Will Progressive Sacrifice People of Color to Win?

Jo Ann Hardesty

I think the time is here to ask an important question. Before the national conventions; before the official fall campaign season kickoff: while people are calm and enjoying this cold summer day.

Are people of color expendable in the 2008 General Election? Will we be sacrificed to win?

I want to be prepared this time.

In 2004 Oregon's general election candidates for governor each framed the election as a fight against illegal immigrants ( I'm not using this word again because I believe no human is illegal). It was the #1 issue they would address upon election and/or reelection. The progressive & regressive candidates tried to out "toughed" each other.

Did they wonder how immigrants, old and new, documented and undocumented felt when every TV, Radio and mail piece painted their community with a vile, punitive, nasty brush?

I know. Every welfare mom story paints the picture of a black women with 3 kids and three different baby daddy's, even though white people are the majority of the people who receive welfare.

Yes, I know, when the stench of Willie Horton ads linger in our minds as a constant reminder of how people who look like me are used in distorted images developed to create fear in white people of black people.

Some may believe that since Sen. Barack Obama is the presumed nominee for the democratic party that this will be a non issue, I however, am not as optimistic.

What if we follow Sen. Obama's lead and develop messages that unite us as progressives? instead of the tried and true ones that divide? What if we talked about our shared destiny & values?

And the saddest part, when the election is over no apologies are ever offered, so no healing can begin. I've decided that I will be pro active this election season and ask well in advance.

Are people of color expendable this election season? Will we be sacrificed to win?

  • Barbara Griego (unverified)

    Jo Ann,

    I hope progressives will unite. I used to be an Office administrator for Child Support in a Southern State. We had many white welfare moms with several children (9 in one case) who all had different fathers. The majority of our welfare recipients were white, then black, then, hispanic. I never had a single Asian requesting welfare or child support. None of the people I worked with characterized welfare moms as black. I think you are so sensitive to it that you don't hear the other voices. Let's do respect each other and work together for our country. Oh yes, I am a senior and white. Barbara

  • Harry (unverified)
    <h1>"...framed the election as a fight against illegal immigrants ( I'm not using this word again because I believe no human is illegal)."</h1>

    No human is illegal. But many humans perform illegal actions and exhibit illegal behaviors. When somebody breaks any country's laws, they risk the punishment that comes with breaking that law. Most politicians favor a campaign that honors legal behavior, and not condoning illegal behaviors.

    "Did they wonder how immigrants, old and new, documented and undocumented felt when every TV, Radio and mail piece painted their community with a vile, punitive, nasty brush?"


    As a first generation American immigrant, I always felt proud of other immigrants and what they were able to accomplish while here legally. I also felt ashamed to be associated with immigrants (of any race or nationality) that did not follow the laws of this country. It is wrong to paint legal residents and citizens with the same vile, punitive, nasty brush that should only be reserved for people with illegal behavior.

  • John Skelter (unverified)

    Unfortunately your fears are well founded.

    Remember what happened to Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. He ended up dead and his son was prosecuted on trumpted up charges.

    Obama can win and succeed with the right (or should I say left?) people around him.

  • altus (unverified)

    Well said Harry. Every immigrant I know (my mother, grandmother, aunts & uncles, etc as well as their friends, community, etc.) are ashamed and shocked other immigrants cutting in line and do not follow the laws of any country for entry. The are even more shocked that there are those that call them racist or anti-immigration because they expect fellow immigrants to follow the same laws they and their family did - just as they expect their fellow citizens to follow all the other laws pertaining every day life.

    My mother, grandmother and family are not racist nor anti-immigration. However, they are saddened to see the same persecution and rehtoric they left in their former communist state creeping up here in America. Freedom and Liberty seem to becoming passe. All you have to do is listen to both Presidential candidates. The speeches are mind boggling to hear. There is no MLK, JFK in these two. Read transcripts of the MLK and JFK speechs and then a transcript of these Presidential candidates. There is no there there. There is not track record of change. There has been no change in Chicago lead or participated by Obama or change in Arizona. American's want true leadership, the kind from the words of MLK and JFK. I guess the evolution of humans truly isn't linear.

    Given today. I'd like to thank the tens of thousands of soliders that were killed in Europe for their service in WWII and their heroics on June 6, 1944. Without their courage I would not be here today. Instead my grandmother and mother would have been surely killed. Their heroics created the ablity of several millions to continue their family lineage.

    To all my fellow American's who say that America is an imperialist country here is what a true leader name Colin Powell said in February of 2002:

    "[F]ar from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are."

    That's leadership. Those words ring so true to the millions of immigrants who followed the laws to come into America and will never forget June 6, 1944 a mere 64 years ago.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)

    "Will Progressive Sacrifice People of Color to Win?"

    No, nor will they sacrifice gays, liberals, environmentalist, and sooo many other groups.

    Democratic supporters sit in a circle and listen to all concerns, then figure out solutions. Conservatives sit in a circle with their Grand Puba telling them what to think.

    I understand your concerns, but I hope your future posts will reflect on how we can improve society, rather than trying to point out the division within, as we all can see clearly exits.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    I would like to hear some more from JoAnn Bowman on the theme she's exploring here. I agree that having Barack Obama as the candidate guarantees nothing. A lot of the unfortunate race-baiting and such in political advertising seems to happen at the local, rather than national, level. What would Ms. Bowman like to see in the campaign? Does she fear that Obama himself is going to sacrifice people of color to win the presidency?

    I'm glad to see Ms. Bowman here on BlueOregon. I used to enjoy listening to her on KBOO. A criticism that I hope is constructive:

    Bowman: In 2004 Oregon's general election candidates for governor each framed the election as a fight against illegal immigrants ( I'm not using this word again because I believe no human is illegal). It was the #1 issue they would address upon election and/or reelection. The progressive & regressive candidates tried to out "toughed" each other.

    If I recall correctly, Kulongoski's take on this issue was in connection with drivers' licenses. The problem as I see it it that drivers' licenses are de facto ID cards, as the US has no national ID card. (Note that plenty of democratic countries DO have national ID cards.) There is nothing intrinsically "colored" about immigrants, documented or otherwise, but again there is de facto a connection of this sort because undocumented aliens in the US are overwhelmingly brown-skinned folks from Latin America.

    I'm pretty fed up with the goofy self-righteous commentary such as seen above ("my parents came here legally blah blah blah"). But I am equally dismayed by the easy--and intentional, it would seem--way that some progressives cast any attempt to enforce the immigration laws as racist. Geez Louise, in a world of nation-states, there are borders and immigration laws to enforce. Given the US' geographical location, it's brown-skinned folks from south of the border who bear the brunt of the enforcement.

