Sunday, 2 May 2010

Open up, Open up!

                 fisttap AfricaIsACountry for image
I've always argued that the concept of the nation state with arbitrarily drawn borders is a political fiction which is fast becoming outmoded due to the rise of supranational institutions and the ever-increasing power of multinational coroporations. In the face of these two juggernauts, the function of the state becomes that of agent and henchman - the one who provides a market for freely moving goods and at the same time prevents the free movement of persons. Immigration control is a form of selective policing - depending on the passport you hold, your movements are controlled. Now in Arizona; race and economic status are the arbitrary tools to identify 'illegal immigrants'. What exactly does an illegal migrant look like? Latino. Poor. Speaks Little English. Has Shifty Eyes...What??? 
Yet this territory legally belongs to Mexico anyway, so who are these lawmaking eedjits to be legalizing racial profiling and anti-immigrant laws? Needless to say if all the currently undocumented and illegal peoples left the U.S today, the economy would take a huge hit...Mmm that wouldn't be such a bad thing now would it?

And in all seriousness, watchout Africans and Arabs in Europe, you're next. Italy's already got the ball rolling.


Anonymous said...

Are nation states really being replaced? If so, by what? The European Union has been unable to erase national differences, so has the African Union. Nation states are still very much in effect.

My question to you is, as our country continues to decline, and it is declining, how will these immigrants climb the American ladder of success when that ladder is disappearing. In times past the manufacturing economy served as the means for people to thrive in the working class and have their children enter the middle class; however, our manufacturing sector has been hit hard. That's unlikely to happen now. What will the many children of these immigrants do when they find college to be increasingly expensive and increasingly less of a means to find a good life?

KonWomyn said...

Hi Anon

Thanks for dropping a comment. The thing is that the EU is an example of post-state hegemony - while on the one hand it promises to promote economic and political unity, it is also authoritarian body eroding the power of the state like the flight bans over the Iceland cloud or the proposals for an EU police force deployed to member states. Whatever laws or trade policies a state proposes they must follow an EU directive.

The AU is a different scenario; there is a collective sense of a united Africa and a willingness to create an effective AU parliament but the power of the states is increasingly tested by divisions within the states. Speaking very broadly, people see themselves as belonging to tribes, first, nation second. Some of the most serious conflicts have been tribal or religious; Nigeria, Rwanda and Somalia. Tribal divisions do little for national cohesion if anything, they serve as a reminder that African kingdoms were perhaps not meant to be split up according to the colonizers maps.

Both the EU and the AU are examples of centralizing authority at a Continental level and in some cases overriding national authority.

Okay now concerning your kwestin: I think the decline is across the the board for migrants and citizens. But migrants come because there is demand for labour - in a state of economic decline there may be less migrants coming because its no longer makes $ sense e.g. Eastern European migration to the UK. On the other hand, companies may be more willing to hire migrants who will work for lower wages and reduce an employers wage bill but do the same amount of work. There are examples of this happening in the US.

I think that post-recession we will begin to see new patterns of class mobility in the U.S. - some sa the ship's sinking, but I don't know, I can't cal it.

If Obama comes thru on amnesty for undocumented migrants then by the time the children of undocumented workers get to college, they will have citizenship and can apply for college loans. But then they'd be saddled with debt just like many other student in the U.S. and just like anyone else, finding a job or starting up a buisness to pay off those loans and have a better life is a gamble.

It may be harder for migrants to make it in the U.S but they are by no means an exceptional group for whom achievement is impossible.

Anonymous said...

For awhile now, every since the late 1970s, this country has been shedding its best manufacturing jobs. These jobs have been critical for blue collar workers, particularly men. Yet, they are decreasing at a rapid rate. As of now, one out of every five men age 25 to 54 is unemployed. In five years that number is still supposed to be one in six, and it will likely be stuck there. The economy has stopped producing enough jobs. Many of the ones that are being produced don't pay a living wage. So, you have more and more people-as the population grows-chasing fewer and fewer jobs.

Economists have noted that as short as six months or one year of unemployment in this country can have a big effect on one's career for the rest of a person's earning lifetime. Many people will never recover from this current recession.

KonWomyn said...

Hi Anon
Hope you do come back and read this response, sorry its taken so long. There's certainly been a shift in production which has adversely affected the populus in the US, like Detroit and parts of Chi-Town - and as much as unemployement in those cities disproportionately affects males from minority-ethnic groups I don't see how stringent immigration laws will change that.

The economic downturn may be a turn off for migrants settling in the poorer areas anyway, pressure must be on govt to create jobs and new industries for the post-industry workers. There are still industries like nursing and agriculture that rely on migrant labour - not manufacturing.

Why is it that there is a shortage of nurses and vegetable pickers, but there are 10% unemployed? Why is there no mobility between industries? It's got nothing to do with migration - as emotional an issue as it is, I'm sorry its a red herring.

Anonymous said...

I do not much agree that national states are eroding and are being supplanted by supra-national and multinational bodies. I think strong national states will endure - alongside strong supranational entities. If anything, strong states are the only states that are able to grant effective powers to supranational entities ( think of the EU). Poor states, poorly organised and without capacity, are not really able to become part of larger effective unions (AU).
However I agree that the free movement of capital and information is creating a universalizing effect and space for bigger bodies and freer movement.
As to you comment about Arabs and Africans in Italy and Europe it is already happening. Last Christmas Italy had 'Operation White Christmas' which used some of the Arizona methods. Why do you think Berlusconi has been entertaining Ghadaffi? It is not just about oil but immigration. Ghaddaffi is Europe's Gateman.
And my response to the first comment is that immigrants can also create wealth and opportunity; they are often net contributors to the US irrespective of the growth in manufacturing jobs.

KonWomyn said...

Hi Anon
I'm guess this is a different Anon than the 1st Anon. Please make up a name when you sign off at the end or put in a name where it says Name/URL. That way I can know who's who. Thanks.

Now to answering you:

I'm glad that you share the same opinion on the economic contribution migrants have to make - often times people get emotional about migrants 'stealing' jobs but truth is if the locals won't/can't do the jobs you need other people. If all the undocumented migrants left the US today, would Cali and Texas cope?

As you rightly said, if capital and goods flow freely across borders, so should people.

About the EU: if you look at how it functions you will see that the power of the state is being undermined by bureaucrats in Brussels. Not to sound like an EU skeptic, but the EU has increasingly become an authoritarian body, unelected officials in Brussels determine how member states will function e.g. the reforming of banking laws stand to affect 80% of the hedge funds which are located in London and the govt can do nothing but comply with that, even though the Conservatives have been pushing for less interference by the EU in British affairs.

If a strong EU survives it will be because France and Germany prop it up because of their economies, but given the way the Greek crisis is going and the -ve responses in Germany, France and the UK, I'm not sure about the EU's future in future far ahead.

"Poor states, poorly organised and without capacity, are not really able to become part of larger effective unions (AU)." Anon

Like I said before a united Africa is possible, but not using the current model of unity and with internal conflict within states etc.

Yea I know about Northern League and the Black Maria - I posted that last Dec. Italy and Russia are on another level when it comes to racism. You really feel it, in the most blatant of ways. Did Berlusconi really kiss Gadhaffi's hand?

Thanks for commenting, please make up a name when you comment again.


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