Socialists once opposed Mass Immigration, the Wet Dream of International Capital

ER Editor: While this article addresses American socialism in particular, the main idea is applicable everywhere, and especially at the current time.
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Socialists once opposed Mass Immigration, the Wet Dream of International Capital

Immigration in the US is already near its historic peak at a time when its health care and welfare systems are in a precarious state [due to deliberate defunding by both republicans and democrats].

SERBAN V.C. ENACHE

Karl Marx’s letter to Sigfried Meyer, August 1870

“But the English bourgeoisie has also much more important interests in the present economy of Ireland. Owing to the constantly increasing concentration of leaseholds, Ireland constantly sends her own surplus to the English labour market, and thus forces down wages and lowers the material and moral position of the English working class. […] Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. […] This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this. […] It is the special task […] to make the English workers realise that, for them, the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment, but the first condition of their own social emancipation.”

Early 20th century American Socialist viewpoint on immigration

In May 1908, the Socialist Party of America held a national convention in Chicago. A committee of five men [Victor L. Berger, Guy E. Miller, John Spargo, Joshua Wanhope and Ernest Untermann] was created to study the issue of mass immigration into the United States. On the 14th of May that same year, the convention passed this resolution on the subject matter.

“The Socialist Party, in convention assembled, declares that the fundamental principle of Socialism is the struggle between the exploiting and exploited classes. The controlling principle of the political Socialist movement is the economic interest of the workers. […] the working class must protect itself against whatever imperils its economic interests. The mass importation by the capitalist class of foreign workers with lower standard of living than those generally prevailing may in some instances become as serious to the working class of the nation as an armed invasion would be to the nation itself. To deny the right of the workers to protect themselves against injury to their interests, caused by the competition of imported foreign laborers whose standards of living are materially lower than their own, is to set a bourgeois Utopian ideal above the class struggle. This principle compels us to resolutely oppose all immigration which is subsidized or stimulated by the capitalist class, and all contract labor immigration, as well as to support all attempts of the workers to raise their standards of living. It does not, however, commit the Socialist Party to any attitude upon specific legislation looking to the exclusion of any race or races as such. The question of racial differences involved in the agitation for the exclusion of Asiatic immigrants this convention does not feel itself competent to decide upon at this time in the absence of a scientific investigation of the matter. Therefore, we recommend […] a special committee of five members be elected at this convention to carefully study and investigate the whole subject of immigration, in all its aspects, racial no less than economic, to publish from time to time such data as they may gather, and to report to the next convention of the party.” [Work 1908: 105].

While the aspect of race and racial differences was the norm back then, the socialist convention didn’t oppose mass immigration on racial grounds, but in terms of economics, and even in 1910 its resolution did not call for exclusion of immigrants based on skin color or ethnicity. The argument was based on socio-economic, cultural, and political considerations. Being realists, however, they recognized the tribal nature of humans – an invariable fact across history, cultures, and races.

Comment by delegate Guy E. Miller:

“People that belong to the same race, unless there are economic reasons for mingling with others, naturally draw those lines pretty closely, and while they may cross those lines in associating and in exchanging ideas, still their life is spent among the people of a common descent. I take it that no mere sentiments or ideals of the present can wipe out the result of centuries of blood and thought and struggle. There are some things along that line that we must consider very carefully.” [Work 1908: 107].

Victor L. Berger even noted that open borders would result in the demographic replacement of the working class in America.

“This is a practical question for the working class. China could send over about two million coolies every year and not feel it. They could send over here five millions every year if our capitalists should want them, and China would not miss them. But we would feel it. If you permit them to come over here just for fifteen years at two millions a year you will wipe out our civilization simply by their lower standard of living, by their power to live on a great deal less than you can. There would be a quiet war, but a most terrible war, waged against us – a war of extermination, on economic lines. The white race could not propagate, could not exist in a competition of that kind with the yellow race. That is all I have to say on this. I want to consider this simply from a working class standpoint, and no other. We are willing to help the Japs in every way; we are willing to help the Chinese in every way. By pulling us down to their level they do not help themselves in any way, but they make us miserable. Your first duty, comrades, is to your class and to your family. Because your neighbor’s house is burning, shall you set your own house on fire? No, say I. Defend your own house and then help your neighbor; that is the way.” [Work 1908: 111].