    BTW, per that screwball "patriotic" quote from Colin Powell above, in fact European fascism was defeated primarily by the Soviet Union, not by the Anglo-American alliance.

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    Joel Dan, there are two different racism issues as I see it. One is that despite the denials of racism a huge amount of anti-immigrant rhetoric is racist or ethnocentric. People who don't use such rhetoric are understandably frustrated or angered if they feel accused of racism, but they do little that I have ever seen to refute the racist and ethnocentric arguments that do exist and make common cause with the racists in the anti-immigration movement. And the racists too deny they are racist, which is common in other contexts as well.

    A striking visual example that stays with me was a photo in the New York Times after the killing of a black man in Howard Beach NYC (or possibly a similar incident near the same time in a different neighorhood, possibly Bensonhurst), after which there was a protest march by African-Americans into the neighborhood. The photo showed a woman holding up a sign saying "We Are Not Racists! Standing next to her was a man holding up a slice of watermelon.

    The second issue is the way that the racist and ethnocentric campaigns and propaganda against immigrants who are illegally resident in the country spill over and affect legal immigrants, recent immigrant citizens, and multi-generation citizens with similar ethnic backgrounds. Much of the propaganda is aimed at the supposed threat to Anglo culture, e.g. attacks on groups like MeCha (overwhelmingly composed of students who are citizens or legally resident immigrants). Employer fear of sanctions can lead to discrimination in hiring on a racial/ethnic basis. People illegally resident have community and family ties to people who are legally resident or citizens, and whole communities feel besieged.

    Not everyone who opposes illegal immigration is racist, and I suppose it is possible that some who express their opposition in racist and ethnocentric terms are not primarily or not exclusively motivated by racism.

    But it is an indisputable fact that a huge proportion of anti-immigrant propaganda is couched in racist and ethnocentric terms that in fact do make it anti-immigrant, at least from Latino ethnic/racial groups, and not just anti-illegally-resident immigrant. And the non-racists never to my knowledge repudiate the racism and ethnocentrism of their allies, which as far as I am concerned makes them complicit in it.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    joel dan walls BTW, per that screwball "patriotic" quote from Colin Powell above...

    Screwball? More like delusional. Going OT for a rant.

    "[F]ar from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. (Except in Spain which we sat out) We defeated Communism (We did? Korea was a tie and the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight. Maybe he's thinking of Nicaragua where Daniel Ortega is now the President). We saved Europe in World War I (Bad move, the victors took their revenge on Germany which led directly to WWII and not letting one of our allies at the time, Japan, have much of a say in the Treaty of Versailles led in part to the rise of Tojo) and World War II. (Phase 2 of WWI) We were willing to do it, glad to do it. (We weren't given much of a choice for WWII) We went to Korea. (tie and then installed a brutal dictator Sigman Rhee) We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. (Except for the right of self determination, see: RVN Declaration of Independence, September 2, 1945.)

    "We'll take a million Americans but no French!" Attributed to Ho Chi Minh after WWII

    Colin Powell is a serial liar.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Mr Lowe--you did a very interesting job of exploring the entire tangled mess of rhetoric about undocuments aliens in the US. I absolutely agree with you that there is a great deal of either racist or ethnocentric sentiment being put forth, and that (mostly Latino) communities in the US may feel besieged. I do think it's important to remember, however that we have borders and immigration laws, and that enforcing border controls is NOT de facto a racist act. So how do we make enforcing the border free of bigotry? To me, that's the central issue.

    Again, I do not doubt that Latino communities may feel besieged, but I wonder if their actions are necessarily well thought-out. I'm thinking in particular of what happens whenever there's a dramatic action by the US government to round up undocumented aliens, such as the raid on the Del Monte plant in Portland a year ago (roughly). In the aftermath of the raid, there was a great deal of protest by Latino groups that describe themselves as "immigrant rights" groups. I KNOW these folks are responding out of their sense of feeling besieged, but arguably, to the broader community, they appear to be advocating for the "rights" of undocumented aliens. This sort of advocacy doesn't just blur the distinction between documented and undocumented aliens--it amounts to denying the distinction. In my opinion, this sort of advocacy thus winds up projecting to the wider community a really unfortunate image.

    Another, less-explored issue is that the presence of so many undocumented aliens in the US makes it harder for people who want to come here legally, even if as tourists or students. I have personal knowledge of cases like this, involving students who want to come to the US for university studies, then return home, but who cannot get a visa. Fact is, visas to the US are VERY hard to obtain for people from most countries, and consular officers are under a lot of pressure to deny visa applications because so many folks wind up overstaying their visas and absconding. People who flout the immigration laws wind up making it a lot harder for the rest.

    I am not personally involved in any sort of advocacy around the issue of immigration. And at a purely personal level, I find that increasing ethnic diversity in my community is a good thing. But I try to separate these sentiments from the issue of border controls.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    On a lighter note, this item; thanks to a link on Jack Bogdanski's blog.

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    Thank you to the folks who answered my question. I appreciate the thoughtful responses and the desire by some to really shift our thinking about engaging folks in elections in a more constructive way. Demonizing a segment of our community for the sake of an election does not build community, instead, it creates bigger wedges. It seems some believe this is a conversation about immigration. It isn't.


    I don't know what democratic party meetings you attend, but the ones I've attended never discuss race except as mandated by the national organization for delegate selections.

    I've seen way to many democratic campaign pieces that push tough on crime measures that ultimately exacerbates the over representation of people of color in prison.

    While I appreciate all the stories regarding immigration experiences, your families had the opportunity to, as you say legally immigrate to this country. Many due to US Immigration policy and practices many are not so lucky.

    The question of following the law. I could write a book about the injustice in our criminal justice system and the many laws that have been changed because of the inequality those laws produced. Suffice it to say that just because a law exist does not make it fair or just. That's why we the people have an opportunity to participate in our democracy.

    I don't have to remind this group how many laws in the US of A were or are in policy or practice unjust or are unequally enforced. There is no legal obligation to follow a law that is unjust.

    As a vet myself I have a lot of respect for the men & women who serve in the military. I know they are required to do what they are told and not question higher ups.

    I also know US History.

    To those who did not answer the original question, why? Will progressives sacrifice people of color to win?

    Joel: Thanks for the questions. I agree that most of these types of ads are created locally. No, I don't think Sen. Barack Obama will participate in any effort to sacrifice people of color to win.

