What a view from present early century America. From here one can watch the delusion, decadence, and decay blossom like a frenetic melanoma. Hey, look at it go! Though no matter the final disposition of this country, no matter the inevitable sorrow and loss, we may be assured of one thing: in the long run nothing will be learned.
I find striking the generally unremarked upon similarities between this age and the antebellum one. In the latter, a cohort of wealthy planters imported an army of “cheap” labor for their own personal enrichment to the damnation of their neighbors and posterity. This, undoubtedly justified by appeals to The Economy. Just whose economy they sought to expand is a matter for the less credulous to explore. And contrary to content from teevee feeding tubes, the large majority of Southern people did not own slaves. But now they did. We all did. We all do. Our children are slaveholders to be punished. Djoppressors Enchained. And from an original stock of approximately 600,000, the savage hand of white brutality has multiplied the American-African population to nearly 40 million. Never in the history of the world has cruelty resulted in such fecundity. If blacks weren’t being so ruthlessly choked under the white man’s boot, there may now be enough billions of them to capsize the continent.
So given that 12 years a slave equals 12,000 years a victim, might any reasonable man extrapolate this demonstrably successful narrative into the future? Can we possibly predict the tales of woe and keening lament from a fully engorged mestizo/Amerind population? Their grandfather Jose picked lettuce for 23 hours a day in 120 degree heat–and that’s centigrade–for 17 cents/week. While you drank grapefruit lemonade on the veranda and laughed. You brought them here, because you were too lazy to do your own work. You paid them slave wages and denied them healthcare, driver’s licenses and social security they rightfully deserved. Because you are a hateful bigot who now must pay. To those who don’t comprehend this is coming, you are not very perceptive. And even worse than that, you’re not a subscriber to The Nation. Reparations for La Raza.
Where, outside of a marginalized left, are today’s equivalent of the antebellum radical Republicans [hopefully rotting], “ready and willing to destroy” the coercive deportation regime? Where are the absolutists, who would brook no compromise, who would rather see the republic ripped apart than tolerate an immigration system that denies equal rights to millions upon millions of people; that brutalizes families, generates thousands upon thousands of desert deaths, and breeds sexual terror, be it on the journey here, in the factory and field, or in the closed quarters of the home, where women workers have limited protections and where fear trumps whatever slim recourse to the law they might have (that is, when the law itself isn’t the rapist)?
The ‘marginalized left.’ That’s quite a substantial margin they’ve secured, though I can see a few hands over here go up on the “republic ripped apart” image. But how might these brutalized migrants avoid the horrors of the American wood-chipper? Perhaps by not streaming across the border by the millions? It’s telling again and again that tongues speak one truth and feet another.
Where are those legal insurgents today insisting that forcing millions of people to live like serfs enthralled to their lord-employers is illegal? That the constitution doesn’t just authorize Barack Obama to limit some deportations—it authorizes him to strike the whole damn regime down.
So now we slide into simple ravings. The executive judiciary (Obama having presumably subsumed the latter) is authorized to strike down the country’s duly enacted immigration laws, because…feelings, nothing more than feelings. Though as I’ve noted perhaps only a few dozen times in these pages, this is precisely the trajectory of our most eminent tribunal. Replace Scalia and Thomas, then watch the constitution speak in ways you have never imagined it would. And get that Ghost Shirt pressed.
The opponents of even the mildest program of immigration reform are as passionate in their denunciations and comprehensive in their analysis as John Calhoun was in his day when he said that slavery didn’t contradict but rather made republican liberty possible. Whenever a Democrat merely hints at a comparison between slavery then and undocumented migration now, they pounce, such as when Nancy Pelosi, referring to Obama’s recent executive action limiting some deportations, said that “the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order.”
Here’s a democrat (sort of) doing more than hinting at the comparison.
The danger of such comparisons is that they might set up a contest of oppressions (that can be exploited by the right) or dilute the singular horrors of race-based Atlantic chattel slavery.
Ha. Ha. Ha. The vultures are already looking askance from their meal. Can’t have such “dangers” as competing oppressions. That might cause a bit of edifice crumbling there. Remain focused. Shirley we can all agree that every 90% of-the-world person who isn’t white has been violated by the 10% who are. We’ll eat each other after we’ve eaten them.
In 2006, when it seemed as if the Bush administration might get immigration reform passed, opponents were quick to make the debate about economic cost; the Heritage Foundation, for instance, effectively advanced a narrative that low-skilled and poorly educated migrations would be a financial burden, straining schools and emergency rooms and forcing an expansion of the welfare state. Heritage has kept up that drumbeat to this day. The math usually used to make the case that undocumented migrants are a net loss to the United States is fairly simple: subtract the cost of the public services they use from the taxes they pay.
What’s missing from the calculations is the value that their labor contributes to the US economy, a good part of which is uncompensated.
So shouldn’t the umm…what was the wording again?…Oh yes: the horrors of race-based Atlantic chattel slavery. Shouldn’t those horrors be at least partially mitigated by the value that their labor contributed to the US economy? I mean if it works now, it worked then.
And what a base narrative the right has the audacity to advance. that low-skilled and poorly educated migrants would be a financial burden, straining schools and emergency rooms and forcing an expansion of the welfare state. Preposterous!
I asked Suresh Naidu, an economist at Columbia University, how one might tally the difference between what undocumented Central American and Mexican workers get paid and what they would get paid if they enjoyed full equality of rights. Using the wage penalty undocumented migrants face as a benchmark (which is a lower end, given that extensive undocumented participation might lower sectoral wages for everyone), here are the steps he laid out:
1. Find the aggregate undocumented wages paid in the major sectors where undocumented workers are employed, in agriculture, construction, domestic.
2. Figure out how much their wages were depressed as a result of being undocumented. One way of doing this is to look at Reagan’s 1986 reform. Rough estimates suggest that undocumented worker wages are between 6 and 24 percent lower than they would be otherwise. In other words, if we take these figures as a baseline, that means undocumented workers would be getting paid 6 and 24 percent more than they are if they were documented—that differential is either captured as profit by their employers or passed on to consumers as savings.
3. Cumulate that percentage (that is, how much wages are depressed as a result of being undocumented) of aggregate wages over the number of years that undocumented workers are in the United States.
4. Voilà, that would be your reparations bill.
On the off-chance the CDC hasn’t investigated all transmission vectors, it seems clear to me that chutzpah is highly contagious in America. Though given the CDC’s leadership, I rather doubt the trials will see much light. So just take a moment to savor that. They come here against our laws and wishes (excluding Gates and Zuckerburg). They soak up public funding extracted from our taxes. They generate every conceivable social pathology. And displace millions of actual American workers. The logical result being…We owe them. It’s a remarkable display of gall. But the author of this piece, likely no longer even concerned with veil-dropping, makes the ultimate strategy apparent in his conclusion.
Were African-Americans and undocumented Latinos to join together and collectively demand compensation for unremunerated work, the force would be exponentially more powerful, revealing the way black and brown, each in their own way, continue to represent an existential threat to the ongoing slaver-settler-colonial fantasy life that passes, for many, as patriotism in this country.
Was that a bit too opaque for you? Here’s a more succinct rendering. Blacks and browns should form an alliance to strip whites of their wealth, land, heritage, culture, jobs, dignity, and possessions. They’ll then proceed from there. So America is to be a menagerie of racial aliens voting on which whites to eat for lunch. We await only the well-armed conservatives to enforce the results.
And the War Fought Only By One Side continues apace.