20 April 2006


See Peter LaVenia's article here, in which he compares the immigrant protests in the US with the protests against labor law in France. The main differences between here and France are that 1. the French labor law revision affected people who already had French citizenship, whereas HR 4437 affects only "illegal" immigrants, and 2. The American public is foolishly in favor of keeping the illegals out.". This poll, as it turns out, bears greater scrutiny:
Among whites, an underlying class division ran through several of the questions. The GOP enforcement provisions drew much more support from whites without a college degree than those with advanced education.

Conversely, a guest-worker program was notably more popular among college-educated whites than among those without college degrees, who could face more direct economic competition from the importation of such workers.

"They say [illegal immigrants] want to do a job Americans don't want to do," said Erner, the Democratic factory worker. "I think [employers] don't want to pay a wage Americans can live on."

Those class fissures help explain a surprising result: that Democrats are less enthusiastic than Republicans about proposals to create a guest-worker program or to legalize illegal immigrants ideas supported much more in Washington by Democratic than Republican leaders.

Support for the legalization of illegal immigrants is notably higher among independents (71 percent) and Republicans (67 percent) than Democrats (59 percent). The guest-worker program also drew more support among independents (60 percent) and Republicans (56 percent) than Democrats (48 percent)
First of all, this poll blows apart the folk assumption that Democrats are always more liberal on everything than Republicans. But secondly, and more importantly, it highlights the extent to which the international working class is divided against itself and thus points to the work that needs to be done. Internationalizing the working class will be essential to Peter LaVenia's goal of a meaningful class struggle. We need to resist the political division of the working class into privileged citizens and immigrants "who will do jobs Americans won't do."

The idea of "competition for jobs" is the brainchild of a capitalist system which allocates jobs according to the priorities of profit, not for the promotion of life. The result is an artificial scarcity of "good jobs," and a system where the things that really need doing (like, say, saving the world from the greenhouse effect, or ending world hunger, or living in harmony with nature, or making prisons obsolete) don't get done because not enough "good jobs" are created by the capitalist economy to do them effectively. Immigrants are merely after what they think of as "good jobs," within a capitalist system that made their countries irrelevant to the production of said "good jobs."

Whether they stay or go, or whether the US builds a wall to keep them out, are irrelevances. The important thing to realize is that everyone can have a "good job." Only international solidarity will make that so.


Blogger The Haikuist said...

Well stated. I agree with you.

7:22 PM  

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