    The issues confronting us at the local and national level are enormous. Can progressives develop an inclusive message that taps into the best of us, rather than the worse? Are we all in this ? We all rise together? What are the values that will frame this election season? Will we rise above the nastiness of previous years or is winning the only goal? What will it take to implement this vision of unity.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Ms. Bowman--Like you, I cannot imagine that the Obama campaign will engage in ethnically or racially divisive tactics. The McCain campaign surely will. One tremendous irony for me is that at the same time that the GOP was stoking the fires of ethnic and racial tensions, GW Bush appointed a fair number of ethnic/racial minorities to his Cabinet. Can someone square that circle for me?

    What has to happen at the local level to make sure that no Democratic candidate in a close race decides to try to win at the expense of minorities? I suppose as a starter make it absolutely clear to candidates that if they stoop to this tactic, they forfeit all support. After all, we don't have a parliamentary system where candidates are really just the voice of the party and either stay on message or get the boot. Instead, we have to hold candidates individually responsible.

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    The conundrum that faces those who would use immigration as a wedge issue in campaigns this year is that the more they let loose the vicious rhetoric of the anti-immigrant crowd, the more they lose the Latino vote. The Presidential election will hinge to no small degree on states that voted Republican in 2004 but could well swing Democratic in 2006 and that have very substantial Latino populations: New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada.

    McCain especially has a very tricky balancing act to play in firing up the reactionary Republican base while preventing the kind of mass “migration,” so to speak, of Latino voters to Democrats as happened in 2006. In years past he played an admirable role in trying to move comprehensive immigration reform (the only possibility for a just solution to the many entangled issues) – but in this as in other key issues he has now distanced himself from his earlier positions in order to win the primary, supporting an “enforcement first” (or only) approach. As the first polls testing Latino preferences of an Obama-McCain match up show, this may well have cost him with Latino voters.

    For this reason, McCain and the RNC are less likely at the national level to use immigration as the kind of wedge it has been in the past. However, the situation is radically different in states like Oregon, where Latinos and other immigrants make up a very small portion of the electorate. The Latino vote itself can have a solid impact in key districts (in Salem-Keizer, for example, but as we unfortunately saw with the Kulongoski-Saxton race both parties will appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment for advantage.

    A key test this cycle will come when we see how candidates approach anti-immigrant measures that are likely to appear on the ballot. The one most likely to make the cut is Initiative 19, which targets ESL instruction in public schools. It also happens to make absolutely no distinction between “legal” versus “illegal” immigrants (or refugees for that matter), since it’s actually aimed at any whose native language is not English.

  • genop (unverified)

    I would like to see the issue approached from an employer centric view. Employer amnesty should be given to those who employ undocumented workers. Those workers and their families should be provided an "already employed" work visa good for two years. During that time, if the employee applies for permanent resident status, then they stay for processing. If they discontinue work for the employer or fail to apply for permanent status, then they must leave.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Ah, nice job Jo Ann of framing the illegal immigration problem on race. That is certainly where it belongs since the people it purports to discuss are...whom? Brown? White? Various?

    There are no issues involved beyond race? Fine, I'll give you a race based one, one of the first out of poverty jobs blacks could find was construction. The first victims of illegal hiring are blacks and the entire pay scale plummets.

    Now I'm happy to hire a green martian if he has the ability, the will, and the papers. He'll get paid rotten because I'm in a labor flooded field and in competition with cheats. This is a serious issue and blue collar labor is taking it in the neck for the benefit of plutocracy.

    It is somehow progressive to cut the throat of those who labor? It is somehow progressive to tolerate a disenfranchised serf class being created? It is somehow progressive to tolerate a system where illegal hires don't dare complain about wages or conditions? It is somehow progressive to further flood a labor market and depress wages? The offenders in this mess are overwhelmingly white employers and the victims are Americans and because the source of labor used is largely brown it is racism to call for a halt? So it is racism that Del Monte might have to pay decent wages because it is now dangerous for them to hire illegally?

    It never fails to amaze me to watch "progressives" put themselves in the pocket of the plutocrats and labor busters. And yes, Lou Dobbs is a loon.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    You said: "illegal immigrants ( I'm not using this word again because I believe no human is illegal)"

    I respond: platitude.

    You said: "progressive & regressive candidates"

    I respond: progressive policy enslaves millions of Americans to dependency, it is the opposite of freedom and is therefore, regressive.

    You said :"Did they wonder how immigrants, old and new, documented and undocumented felt when every TV, Radio and mail piece painted their community with a vile, punitive, nasty brush?"

    I respond: Most of us are immigrants (accepting the native americans) and, we were happy when the politicians started talking about an illegal invasion that threatens our immigrant community -- that's why we voted.

    You said:"Every welfare mom story paints the picture of a black women with 3 kids and three different baby daddy's, even though white people are the majority of the people who receive welfare."

    I respond: typical progressive racism -- divide the people by race, religion, sexual preference, only to advance the Dystopic socialist agenda of the truely radical progressives that pull your strings.

    You said:"the stench of Willie Horton ads"

    I respond: Is nothing to the stench of the James Byrd ads used to create fear in black people of white people.

    You said:"What if we talked about our shared destiny & values?"

    I respond: Progressive policy is wonderfully Utopic on paper -- as we've seen with the bankruptcy of progressive idea after idea (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) the government is horribly equipped to deal with the responsibility of individuals and time after time the idea has corrupted and become insolvent. Look at the Public Education system, it is totally cliche' now to call it a failure but, that is exactly what it is and, it's not because we are not spending enough money on it -- we are. Study after study demonstrates that it is waste within the bureaucracy that has destroyed it and this is exactly what we can expect from socialized medicine or whatever else the elite progressives would like to take control of. So, you can choose to "unite" but understand, you are uniting for centralized power and control of peoples lives. The extreme conservative with his love of total freedom is an anarchist, do you know what an extreme progressive loves? total control -- and who are rulers who love total control? dictators.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    BOHICA, why do you hate America?

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    For those wanting to get past the loonies, U of O's Labor Education and Research Center has just released a very good study called Understanding the Immigrant Experience in Oregon.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    Thanks for the link Dan ... way too many loonies on this string.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    I will take time to note that in regard to employment it very much echoes what I wrote. They have a few statistical holes in some of their arguments since data is completely missing on under the table employment, nobody reports it.

