Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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10

[...] most demonstrations of white nationalism are notable for how easily they are dwarfed by counter-protestors. The question we should be asking, then, is not how to get the working class to be less nativist, but to understand why the national policy so weakly reflects the preferences of the majority for a humane integration regime.

The answer to a question like this lies where it often does, in the interests and strategies of capital. [...]

—p.10 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] most demonstrations of white nationalism are notable for how easily they are dwarfed by counter-protestors. The question we should be asking, then, is not how to get the working class to be less nativist, but to understand why the national policy so weakly reflects the preferences of the majority for a humane integration regime.

The answer to a question like this lies where it often does, in the interests and strategies of capital. [...]

—p.10 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
11

To properly assess how capital’s structural interests impact immigration policy, we need to begin with a conceptual distinction between questions of the immigration flow and questions of immigrants’ rights.6 There is, of course, a significant overlap and interaction between these two phenomena — the nativist argument against immigrants’ rights, for example, is primarily based on the deterrent effect that restricted rights will have on the immigrant flow. Still, the distinction remains useful because the interests of capital and labor with regard to immigration are not monolithic, but often diverge on the questions of flows and rights.

It is correct to say that capitalists, as employers, have a direct interest in the immigrant flow as a source of labor. However, their preference is for that flow to be flexible — growing to meet demand during periods of expansion or native labor unrest, but restricted when not needed. Thus, the oft-repeated accusation that the movement for open borders serves the interests of capital is imprecise. Capitalists may prefer the opening of borders to the extent that immigration policy permits large flows of immigrant labor, but they also prefer an immigration system that does not confer many rights to these entrants — ideally, immigrants enter under a regime that permits employers to hire them, but with no right to settle or remain if that employment should end, or political rights against employer power, to make claims on the welfare state, or to demand more secure terms of residence. How those competing preferences are balanced is determined by the urgency of employers’ labor supply needs. Where this supply is insufficient and immigrant labor is critical, capital has been more malleable on the question of rights, if only to make immigration more desirable to foreign workers. Where and when capital has other sources of labor — such as an adequate supply of domestic laborers or the option to offshore production — it has been less so, and may even support policies to restrict immigrant flow.

really good

—p.11 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

To properly assess how capital’s structural interests impact immigration policy, we need to begin with a conceptual distinction between questions of the immigration flow and questions of immigrants’ rights.6 There is, of course, a significant overlap and interaction between these two phenomena — the nativist argument against immigrants’ rights, for example, is primarily based on the deterrent effect that restricted rights will have on the immigrant flow. Still, the distinction remains useful because the interests of capital and labor with regard to immigration are not monolithic, but often diverge on the questions of flows and rights.

It is correct to say that capitalists, as employers, have a direct interest in the immigrant flow as a source of labor. However, their preference is for that flow to be flexible — growing to meet demand during periods of expansion or native labor unrest, but restricted when not needed. Thus, the oft-repeated accusation that the movement for open borders serves the interests of capital is imprecise. Capitalists may prefer the opening of borders to the extent that immigration policy permits large flows of immigrant labor, but they also prefer an immigration system that does not confer many rights to these entrants — ideally, immigrants enter under a regime that permits employers to hire them, but with no right to settle or remain if that employment should end, or political rights against employer power, to make claims on the welfare state, or to demand more secure terms of residence. How those competing preferences are balanced is determined by the urgency of employers’ labor supply needs. Where this supply is insufficient and immigrant labor is critical, capital has been more malleable on the question of rights, if only to make immigration more desirable to foreign workers. Where and when capital has other sources of labor — such as an adequate supply of domestic laborers or the option to offshore production — it has been less so, and may even support policies to restrict immigrant flow.

really good

—p.11 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
13

[...] whatever native workers may fear about the intensified competition from new entrants to the labor market, with regard to the rights of the immigrants who enter the US, all workers benefit when those new workers are protected from employer despotism. Defending the rights of labor depends on labor’s organized power, and that power is hard to sustain if employers can hold large sections of the working class hostage to worries about their legal status. Focusing on rights also avoids the thornier problem of flow, where there has been a long and unsettled debate about where workers’ interests lie. In any capitalist labor market, a liberal immigration regime seems threatening to workers, because any increase in the supply of immigrant labor puts native workers at risk in the short term — by heightening job insecurity or downward pressure on wages. Even if the labor economics research shows that this impact is minimal, for unorganized workers who have few other strategies for protecting their economic interests, immigration can loom as a pressing concern. For these reasons, the tendency of organized labor in the US has been to support some sort of restriction with regard to immigration flow, even in the present day, when on rights-related questions, like detention or amnesty for undocumented workers, unions have been quite aggressive in supporting immigrants.

But this is a self-defeating strategy. The basic fact is that you can’t fight to protect immigrant rights while also unleashing a legal regime against immigrant flows. In other words, it is hard to fence off policies directed at one horn of the dilemma from affecting the other one. Fighting to defend one’s labor or political rights becomes more challenging — if not impossible — if you lack the basic right to be in the place where you live and work. When the flow of migration itself is minimal that conflict between the right to enter and other rights may not be so conspicuous. However, when the migration flow is significant, and efforts to restrict entry intensify, the legal apparatus that is deployed will always place immigrant workers in a highly vulnerable position in the labor market. Because their right to remain in a country is insecure, these workers are more vulnerable to exploitation and less likely to make claims on whatever rights to labor or political participation they formally possess.

—p.13 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] whatever native workers may fear about the intensified competition from new entrants to the labor market, with regard to the rights of the immigrants who enter the US, all workers benefit when those new workers are protected from employer despotism. Defending the rights of labor depends on labor’s organized power, and that power is hard to sustain if employers can hold large sections of the working class hostage to worries about their legal status. Focusing on rights also avoids the thornier problem of flow, where there has been a long and unsettled debate about where workers’ interests lie. In any capitalist labor market, a liberal immigration regime seems threatening to workers, because any increase in the supply of immigrant labor puts native workers at risk in the short term — by heightening job insecurity or downward pressure on wages. Even if the labor economics research shows that this impact is minimal, for unorganized workers who have few other strategies for protecting their economic interests, immigration can loom as a pressing concern. For these reasons, the tendency of organized labor in the US has been to support some sort of restriction with regard to immigration flow, even in the present day, when on rights-related questions, like detention or amnesty for undocumented workers, unions have been quite aggressive in supporting immigrants.

But this is a self-defeating strategy. The basic fact is that you can’t fight to protect immigrant rights while also unleashing a legal regime against immigrant flows. In other words, it is hard to fence off policies directed at one horn of the dilemma from affecting the other one. Fighting to defend one’s labor or political rights becomes more challenging — if not impossible — if you lack the basic right to be in the place where you live and work. When the flow of migration itself is minimal that conflict between the right to enter and other rights may not be so conspicuous. However, when the migration flow is significant, and efforts to restrict entry intensify, the legal apparatus that is deployed will always place immigrant workers in a highly vulnerable position in the labor market. Because their right to remain in a country is insecure, these workers are more vulnerable to exploitation and less likely to make claims on whatever rights to labor or political participation they formally possess.

—p.13 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
14

Immigration policy in the US can be very broadly broken down into two eras, demarcated roughly by the turn of the twentieth century, and distinguished by the state’s orientation towards immigration restriction. The first period, which stretches back to the colonial era, oversaw a generally open regime, in that international migration was largely unrestricted. Some state laws provided for the exclusion of “undesirable” migration — including the poor, and convicts — into their territories, but on a federal level, what legislation existed regarding immigration was focused on stimulating migration or regulating the conditions under which migration occurred,9 rather than controlling or restricting the flow of migration. The second period, where federal law explicitly regulated the flow itself, began to emerge towards the end of the nineteenth century as immigration law became centralized in the federal government, and more importantly, moved from the assumption of admission (barring some ground of exclusion) to an assumption of exclusion (unless the migrant specifically qualifies for admission).

