SFBG Radio: The GOP and fear of the "other"

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Today Johnny and Tim talk about the bill that the Democrats are using to fight back against Republican nonsense -- and why the GOP is all about scaring white people. You can listen after the break.

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Comments

Yes

I loved it, get the Latino's voting, more social conservatives to vote yes on 8.

More race obsessed ravings from the left who assume that minorities will in general agree with them because they are the mighty white liberals.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 28, 2010 @ 9:25 am

Latinos are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Republican Party, following three weeks of data from the Latino Decisions weekly national tracking poll of Latino registered voters, though Democrats have not yet surged ahead in the 2010 congressional vote. 65% of Latinos now say they are less excited about the Republican Party as compared to one year ago, up from 60% who were less excited as of August 30th. Further, when it comes to immigration, 74% of Latinos say the Republican Party is either ignoring or blocking immigration reform, up from 70% as of August 30th.

From Immigration policy center.

Posted by Guest Johnny Wendell on Sep. 28, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

As someone whose family is a third Latino (mainly Mexican), I can vouch for what was said in the broadcast. At the end of the day, that bloc is socially conservative, but they are poor. You ask the average American of Mexican (or any Hispanic descent) what's more important, gays getting married or jobs? And the answer will be that they disapprove of gays getting married but think the government should focus more on jobs. Most would qualify as "working poor," but have the potential to rise. The family structure in the community is still strong and large, resembling what one saw in European immigrant communities in the late 19th/early 20th century. But here's the thing that the Grand Old Plantation missed, that had they just done a few things different, they could have captured more of this bloc. Alas, like the African American voting bloc, these checkered pants Boys from Brazil have screwed themselves again.

Demographics are showing more and more that America will become a "minority majority" nation. But it also isn't just that we're becoming "browner," we're also becoming poorer. Yes, for the first time in generations, odds are that the next to follow us may do worse off than those that came before them. Of course the latter could change, but we're now in another year of double-digit unemployment (U6). We, as Americans, have to finally confront with the reality that we now have a structural underclass that has now passed 1 in 4 of us. This is something the Republicans have failed to see. They're really the new Whig Party as it were in it's last days.

The Whigs had a hard time confronting with the issue of slavery. All their southern leaders owned slaves. When they did deal with the issue, it was in a series of compromises. The Republican leadership is not so much torn but attempting to find a form of synergy between it's wealthier benefactors and an increasingly economically insecure White America. There are many in that party who know what the demographics are saying, their business bloc wants the exploited labor, the social/theocratic conservatives want to appeal to their family values to prevent things like same-sex marriage and abortion. Unfortunately for them, the conservative version of the lumpenproletariat will have none of this, for many of them, their big compromise was allowing Roman Catholic whites to get a seat at the table. It also does not help the GOP that they aren't capturing the youth vote.

The biggest fear that the leadership of the Republican Party has is that while many in that older white increasingly poorer bloc blames the immigrants for supposedly sucking up welfare, that one of them will eventually ask the question "why should it go to these Latinos when the welfare could go for us?" Because up until this time, they've been made to believe that American life is only "rugged individualism", you know the whole pull yourself up by your bootstraps and less government mantra. Church or your family, not some soulless state, was who you should look too, was what was always preached (especially now if you watch or listen to Glenn Beck). The real reason why this was preached had nothing to do with the supposed shame of asking for a handout, as was pressed upon the middle and lower class conservatives. No, the real reason was that if these folks saw the economy for what it was and started demanding help, that would mean more pressure on the gains made by the upper classes particularly the wealthy economic elites. So you see, that question "what about us?" can never come to be, that has always been the goal.

But as the economy sinks ever further, more and more folks who once bashed government assistance and were fans of free-market capitalism soon begin to change their tune. It's like those who bemoaned government healthcare over private health insurance, but when they found themselves shafted by their beloved Aetnas or Blue Crosses in a time of medical tragedy, soon changed their tune. More and more Americans are getting to this point, the Republicans who can see this but can't change their main political organization found a new way to funnel that anger into these new Tea Party organizations. But these average folks who are part of these movements are going to start demanding results. They're going to want to see their insecurities removed. Sadly, while the average tea partier may be sincere in their motives based on some pretty wild presumptions, their new leadership are not. Indeed, the whole thing is a Potemkin Village of a political movement to distract that lower class conservative base.

Results, that's the key, and once their beloved Tea Party candidates start enacting their so-called reforms, these poor folks own't like the outcomes. A lot of young people have been sold the idea that Social Security won't be there, but if there is no viable alternative for them, they're going to start demanding. For the elderly, if they start seeing a cut in their Social Security checks and reduction in what Medicare offers, they too will start demanding. And that's where the Republican Party will not be prepared, like the Whigs with slavery. They will have no other base to fall on like the Latinos or the African-Americans. The Asians will still be numbered to small to be a factor. So the leadership of the GOP will be divided, like the Northern and Southern Whigs. Do you appease the Plutocrats and hope that your fearful base accepts yet another "new normal" or do you actually make an attempt to get the rich to give a little bit more to appease the base even though that means the wealthy elite cutting back in support and the revolving corporate/congressional door?

