Workers and Immigrants
I was born an American worker and I'll probably die an American worker. And there are few things that I have come to cherish so much as the unity and pride of the laboring class. Yet, at the same time, I do not see immigration as a threat. As you ought to know, without immigration, the United States could not exist. And to threaten immigration, more than anything, is to threaten the only living principle this nation was founded on -- without which, suth things as a bill of rights or a constitution are just dreams of an idealist. As an American worker, I feel unity with my class. But, I could not be an American worker, unless my ancestors were immigrants who came to America. Excepting Native Americans, that means every person in the United States.
And excepting "Native Americans" -- what do I mean by that? I mean, most specifically, the people who were the first immigrate to this land, before any humans lived here. The land through the northern United States belonged to tribes of Native Americans. What is less often known, however, is that the land of California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico was shared between Native Americans and Mexicans. Now, that's our American history, and denying it is to denying knowing what America can mean.
That means... Mexicans and indigenous people are those who natively live in the land known as the United States. That means, we, the majority of American civilians, are the immigrants. We are the ones who are living and working on land that does not belong to us today and will never belong to us. What a bizarre situation... Our ancestors come to this land, force Mexicans and Native Americans into slavery and genocide, build up empires on the bones of these ancient peoples -- and today, *WE* call them immigrants. "They, who have come into our land." What close-mindedness. Our ancestors have been polluting, destroying, and raping this land for centuries, and it has become so in-grown into our mentality. Now we actually believe that WE are the native people, and those who have been here for thousands of years, they are the immigrants!
Who is it that launched these campaigns of conquest and imperialism? It was the wealthy, the governments, the rich -- each and every word for privilege and power. The person who hired slaves, who kept serfs in fields, who lived off of wage-slavery and monopoly of the land. The rich capitalist, industrialist, entrepreneur, and proprietor! Who is it that quickly hires cheap labor, whether homeless day laborers or the American working-class? Who is it that buys up those who are on the brink of starvation, to make them work in unsanitary and harsh conditions? Who is it that is driven by profit, that drives down wages by hiring cheap workers, and maintains poverty by controlling all of the lands and machines? Clearly, it is the Capitalist. That is your enemy.
Instead, the anti-immigration tactic throws the blame on the poor workers; it makes enemies out of families. "Let us consider the enemy to be the masses of people who are starving and hungry, who go without shelter and labor for twelve hours a day -- our enemy is anyone who would suffer anything to give food to their children and life to their families!" What drives the immigrant looking for work? It is the instinct of food, the most basic impulse. They are not asking to control and dominate the world -- they just want to live like anyone else.
But then, look at the Capitalists who hires cheap labor, who keeps factories idle and fields empty, who lets food rot before harvest, because a starved market pays more? Who is it that possesses all the farms, all the mines, all the factories? It is the capitalist. Why do they hire immigrant laborers? Why do they bring in workers who accept low wages? Again, this is as simple to answer as asking why the immigrant worker seeks out wages. The immigrant is carried by their need to fill their stomach; but the capitalist pays low wages, so they can increase profit. The industrialist and the investor wants to be able to buy more stock and investments, more caviar and more cars, more high-paying jobs for executives that don't know how to work.
The Mexican immigrant who comes to the United States has nothing. They are brought by their hunger, their need to eat. But the Capitalist owns all the land, possesses all of the factories and the mines. When workers go on strike, the police shoot on the workers. And when they misinvest and their finances go downhill, they get a bailout from the government, whether 1907 or 2007. The capitalist could free up more farms and fields -- they can decide that workers should be allowed to work to feed themselves. They control and posses everything. Instead... you make an enemy out of the hungry worker. "Yes, we must fight the laborer who struggles to clothe themselves! They are the reason why we are poor! It is not because of industrialists and investors following the desire of profit! It is not the rule of property and the domination of capitalism! No... the greatest threat to our prosperity and liberty is someone who has nothing and only wants to feed themselves." It is a terrible way of thinking.
