Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

161

‘With or Without You’: Naturalising Migrants and the Never-Ending Tragedy of Liberalism
(missing author)

1
terms
5
notes

by Maia Pal

on the "One Day Without Us" anti-Brexit campaign. really good. one of the best things i've ever read on migrants (and i've been seeking out content in this vein lately). up there with: Barnaby Raine's salvage piece; the NLR article on Fortress Europe; and the n+1 article on ICE

? (2017). ‘With or Without You’: Naturalising Migrants and the Never-Ending Tragedy of Liberalism. Salvage, 5, pp. 161-174

162

But the message feels flawed. Maybe because it contains traces of the neoliberal economic discourse according to which migrants should be welcome because we need them to support our aging population and because they boost our economy, as multiple studies show year after year. This argument is too entrenched to rant about with any originality. To justify the presence and use of foreign people on economic grounds is, of course, a slippery slope to denying citizens benefits because they are not morally worthy, or because their productivity does not justify the expense. In other words, the logic of the economic argument is the same logic that leads, at its most extreme, to the extermination and/or excision of those deemed not useful to the reproduction of the ruling and dominant classes.

Aside from this dangerous utilitarian logic, most disturbing about the ‘with and without us’ message is how it implicitly draws borders between UK citizens and migrants, reinforcing a liberal conception of migration and subjectivity. By affirming who is and who is not a citizen, the message draws ideological borders between workers. What is missing in the ‘with and without us’ tactic is a clear and explicit rejection of how the category and process of migrant subjectivity is separated from that of national workers, putting the spotlight on this separation as a mere appearance that obscures certain labour processes and reinforces national constructions. The processes through which people are constructed as migrant subjects imply a constantly shifting set of social, political and economic conditions. The problem is not only that these conditions are erased or forgotten by the unquestioning acceptance of the categories of national citizen and migrant: their acceptance obscures how the creation and reproduction of these categories legitimates specific entitlements to life and resources that are thereby taken as natural and unchangeable.

yesss so good. exactly what i was trying to capture in my illegal immigration piece

—p.162 missing author 1 month ago

But the message feels flawed. Maybe because it contains traces of the neoliberal economic discourse according to which migrants should be welcome because we need them to support our aging population and because they boost our economy, as multiple studies show year after year. This argument is too entrenched to rant about with any originality. To justify the presence and use of foreign people on economic grounds is, of course, a slippery slope to denying citizens benefits because they are not morally worthy, or because their productivity does not justify the expense. In other words, the logic of the economic argument is the same logic that leads, at its most extreme, to the extermination and/or excision of those deemed not useful to the reproduction of the ruling and dominant classes.

Aside from this dangerous utilitarian logic, most disturbing about the ‘with and without us’ message is how it implicitly draws borders between UK citizens and migrants, reinforcing a liberal conception of migration and subjectivity. By affirming who is and who is not a citizen, the message draws ideological borders between workers. What is missing in the ‘with and without us’ tactic is a clear and explicit rejection of how the category and process of migrant subjectivity is separated from that of national workers, putting the spotlight on this separation as a mere appearance that obscures certain labour processes and reinforces national constructions. The processes through which people are constructed as migrant subjects imply a constantly shifting set of social, political and economic conditions. The problem is not only that these conditions are erased or forgotten by the unquestioning acceptance of the categories of national citizen and migrant: their acceptance obscures how the creation and reproduction of these categories legitimates specific entitlements to life and resources that are thereby taken as natural and unchangeable.

yesss so good. exactly what i was trying to capture in my illegal immigration piece

—p.162 missing author 1 month ago
164

The specific message of ‘with and without us’ reveals the danger of entrenching the existence of categories of people who have a ‘natural’ privilege in occupying a certain space, merely by their nationality. It accepts the fixing of some people as citizens or nationals and some people as migrants, categories or subjectivities that thereby become understood as natural and inevitable. These categories are certainly useful in some respects, particularly in activists’ everyday struggles, and we cannot do without them. But the point remains that the practice of critical analysis – i.e. praxis – must be to caution against the habits of the everyday acceptance of why things are the way they are. Here, the ‘natural’ aspect of the privilege of nationality is constructed – and needs to be maintained – by the illusion and ideology of national borders in a liberal context that allows for economic rationality and utilitarianism.

