[Marxism] What are they up to with this social security "no-match" crackdown?
jbustelo at gmail.com
Thu Aug 9 23:17:33 MDT 2007
The NY Times has reported, and commented on in an editorial, that Fatherland
Security Reich-Fuehrer, Herr Chertoff, has pre-announced he will be
announcing a major escalation in the use of social security "no match"
letters to drive undocumented immigrants out of jobs.
And the details of the article make clear that this will be a policy of
selective enforcement aimed at corporations rather than wholesale automated
spitting out of letters.
[I'm not going to go over the details here. Go to www.nytimes.com and find
the article and editorial if you don't know.]
On its face, if seriously meant and widely enforced, this policy would be
economic suicide for the country in general, and political suicide for the
Republicans in particular.
So this suggests to me that something different is going on. I just wonder
what it might be.
Throwing some red meat to the mad-dog immigrant haters in the Republican
base that look to Lou Dobbs is a factor. But for that I suspect something
more dramatic --factory and neighborhood raids, complete with perp walks and
so on-- would be better. And a lot less disruptive. You could do a raid a
week, complete with embedded reporters and camera crews from O'Reilly AND
Lou Dobbs, and basically achieve absolutely NOTHING, perturb the economy not
in the slightest amount, and earn accolades not just from Dobbs, but even
So this doesn't make sense from the pandering to racists point of view. It's
too quiet, too bureaucratic, no good pictures for the TV.
One possibility that has crossed my mind is that it is a shakedown. The
Republicans outright stole the 2000 elections already, and we just saw last
weekend how the Democrats rolled over for them on the wiretapping bill, just
like Gore did seven years ago on the election.
Could the Republicans be so brazen as to nakedly demand protection money
--and support-- from various corporations for not prioritizing them in this
new enforcement campaign?
Well, the people in this administration may not be mobsters, but they ARE
war criminals, Eichmanns, and not so little. Why do we even need to ask? If
they're willing, able, and EAGER to commit genocide, why should we be
shocked that they would use their control of the Executive branch of
government to tamper with a bourgeois electoral farce?
Because you have to figure on the downside of coming out of 2008 with
control of the White House AND Congress in the hands of the Democrats -- as
the Republicans would view it.
First, it also means the judiciary branch of government is gone, for
Democrat-type policy in the judiciary will come from run of the mill
moderate/centrist judges, given the state of the law. Republicanization of
the judicial branch requires a rightist activist judiciary that would
reverse established law in case after case. Just look at the decision in the
lawsuit against the Hazeltown, PA, anti-immigrant law. Just about every
three or four pages the judge says the same thing -- the Supreme Court has
ruled that immigrants are persons under U.S. jurisdiction entitled to equal
protection of the laws as stipulated in the 14th Amendment. Given
established, settled judicial precedent, Dred Scotting the undocumented will
not be easy.
This means routinist, bureaucratic, "ticket punching" judges will do just
fine for the Democrats. A Democrat president, with a simple majority in the
Senate, is likely to be able to get a huge number of appointments through,
compared to Bush. And one or a couple of "untimely" deaths on the Supreme
Court, and John Roberts could live until he's 90, but he ain't going to
change the law.
And a revanchist Democrat majority wouldn't have to look far or dig deep to
CRUCIFY the Republicans and send a lot of their political cadre to prison,
and even to the gallows. There is the international kidnapping/murder ring
organized out of the White House, not to mention the concentration camp
torture centers in Guantanamo and Eastern Europe, sure. But also there's
just plain, good old-fashioned American corruption. You know, accepting
Pentagon money to give "our troops" bullet proof armor and supplying instead
the equivalent of Saran Wrap is, of course, fraud. But, at a time of war,
some might call it treason.
But without getting melodramatic, there's also turning the Justice
Department into a branch office of the Republican National Committee
vote-suppression operation. Charges on this basis will also have --or so
Democrats will hope-- the effect of re-enforcing the enslavement of the
Black community to their half of the two-party system.
This whole administration just reeks of cronyism and corruption. And since
the Republicans have shown they would not hesitate to do it to the Democrats
(impeachment for a blow job?!), they're likely to assume the Democrats would
do it to them.
I actually don't believe that. Just look at how the Democrat majority in
Congress is behaving. But the Republicans almost certainly will not want to
run the risk.
And then there's the other side. Supposing this Republican anti-immigrant
jihad is exactly what it is depicted as --an attempt to drive the
undocumented from the labor force-- what's the reaction of some
multibillionaire going to be when it bankrupts their corporate farm, or
construction firm, or rug weaving plant? These ruling class types are pretty
touchy about their prerogatives, but they go absolutely ballistic when you
fuck with their profits. It's not that they need the money. It's the
principle of the thing. America's business is business.
And what's the reaction of the undocumented and the Latino community going
To judge that, you need to consider the class dynamics involved. You're
PUSHING TOGETHER workers and bosses around the bourgeois-democratic RIGHT to
exploit and be exploited. It sounds cynical to put it that way, but it is
nevertheless true. These workers are fighting for their right to be
exploited here, and these bosses want their right to exploit these workers
to be respected.
That's what led to the spring, 2006 mass upsurge for immigrant rights. The
Sensenbrenner bill attacked the undocumented, sure, but it ALSO attacked the
right of the capitalists to exploit them as workers and rob them as
consumers. It was the wholesale character of the attack embodied in the
Sensenbrenner bill that led to that upsurge.
Perhaps W's strategists are just thinking, it was that damn Piolin and the
other DJ's, we'll just have their corporate owners instruct them to oppose
the mass movement. But that's not the way U.S. ruling class
political-ideological hegemony works. If you have to give orders and
instruct the executives of the Spanish language media to put censors into
the newsrooms and the studios, your hegemony has cracked. And it will not
work. Blinders on draft animals are one thing, blindfolds on human beings
another. Adopt measures such that most everyone in the newsroom feels they
are attacked as human beings, and the blinders they normally wear as draft
animals will fall off, and no amount of blindfolds can replace them.
The effect of the Chertoff Crusade, if widely implemented as pre-announced,
could well be another such massive upsurge. Because with the prospect of
losing their labor force --and therefore their factory or plant-- get ready
to see some surprising flexibility and understanding by at least some bosses
of workers who walk out to go to a demonstration against these measures. As
well as on the part of the media that has this layer of the population for
its audience. And on the part of the advertisers who patronize this media to
reach their clientele.
I know, last time around we all yelled and screamed bloody murder at every
case of reprisals against workers who took part in the 2006 upsurge. But
could you name, say, 10 or 15 such cases? I can't. Locally, I know of a
couple of cases, and the "punishment" was just a pro-forma verbal warning:
if you need to miss work, you have to call in, that sort of stuff.
Whereas with a phone call or two I can give you a list of 10 or 15 local
establishments whose management shut down on protest days and openly
proclaimed they were doing so in support of the protests. Starting with
Plaza Fiesta, the largest Latino mall in Atlanta. The only employees who HAD
to work on the day we did the big demonstration were the mall security
people, as they were charged with helping to keep order at the protest,
which was held on their premises.
That's precisely what's wrong, from a ruling class point of view, with the
wholesale anti-immigrant offensive. It's the exact opposite of salami
tactics. Instead of taking out the opponents of your measure one slice at a
time, you push them all together and back them into a corner from which
there is no escape except by fighting.
In a way, for me, that would be the "best" option -- that Herr Chertoff and
his storm troopers mean exactly what they say. And while someone like W. may
not understand it, I assume the ruling class does exercise SOME supervision
of his administration's moves, and is not eager to set off once again a
dynamic mass movement like the one from the Spring of 2006, and this time
with masses of people having had the ADDITIONAL experience of having lived
through and seen what successfully applying the second half of the slogan
"today we march, tomorrow we vote" actually gets you, which is ABSOLUTELY
Such a renewed mass explosion may force the Congresscritters to backtrack
and re-open the "immigration reform" issue in the national legislature, even
though it had been declared dead, buried, and concrete poured over the grave
to build one more plant for armor-plating hummers for the Iraq war. But what
kind of a message does THAT send -- if you don't like what Congress is
doing, you just demonstrate and protest and raise hell until they change?
But if the ruling class doesn't have its sock puppets on Capitol Hill do
that, it brings up the interesting question of what the trajectory of the
mass movement will be. "Today we march, tomorrow we ..."
Historically, there's been a range of possible completions to that sentence,
like "tomorrow we strike" and "tomorrow we rebel and burn substantial parts
of your major cities down to the ground" and various options in between,
just going by U.S. experience. But internationally the historical options
have included "tomorrow we overthrow your government and put in one of our
Which is another reason why it seems unlikely that Herr Chertoff could be
serious about his plan.
GIVEN that nothing should happen in Congress at least until well into 2009,
since Congress is the ideal way to co-opt/defuse this kind of movement, why
FORCE a showdown now? Especially since if your plan actually WORKS, and you
force millions of undocumented workers out of the labor force, the result
will be the worst disruption of the U.S. economy since the Great Depression?
Does Chertoff really think all the nativist assholes will STILL be
applauding when they find themselves out of a job because of the economic
Because that IS what will happen. The "legal" labor is not there at the wage
scales that exist, not even with a 10%, 20% or 30% increase. When male,
legal white folks were the ones staffing the meatpacking plants, nominal
wages were almost double what they are today -- and that was two decades
And in rural areas, the labor is not there AT ALL. Period. Not at any wage.
Not this week or the next, not next month or the one after, not unless they
reinstitute chattel slavery.
And it isn't even a matter of wages or benefits. Manual labor --never mind
"stoop labor" on a farm-- has been so downgraded in this country that it
would take a LONG TIME for making rugs or plucking chickens or harvesting
fruit at $20/hour + benefits to be seen as an attractive alternative to
selling electronic trinkets at half the wages at Radio Shack or Target.
EVENTUALLY it would happen --but not before this year's harvests and rug
production went to hell and with it the capitalist enterprises involved.
This has, of course, tremendous implications for the immigrant rights
movement and the unions. And for increasing the totalitarian or police-state
aspect of the U.S. regime. But on the face of it, what Chertoff is
projecting seems so counterproductive that I can't help but wonder what the
REAL objectives being sought by this promised "crackdown" are.
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