BTW, the Democratic Party shouldn't be so gleeful of this scenario, as they too are almost in a similar situation.

Posted by Johnny Venom on Sep. 28, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

Open the borders and try and solve the economic problems of other countries here in the USA. As the Johnnys of the world drive down wages they hope the underclass will rise up.

May well be true. But like 60's radicals waiting for the race war, probably not.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 28, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

Who the hell said open the borders (and by that I'm guessing you mean no control whatsoever)? No one has taken that libertarian stance. Please tell me what you're smoking and the name of your dealer, because that has to be some good stuff (and if you say "Jesus" I will assume "Hezuuss"). Please tell me how I'm driving down your miserable wage or that of other Americans?

Look Matty, if you want to find blame for wages going down, don't blame Jose (or Jan if you're Polish and in the Great Lakes area. It isn't just Hispanics, you go to places like Ohio or Illinois or Pennsylvania, and you're going to see that a good chunk of those "illegals" are Eastern Europeans) for lowering your wages, blame the douche bag businessperson who hires them. Why haven't they cracked down on the guy running that restaurant? Or the guy who runs that lawn grooming business? Tell me, Matty, when you go to a restaurant and you suspect that the busboy or waiter was here illegally, do you walk out in protest?

Now I personally do not like how our border laws are being violated. It's a slap in the face of all those who try to come here legally and attempt to get their citizenship the proper way. At the same time, thinking rationally, one has to ask how is it that the crisis has reached such proportions? Well, as someone who has helped immigrant friends and family gain their citizenship, I can personally testify that the process needs a major overhaul.

How is it that someone can get a credit card or a mortgage faster than a work visa? I have seen some people wait as long as 18 years (yeah, you read that right) to gain a green card and then citizenship.For the sake of argument, I'm going to take this from the point of view of someone coming from Latin America. If you're poor, hardly educated and extremely desperate to support your family, you're going to make the hard decision to get to that potential job faster.

It would be a mistake to think that the decision to cross the border illegally is an easy one. The whole process is wrought with risk. They either have to save up for a year or more and beg family to help come up with cash to survive the trip or pay someone to help them cross (the infamous "coyote"). These smugglers are often just petty criminals who either rob them during the trek up north or place them in what is modern day slavery. Don't kid yourself, Matty, the average Mexican or Guatemalan or what have you is fully aware by now of the situation faced by many up here. But the choice between getting cash to help a family or staying and watching things fall apart, what would you do as a father?

Whether they get a coyote or not, the path to the Rio Grand (and just after) is a physically paralus one. Much of northern Mexico is a North American Sarajevo at this point. Watch the news and you'll learn of migrants mistaken for drug smugglers assassinated by cartel soldiers; actually, that's another risk, sometimes the price of getting aid to cross is being forced to become a drug mule. The largest crossing points into the US are also one of the most inhospitable ones. The heat, the terrain, all of it has been described at times as walking into Hell. Do you really believe they want to this in life, to deal with such things just so they can cut your lawn or serve you coffee? No, they do it because back home there are no jobs or the have bills like medical related items that their pay doesn't even remotely come close to covering.

Something else to ponder, a lot of the Mexicans that are part of the illegal immigrant tide come from states where agriculture was the staple economy. Many owned their own farms, albeit small ones, but they were ones that supplied them with their needs and a livable (but not rich) income. The agriculture industry, well the family farm, in Mexico was not prepared for NAFTA. The US heavily subsidizes things like maize/corn production, which was also one of the largest crops grown by these small farms down South. These small farmers were a voting bloc for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), who in government established an artificially higher price for their grains. These folks were sold out to an even larger more powerful bloc, the industrialists setting up the Maquiladoras. There is no real avenue for financing like you see here in the US. If you thought the banked screwed over the small American family farm back in the 1980s, you should see how it is in Mexico. The signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement was also the signing of the death warrant for many Mexican family farms.

Posted by Johnny Venom on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 8:18 am

to figure out these free association posts.

NAFTA which opened the borders to more trade was bad for Mexican agriculture, while opening the borders to labor isn't going to drive down wages?

I would love to see there be some law enforcement of ownership.

Why you brought up race again is a mystery.

Your other free association post was all about class(and race) as was your radio show, and how all these people were going to get it together and stick it to the aging white middle class voter or some other part of the ruling elites or some nameless enemy of the lower classes.

It's all a nebulous mystery as to what exactly "the people" are going to rise up and do to remove the boot heel on a human face forever. But according to you they will be doing something that will empower "the people" likely voting for more democrats who sign NAFTA into law I suppose.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 9:12 am

what's so hard to understand that dumping a subsidized ag product that at a price that is below the cost of production in the receiving country is going to screw up that country's ag economy?

and what is so hard to understand about the fact that very low skill undocumented workers help to spur demand for jobs that would otherwise not have been created if those workers weren't here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 9:29 am

"what's so hard to understand that dumping a subsidized ag product that at a price that is below the cost of production in the receiving country is going to screw up that country's ag economy?"

