FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail