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by Claire Greene
Sunday, Jul. 24, 2005 at 5:27 AM
A coalition of Minutepeople and Migrant-rights groups working together would really get the attention needed to make this nation aware.
The real illegal aliens are the corporations that cross natural and cultural borders with impunity and are destroying the environment and people’s lives in the name of “global progress.” The only border that needs protecting is the moral and practical one that will shield us from this plunder and the destruction of quality living standards in ALL countries.
Don’t like Minutemen tactics, but…
While you read this, remember that “the Minutemen” is a motley group with splits and cracks. What they all intend however is to get the necessary attention for congress to fully militarize the border. But since their hysteria comes in multiple shades, perhaps migrant rights supporters can consider a multiple approach, on the chance that some Minutemen would be persuaded to see the big picture and synergize instead of antagonize. Consider:
“Now you have an unemployed American or another American working for dirt cheap wages and you have an illegal alien or economic refugee working for dirt cheap wages, and the employer, the slave master if you will of the 21st century, laughs all the way to the bank...it’s almost a conspiracy between the political powers and economic powers around the world to have a global corporation…we will exploit the poor from Mexico and the new poor in the U.S., new poor in Europe and in Asia. And those new poor will be indentured slaves of a very small percentage of incredibly wealthy trillionaires, which is the way they want it, and as long as they have that kind of economic power they literally can control police forces, armies, navies…” according to Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist in an interview with Rene Flores for the San Diego Free Press.
I don’t like the Racist Rambo direction that the Minutemen’s anger has taken, but to their credit they have gotten us to think about forced economic migration and Jim Gilchrist has pointed the finger at two of the critical culprits: Global corporations and the Mexican power structure with its corrupt spinelessness to stand up to the U.S. and help lift Mexico out of poverty, becoming instead one of the wealthiest exploitation-elites on the planet while conveniently using the U.S. as a social safety valve for Mexico’s poor.
Affluent employers in the U.S. reap the benefit of course, saving big on lower wages, and no health or disability insurance, pension plan, or social security contributions, letting the rest of society pick up the tab.
It is this rush of the affluent to live a life of luxury like the Mexican elite that has created the huge wealth gap in this country and has so many U.S. workers feeling uneasy.
Given these inequities, is it any wonder that organized anger would surface? Anger is real and derives from valid indignation. From there it manifests itself in diverse forms, and sight of the real cause is often lost.
Today angry Minutemen and angry Migrant rights groups face off. Should they feel satisfied by venting and attempting to contain each other? Or is there a chance that energies could be synergized to tackle the common source of their indignation: the insidious corporate global plunder that operates without borders and is bankrupting standards of living worldwide?
Remember that the global elites benefit from conflict and confusion among the economic losers in this game, and with imperial amusement watch the gladiatorial contests between the poor and those getting poorer, no matter what their color, language or beliefs. If it were really a matter of race, you’d see rich Whites resisting the wealthy Arabs and Mexicans who come to live here. Instead they trade and flow their capitals to G-8 rhythms and together smile down at the arena.
We each exist only with the gender, racial and cultural components that shape our personality, and whereas we may very well be tolerant and value differences among us, we cannot escape the effect of affronts to our person. We always feel the offense, whether we choose to react or not. We are very vulnerable to the pushing of these identity buttons, which is precisely why they are useful to provoke and distract people from the real problem.
Although it’s likely many of the Minutemen act with racist tension, the underlying tension today is not race, but the precipitous crumbling of our standard of living in two decades. Not being able to afford college, find a decent paying job, own a home, pay for health care; and amidst insecurity about the basics, nothing but mounting debt offered as the solution. Some Minutemen sense the real causes, others are just having a grandiose time feeling bravado. People of color must guard themselves from those who lash out, but at the same time not lose this opportunity to reach out and seek the common ground, attacking the real causes of this hostility, instead of attacking the symptoms.
Mexican-Americans who used to earn legal union wages also resent the influx of an illegal labor supply in our fields, construction sites and hospitality industry. This is clearly not a race problem.
What the Minutemen and Migrant-rights groups want is essentially the same: a respectable livelihood, both in the U.S. and in Mexico instead of manipulation by oil, manufacturing, construction and agro-business interests that want cheap labor worldwide.
If the focus of all this anger shifts to eliminating global corporate welfare, it would do for racism what rodent control did for the plague.
Imagine a Tea Party protesting today’s exploiters: Minutepeople and Migrant-rights groups marching together at the enclaves of the Mexican elite in the U.S., at the Zocalo and down Pennsylvania Ave. and Wall Street to expose and resist the global exploitation that promotes and gains so much from illegal economic migration?