—p.14 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

Immigration policy in the US can be very broadly broken down into two eras, demarcated roughly by the turn of the twentieth century, and distinguished by the state’s orientation towards immigration restriction. The first period, which stretches back to the colonial era, oversaw a generally open regime, in that international migration was largely unrestricted. Some state laws provided for the exclusion of “undesirable” migration — including the poor, and convicts — into their territories, but on a federal level, what legislation existed regarding immigration was focused on stimulating migration or regulating the conditions under which migration occurred,9 rather than controlling or restricting the flow of migration. The second period, where federal law explicitly regulated the flow itself, began to emerge towards the end of the nineteenth century as immigration law became centralized in the federal government, and more importantly, moved from the assumption of admission (barring some ground of exclusion) to an assumption of exclusion (unless the migrant specifically qualifies for admission).

—p.14 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
15

[...] American capital’s dependence on immigrant labor in the nineteenth century is unique among industrializing countries, in that the process of colonization and settlement had resulted in patterns of yeoman farming, rather than feudal agriculture, and thus lacked the reserves of surplus agricultural labor that propelled European industrialization. Domestic population growth could not solve the problem, as the vastness of the Western territory meant that fertile lands were available in plentiful supply to anyone willing to cultivate them for most of the early industrial period.

When we say that capitalists have an interest in immigration today, we mean something different than what it meant in the nineteenth century: mass immigration was not just useful, it was essential to the industrialization and economic expansion that occurred at that time.12 Between 1820 and 1920, more than 33 million immigrants entered the US,13 at a time when the nation’s total population grew from 9.6 to 92 million. By 1880, first- and second-generation immigrants represented 57 percent and 64 percent of the country’s manufacturing and mining labor force, respectively.14 This meant that even when nativist movements arose in reaction to these large inflows, they were stoutly resisted and rejected by capital, which not only fought to maintain the country’s openness to new immigrant flows, but also lobbied for greater state participation in promoting and facilitating immigration.

—p.15 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] American capital’s dependence on immigrant labor in the nineteenth century is unique among industrializing countries, in that the process of colonization and settlement had resulted in patterns of yeoman farming, rather than feudal agriculture, and thus lacked the reserves of surplus agricultural labor that propelled European industrialization. Domestic population growth could not solve the problem, as the vastness of the Western territory meant that fertile lands were available in plentiful supply to anyone willing to cultivate them for most of the early industrial period.

When we say that capitalists have an interest in immigration today, we mean something different than what it meant in the nineteenth century: mass immigration was not just useful, it was essential to the industrialization and economic expansion that occurred at that time.12 Between 1820 and 1920, more than 33 million immigrants entered the US,13 at a time when the nation’s total population grew from 9.6 to 92 million. By 1880, first- and second-generation immigrants represented 57 percent and 64 percent of the country’s manufacturing and mining labor force, respectively.14 This meant that even when nativist movements arose in reaction to these large inflows, they were stoutly resisted and rejected by capital, which not only fought to maintain the country’s openness to new immigrant flows, but also lobbied for greater state participation in promoting and facilitating immigration.

—p.15 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
27

Under the current system, then, even employers in sectors that rely on immigrant labor have little to lose from immigration restriction policies. We have built fences and walls, militarized the border, and imprisoned immigrants, without significantly impacting the availability of immigrant workers to those businesses that need them. Immigration restriction policy largely does not matter to employers’ bottom line, which means that they also will not support a more open border policy. On the other hand, they have a very direct and immediate interest in supporting a punitive rights regime, in that the sense of vulnerability that it creates among immigrant workers also has a chilling effect on labor organizing in general. The implications for the movement for immigration reform are obvious. Capital cannot be viewed as a reliable partner for passing more liberal legislation. Indeed, given capital’s interest in a more punitive rights regime, any success in advancing immigrant rights will only be achieved over its resistance.