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    the question begs another question, one that i have been trying to explore but that most people simply take for granted: what is a progressive?

    at the 3rd CD delegate selection convention today (congrats to those local Dems selected to be delegates at the National Convention where you will cast the official votes to make Barack Obama our nominee), one speaker recited a list of things that are hallmarks of progressive politics. the trouble was, the things he listed were hallmarks of liberal politics: in fine, that we recognize and respond to the plight of those in society who need our help most. there is nothing wrong with liberalism; after all, for most of us reading BO, what makes America great are the programs and ideas that came from liberal politics.

    but as the dominance of liberal politics ended with the election of Nixon, that's when saw more of "our" side playing different groups off one another; eg, white working class against African Americans, African Americans against Jews, etc. that's what happens when groups begin to lose ground in politics: they turn on each other. we are seeing it with the Rs now, but i doubt many of us are watching their amateur version of "The Lord of the Flies."

    progressives, i believe, are not simply people who believe in health care, living wage jobs, civil rights, etc. those are things many conservatives believe in as well. a progressive is someone who understands that democracy works best from the bottom-up, that it's grassroots activists who are the leaders. this is why Howard Dean was the leading progressive in 2003, and why it's Obama in this election. neither has claimed the role of The Leader because both recognize that while they may fill a high office, the real power is out here, with folks like us. it's up to us to be involved and active; it's up to us to do the hard work of not just winning elections but promoting policy and enforcing democracy on our home turf.

    so if you ask if progressives will sacrifice people of color, then i say, No. it simply isn't possible. even in oh-so-white Portland, the number and influence of African Americans is significant on the street. not only that, among those of us who see ourselves as progressives and are involved in grassroots democracy, i know of very few who are willing to sacrifice anydamnthing. hell, there are people still wanting to impeach Bush, and he's almost out the door. there may be entrenched political types who will make the kinds of calculations Ms Bowman fears, but i know for myself and the progressives i know in Oregon, this isn't going to happen. even if the majority of us are white, and that's the silent part of the question -- those would sacrifice people of color are, necessarily, white -- our values do not include winning elections at the expense of our fellow citizens.

    if someone thinks it's acceptable to play those kind of zero-sum games, i say they are not a progressive.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    To t.a. barnhart -- I believe your well written post is mistaken. What I believe you have defined is "populism" and, neither modern conservative nor liberal can lay claim to that "ism" (though I do believe it is more closely associated with modern day liberalism in today's collective consciousness). I don't know that I can define progressive and liberal independently and, I don't believe they are independent rather, one is a euphemism for the other.

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    geoffludt-why do you hate America?

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    genop: the problem with you proposal is that it turns the workers involved into indentured servants at the mercy of the employers, who would have great power to abuse through the threat of firing & loss of standing -- also there would be issues of businesses closing or layoffs for economic reasons in the business. It is very like the labor origins of pass laws in South Africa. Passes were originally documents to show that Africans were employed by whites.

    There is no reason I can see why your suggestion would need to be tied to a specific employer.

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    Jo Ann, I think Pat's reasoning about McCain probably also applies to Obama. I expect a certain amount of generic rhetoric about "securing the border" plus a lot of evasion of the issue.

    I do not know how it might play out with the Senate election. I think Smith might be undercutting some of his own rural constituency who are employers of immigrant labor it he went after the issue. We may recall that several years ago Smith worked with Wyden to develop a ne bracero-type "guest worker" program, not unlike the Bush admin policy that got crunched a year or two latter. But I can sort of imagine him trying to use it as wedge issue against Jeff Merkley and I genuinely don't know how Jeff would respond. Despite their arguments I can't imagine that highly political people like Chuck Butcher or Joel Dan Walls would actually go over to Smith if Jeff were not "tough" on this one issue, but clearly there is a constitutency for whom this is either the top priority or a high one. They make more noise than their numbers I think, and may also tend already to vote R, so maybe Jeff M. would not take the bait. But who knows, since as you point out Ted Kulongoski (I think you meant 2006) took at least some of it.

    Chuck Butcher, I get it that your arguments are class arguments, but I don't see either you or Joel repudiating the racist and ethnocentric strains of the anti-immigrant movement. Do you? Or is it progressive and o.k. to collaborate with them and not criticize them because their racist and ethnocentric views favor citizen workers and the law?

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    I'm not exactly sure who specifically Jo Ann means by "people of color", or what she means by "sacrificed".

    Here's my experience. I've canvassed African-American households in which the voters there were convinced that illegal immigration was being used by the overclass to suppress their wages and keep them down. And no matter what I said, they weren't going to change their minds about it. I was just someone who "didn't understand".

    So what immigration policy isn't "sacrificing" someone "of color", brown or black? Because there are a lot of working class Democrats of every color who have this attitude about illegal immigration, and stories about job loss that sound real to me.

    Let me know when you figure this one out, because I still haven't figured it out myself. And I'm married to a Mexican. (Mexico, as you may or may not know, is well known for its draconian anti-immigration laws - so it's doesn't have to be racism driving such policies.)

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)

    Well...I'd be lying if I told you there were many politicians who will do the right thing because it is fair and just, if that's not where the votes are.

    But I think I can say things may go a little differently this time around, because maybe the votes are there.

    Seems to me, the Republicans have been playing the "scary brown people" card with ever-greater insistence--and over the past two years, it stopped working.

    They did that during the 2006 elections. It was one of their most frequently chanted talking points--how Pelosi and the Democrats would let the scary brown people in, and they would take "our jobs", and it would also let the terrorists in, because arabs and latinos look enough alike that the arabs would pass for Mexican. They threw a lot of other garbage, too, and it didn't stick.

    They threw the same old garbage in the special elections this year. The Congressional elections in Hastert's central Illinois district, and in Baton Rouge, and in rural Mississippi. The Mississippi one, especially, tried to link the Democrat with letting in the "illegals"--and the voters elected the Democrat.

    Meanwhile, in the American Southwest and elsewhere, Democrats are winning with the help of votes from latinos who aren't thrilled with the Republican calls for fence-building. We're electing new Democrats like Ciro Rodriguez in Texas and the Sanchez sisters in formerly solid Republican Southern California districts.

    Seems to me, Ms. Bowman, that our politicians, so many of whom have had feet of clay due to their habits of always having their finger to the wind, may just learn that the GOP rhetoric about "scary brown people" ain't gonna blow their houses down after all, and that we can blow back at the conservatives a lot harder, if we tend to our own political base. All of it.