Ernest Untermann, the first American translator of Marx’s Das Kapital, was anything but naive and contributed his own perspective on the issue.

“I believe in the international solidarity of the working class, and yield to no Socialist on this floor in teaching and practicing such solidarity to the point to which it is possible. But I do not believe in international solidarity to the point of cutting my own throat. […] Everyone familiar with conditions in the southern states knows very well what would be the fate of the Socialist Party if we attempted to organize mixed locals of colored and white people down there. Every one familiar with conditions on the Pacific and in the Rocky Mountain states knows that the same result would follow there if we attempted to organize mixed locals of orientals and whites. The oriental laborers are of no use to us in our political struggle, even if we could organize them and educate them as easily as laborers from other countries. The orientals have no home. They cannot help to fight the political class struggle, and if we demand homesteads for them, what will be the result for the white race? How much of the United States are you going to turn over to them? And if they fill them up, how much more and how much more? I am determined that my race shall not go the way of the Aztec and the Indian. I believe in the brotherhood of man, regardless of races, but I do not believe in extending that brotherhood to the point of eliminating myself voluntarily from the struggle for existence and turning over this country to my brothers of other races.” [Work 1908: 110–111].

Berger and Untermann made their views plain. They did not accept mass immigration on the grounds of class politics. I don’t see anything morally unjust or unnatural [from a biological and moral standpoint] in self-preservation. A sovereign country retains the right to regulate immigration. The Palestinians, under British dominion, did not have that right – and look what became of them.

Realism is what’s missing on the present stage of geopolitics.

The conflicts we’re seeing now, the competition for regional dominance, the overthrow of secular governments, the dismemberment of sovereign countries at the whim of the hegemonic power and its corrupt allies, the new slave trade in parts of Africa, the funding of sectarian and segregationist conflicts… When only short term objectives are taken into account, the result is perpetual chaos, destruction, and loss of human life. The Western [neo] liberal model and aberrant foreign policy must be recognized for what they are: a blight on international relations [a threat to peace and international law], a bane for national political economies [national sovereignty and labor rights].

Last month, a guy from NBC posed the Russian president a question on the fate of the Western liberal model, invoking the interview with the Financial Times in which Putin, apparently, threatened the “civilized” world with his opinion on the matter. Of course, the proponent of the lamestream media couldn’t help but frame the question in a sophisticated manner – that Putin celebrated the end of liberal democracy as a victory over the USA. The reader can see the exchange here.

Vladimir Putin responded with the following:

“This is not a correct interpretation of what I have said, or rather it is a very loose one. This is how the problem is interpreted by those who want to believe that this is how we formulate our policy, that we do it as you said. I did not say what you have just said. I did not. Where did you get it? This happens very frequently, when one notion is replaced with another. First the replacement, and then criticism based on this false information. I said in an interview with The Financial Times that the liberal model has no right to claim domination and to believe that it is the only correct model in the world. No, the world is much more diverse; it is developing comprehensively, and one and the same model cannot be forced on everyone without distinction. This is what I said then, and I am ready to repeat it here.” Past that point, Putin argued that in order to solve the problem of economic migration and refugees, the great powers have to invest in these countries to create jobs, infrastructure, and well-being, so that people can work and have a good life and future in their own homelands.

Putin suggested that 1st world countries stop subsidizing their agriculture and open up their markets to agri-products from developing countries. Ironically, Putin’s stance here is perfectly in line with classical liberal economics, in opposition to the established way of doing business in the West, the neoliberal model. I can support this course of action, of raising demand for producers in developing countries; but certain guarantees need to be in place. First, Western farmers need to be spared of taxes. Land taken out of production [for renewal and or conservation] must be exempt from taxation. Improvements made to the land should also be tax exempt; ditto for labor, sales, and enterprise. Because such taxes add dead weight to the economy. Second, money from sales to Western markets needs to be fairly distributed to labor in developing countries. There’s no way to raise people’s living standards if shareholders get all the pie, while only crumbs are left to workers [the true producers of capital].

Opening up to free trade and free movement of capital can be done in a safe and successful manner via land-value capture [the Georgist single tax system], which can be further enhanced through the promotion of community banks, community land trusts, asset side discipline for the banking sector, and state investment. In this previous piece I go into great detail on the aforementioned policies. There are many ways in which 2nd and 3rd world countries can benefit from a multi-polar world system, as opposed to the unipolar world “order” of pillage, war, and sedition. Here are two articles in which I talk about this: Ecology & Land Economics, and Russia and the African Lions.

In the past, I wrote about open immigration policy being a boon to capital. There are several vantage points to look at this and it’s always important to consider both sides of the balance sheet: one country is gaining people, another is losing people. Naive liberals will claim that mass immigration is great to have in any and all circumstances. Moderation and prudence are alien concepts to them; hence the slogan “No borders, no wall, no USA at all.”

Immigrants can provide the host country with tremendous gains in skills and productive power. Integration into the host society is a two-way street, however. The Government has to desire and work toward integration, and the foreigners need to work to that end as well. Even under ideal political circumstances, real constraints have to be considered carefully when figuring out how fast and how much immigration and overall population growth [birth rates included] the country can sustain. I see no value [from a moral and ecological POV] in overpopulating one region of the globe and depopulating a region somewhere else, when nations could help one another by promoting mutual investment so that each may create employment at wages of dignity and foster progress on their own soil. Some countries can afford to lose a portion of their population, which in absolute numbers can entail great millions of people like India and China. Other countries, like those with negative demographic shifts can’t afford to [Japan, Romania, Bulgaria, etc]. Skill drain (ER: brain drain) is also a big problem. Country A invests in training doctors and nurses, and once trained, they emigrate to Country B which pays better wages. In contrast, Country B gets cheaper workers [already trained at the cost of Country A] and there’s less incentive to invest in domestic training. Lack of unionization among foreign workers is also a big problem.

Immigration in the US is already near its historic peak at a time when its health care and welfare systems are in a precarious state [due to deliberate defunding by both republicans and democrats]. As a side note, the golden age of industrial capitalism in the United States was characterized by a decrease in immigration. How many more will flock to the US in [legitimate] hopes of a better life should the Government implement Medicare for All and a Universal Jobs Guarantee that pays living wages? How many more in the twin scenario of the Duopoly and the Deep State targeting Central and Latin American countries for regime change and economic warfare, on top of promoting at home the open borders policy? The strain on logistics, housing, and the environment will be severe. Another angle is inequality. California and New York, blue-state strongholds have some of the highest inequality levels in the union. Trump is trying to build a wall, albeit you can’t really notice it, but his foreign policy toward the southern neighbors is a disaster – it creates refugees and economic migrants and it kills people through artificially-created dearth, tens of thousands of casualties. Trump deserves no quarter on this. Upright nationalists and conservatives should criticize him 24/7 and get him to reverse course. But tribalism and hypocrisy run too deep in these groups… Evangelical paleo-conservatives like Alex Jones and his [Christian Zionist] ilk [fake patriots one and all] love the capitalist US to help the [so-called] commie state starve its own people. Ironically, if you wish to see nowadays a rational foreign policy, you need to look to the far right and the far left because all you’ll find in the conservative and liberal center is pure, insane hawkishness.

The neoliberal free traders overwhelmingly clung to dogma and b.s. economic models instead of keeping an open mind and entertaining the possibility their assumptions [and thus conclusions] may be wrong. It is also a way in which big capital is elevated above states in economic and political rights and liberties. I will say this – if you are a critic of free market economics; if you think Government dirigism is necessary and plays a positive role in the economy, but you are against controlled immigration, then you are a hypocrite – for you favor the rule of the pseudo free market on this question. Free trade – in the sense of turning sovereign countries into impotent regions, having them at the mercy of trans-national finance – was always about centralization of power in the hands of the few. I talked about this at length in a previous article The Globalists of Right and Left.

Conclusion

The question of immigration is not going to disappear any time soon. War, sectarian and segregationist conflicts, and economic warfare [commercial and financial sanctions] give rise to new migration patterns, compounded by climate change. Those liberal idealists who envision a multi-cultural utopia in North America and Europe will be gravely disappointed. It’s not a trivial issue at all; and it’s certainly not a white man’s paranoia. The problem should be approached intelligently and without delay, in coordination with other countries. But there’s no way to do this without dismantling the unipolar world order [manic, genocidal, and corrupt]. It is my belief that supporters of open borders policy [who are ignorant of class struggle and the geopolitics of empire] will reap a terrible harvest for native and foreigner alike.

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Original article

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