—p.27 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

Under the current system, then, even employers in sectors that rely on immigrant labor have little to lose from immigration restriction policies. We have built fences and walls, militarized the border, and imprisoned immigrants, without significantly impacting the availability of immigrant workers to those businesses that need them. Immigration restriction policy largely does not matter to employers’ bottom line, which means that they also will not support a more open border policy. On the other hand, they have a very direct and immediate interest in supporting a punitive rights regime, in that the sense of vulnerability that it creates among immigrant workers also has a chilling effect on labor organizing in general. The implications for the movement for immigration reform are obvious. Capital cannot be viewed as a reliable partner for passing more liberal legislation. Indeed, given capital’s interest in a more punitive rights regime, any success in advancing immigrant rights will only be achieved over its resistance.

—p.27 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
28

[...] Formally speaking, all immigrant workers, legally authorized or otherwise, have most of the same labor protections and rights to participate in workplace organizing as native workers. Substantively, the right to be present in a country is a precondition for securing all other rights. Even if undocumented immigrants are formally granted labor or political rights, the constant risk of deportation or detention renders those rights less enforceable. Even for authorized workers, who have greater legal protections, the precariousness of the status of “immigrant” endangers their labor rights. Educated technical workers who enter the US to work for high-tech companies under the H-1B visa, while not generally subject to our deportation and detention regimes, are still deterred from participating in labor actions or even changing employment. For these workers, obtaining permanent resident status in the US requires continuous employer sponsorship through what can be a decade-long process,64 during which employers can terminate employment or withdraw their sponsorship at will.

—p.28 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] Formally speaking, all immigrant workers, legally authorized or otherwise, have most of the same labor protections and rights to participate in workplace organizing as native workers. Substantively, the right to be present in a country is a precondition for securing all other rights. Even if undocumented immigrants are formally granted labor or political rights, the constant risk of deportation or detention renders those rights less enforceable. Even for authorized workers, who have greater legal protections, the precariousness of the status of “immigrant” endangers their labor rights. Educated technical workers who enter the US to work for high-tech companies under the H-1B visa, while not generally subject to our deportation and detention regimes, are still deterred from participating in labor actions or even changing employment. For these workers, obtaining permanent resident status in the US requires continuous employer sponsorship through what can be a decade-long process,64 during which employers can terminate employment or withdraw their sponsorship at will.

—p.28 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
31

Will a call for open borders inevitably alienate native workers?

The answer to that question will differ depending on what we think ultimately drives the nativist reaction among the working class — racial animus or material anxiety. To be sure, both factors are necessary to understanding how anti-immigrant politics in the US has developed. Workers’ most immediate interest is in a protected labor market, and because the tendency of organized labor in the US has been to pursue rather narrow economic strategies, the historic orientation of major labor organizations like the AFL-CIO towards immigration has been one of restriction. Labor’s pursuit of this agenda, often with racialized rhetoric, makes it difficult to disentangle workers’ material concerns from racial animus. There is, however, a difference between acknowledging that racial formation and racist discourses mediate the translation of class interests into policy, and arguing that racial animus was the ultimate motivation for these policy positions. In labor historiography, workers’ anti-immigrant positions always suggest a tangled, confused relationship between race and the material interests of workers — even the most blatantly racist programs of organized labor, such as the California trade unions’ campaign to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act and the AFL’s defense of that Act for sixty years, were also crucially motivated by economic anxieties about immigrant competition.

—p.31 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

Will a call for open borders inevitably alienate native workers?

The answer to that question will differ depending on what we think ultimately drives the nativist reaction among the working class — racial animus or material anxiety. To be sure, both factors are necessary to understanding how anti-immigrant politics in the US has developed. Workers’ most immediate interest is in a protected labor market, and because the tendency of organized labor in the US has been to pursue rather narrow economic strategies, the historic orientation of major labor organizations like the AFL-CIO towards immigration has been one of restriction. Labor’s pursuit of this agenda, often with racialized rhetoric, makes it difficult to disentangle workers’ material concerns from racial animus. There is, however, a difference between acknowledging that racial formation and racist discourses mediate the translation of class interests into policy, and arguing that racial animus was the ultimate motivation for these policy positions. In labor historiography, workers’ anti-immigrant positions always suggest a tangled, confused relationship between race and the material interests of workers — even the most blatantly racist programs of organized labor, such as the California trade unions’ campaign to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act and the AFL’s defense of that Act for sixty years, were also crucially motivated by economic anxieties about immigrant competition.

