in jail for their illegal acts, which are driven by the same economic issue: poverty.
It is equal madness to think we can improve things by building walls across the border, or imprisoning people who came here illegally but to pursue an honest living. It would make as much sense to build a fence around Wall Street and jail those who employ day laborers and nannies.
We must stop enriching corporate capital – and a minority which needs household help – by providing them with an army of desperate people who will work for the lowest wages, in order to send money home to replace what was lost to invading corporations.
Our problem is not poor people crossing our borders seeking work, but rich capital crossing their borders seeking profit. A global economic system is conducting this assault on our national environment. Its inherent inequality and injustice requires collective action to confront the real criminals and not scapegoat their victims. If we stop international finance’s invasive penetration of other nation’s borders, we won’t have to worry about refugees illegally crossing ours. Industrial capitalism of the 19th century threatened so many it provoked a call for the workers of the world to unite. Global capitalism of the 21st century is a much greater menace to humanity’s future. It may be time to revive that call.