Jim Gilchrist has mentioned the need for Mexico to have a revolution, and he says hopefully a non-violent one. Sure, but if it’s time for a revolution in Mexico, it’s evidently time for a revolution by the citizens of this country as well. The two countries are intertwined at many levels, not the least of which is the selling out to US interests by the Mexican ruling-elite, and the de facto control by our government of Mexico’s economic policies and destiny.
All the Mexican poor I have met would prefer to stay in the land they grew up in, where they know the language, like the food and have their families. It could be a productive land for them, were it not for the final foreign takeover of the Mexican economy with the wholesale sellout by President Salinas to foreign interests in the early 90’s. Many of Mexico’s agricultural cooperatives, state services and unions were indeed in need of an overhaul, but not the greedy betrayal by wealthy megalomaniacs to global commercial, service and agro-business interests.
Poor Mexicans prefer Mexico, but they are being squeezed out to provide a cheap labor source for the US. Imagine if they were paid legal wages and benefits. Anyone who imagines how this would change the US economy can easily realize why it is an economic issue, not a racial one.
What about Minutepeople working with Migrant-rights groups to provide micro-loan incentives for Mexicans to establish themselves successfully back home with their families? Farmers need tractors and non-GMO seeds. In rural areas, one to three thousand dollars can set up a family with a viable cottage industry. Tackle for fishermen, high-powered saws for carpenters, tools for computer technicians, a wide system of people-to-people loans that could provide real solutions. Remember these would be loans, not handouts.
We still have the means to do something about the standard of living in our two countries. It will get much worse for every race if we allow corporate welfare to continue ruling our economic destinies.
The dialogue between Anti-immigrant groups and Migrant-rights groups to work on real solutions would be a good start. And since Mexican workers coming here is directly related to U.S. corporations going to Mexico, why not anti-globalization projects with the Minutepeople who understand the real causes of illegal immigration?
Perhaps patrolling against ChevronTexaco and Sempra thanks to their latest escapade to set up offshore re-gasification terminals just south of San Diego might be of interest to Minutepeople, since these plants will offer a prime target to terrorists.
These major industrial projects recently received the Mexican government’s blessing, but not that of the local Mexican population, and most people in Southern California are unaware of the projects. These plants will not benefit Mexicans who have plenty of oil and solar energy. They are meant for energy-guzzling Californians. Yet they are not built off the California coastline because they would spoil oceanfront views and frightening explosions could hinder our sunsets. Let the Mexicans deal with ugly industrial sights, dangers, pollution, damage to their rich marine biodiversity, fishing industry and eco-tourism.
Could reliance on these gas pipelines from Mexico affect our national security? Would Mexicans have a right to escape into the US if these plants explode and damage their livelihood? What do the Minutepeople think?
The real illegal aliens are the corporations that cross natural and cultural borders with impunity and are destroying the environment and people’s lives in the name of “global progress.” The only border that needs protecting is the moral and practical one that will shield us from this plunder and the destruction of quality living standards in ALL countries. By re-directing hostility toward the real causes of slave migration Minutepeople and Migrant-rights groups could work together to build such a border.
A border protecting us all from corporate plunder would allow Mexicans to make a living in sunny Mexico. If their hard-working ethic and hands were needed in our fields, restaurants, hotels, food-processing plants and building industries, it would take legal wages and benefits to motivate them to leave their homes.
To start the vigilant protection from unfair global trade and corporate raiders a call is made to all true Minutepeople to join a nationwide Tea Party by throwing big business bullies overboard boycotting their products until they play fair.
A coalition of Minutepeople and Migrant-rights groups working together would really get the attention needed to make this nation aware. By not fighting each other, Whites, Blacks and Browns can focus on fighting the unscrupulous corporate practices that are rapidly destroying our quality of life. Hopefully Minutemen will realize that hunting down the weakest victims in this global game is a short-sighted and inhumane strategy. The world needs a tall border of integrity to protect us so we can get back and develop the quality education, healthcare, housing, environment and jobs that are clearly possible everywhere. It's the economy, not race. Synergizing our collective anger, energies and resources effectively is a better strategy. Isn’t it possible that a few, some, many Minutepeople would agree?
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||Fredric L. Rice
||Sunday, Jul. 24, 2005 at 8:40 PM
|besides that quip she gets an A for effort
||Sunday, Jul. 24, 2005 at 9:15 PM
|Do you think or just react?
||Saturday, Jul. 30, 2005 at 4:58 AM
||Saturday, Jul. 30, 2005 at 6:30 AM
|Mexican American Labor Movement
||Saturday, Jul. 30, 2005 at 6:42 AM
|"I'm not saying" - exactly
||Saturday, Jul. 30, 2005 at 3:29 PM
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