Monday, December 26, 2016

Cheap Labor and Cheap Causes

The Washington Post report that the Trump vineyard seeks Labor Department approval to hire foreign workers.

Right. Unfree foeign labor picking field crops in Virginia.

Where have I heard this before?

Trump's Mar-a-Lago also runs on imported and un-free H-2 workers, and Ivanka's shoe line, once made in China, is now being moved to Ethopia, where labor costs are cheaper and worker protections are non-existent.

This is par for the course for Trump who built the Trump tower with Polish illegal alien labor paid far less than the prevailing wage.

If Trump has an honest campaign slogan, it should be "Make slavery great again."

But is it much better on the left?

No.  Here we see the sniffing pretensions of white-wine liberals who will tell you, straight-faced, that immigrants don't depress wages and working conditions because that's true in their air-conditioned offices. Point to any construction site, however, and they will tell you "these are jobs no American will do," and never mind if that sounds suspiciously like "no free white man will pick cotton."

Former Republican Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson used to say that when it came to U.S. immigration policy, "The Republicans like their cheap labor, and the liberals like their cheap cause."


A very similar sentiment is voiced by American Marxist economist Professor Richard D. Wolff:

British capitalists recognized a useful side effect of importing lower-wage workers. It differentiated employees by national origin, religion and sometimes also ethnicity. Some English workers resented downward pressures on wages and working conditions, overcrowded housing and neighborhoods, and overused and inadequate public services. They often overlooked capitalists' profit-driven organization of immigration, and instead blamed immigrants themselves. British politicians reinforced such ways of thinking as they sought financing from those capitalists and votes from English workers. Likewise, profit-driven media companies, the journalists they hired, and compliant academics often promoted notions that immigrants represented net economic costs and difficult social adjustments imposed on the existing population. Such notions deflected workers' resentments about their economic situations onto scapegoating immigration and immigrants. In short, immigration made a divide-and-rule strategy of capital against labor all the easier to pursue.

Adding insult to injury, some British leaders scolded English workers for their "intolerance" or "prejudice" against the Irish. Such scolding lofted them "above" the fray of mutual recriminations among competing English and Irish workers. Portions of the upper classes enjoyed celebrating themselves as more "tolerant" and less "biased." The British replicated their Irish history with others among their "colonial subjects" in Asia, Africa and South America. The same applies to various French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German and Italian colonial exploits. A parallel history characterizes the US's long experience with immigration, as well as chattel slavery, to cope with capitalism's recurrent labor shortages.

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