Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dueling Immigration Rant part deux

If you wish to follow this conversation from the start please view the comments in the original diary here, Then read DuctapeFatwa's reply here

Oh and by the way, I would like to thank Man Eegee for being such a gracious host and allowing us to highjack his blog for this conversation.

`Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,' said Scrooge. `But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!'

While the inevitable downward slide of Western civilization into a semi feudal state with racial warfare between the various factions of the underclass vying for the scraps thrown to them by their corporate masters is one way to view the current demographic shift taking place in America. Perhaps, just perhaps, it could turn out differently.

It’s not like we have an exemplary history as far as these issues go … and one would be foolish to think differently.

This nation was build from the start on slave labor and worker exploitation. The exploitation of each successive immigrant group and the pitting of that group against the next has been the hallmark of American style capitalism, Not to mention the proverbial “ace in the hole” of the black population who could count on having to re-fight with each new generation the battles it fought in the last.

But this aside, we must look to the ultimate outcome of each of these periods of demographic turmoil to see that despite the protestations of the No Nothings the nation did not fall to pieces. Each group eventually melded and mixed into the mosaic. So today salsa outsells ketchup and tortillas outsell white bread it’s all part of the process.

The current problem is one of a demographic shift coinciding with an economic restructuring. The nation is moving away from a manufacturing based economy to a service based one at the same time as it shifts from a predominately “white” nation to something a little more diverse.

Has this kind of thing happened before? Of course.

When the economy shifted from an agrarian base to an industrial one the shifts were seismic. There were mass migrations of people. Blacks left the south, immigrants poured in, and the population shifted from one that had been basically Anglo-Saxon and Protestant for almost 100 years to one that had far more diversity, but eventually equilibrium was reached.

Was there exploitation, racism, poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and all the various other societal curses … yes… but overall, over time corrections were made and compensations and improvements made to allow for a greater well-being. Is it perfect system? … very far from it … but that is where we, as people of conscience, liberals, progressives or whatever we are to be called have always come in. In a small way we are the watchdogs. It is we who force the powers that be to be held accountable. Although far from perfect, the liberal/progressive policies of the last 100 years have served the nation and its people well. Could we do better? Without a doubt.

Is the present situation exceptionally gloomy? Hell yeah. The specter of fascism knocks on our door daily. The shadow of imperialism and empire looms overhead. But the test will not be how evil our leaders and corporate master can be, but rather how well we stand up to them.

When you speak of a permanent slave class of immigrants battling for economic survival with an ever-increasing underclass of unemployed and underemployed native born Americans you see only one vision of what could be. I can only hope and pray that there is another vision.

Now to the topic at hand: immigration reform

As one who sees the current immigration/economic “crisis” as a temporary “problem” as opposed to a long-range harbinger of societal collapse, I am compelled to try to come up with some sort of idea of what I would like to see done to alleviate it. From the point of view that the current system and status quo is ripe with inequities and serves no one any good, we must move on to basic assumptions.

1. WE have, through our own foreign policies and the supporting of corrupt and ineffectual regimes in most of the world, made living conditions in many parts of the world intolerable, particularly on this continent - making emigration the only viable option for many.

2. WE need immigration to fill the population needs of an aging population and because they reinvigorate and stimulate society both economically and culturally.

3. WE must find a way to allow for some mechanism to allow immigrants to enter the nation legally so that they are not marginalized and forced to live in constant fear of exposure and exploitation by unscrupulous employers and society on a whole.

One plan put foreword that has some promise is one by which all immigrants, past arrivals and those and presently coming , would be granted immediate legal status to live and work in this country and then be unionized in order to assure the worker protections so lacking in our current system. This plan would not only benefit the emigrants but also the native workers who have watched their bargaining power and ability to demand fair and equitable treatment diminished over the past 30 years. It’s just a thought… But one that holds some promise for the future.
There are many other ideas out there. We just need to explore them.

Do the powers that be like any of these plans? ….. hell no … they want the status quo …. Cheap labor, permanent underclass, class warfare … but they might not be the ones in the end who get to make the decisions. … Here Ductape you are right… here is where nature might take its course. It might not be us who are doomed to accept a fate set down long ago… but they … the users… who will have to face great changes. Here is where you and I see things differently.

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