—p.31 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
36

[...] In the past thirty years, mass migration to the US reached levels unseen for a century, and those thirty years have not been a period of prosperity and wage growth for the working class, but the opposite. For those American workers who have experienced declining wages, long periods of unemployment, and the hollowing out of public services, the claim that the economic dynamism of immigrants will benefit everyone must read as a kind of trickle-down economics of the Left or a fossil fuel company’s questioning of climate science — a self-interested rejection of common sense. If material anxieties are the primary driver of working-class nativism, then neither strategy — of emphasizing humanitarianism or minimizing workers’ material concerns — can lead the way out of the dilemma that immigration presents to the Left. The path has to be through confronting those anxieties and actually offering solutions. Here, the labor movement has done a better job than the Democrats. While acknowledging that immigration can impact wages, they proceed from here by making the argument that whether immigration actually has this effect is largely the result of politics, that the limitation of wage competition, collective bargaining, and an expanded social safety net can nullify any potential negative impact of immigration on native workers.

tl;dr: the solution is stronger labour ("Worker solidarity and negotiating as a unified labor force is more effective than individual bargaining" as she writes in the next parap)

—p.36 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] In the past thirty years, mass migration to the US reached levels unseen for a century, and those thirty years have not been a period of prosperity and wage growth for the working class, but the opposite. For those American workers who have experienced declining wages, long periods of unemployment, and the hollowing out of public services, the claim that the economic dynamism of immigrants will benefit everyone must read as a kind of trickle-down economics of the Left or a fossil fuel company’s questioning of climate science — a self-interested rejection of common sense. If material anxieties are the primary driver of working-class nativism, then neither strategy — of emphasizing humanitarianism or minimizing workers’ material concerns — can lead the way out of the dilemma that immigration presents to the Left. The path has to be through confronting those anxieties and actually offering solutions. Here, the labor movement has done a better job than the Democrats. While acknowledging that immigration can impact wages, they proceed from here by making the argument that whether immigration actually has this effect is largely the result of politics, that the limitation of wage competition, collective bargaining, and an expanded social safety net can nullify any potential negative impact of immigration on native workers.

tl;dr: the solution is stronger labour ("Worker solidarity and negotiating as a unified labor force is more effective than individual bargaining" as she writes in the next parap)

—p.36 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago
37

[...] capital manipulates the immigration question. For if capital is no longer concerned with securing an immigration flow, it has every reason to exploit immigration as a source of division within the working class. It is not hypocrisy for Donald Trump to both provoke anti-immigrant sentiment while also staffing undocumented immigrants in his business, it is good strategy. It not only serves to silence his immigrant workers, many of whom are too afraid of detention and deportation to demand better wages or working conditions, it serves to undermine the labor movement as a whole, channeling native workers’ frustration and anxiety away from class exploitation and inequality. And as I have outlined above, Trump is not an anomaly; he is only particularly vocal. Responding to this onslaught without addressing the distinction at the core of its divisive power — between “native” and “immigrant” — is folly. Yet this is what major labor organizations like the AFL-CIO do when they continue to support the basic principle of immigration restriction.

—p.37 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] capital manipulates the immigration question. For if capital is no longer concerned with securing an immigration flow, it has every reason to exploit immigration as a source of division within the working class. It is not hypocrisy for Donald Trump to both provoke anti-immigrant sentiment while also staffing undocumented immigrants in his business, it is good strategy. It not only serves to silence his immigrant workers, many of whom are too afraid of detention and deportation to demand better wages or working conditions, it serves to undermine the labor movement as a whole, channeling native workers’ frustration and anxiety away from class exploitation and inequality. And as I have outlined above, Trump is not an anomaly; he is only particularly vocal. Responding to this onslaught without addressing the distinction at the core of its divisive power — between “native” and “immigrant” — is folly. Yet this is what major labor organizations like the AFL-CIO do when they continue to support the basic principle of immigration restriction.

—p.37 The Case for Open Borders (7) missing author 11 months, 1 week ago