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    no, geogludt, what most people call progressive today is more like populism (and current populism is like the liberalism of FDR & LBJ). progressive and liberal are not the same thing. liberalism is the remedy of social problems thru the imposition of government remedies. to the extent these remedies are demanded and advocated for by groups in society, or advocated by politicians appealing to mass audiences, they are populist.

    progressive is bottom-up politics of the kind that has been very rare in American history (apart from certain issues). it's what we saw begin with the Dean campaign, move thru 2006 and now has moved Obama to the brink of the White House. but the real test of progressive politics will not be in electing Obama but in providing him with the political base -- the real leadership -- to pass his programs in the face of the powerful oppositions they will face. that's when grassroots democracy will need to lead this country, and that is the heart of progressivism.

  • BOHICA (unverified)


    I learned a long time ago that hate is a useless emotion. It will blind you from performing positive actions.

  • Ted (unverified)

    History lesson for altus...

    Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul.

    That is not true. The Marshall Plan did not begin until 1947 under Harry Truman. Even prior to the fall of Berlin, there was raging debate amongst the Allies over post-war planning. The winning strategy was authored by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau and championed by FDR. It involved forced labor of both German POWs and civilians. When humanitarians tried to invoke the Geneva Conventions, FDR did something quite similar to George Bush today--he just called them something akin to "enemy combatants" in order to avoid Geneva protections. Many were shipped off to Russia where the Allies knew they would not be treated well by Stalin. Food was strictly rationed to a point where participants of forced labor were receiving only 800 to 1500 calories daily. As Bernard Montgomery commented, "We are starving them to death slowly." Montgomery, Patton, Hodges, Forestal, Churchill and many Allied government officials objected. Churchill was won over by the plan to destroy the Ruhr (Germany's main industrial center) and a $6.5 billion letter of credit from Wall St.

    By the time we "built them up," over 1 million German prisoners and civilians had died under the Morgenthau Plan, and that's a conservative estimate. [source: "The Morgenthau Plan" by John Dietrich, 2002]

  • Ted (unverified)

    Does government have a fiduciary obligation to its citizenry that supercedes its obligation to the illegal immigrant population and the global charge of humanity? Should we not eliminate poverty in America first and foremost? Should we not ensure that American citizens of legal heritage, regardless of race, have access to a good education, food, housing, etc, before we take on the task of ameliorating the human condition worldwide?

    Resources are finite. The USA is $9 trillion in debt. The off-books liabilities are over $30 trillion. Official poverty rates in the US are around 13%, but that is based on an index that was established in the 50s. Most progressive economists would argue that the poverty rate in the US is much higher.

    I'm a bleeding heart for the images of children living in favelas in Sao Paulo or the ghost villages of Africa, too, but I take the time to remind myself of the hardships Americans face here. There are parts of Chicago, Detroit, rural Mississippi, LA, etc, that make me feel the same way and I ask myself, how can that be in such a rich country? I don't care what color they are, they are my fellow Americans and I want to see them happier and healthier. I think that enforcing legal immigration is in the best interest of America's poor and working class.

    If you study the history of where the push for lax immigration comes from, it has been the American Enterprise Institute, CATO Institute, etc, which are globalist think tanks. Behind closed doors, I think most Republican politicians at a high level are really for illegal immigration. The high profile "crackdown" on illegal immigrants is just a way of pandering to their middle class party membership.

  • (Show?)

    it is in America's best intersets, in so many ways, to help eliminate the need for people to come to American illegally. if we can alleviate poverty in Central and South America, the ability to make a good life will allow people to stay home -- which is what i am pretty sure the vast majority want.

    attacks on illegal immigrants keeps us from recognizing and addressing this root cause -- which, of course, is the whole idea.

  • Altus (unverified)

    Ted -

    What are the conservative estimates if Germany wasn't partitioned? I know the Poles were grateful for the partitioning since every time Germany was able to wage war millions of civilians across Europe were killed. However, a more appropriate question is of the 1M figure you state what percentage is attributed to socialism and communism totalitariasm? There is a reason people risked their lives to fleet Eastern Germany for Western Germany. Those bullets weren't from NATO allies.

    You statement leads one to think that the US is the sole and primary force of influence in the partioning. Interesting.

    I would say lax immigration comes from the political class as my experience has shown that Dems and Repubs are very much the same despite the thought posted on this website. Imagine if Rezko was McSames long time friend and biggest political donor. Chicago and clean politics are an oxymoron.

    The US has a political class that sole purpose is to pass legislation to keep and increase their power. Through campaign finance reform or immigration "reform". The people who are hurt the most are the lower classes and minorities. The so-called middle class has a significant voter base; however has shown historically to survive just fine as the base expand and contracts or their disposal income expands and contracts.

    Alleviating poverty in South and Central America is a tough nut to crack - and likely can't be done without imperialism, which I am against. Goverment totalitarianism, corruption, and dictatorship has fostered rampant poverty. Government is not an effective way of distributing scare resources (resources are always scarce).

    The US has show the best reciepe for alleviating poor. Millions of Irish, Itailian, Polish, Eastern European, Asians and Hispanics legal immigrants have shown us all how by coming to the US with pennies in their pockets and working their way into the middle and upper class before they pass on. They didn't do it by government programs, rather by local communities, local faith centers, and hard work.

  • (Show?)

    I noticed that no one specifically addressed Chuck Butchers issues.

    It's all fine to sit back above the fray and chide the people actually affected by these issues for their intolerance, while picking nits and generating new approved buzz phrases, but if Ms. Bowmann or her allies on this thread are calling for a discussion, they'll have to demonstrate that they bring something to the discussion other than a repetion of their talking points to the benighted racists.

    So to start let me be repetitive. If you immigrate into this country illegally, you are by definition an illegal immigrant no matter how distateful that may be to your self-appointed guardians. It's disingenuous, and frankly rhetorically cluncky to imply that that the use of the terem is to brand a human being as illegally existing. every one of you knows better.

    Now it's also true that you are an undocumented worker, a broader category that would also include me if I had lost my wallet. Accurate but prurposely dishonest.

    You are also an exploited worker, as is every other worker in the world who has been exploited by the combined trade policies of the Uber-wealthy since the formation of the Wrold Bank and other international trade organizations and treaties.

    This same Uber-class has been jamming immigration policy for at least a century now to sabotage the normal labor supply and demand in the US labor market. to deny this is simultaneously naive and patronizing.

    At a guess, Chuck, the illegal immigrants, the legal blue collar workers, and I, might be more clear on the identity of the real enemy than you may have been predisposed to imagine. We do not need to deny the existence of racism to make our argument. Racism, as Zinn and others have pointed out over the years is yet another tool used by both sides to keep us divided. I can understand why the other side deploys it, but am bitterly disappointed when our side does it.

