Immigration: The Real Left wakes up
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It is a fact that the great leaders of the Labor movement of a century ago disliked heavy immigration. They saw it as bad for members of their Unions. Samuel Gompers wrote Congress in 1924:

Every effort to enact immigration legislation must expect to …two hostile forces of considerable strength. One of these is composed of corporation employers who desire to employ physical strength (broad backs) at the lowest possible wage …The other is composed of racial groups in the United States who oppose all restrictive legislation because they want the doors left open for an influx of their countrymen regardless of the menace to the people of their adopted country.

Cesar Chavez took a similar view. And it is definitely non-PC to note that before the Civil War a large component of the opposition to slavery in the North, and particularly to its extension to new States, was derived from hostility to the competition offered to the working class by slave labor. (See The Real Lincoln in my view the key book to understanding the behavior of the modern American State.)

In a brillliant essay in the leftist Jewish magazine Tikkun, David Podvin excoriates the recent elite indifference to the plight of the working people: The Rape Of The Working Class,April 23 2006. Many readers will find Plotvin’s crude demonology implausible and offensive: but the point is what he concludes:

Illegal immigration is a means by which corporations savage America’s working class. Although the media conglomerates have misrepresented the undocumented worker influx as primarily being a racial issue, it is actually an economic bludgeon…It is a tribute to the political sophistication of the monied elite that employers can brazenly violate labor laws without incurring liberal wrath. In almost any context, a brutal assault on the working class would provoke vigilant opposition from progressives. However, the business community has learned the disarming effect of playing the race card, and now the mainstream media equates opposing illegal immigration with fostering ethnic bigotry....

In Southern California, which is the epicenter of illegal immigration, African Americans were once a significant presence in the construction industry. Today black participation in that sector is scant because contractors prefer sub-minimum wage foreign hirelings…Jobs that were once working class are now subsistence level and are held either by undocumented workers or by desperate Americans compelled to accept artificially low wages…According to the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented workers currently hold over seven million American jobs. Most of the employees they have displaced are females and minorities, the very people liberals have sworn to protect.

If modern liberalism means anything more than hating Bush it must stand for economic and social justice. Working Americans deserve to have their living standards protected. Mexican migrants deserve to be treated as human beings. Allowing people into this country illegally assures that neither objective will be attained as business ruthlessly exploits one group to dispossess the other.

The MSM is full of cacklings about the problems the immigration issue causes for the Republicans. As more men of the left like David Podvin think their way through the issue, Democratic headaches are likely to be as bad.

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