Into the Tempest by William I. Robinson

Into the Tempest by William I. Robinson

Author:William I. Robinson [Robinson, William I.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Published: 2019-02-11T22:00:00+00:00


Criminalization and militarized control over immigrant labor reflects a broader militarization of the global economy. Beyond the United States, major sectors of the transnational capitalist class are becoming dependent on local, regional, and global violence, conflict, and inequalities, and in fact push for such conflict through their influence on states and in political and cultural systems. This militarized accumulation is characteristic of the entire global economy. We are increasingly living in a global war economy, and certain countries, such as the United States and Israel, are key gears in this machinery. Militarized accumulation to control and contain the downtrodden and marginalized and to sustain accumulation in the face of crisis lends itself to fascist political tendencies, or what I have referred to as twenty-first-century fascism.29 A key element of this global war economy is the transnational immigrant detention and repression complex.

A mass immigrant rights movement is at the cutting edge of the struggle against transnational corporate exploitation. Granting full citizenship rights to the hundreds of millions of immigrants around the world would undermine the division of the global working class into immigrants and citizens. That division is a central component of the new class relations of global capitalism, predicated on a casualized and “flexible” mass of workers who can be hired and fired at will; are de-unionized; and face precarious work conditions, job instability, a rollback of benefits, and downward pressures on wages.

The strategic challenge of the immigrant justice movement in the United States as elsewhere is how to achieve the hegemony of the mass worker base within the movement. The expanding crisis of global capitalism opens up grave dangers—for immigrants and for all of humanity—but also opens up opportunities. It is not to the political parties of the status quo (e.g., the Democratic Party in the United States), to the transnational capitalist class, or to the halls of establishment power but to the mass base of this movement—the communities of poor immigrant workers and their families who swell the cities and rural towns of the world—to whom we must turn to reverse the anti-immigrant onslaught.

More broadly (and this idea might clash with progressives who for decades have fought for citizenship rights for all), the whole notion of national citizenship needs to be questioned. Borders are not in the interests of the global working class; they should be torn down. So long as the rights we associate with citizenship are seen to adhere to a limited group of people who belong to a nation, there will always be those who fall outside of the nation and are excluded from these rights; there will always be others. We must consider citizenship rights as universal human rights for all people who for whatever reason happen to reside in a particular territory. We must replace the whole concept of national citizenship with that of global citizenship. This is a truly revolutionary rallying cry. And it is the only one that can assure justice and equality for all.


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