    So, if you want an honest discussion of long term solutions to issues of class and poverty, quit focusing so much on race, even if that is easy and convenient lens at hand. We've seen reams of righteous rhetoric generated around this concept over the past several decades.

    Barack Obama specifically rejects these frames, and I'm thinking that if this is a valid POV for Obama and me, it might be worth throwing into the discussion.

  • (Show?)

    Pat Ryan:

    Why do you think an "honest" discussion of issues of class and poverty requires a suppression of race as an issue? The data/reality on the correlation between concentrated poverty and race and the effects of generations of racially inequitable policies is irrefutable - and persistent, regardless of Obama's success.

  • Floyd (unverified)

    Posted by: Jo Ann Bowman | Jun 7, 2008 9:55:52 AM


    “The question of following the law. I could write a book about the injustice in our criminal justice system and the many laws that have been changed because of the inequality those laws produced. Suffice it to say that just because a law exist does not make it fair or just. That's why we the people have an opportunity to participate in our democracy.”


    It’s clear we have some terrible, patently racist and corrupt laws; primarily drug laws (including forfeiture and sentencing). One of my major disappointments with the democrats is that they have let this so-called “War on Drugs” go on so long.

    It needs to be stressed and repeated, selective and intensive drug law enforcement – often through racial profiling - has had a devastating impact on poor and minority communities. The endless litany of “gang and drug related” crime and violence – much of it black on black, poor on poor… - has sadly become an accepted daily reality that, unless it effects them directly, most middle-class people simply ignore. In effect, slavery is still alive and well in America thanks to the drug war and its bipartisan support. Prisons have simply replaced plantations and instead of cotton, young black men have become the new commodity.

    Talk about being left behind.

    I think it all goes back to the politics of fear. When we are afraid we do not think clearly, we react and are often too quick to follow those who created the fear in the first place. I am cautiously optimistic that some fundamental change may soon become possible. I think the time has come for Oregon Democrats to put forth the critical need for drug policy reform, and encourage candidates to debate the “legalization” option. (Of course there are many other compelling reasons, besides race, for reform. Indeed, Joann, “write a book” about it.)

    If that debate does not happen, then the answer to Joann’s question is sadly “yes,” you and the rest of us will be left behind, again.

    Breaking out for peace and justice... Floyd

  • Rick Hickey-VP-OFIR (unverified)

    Interesting conversations on illegal immigration that overall reflect what I and Pres. of OFIR Jim Ludwick, have been saying for years. As well as what F.A.I.R., Numbers USA and yes Lou Dobbs have also been saying for years, he has never said anything racist or bigoted, never.

    I still do not understand why you call me or any of these others as Racists or falsely claim the above used term "scary brown people" as normal rhetoric of Republicans? Neither is true.

    Too the author of this post, why do you also claim that people can not come here legally, over 2 million a year can and do with over 2/3 staying here forever legally (this fact is easy to look up) . That is a lot of people that need a job, food, health care and shelter to absorb isn't it. And many many more each year would further challenge the supply vs. demand imbalance of labor, which has been proven to lower wages for all of us.

    I do not hate anyone based on their color, ethnicity, religion, etc. and wanted to say I appreciate the many comments above as being well thought out and not just name calling for once.

  • JHL (unverified)

    If your supporters insist on waving signs at the State Capitol berating those who struggle to learn English, I expect them (and you) to set a pristine example in your own communications. (Think about proofreading your post and eliminating your yob commas.)

    When your supporters in the legislature call the police and accuse Hispanics of being illegal immigrants with no evidence whatsoever (aside from skin color), it tends to raise the spectre of prejudice.

    It may not be you personally, but you can see by that example why even non-racist language may incite supporters to take grossly unwarranted action.

  • (Show?)

    Why do you think an "honest" discussion of issues of class and poverty requires a suppression of race as an issue?

    I guess you're talking about this particular sentence as nothin else in the entire comment comes even close to "requiring suppression", and really, neither does the sentence at hand:

    So, if you want an honest discussion of long term solutions to issues of class and poverty, quit focusing so much on race, even if that is easy and convenient lens at hand.

    To clarify, I'm saying that of course race has been a tool of repression. So have gender, geography, language, financial status and so on. I am arguing that to focus the fight and search for remedies and progress around the single issue of race, (or even bigotry in general) automatically limits possible solutions.


    I'd guess that virtually everyone on this board is aware that racism continues to exist and is both individually and socially destructive.

    Since I'm pretty sure that Ms. Bowman is not calling us out for the Willie Horton ad and the Welfare Queen canard, I'm going to guess that when she says,

    What if we follow Sen. Obama's lead and develop messages that unite us as progressives? instead of the tried and true ones that divide? What if we talked about our shared destiny & values?

    She means it, even though I'd argue that the frames she sets up in some cases preclude the possibility of achieving her stated goal.

    See, I think that a willful disregard for relevant facts and a disinclination to .......you know.....converse on topics outside of the tried and true ones that divide, doesn't do much to advance the desired dialogue.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Chris Lowe I don't have to deny or denounce any goddamn body, I made my point completely free of racism and in fact which part of "green martian" don't you get?

    I had a Mexican-American on my crew until he got hurt and couldn't do the work. I kept him in the face of him having legal difficulties because he was willing and a quick study - and he is a friend through work. I don't have to apologize for anyone else bullshit, it's not mine and its existance has no bearing on what I stated or what the problem is. I judge people by their character only. I start out with people willing, from there it is up to them.

    Lou Dobbs is a freaking loon, once he quit using straight up facts he became a loon. People who insist that this problem is about racism, either damn side, are loons. It is not about race, it is about economics and a disenfrachised labor class who are that by virtue of having no legal standing.

  • Harry (unverified)

    "I had a Mexican-American on my crew until he got hurt and couldn't do the work. I kept him in the face of him having legal difficulties because he was willing and a quick study"


    Chuck, I agree with your points about the immigrant (legal and illegal) issues and the construction industry. I am glad you post your comments, since I hear almost nobody else with your perspective on this issue.

    Two questions:

    Is the "Mexican American" you employed an American citizen? Sorry to pick nits, but if not, then I would call him a Mexican national, who is resident here (either legally or illegally). For me to use the term "Mexican American", it would be for American citizens of Mexican heritage... but maybe I am just too anal in my word usage.

    And also, are you saying that you had a 'Mexican American' on your crew ("him having legal difficulties") who was here illegally? "On your crew", would mean that you are his "employer" (subcontractor...1099; different by very similar to an employer relationship), correct? I doubt you would hire an illegal immigrant, but that is what I inferred from your comment. Again, I doubt that you would do that, given what has been done to your industry by illegal labor.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    x-American is legal in my mind. I don't see how you can qualify as American if you're not?