Specifically, it seems logical to this ideology that where and to whom one is born should determine what resources and conditions one should survive in – justified legally by the respective principles of ius solis and ius sanguinis for determining nationality rights. The anti-immigrant rhetoric in most European countries today reinforces and restricts these principles. However, in other contexts such as North America, as Jessica Evans reminds us, indigenous peoples are ‘internal outsiders with a prior claim to both jus solis and jus sanguinis’ and yet ‘access to the state and to the right for a state of their own’ remains denied to them. In both contexts, however, xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric finds refuge in the cataclysmic sense of emergency where everybody is meant to accept that the world is dying, resources are limited and cannot be shared, and, crucially, (European) Christian culture is threatened. Thus, people should stay where they are and deal with the lot they were given, whether this means war, famine, persecution, discrimination, colonial theft and trauma, unemployment, lack of healthcare, and more. What this implies is the erosion of the principle of solidarity. Although this principle, when coupled to Western liberal ideals, has often led to the worst of liberal interventionism’s civilising missions, it remains a cornerstone of basic human decency and co- existence, and of socialist politics. It therefore must be protected from European liberalism’s securitisation, retrenchment and paranoia.

I think that should be "jus" not "ius" but maybe I'm missing something

—p.164 missing author 1 month ago

The specific message of ‘with and without us’ reveals the danger of entrenching the existence of categories of people who have a ‘natural’ privilege in occupying a certain space, merely by their nationality. It accepts the fixing of some people as citizens or nationals and some people as migrants, categories or subjectivities that thereby become understood as natural and inevitable. These categories are certainly useful in some respects, particularly in activists’ everyday struggles, and we cannot do without them. But the point remains that the practice of critical analysis – i.e. praxis – must be to caution against the habits of the everyday acceptance of why things are the way they are. Here, the ‘natural’ aspect of the privilege of nationality is constructed – and needs to be maintained – by the illusion and ideology of national borders in a liberal context that allows for economic rationality and utilitarianism.

Specifically, it seems logical to this ideology that where and to whom one is born should determine what resources and conditions one should survive in – justified legally by the respective principles of ius solis and ius sanguinis for determining nationality rights. The anti-immigrant rhetoric in most European countries today reinforces and restricts these principles. However, in other contexts such as North America, as Jessica Evans reminds us, indigenous peoples are ‘internal outsiders with a prior claim to both jus solis and jus sanguinis’ and yet ‘access to the state and to the right for a state of their own’ remains denied to them. In both contexts, however, xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric finds refuge in the cataclysmic sense of emergency where everybody is meant to accept that the world is dying, resources are limited and cannot be shared, and, crucially, (European) Christian culture is threatened. Thus, people should stay where they are and deal with the lot they were given, whether this means war, famine, persecution, discrimination, colonial theft and trauma, unemployment, lack of healthcare, and more. What this implies is the erosion of the principle of solidarity. Although this principle, when coupled to Western liberal ideals, has often led to the worst of liberal interventionism’s civilising missions, it remains a cornerstone of basic human decency and co- existence, and of socialist politics. It therefore must be protected from European liberalism’s securitisation, retrenchment and paranoia.

I think that should be "jus" not "ius" but maybe I'm missing something

—p.164 missing author 1 month ago
165

[...] Liberalism is currently deemed at risk by the advance of the far right; as critics of liberalism, should we not be rejoicing? No, because what is really at risk is not liberalism, but the principle of solidarity that some liberalism contains. Instead of dying, liberalism is merely becoming more and more securitised and economically ‘rational’. The principle of solidarity is trapped in the farcical tragedy of liberalism’s never-ending schizophrenic dance-off to two different songs; trying to cleave to its ideal of harmonious economic migration and human- rights discourse on one hand, and its need for retaining and cajoling the interests of state and capital through cheap labour and border controls on the other.

goddamn this is good

—p.165 missing author 1 month ago

[...] Liberalism is currently deemed at risk by the advance of the far right; as critics of liberalism, should we not be rejoicing? No, because what is really at risk is not liberalism, but the principle of solidarity that some liberalism contains. Instead of dying, liberalism is merely becoming more and more securitised and economically ‘rational’. The principle of solidarity is trapped in the farcical tragedy of liberalism’s never-ending schizophrenic dance-off to two different songs; trying to cleave to its ideal of harmonious economic migration and human- rights discourse on one hand, and its need for retaining and cajoling the interests of state and capital through cheap labour and border controls on the other.

goddamn this is good

—p.165 missing author 1 month ago

in total

166

Economic liberalism maintains and reproduces a moral discourse of righteousness and an institutional façade of human rights. Nevertheless, it must be rejected in toto because it necessarily also furthers a policy agenda of fear and social hierarchy

—p.166 missing author
notable
1 month ago

Economic liberalism maintains and reproduces a moral discourse of righteousness and an institutional façade of human rights. Nevertheless, it must be rejected in toto because it necessarily also furthers a policy agenda of fear and social hierarchy

