Why I’m Not Standing with the Gringo Vigilantes


Austin, Texas

SouthWest Border Vigilantes say gringos should drop everything they are doing and go stand shoulder to shoulder at the Mexican border to prevent anybody from walking North.

In response, I’m not saying gringo vigilantes are altogether stupid people, because there are most likely many areas of life where they display dignity and intelligence. The sooner they return to those areas the better.

Yet suppose for the sake of peacemaking that we find common ground with vigilantes in their pure anxiety about the border. What they are worried about is a swamped labor market where more people share fewer jobs and declining pay. That anxiety has some basis in reality.

But it is misleading to see the chief cause of the labor problem along an imaginary line that separates the USA from Mexico. Blame America’s problems on Mexicans? The battle cry of the border vigilante is evidence that we live in desperate and confused times.

Where border vigilantes should look is toward the tallest skyscrapers of their hometown cities, up to the penthouses where business plans are being hatched to pay ever fewer American workers ever smaller paychecks. There is where the vigilantes should stand shoulder to shoulder not letting anyone down the elevators until a national labor plan is laser printed and signed by each and every penthouse occupant and posted on the internet in pdf format.

Not only will a national labor plan manage existing American workers toward peak participation, but it will also show how immigrant workers will continue to be integrated (or re-integrated) into an expanding labor market.

America has always been able to do this for gringo immigrants — work them in. And so the sons and daughters of gringo immigrants should demand a plan to "work in" immigrants yet to come. Do unto others, etc.

It is just plain sick to see gringos standing at the Mexican border as if their own gringo forefathers walked the Bering straits or paddled the great oceans to get here 10,000 years ago, got to know all the plants and animals, bred corn and tapped pulque, discovered tomatoes and tortillas. Inhospitality however is a gringo specialty and the sickness we are quite used to seeing, even when they have their mouths stuffed with fajita enchilada specials. For shame.

We must remind border vigilantes that unemployment was nowhere to be found in America prior to gringo arrival which means essentially that gringos have to figure out how they are going to take responsibility for solving at least one problem they carry with them everywhere they go. Because now that everyone has adopted the advanced gringo economic scheme that is never offered as an option, unemployment has spread like smallpox.

Blaming Mexicans for the effects of a poorly managed USA labor policy is a sign of intellectual and moral weakness, as if the leading question asked by the vigilantes is not who is most responsible for this mess but who can we most easily pick on.

But those are the easy truths to face, because they are all rooted in the past. More difficult truths of labor anxiety reach into the future, because gringo nation for the first time in history is about to get old. This is the truth of the social security crisis.

As gringo nation prepares for old age, it will have more to figure out than where to get its retirement checks from. Because retirement checks must be spent. And in order for there to actually be an economy in which to spend the retirement checks, old gringo nation is going to have to figure out how to get some youth into its economy — youth that gringo nation cannot itself provide.

Nor will the cure be found in proposals to deport lower paid immigrants in a dim-witted attempt to raise the average taxable income of an aging nation. Gringos who offer this plan seem not to be aware that where there are no lower paid workers there cannot be any higher paid ones. This systematic failure of their economic comprehension arises most naturally from gringo assumptions that wealthy people make themselves rich

And yet, we have to sympathize a little with gringo illiteracy in economic theory, because they are just repeating what they are taught in schools. They are taught for instance that gringos themselves made gringo nation rich. And so they assume that gringo nation will be richer without lower paid Mexicans. The logic is as deluded as it is explainable once you see what gringo nation really means by excellence in education.

Now you could unionize the lower paid immigrants and get their paychecks raised up to a living wage. But if you do away with the labor that lower paid workers provide you would have what Douglas Turner Ward called a "Day of Absence" (1965) more recently dramatized in "A Day without a Mexican" (2004). What gringo ideologues tend to forget is that so-called menial labor gets done because without it no fortunes can be built. If you deport all the immigrants who do that work, someone will have to be found to take their places. If it’s a higher average income that you want, why not raise the wages?

So when gazing across the economy from penthouses high atop the USA, planners will have to tell us, are they capable of solving this problem of working in immigrants as usual — just like they did for their own gringo selves — or not? If not, then gringo vigilantes will have found a proper place to lose their tempers.

Where planners won’t do their planning, that’s where activism is needed, autonomously creating the economy that planners have abandoned.

But for the time being, it turns out to be a very handy exercise to have gringo vigilantes standing at the borderlands where they can look around. Because just to their South bubbles the fountain of youth that their aging economy needs. It will come as a gift if they let it in.

As they stand there looking around at the great crossing grounds that is their last best hope for a grateful old age, they can ask, what do we need to build here as welcoming mats?

And I have no doubt about it, as soon as the gringo vigilantes begin to work out answers to the "welcome mat" problem, we’ll see how intelligent and creative they can be. They will still be gringos, God bless them, but they won’t be vigilantes anymore.

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. His chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush appears in Dime’s Worth of Difference, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net


Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?