    His problems were w/drugs, I took the time and energy to help him get straightened out.

    My hires are strictly legal

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)

    It's hard to see how "people of color" who happen to be African-Americans can be "sacrificed" to win an election when the Democratic candidate for President is African-American. Unless you consider the jettisoning of Reverend Wright to be a "sacrifice," in which case you probably agree with him that White Americans inflicted the AIDS virus on African Americans.

    As for the "people of color" who happen to be Latin-Americans, Democrats can only hope that the Republicans continue to play their nativist know-nothing card for all its worth. Look where it got them in California, where after the 1994 initiative they got passed attacking Mexicans and Mexican-Americans they were politically exiled and, except for the Gobernator, have been exiled ever since.

    A principled stand for the benefits of immigrants assimilating and envigorating our nation, as they have done for two centuries, is what I hope to hear from the Obama campaign. It may lose him Appalachia, but Appalachia appears to be lost already.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Lowe writes: Chuck Butcher, I get it that your arguments are class arguments, but I don't see either you or Joel repudiating the racist and ethnocentric strains of the anti-immigrant movement. Do you? Or is it progressive and o.k. to collaborate with them and not criticize them because their racist and ethnocentric views favor citizen workers and the law?

    At a certain level I agree with Butcher's subsequent remark that he is not obliged to apologize for any dumb comment made by someone else (just as, I should add, Barack Obama was not obliged to apologize for dumb remarks made by Jeremiah Wright; and just as I am not obliged to apologize to Michelle Obama because my neighbor called her a "bitch" during a political discussion that I initiated; and so on.) But I do not want to evade Mr. Lowe's remarks.

    Fact is, I do not engage in any sort of advocacy around the issue of immigration at all. My volunteer work in the community includes stuff like literacy tutoring for immigrants, in fact. When I showed up in a classroom at PCC to volunteer and was first asked to work with a group of Hispanic men, I didn't ask about their immigration status, and I did use my poor Spanish as needed to help with the lessons. But none of this means that I believe "la migra" (INS as we used to call it, now BICE) should not exist. As I noted before, we live in a world of nation-states with borders, and I accept as a given that governments have a duty to enforce those borders. But I do not accept that such enforcement should be arbitrary, capricious, or based on racism. (BTW, I hope people will remember that the immigration quota system of the 1920s--and which lasted until the 1960s--came about precisely through ethnocentric/racist arguments, with the goal of reducing immigration by folks from southern and eastern EUROPE. The historical record is quite clear about this. My own grandparents arrived only a few years before the door would have been slammed in their faces. It's precisely the change in immigration policy since the 1960s that has led to an influx of non-white folks from Latin America, Africa and Asia.)

    Butcher's argument is of course about economic class. And he gives voice to the working-class exasperation that raising an economic argument about immigration gets twisted around into a blame game, wherein working-class folks get labelled as ignorant racists by their self-defined intellectual betters. Um, has anyone else noticed that labeling the working class this way has not done a great service to the Democratic Party and progressive politics during the last 40 years?

    Please, please, please, let's all have the intellectual honesty to recognize racism in our society and in ourselves, and to try to make changes. But let's not wave the bloody shirt of racism as a way to bludgeon people with whom we have political differences.

  • Blueshift (unverified)

    History lesson for Ted...

    The winning strategy was authored by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau and championed by FDR. It involved forced labor of both German POWs and civilians. When humanitarians tried to invoke the Geneva Conventions, FDR did something quite similar to George Bush today--he just called them something akin to "enemy combatants" in order to avoid Geneva protections.

    In fact, FDR did not do attempt to avoid the stricture of the Geneva Conventions, nor did humanitarians try to invoke them, because they did not yet exist. The four documents that we have come to call the Geneva Conventions were developed in 1949, after the end of the Second World War. FDR's First Lady, the great humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt, was her husband's emissary to that convention, and was one of the leaders in developing the documents that we have come to regard as the foundation language for international human rights.

    While earlier conventions did exist regulating the treatment of prisoners-of-war, they were largely products of European internal agreements, or the League of Nations, and the United States was not party to them, even though we may have tended to adhere to traditional standards in treatment of our prisoners.

  • (Show?)

    Look Chuck, I don't think you have to denounce anyone, except don't accuse me of calling you a racist for raising the issue of the racism and ethnocentrism that is the form much of the anti-immigration rhetoric takes. And face up to it that if you're not willing to take on the racism in the anti-immigration movement, but accept their methods of work and policy aims, then you are collaborating with racists and ethnocentrists and policies and rhetoric shaped by those issues, even if they don't match your personal attitudes or values, as you understand them and wish them to be.

    Racism and ethnocentrism are real issues in this debate. Because they characterize so much of the anti-immigration movement, Jo Ann Bowman is raising a real issue about the possibility that ways of addressing that debate among Democrats could end up adopting that rhetoric and policies shaped by it.

    The idea that class can be separated from race, or race from class, in the United States, is just wrong, so wrong that it's almost funny. Pat says this in a different way I think. From other stuff they write, I know that Chuck and Joel understand that -- but it means we have to have the debate including all the terms. "People of color" are disproportionately working class, and working class people are disproportionately members of racial minority groups, especially at the lower ends of the income hierarchy.

    An interesting difference between the 1920s nativism and the current variety in class terms is that in the 1920s the AFL backed immigration restriction. Today the organized labor movement is focused on fighting the use of racial and ethnocentric fears to divide workers, on organizing immigrant workers regardless of status, and on fighting pro-corporate globalization that drives poor people off the land in many of the places where illegally resident immigrants are coming from.

    This reflects three things, I think. The least important may be specific to the rise of John Sweeney to the AFL-CIO presidency. His hallmark as head of SEIU was the "Justice for Janitors" campaigns, in which organizing custodial staffs inherently meant organizing both legal and illegal residents of the country. Many of his allies, including a number who broke away from the AFL-CIO to form "Change to Win", were union leaders whose unions had similar bases, e.g. the now-merged Hotel and Restaurant Employees (HERE), and UNITE (textiles and needle trades, which has to contend with sweatshops on both sides of the border with Mexico).

    Then there are the lessons learned from the obstructions that racism and ethnocentrism have posed to organized labor across U.S. history.

    Finally there is the underlying demographic dynamic partly reflected in what many service sector unions face: that with or without illegal immigration, the U.S. is going to be "majority minority" (i.e. whites will become simply the largest minority among many) within 50 years. The working class will be majority-minority sooner than that. This is even truer and faster if we define "working class" in terms of physical labor as some have recently argued on BlueOregon, rather than as non-managerial wage workers, though my own view is that non-managerial service workers with less physically demanding jobs are working class too.

    Much nativist anti-immigration sentiment and rhetoric invokes or reflects fears of that reality.

    Now to my mind, the fundamental issue that progressives have to face about all of this is, are we concerned primarily about legality, or about exploitation and driving down of working people?

    Because the nativist anti-immigration movement is not concerned with ending exploitation and the driving down of working people. Its insistence on "no amnesty" as they define it, excluding any path to citizenship for illegally resident workers who are strongly established in U.S. communities despite their legal status, ultimately is anti-worker. They are just concerned with getting "illegals" out of the country, regardless of the cost in human terms, and with preventing new illegal immigration by any means, no matter how draconian.

    That approach deepens exploitation. The greater the threats illegally resident workers face, the more unscrupulous employers are able to hold those threats over them to exploit them. Mass forced deportations take and would increasingly take the form of attacks on working class communities, subjecting citizens and legal residents to harassment and violence, driving down the conditions of life for large parts of the working class.

    The effects of an extra-exploitable section of the working class on the conditions for workers as a whole that Chuck and Pat and others point out certainly are true. And it is true too that in some cases citizen and legally resident workers "of color" are critical of illegal immigration, for the reasons adduced.

    Yet it also is true that large numbers of them don't think the issues can be reduced to legality, because they have the historical and current experience of the effects on all workers "of color" when targeting takes racialized and ethnocentric forms. Amadou Diallo was killed because he was black, not because he was an immigrant. Moreover, racism and ethnocentrism are the means by which extra-exploitable sections of the working class have been created historically in the U.S. The convergence of a new form around issues of legal residence which nonetheless have a distinct ethno-racial skewing is only a variant on the pattern.

    If we're mainly concerned with fighting exploitation and the driving down of workers, the focus needs to be on paths to citizenship that remove current workers from exploitable threats, on increasing unionization among immigrants of whatever status and other workers to raise wage levels, on pressing ahead with reforms in "social wages" like health-care access, on reversing the increased costs of public higher education, on changing perverse international trade policies, and yes, on fighting racism that drives down and contributes to the exploitation of large numbers of workers.

    So progressives need to choose who our allies are going to be. Are we going to focus on narrow legality, and ally ourselves with others who do that who don't give a rat's ass about improving lives for working people and often deploy ethnocentric and racist arguments and rhetoric to achieve their political ends? Or are we going to look to the trade union movement and the movement for the rights of immigrant workers as workers, and focus on developing policies that are not focused on narrow issues of legality, but on changing the conditions that lead to exploitation and driving workers down?

    Progressive working class people have to face that question in somewhat different ways than managerial and professional class progressives, I suppose. But it's not like the working class has never been divided before, and confronted progressive working people with choices about their allies.


    (It is notable that Mexican immigration was exempted from the quota system of the 1920s, and also that due to the peculiar status of the Phillipines as a U.S. "commonwealth," Asian exclusions were not applied until after 1945 to Filipinos, who I believe remain the largest single national/ethnic heritage category of Asian-Americans and immigrants as a result. Puerto Rican immigration was and is similarly unrestricted.

    The picture portrayed by Altus of highly individualized free market acting immigrants advancing by the preferred means of cappucino conservative ideologues is a pure fantasy. In fact they acted in highly collective and communal ways, including significant political patronage on which ethnic machine politics in both major political parties was built, and advanced most strongly by means of mass unionization and the New Deal and Fair Deal policies of the 1930s-1960s -- policies which unfortunately were held hostage by racist white southern Democrats and thus excluded agricultural and domestic workers, who were overwhelming black, latino or Filipino depending on geographic area of the country.)

  • Altus (unverified)

    Chris - I think the term is latte liberals. Funny, though.

    As far as fantasy. I didn't realize my mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and several friends of various ethic backgrounds, plus the work my family and church did sponsoring (legal) immigrants from communist countries and helped them get on thier feet. They sent all of their children to school and obtain advanced degrees. I'll let them know their life is a fantasy. You seem to know better than I.

    Also, that the countless conservatives, democrats, progressives, republicans, etc. that worked to help these individuals make a better life without the State or Federal government will be insulted that you are sterotyping them with political rehetoric such as cappacino conservatives. Except the conservatives of course, unless they don't like cappacino's. Latte conservatives perhaps?

    It has been my experience that the portions of ethic groups that rely soley on government programs and are stuck in a rut and seem to think they are entitled to things outright. JDW will love that antecdote. Then again he never knew my grandmother who was an staunch Democrat and activist in teaching people hard work over welfare as a way up. She saw welfare tear apart a person's family and chained up their potential. She also said that Americans were too weathly to even understand how wealthy they really are when people would discuss the American poor.

    I think your statement that race and class can't be separated is thin and generic. Try looking at it from a perspective of who uses what resources when they enter the US. Those immigrant kids that I grew up with that my family and church were helping...they all are very well off and most aren't white.

    You just need to shift the way you see things from a color perspective to one of a color-blind perspective and look at resources, attitude, and my grandmother's favorite - work ethic.

    It's a sad issue when immigrants from anywhere can come into the US and be better off than most Americans in one generation. Says a lot about attitudes and very little about racism or ethnocentric behavior.

    The culture that I learned the most from were Cambodians. Having Pol Pot as a communist dictator really motivated them and they surpassed my family's (and my current) class standing in about 15 years. Very impressive and they and other ethnic cultures never complained (!) - only thank America for the opportunity America provided and continues to provide for their families.

    The perspective on life that my immigrant family and other cultures we helped are seared into my memory and life. Then again I think you said that was a fantasy.

    Well now back to "reality" with words like racism and ethnocentricism get tossed around when you disagree with someone's position on immigration.

  • Patience (unverified)

    I recommend following the link in my signature for a succinct history of immigration policy in the 20th century.

  • Ted (unverified)

    Blueshift -

    Read the book. The exact JCS documents are referenced therein, circa 1944.

    Feel good history... Just makes you feel good.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    My observation of US electoral politics leads me to believe there are two ways that a group of people can exercise significant political influence. One is to contribute a substantial amount of money and/or time to candidate campaigns. The other is to identify primary issues and vote as a block for candidates that best represent the group's view on that issue.

    Otherwise, a group will not have significant political influence. They will either be taken for granted or be written off, or, as Jo Ann puts it, they will be "sacrificed."

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