imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Six Lies About Immigration

by by Ran Prieur Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 2:27 AM

An interesting take by a white guy who mostly gets it.

1. Immigrants are not people. Of course they never say this explicitly, but it saturates the subtext of anti-immigration arguments. I have yet to see an immigration critic show any evidence of compassion, of willingness or ability to see the other side. No one says, "Hey, if America were a desert and Mexico were a nation of showy wealth and higher wages, and I were desperately poor and had nothing to lose, I'd totally sneak in there -- and I'd bring my culture with me!"

The dehumanization of immigrants is done through words -- "hordes" "pouring" across the border, not people walking across -- and through disparaging references to their culture, language, or race. The statement that "white" people will one day be a minority in America, or that some percentage of Californians don't even speak English, or that immigrants are still dressing the way they did in Mexico, has no importance except to a racist.

2. White. "White" is not a race. It's an elite class and culture whose meaning has changed many times to accommodate the needs of elitism and domination. In America, Irish, Italians, Jews, and others were once considered non-white, and were later invited to join the club, in exchange for their willingness to identify with the divisive and oppressive system.

George Washington's name among the Indians was Town Destroyer. As a "white" person, I'm supposed to identify with him, to lamely defend or justify him or at least feel apologetic for what "my" people did to those other people. I refuse! I identify with the Indians, and we want the land back! After all, my ancestors in the region now called "Europe" once lived much like American Indians, before they were violently conquered by the hierarchical, forest-cutting Indo-Europeans and later the Romans -- who certainly believed themselves racially superior to the paler-skinned aliens, the impoverished barbarous northerners who flowed in and polluted the glorious city of Rome.

3. Immigration equals conquest. The idea here is that moving into a land occupied by others by means of military aggression, massacring noncombatants, destroying villages and food sources, forcing people off the land, keeping them as slaves, sending them to concentration camps, assassinating their leaders, stamping out their language and culture -- that this is morally and tactically equivalent to simply moving in next to them, keeping your own culture, and surviving.

This lie is carried by sloppy language, typically the word "invasion," an obscuring blur which makes the two things appear as one. Even Mexican immigrants are foolishly using the term "reconquista," as if their peaceful retaking of southwestern America (northern Mexico) is same as the military conquest of that region by the USA in 1846. If Canada had militarily invaded and conquered "southeastern Canada" (northeastern America) 150 years ago, wouldn't Americans still want to take it back? And wouldn't it be unusually nice of us to do it through immigration instead of conquest?

Immigration is not only morally better than conquest, but tactically better. If Jewish people had patiently immigrated to Palestine over the last 80 years, and settled in beside the folks who were already there, instead of ruthlessly forcing them out or killing them, they would now be peacefully tolerated, instead of sitting on the firing pin for Armageddon.

4. Land belongs to whoever's already there. This argument, predictably, is used only by people who are holding the land in question at the time, no matter how they took it or how long they've been there, and conveniently they apply it only to the present and future, never to the past. But this is hypocritical and illogical. If it's wrong for Mexicans to come peacefully to America and mooch off our luxuries, then it was far more wrong for Europeans to come here, kill almost all the humans and large mammals who were already here, and poison and deplete the land.

If we do not apply the "there first" rule to the past, the rule forgives and retroactively justifies conquest. And if we do apply it to the past, the results are absurd and impossible -- that ancestors of Europeans should go back to Europe and even Indians should go back to Asia and leave the Americas to native nonhumans. (Not that that wouldn't be a better world than this!)

The only thing to do is junk the whole rule. If humans are to live sustainably on the Earth, the rule must be: Whoever is willing and able to live symbiotically with the land, belongs to that land, no matter how long they've been there or who their ancestors are, and those who are unable or unwilling to live such that the species diversity and soil fertility increase with time, must learn, and until they learn they must be contained -- something no one has yet been able to do.

By this rule, middle class Americans are just as unfit for "their" land as Mexican immigrants -- or more...

5. Immigrants are unskilled. Sure, they don't know how to use spreadsheet software, or synthesize polychlorinated biphenyls, or build an atom bomb. But they are more skilled than most Americans at digging holes, at sleeping outside, at making palatable food from simple ingredients, and at getting along socially. These skills are more valuable, more enduring, and less harmful than the skills to manage the industrial megamachine.

6. Immigration harms nature. The foundation of this one is the half-lie that human population harms nature. The phrase "population problem" or "population explosion" is, in practice, racist, calling up images of masses of nameless darkies who are allegedly to blame for ecological destruction. They are responsible for a lot of it -- the forests of Africa have been destroyed by ignorant farmers and herders, for firewood, for crop land, for feeding their goats. But human population is only an indirect cause of the dying Earth. The direct cause is the exploitation of "resources," the taking of plants, animals, soil integrity, clean water and air, without giving back, the extraction, manufacture, and scattering of substances that belong deep underground or nonexistent. And the people most responsible for this are the people who consume the most resources: industrialized first-worlders, and Americans are the worst. Each one of us, on average, is killing the Earth as fast as 20-50 skinny brown people. So yes, we need fewer people, but the first thing we need is less of the irresponsible consumption we call "wealth."

The next idea, that immigrants are more destructive than natives, should be true. Our resistance to immigration is biological: For millions of years our ancestors have lived in a world where the natives of an area know the land and love it -- every rock, every plant, every animal -- and the people coming in from outside do not know it, and are likely to exploit and damage it. Our primal territoriality, necessary for the protection of nature, does not know that it's now in a world where the "natives" cannot identify a single wild plant except the ones they call "weeds" and kill, where they cover the land with parking lots and Wal-Marts, with factory farms and lawns and monoculture fields saturated with poisons, because what they know and love is their medical plan, their car, the characters on their favorite TV show.

Americans have accepted flashy technological toys and piles of fatty sugary food in exchange for willingness to administrate and ignore the exploitation of poorer countries and the extermination of life on Earth. Not only that, but we flaunt it and market it to the world (far more than Europeans, whose minimum wage is roughly twice ours, and who have more freedom too). So we shouldn't be surprised that the greediest, shallowest, and stupidest people in the world want to come here -- as well as some nice poor people who happen to live nearby.

For now, immigration is helpful. It's a safety valve that reduces the differences in wealth and power that drive the engines of destruction. When we lose our jobs to the people who have been kept poor so we could get rich, and the system is no longer buying us off, we can wake up and stop believing its lies, while the newly bought-off can learn that wealth doesn't make them happy, and everyone gets smarter. When the present first world countries are no longer glittering resource sinks, immigration will no longer be a problem. The problem then will be conquest and occupation by the next empire, and then I will fight to defend my land.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 6 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Comment on #5 j Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 6:11 AM
Real Immigrants Tim Binh Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 6:14 AM
Comment on #5 Border Raven Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 11:08 PM
Who said anything about... johnk Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 at 1:19 AM
Real Immigrants? Watchale Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 at 11:45 AM
there aren't enough jobs for people with those skills? Border Raven Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 at 6:38 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy