History Of RIR
make a change
HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION
As we saw in May of 2006 when millions of concerned consumers flooded the streets of America to protest the long time policy of exploitation of immigrant labor — a force to be reckoned with established its power. The question is: What do we do next? How do we turn that consumer and labor power into real change? And who will be the face of this historical change?Largely, the answer, according to the greatest most effective historical movements, has been non-violent boycott. Why do boycotts succeed? If organized, targeted, planned and sustained — boycotts not only affect the desired remedy but effect lasting change in political affiliations, terminology, political landscape and accepted norms because they affect the ability to do business. In short, boycotts succeed if they are specific, well organized and sustained.
The term “Boycott” was derived from a Capain Charles Boycott who was an unsrupulous estate agent during the Irish Land Wars of 1880. Tenants sought rent reduction and Boycott not only refused, but evicted them from the land. Rather than resorting to violence, an organized protest began and the community joined together and refused to deal wth him. He was soon isolated. Boycott was unable to hire workers to harvest crops, work in his stables or serve in his house. Local businessmen cut off trade and the postman refused to deliver his mail.
Famous effective “Boycotts”
*1769 The boycott of British goods to protest taxation without representation, which ultimately gave birth to a country.
* 1921 boycott of British Goods by Mohandas Gandhi, which ultimately re-established a nation.
*1950’s and 60’s Bus boycott, which gave birth to civil rights and a national movement of legal and practical equalities.
*1980’s Governmental and private boycott of South Africa business in protest of apartheid. Disinvestment of South African stock was used to pressure sweeping governmental change in South Africa eventually ending apartheid.
The next task set before the national immigration reform movement is to identify products, services, and corporations that are the worst immigration and human rights offenders and promote organized and sustained boycotts of products, services, associations, and all other possible elements that will affect their ability to profit on the backs of immigrant lablor. Each product or service must be boycotted (one at a time en masse) until the desired result is reached: a change in company, city, national policy, etc.
Let’s make a list of possible boycott subjects. Let us keep in mind what will be the least disruptive for the immigrant community and pack the largest sustainable punch on goods manufactured or facilitated by companies that profit from the exploitation of immigrant labor and commerce.
1790 marked this nation’s first Naturalization Act, which limited American Citizenship to “free white persons.” This act made into law the disenfranchisement of enslaved Africans. The law subsequently made way for the Fugitive Slave Act, which made illegal aliens of slaves who escaped for their lives from slave states. This in turn made possible the mass deportation of Chinese immigrants who had been imported for use as forced labor on the transcontinental railroad and had served their original purpose. The United States has a documented history of labor abuses and duality in the human rights arena and the current illegal alien debate follows in this tradition.
In 1847, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed, which marked the end of hostilities in California for the remainder of the Mexican War, essentially leading to the statehood of California. Terms of the agreement included the right of travel between areas “…without let or hindrance” and “equal rights and privilege” was promised “to every citizen” regardless of residence or origin. The agreement was struck in recognition of the symbiotic relationship between the indigenous people and the European settlers. The forward thinking agreement recognized that labor, trade, intermarriage and security were inevitable factors, and a guarantee of free movement and equal rights seemed a reasonable solution in return for the peaceful relinquishment of land. The current immigration debate seems a curious time-warp, revisiting the same conflict that has existed from the beginning of our history as a nation; that is the indigenous peoples’ right to survive, thrive and live in peace and dignity.
While politicians play to their base during a tough election year, their double standards are evident as opposing interests squeeze meaningless grandstanding legislative performances from an ineffective Congress. While agriculture, textiles, food processing, furniture, metalwork and many other industries depend on the low wage labor of immigrants, politicians must play both sides, appeasing their strong corporate interests while appearing as populist nativists to the ever dwindling middle class (otherwise know as free white persons). Incidentally, the “free trade”agreements on US terms threaten all of the above mentioned industries, which are largely medium sized and family businesses, while further benefiting the behemoth of Big Oil.
House resolution bill 4437 (also known as the Sensenbrenner bill) would make felons out of resident laborers who have worked in and fed the American economy (as well as their families), many of whom have given birth to American citizens. This move has the potential of separating husband from wife, children from parents, as well as creating enormous underground labor pools which enable US corporations to further exploit citizen and immigrant labor. (So much for family values!) For all of the grandstanding and introduction of congressional initiatives, little or nothing has been accomplished towards true immigration reform except for a grappling of power amongst politicians.
Unlike the civil rights movements of the past, there is no easily identifiable central leader (Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez), rather the grassroots effort is characterized by the decentralization of the digital age. Instead of weakening the movement, this new technological community (largely youth oriented) has effectively harnessed a real conglomeration of diverse elements, therefore giving true power to the masses. The disruption of school, business and community resulting from protests, boycotts and other political action has garnered the attention of nervous politicians and indeed the entire world. As Martin Luther King Jr. once posited “When you impact the rich man’s ability to make money, anything is possible.”
Further, anti-humane bills such as California’s Proposition 187 of 1994, which sought to deny health and education benefits to the children of the undocumented, have garnered opposition from unlikely sources such as the AFL-CIO. The potentially disastrous effects of creating a large underclass of ailing and uneducated workers (a recipe for the influx of disease and acts of criminal desperation – not unlike the depictions in “The Grapes of Wrath”) should not be lost on the larger population. Though the proposition passed with 59% of the vote, its legality was immediately challenged and the law was never enforced eventually dying a slow death through legal and political means.
As the immigration debate moves forward, politicians will be increasingly pressured to clarify their positions and introduce real solutions. The gap between the popularity of Amnistia on the streets of America and its unpopularity among Washington politicians (particularly those running for reelection) will be forced to the surface.
- The accumulation of the means of production (materials, land, tools) as property into a few hands; this accumulated property is called “capital” and the property-owners of these means of production are called “capitalists.”
- Productive labor—the human work necessary to produce goods and distribute them—takes the form of wage labor. That is, humans work for wages rather than for product. One of the aspects of wage labor is that the laborer tends not to be invested in the product. Labor also becomes “efficient,” that is, it becomes defined by its “productivity”; capitalism increases individual productivity through “the division of labor,” which divides productive labor into its smallest components. The result of the division of labor is to lower the value (in terms of skill and wages) of the individual worker; this would create immense social problems in Europe and America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- The means of production and labor is manipulated by the capitalist using rational calculation in order to realize a profit. So that capitalism as an economic activity is fundamentally teleological.
“When you impact the rich man’s ability to make money, anything is possible.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.