—p.166 missing author
notable
1 month ago
167

The fixing of territorial borders, the corresponding determination of nationalities and need for passports as markers of identity, are very recent phenomena. They were mostly consolidated worldwide in the long nineteenth century, the age of mass international migration, and one easily forgets how significantly lower today’s levels of cross-border migration are in relation to the nineteenth century. The process of fixing borders began in Europe, but occurred simultaneously in colonised parts of the world where people either continued to resist the imposition of colonial borders, or managed to use national borders as a means to help overthrow colonisers. [...] Of course, these are no golden days justifying nostalgia for a time of more open and welcoming borders. Although this period privileged the movement of low- income populations, this era of ‘free’ and mass migration entrenched North-South inequalities and sealed with a deadly kiss the fate of colonised peoples and ‘semi-sovereign’ countries (e.g. Siam, China, the Ottoman Empire) in providing cheap and resourceful labour to Western Europe and the Americas.

Taking a broader historical view of the category of ‘the migrant’ – and how it has become entangled with nationality – is to reflect on the origins of the right to move and its links to territorial sovereignty and borders. What becomes apparent is that the more fundamental shift is not whether we have the right to move or live somewhere other than where we were born, but the ways in which it became necessary to invent and shape this right. Like most rights, the right to move only becomes necessary to establish, protect, respect and fulfil, once the actual freedom to move is taken away. Global capitalism in the nineteenth century was not the first large- scale transformative social process to create dispossession and movements of people. Slavery, servitude, war and environmental disasters, such as floods and droughts, have consistently forced people to move or flee their homes for thousands of years. However, what capitalism changed in or added to these phenomena was that it institutionalised a specific form of movement through the process of primitive accumulation.

The origin of capitalism is based on the movement of people away from their land, as the process of enclosure forced people to find other means of subsistence and gradually transformed their social relations. [...] If, then, for Evans, migration embodies a ‘specific mechanism by which so-called backward formations were drawn into the remit of the market’, is migration the logical consequence of the spread of capitalism, faced with the ‘so-called backwardness’ or unevenness of societies? Or is there something also in the origins of capitalism and the capital relation that makes individuals more subjectively prone to or accepting of moving as a necessary condition for survival?

Evidently, people move for a variety of religious, cultural, linguistic, economic, personal or political reasons, and reducing analyses of migration to the history of capitalism would be reductionist and counter-productive. Yet we assume as natural and inevitable the necessity to move to sell our labour, in the sense of being detached from our means of subsistence and production. What is this imperative or condition that unites the processes of migration inherent in the production of surplus-value – where people are forced away from their land, where labour becomes fetishised as a commodity, and where one’s relationship to nature and others becomes redefined by capital – to the global cross- border migrations where capitalism spreads, in as unevenly and combined a fashion as it can? In other words, -is there something that unites the origins of capitalism and its spread? And, if so, is it the subjective condition_ of being a migrant? Or, to quote Evans again, ‘the political subjectivities’ underwriting ‘migrants’ material strategies of reproduction’ as ‘active and agential human beings struggling to reproduce themselves in differential, historical and material conditions’?

a useful bit of history. i remember reading this one book set in 19th ct China and being amazed at how easy it was for this one boy genius to just move to the US and attend princeton

—p.167 missing author 1 month ago

The fixing of territorial borders, the corresponding determination of nationalities and need for passports as markers of identity, are very recent phenomena. They were mostly consolidated worldwide in the long nineteenth century, the age of mass international migration, and one easily forgets how significantly lower today’s levels of cross-border migration are in relation to the nineteenth century. The process of fixing borders began in Europe, but occurred simultaneously in colonised parts of the world where people either continued to resist the imposition of colonial borders, or managed to use national borders as a means to help overthrow colonisers. [...] Of course, these are no golden days justifying nostalgia for a time of more open and welcoming borders. Although this period privileged the movement of low- income populations, this era of ‘free’ and mass migration entrenched North-South inequalities and sealed with a deadly kiss the fate of colonised peoples and ‘semi-sovereign’ countries (e.g. Siam, China, the Ottoman Empire) in providing cheap and resourceful labour to Western Europe and the Americas.

Taking a broader historical view of the category of ‘the migrant’ – and how it has become entangled with nationality – is to reflect on the origins of the right to move and its links to territorial sovereignty and borders. What becomes apparent is that the more fundamental shift is not whether we have the right to move or live somewhere other than where we were born, but the ways in which it became necessary to invent and shape this right. Like most rights, the right to move only becomes necessary to establish, protect, respect and fulfil, once the actual freedom to move is taken away. Global capitalism in the nineteenth century was not the first large- scale transformative social process to create dispossession and movements of people. Slavery, servitude, war and environmental disasters, such as floods and droughts, have consistently forced people to move or flee their homes for thousands of years. However, what capitalism changed in or added to these phenomena was that it institutionalised a specific form of movement through the process of primitive accumulation.

