The “Border Beat” (June 6, 2008)

Today’s “Border Beat” brings you a set of articles all related to Latinos and labor and the racial ideologies that bring those two together.

  • A fascinating look into how Operation Streamline has made a Texas-based meatpacking company turn to Burmese refugee workers (Wall Street Journal)
  • CDC report reveals how Latinos (and Latino immigrants, in particular) occupy some of the deadliest jobs (U.S. News & World Report)
  • The feds claim victory for the drop in “illegal immigration” by arguing its the ICE raids behind it; but it looks like the way Bush messed up the national economy is really the hero (Time)
  • A more systematic investigation of the recently-reported (and afore-referenced) unemployment figures for “Hispanics” is a reminder that the poor always suffer the most in an economic de-, I mean recession (Los Angeles Times)
  • A Federal Judge does what every reader of this blog knew he would regarding facets of an Oklahoma “anti-illegal immigrant” law, and Oklahomans speak out (it’s the “Featured Comments” below the story reported by the Tulsa Fox affiliate you will want to read)

Make no mistake about it, the modern economy (a.k.a. “capitalism”) is predicated on the abuse of humans. I don’t say this to be dramatic–although I know a lot of you can’t read those words and not have a knee-jerk response to dismiss everything else I say because you know think I am a communist–but I do say this to make three points:

1) when you see some of the ways the economic system preys on “weaker” peoples and can’t operate unless it finds those people (whether we are talking about people with less political rights, less economic rights, lower expectations, a diminished ability to acculturate into a larger society) you can begin to understand the ways seemingly rational political stances (“undocumented workers shouldn’t have a political voice because they are not here legally”) work to nurture a complex and inhumane economic system;

2) a clear solution to many problems would be the institutional recognition of people’s economic rights as human rights, that is, rights which are not bestowed by government fiat but as ours by birth; and

3) be thankful for what you do not struggle for, as thankful you should be that another person’s struggle and oppression helped bring you that salad, or chicken sandwich, or…you get the picture.

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