The relationship of poor workers and low wages isn't caused by poor workers. It is caused by capitalists hoarding up the land. Do you genuinely believe, at this point in history, that there is not enough tools and lands for us to work? Only a century ago, one family could work a farm and by their labor alone, they could feed a hundred families, without machinery or chemistry. "There is not enough productive forces for everyone -- some people must be allowed to work it, but others must be forced out and allowed to starve. If we share our tools with them, they might live, but it'll bring down our standards of living!" It is almost as if you're loading up a life raft on a sinking ship... and then denying women and children a seat, because you want to up your feet up. Is this really the mentality and thinking of a civilized humanity?
If workers produced less, maybe they would hire more people, and wages would go up! You're fighting immigration because you believe that it brings down wages by influxing the economy with labor. Here's a better tactic: tell everyone to work less, to slack off, take extra breaks for 15 minutes, and produce less, less, less. There will be more work left over, and fewer workers with spare time -- so that means, wages automatically go up, because it starves the economy of labor. This is just as reasonable an approach to the difficulty -- and this way doesn't leave entire families exposed to the elements, begging for meanest piece of food that comes by.
We know that a single family could make enough food to feed one hundred families. The problem, then, is not the number of workers but by how productive we are. Whenever new machinery or technology is introduced, labor's wages drop significantly, as well. Why not make our enemy machinery altogether? We could encourage people to fight computerization, to refuse to work in factories, to reject modern industrial production altogether. This is another tactic we could use, if we genuinely believed that immigrant workers were worsening our wages.
Or, how about this... If a single family produces enough to feed one hundred families, why not reduce everyone's work day to 15 minutes, and let everyone work enough so they can feed themselves? Why not free up the lands, the factories, and the mines even more, make it so that everyone has a right to work, and a right to the product of their labor? This would require unions, solidarity, struggle, striking, and fighting -- it would require, in a single phrase, the real pride and unity of the American worker.
We know, for a fact, that there is enough land for every person to work, and to receive the full benefit of their labors. We know that once workers receive the product of their labors, they'll spend it on other industries, which then funnels the money to even more workers. The reason why this doesn't happen today is because there's someone always stepping in. "You cannot work these machines, unless you give me nine-tenths of the product of your labor. You cannot labor these fields, until you give consent to let me have three-fourths of everything you make!"
The laborer, not receiving their wages, must be spendthrifty and careful in their money. They buy less, so other industries lose their money, and therefore they fire more workers -- or, they just hire cheaper workers. And then the cycle continues, with workers being poor, not being able to spend enough, and therefore, the whole economy ends up suffering for it. Of course we all want to fight low-wages, a dying economy, high unemployment, and exploitation. We all want to resist things that bring suffering everyday to families. However, it is not natural parts of the economy causing poverty, whether industrial progress or immigration. The part of our economy that causes poverty is Capitalism -- isolation of the land and the factories into the hands of a very few.
There are plenty of indirect causes of poverty and low wages: immigration, machinery, lack of consumer interest by the capitalist class, etc., etc.. The direct cause is Capitalism and property. There's enough land for each person to work and to receive a high-quality means of existence for themselves and their family. This could be accomplished with a one-hour or two-hour workday. These are not far-fetched dreams or fantastical thoughts. According to our own census bureau, every worker produces roughly 400% after every fifty years of industrial development. (U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census; International Trade Administration. NAICS.)
There is enough machinery and enough land for everyone. And once everyone has a right to work, there will be enough production to pay and feed everyone. If you fight immigration to protect the worker, then you're fighting for crumbs, and you're fighting for only Americans to enjoy them. But if you fight Capitalism to protect the worker, then you're fighting for a whole new world that everyone has a right to. If you fight for worker self-management, democratic organization of the economy, and land and liberty for everyone, then immigration would not be a problem -- because there will be enough for everyone to work and to live.
Please, if you consider yourself an American worker, then think about the things that make you a worker. Think about what brings your wages down, what threatens your employment, and why prices rise. It has to do with being in the position of a worker.
Thank you for reading this far. I patiently await a response.