The origin of capitalism is based on the movement of people away from their land, as the process of enclosure forced people to find other means of subsistence and gradually transformed their social relations. [...] If, then, for Evans, migration embodies a ‘specific mechanism by which so-called backward formations were drawn into the remit of the market’, is migration the logical consequence of the spread of capitalism, faced with the ‘so-called backwardness’ or unevenness of societies? Or is there something also in the origins of capitalism and the capital relation that makes individuals more subjectively prone to or accepting of moving as a necessary condition for survival?

Evidently, people move for a variety of religious, cultural, linguistic, economic, personal or political reasons, and reducing analyses of migration to the history of capitalism would be reductionist and counter-productive. Yet we assume as natural and inevitable the necessity to move to sell our labour, in the sense of being detached from our means of subsistence and production. What is this imperative or condition that unites the processes of migration inherent in the production of surplus-value – where people are forced away from their land, where labour becomes fetishised as a commodity, and where one’s relationship to nature and others becomes redefined by capital – to the global cross- border migrations where capitalism spreads, in as unevenly and combined a fashion as it can? In other words, -is there something that unites the origins of capitalism and its spread? And, if so, is it the subjective condition_ of being a migrant? Or, to quote Evans again, ‘the political subjectivities’ underwriting ‘migrants’ material strategies of reproduction’ as ‘active and agential human beings struggling to reproduce themselves in differential, historical and material conditions’?

a useful bit of history. i remember reading this one book set in 19th ct China and being amazed at how easy it was for this one boy genius to just move to the US and attend princeton

—p.167 missing author 1 month ago
173

Thus ‘migrant subjectivity’ under capitalism is a false category that naturalises borders and national citizenship. By forgetting the ways in which capitalism forces us to be on the move as a systemic condition, we create and reinforce relations of hierarchy and inequality between people that are constructed and historically contingent. In turn, those relations make it seem ‘unnatural’ and even shocking that in a capitalist mode of production, we are all – at least in a subjective sense – necessarily migrants. More precisely, movement – or the expectation of its potential – is an inherent condition of our indebtedness and servitude to capital accumulation and of our alienation as happy citizens and passionate workers, as Frédéric Lordon describes neoliberal individuals. People reject migrant subjectivity as a secondary, desperate and devaluating status in relation to the holy grail of citizenship, as if citizenship and national belonging will save us from the moral depravity of having to sell our bodies to work. Inescapably, however, accessing citizenship is also one of the only ways for migrant struggles to achieve real short-term benefits and progressive living conditions, and often to escape persecution, death and poverty. The One Day Without Us campaign is a necessary part of this protest against increasing processes of subjective dispossession, with the means and categories we have at our disposal. However, we must also remain critical of our complicity in completing this vicious circle of liberalism, by which we never allow for its tragic end to come forward. For this struggle, the teaching of theory and history, however elusive, remains worth salvaging.

fucking money shot right here (apologies if this is crude)

—p.173 missing author 1 month ago

Thus ‘migrant subjectivity’ under capitalism is a false category that naturalises borders and national citizenship. By forgetting the ways in which capitalism forces us to be on the move as a systemic condition, we create and reinforce relations of hierarchy and inequality between people that are constructed and historically contingent. In turn, those relations make it seem ‘unnatural’ and even shocking that in a capitalist mode of production, we are all – at least in a subjective sense – necessarily migrants. More precisely, movement – or the expectation of its potential – is an inherent condition of our indebtedness and servitude to capital accumulation and of our alienation as happy citizens and passionate workers, as Frédéric Lordon describes neoliberal individuals. People reject migrant subjectivity as a secondary, desperate and devaluating status in relation to the holy grail of citizenship, as if citizenship and national belonging will save us from the moral depravity of having to sell our bodies to work. Inescapably, however, accessing citizenship is also one of the only ways for migrant struggles to achieve real short-term benefits and progressive living conditions, and often to escape persecution, death and poverty. The One Day Without Us campaign is a necessary part of this protest against increasing processes of subjective dispossession, with the means and categories we have at our disposal. However, we must also remain critical of our complicity in completing this vicious circle of liberalism, by which we never allow for its tragic end to come forward. For this struggle, the teaching of theory and history, however elusive, remains worth salvaging.

fucking money shot right here (apologies if this is crude)

—p.173 missing author 1 month ago