I don't know I already agreed with that position, were you responding to me?

"and what is so hard to understand about the fact that very low skill undocumented workers help to spur demand for jobs that would otherwise not have been created if those workers weren't here. "

For example? More people being able to afford maids? Taking entry level jobs and making careers out of them? I would be interested in what these jobs are, maybe in other areas of the country.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 11:42 am

No one said that opening up the borders wasn't going to have a depressing influence on wages. But the borders were not officially opened either, the laws were never enforced and considering that it mainly benefited business, the pressure was only coming from the so-called "nativists."

Who said that there was a concerted effort by these immigrants to "stick it" to the white population? Once more, the true blame isn't them but the business owner who is looking to exploit such labor.

As for folks rising up, no one has ever said that the resulting action would be to vote for the Democrats. The fact remains, folks are dismayed at both parties and are tired of always having to pick a lesser evil.

On a side note, why do you keep confusing me with the host of the show? I'm not him.

Posted by Johnny Venom on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 9:35 am

What this conversation thread has failed to address thus far is that one the key reasons 'free trade' deals devastate both sides of the border is that they allow opportunist capitalists to freely move capital around and milk profits from both sides while workers are forced to remain in place or work 'illegally'.

'Free trade' brought a maquiladoras boom, which undermined manufacturing in the U.S. and other countries; and NAFTA brought the flooding of cheap inferior U.S. corn into Mexico, wiping out small scale farmers in Mexico and torpedoing the nutritional value and varietal diversity of Mexican corn. The Mexican corn farmers were then forced to cross the border out of desperation to seek U.S. jobs; which benefits U.S. corporations because the Mexican workers' 'illegal' status allows them to be exploited and forced to accept much lower wages (which of course also drives down the wages of U.S. workers). Once the U.S. had taken over the corn market in Mexico, the next stage was to use biofuels and market manipulation to raise the price of corn in Mexico, gouging the consumers who had come to rely on its cheapness, and causing a hunger crisis and household economic crisis; while the corn commodity traders made out like bandits.

One part of the remedy to this nonsense is to completely open the borders and make all workers fully legal no matter where they are from and no matter where they are working. This would totally eliminate the constant threat of being deported that Mexican workers must now endure, and allow them to freely organize among themselves and with U.S. workers, without fear; enabling all workers to demand a much better deal.

Free borders would likewise allow all workers in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America to all organize closely together across the entire hemisphere, to mobilize against these production-for-export based capitalist opportunists.

As long as capital is allowed to flow freely across borders, and workers are not, capital will totally dominate, and workers will continue to be crushed under its boot.

Opening the borders will not solve all of the ills of capitalism, but it will give workers and organizers far more power and leverage with which to overturn those ills.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 10:15 am

understand that your chain of events isn't going to come about.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 11:46 am

Focusing on the bottom of the wage scale ignores that the borders have been flung open officially at the top of the wage scale as they are any time that the middle class has a shot at upwards mobility.

Apparently American techies are not "worthy victims" in the eyes of immigration or labor activists.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

heh ouch

I think most people have this assumption that the masses if woken up would vote their way, be it pro-jesus, or lefty democrat.

For years the fastest growing party has been decline to state, to combat this some democrats slovenly obey their union masters, and some republicans go in for more Jesus. It's just fantastic to me.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

What does it mean that one of the few exemptions from close borders for labor is the H1-B visa program that imports the torrent of cheap, desperate Computer Science graduates from India's megauniversities to drive down wages?

See Professor Norm Matloff's work on this: http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html

The US is going to have to come down from the post-WWII crack high of unilateral economic superpower because there are other contenders for those formerly cheap resources that we all smoked up.

The challenge for progressives is negotiating that austerity on terms favorable to us. The immigration debate is wholly centered around a corporate agenda. Even our friends in the immigrants rights movement are captured by this.

Ya gotta wonder what leftie is going to move here form Latin America to agitate against the US government to allow more immigrants from Latin America to come here while giving a green light to H1-B visas that drive down domestic tech wages while hundreds of thousands of native born American techies are unemployed.

The immigration debate needs to be people centered, not labor centered. Immigration should not be an economic issue, and we need to take care to preserve pre existing cultures around the world by ensuring that comparative advantages between different places are minimal. As Eric notes, NAFTA torpedoed the traditional Mexican corn agriculture economy and that will be near impossible to bring back.

To some extent, that dislocation of whole populations nationwide post-NAFTA into the cities is a major contributing factor to the supply of cheap mules for the Mexican drug cartels, tinder for the violence that's wracking Mexico.

This all means that our standard of living is going to have to fall off of a cliff, which will be a great thing for the environment and those formerly on the business end of the US military. This can happen the way it did in England as their empire crashed or it can happen like it did in Russia after the USSR evaporated. The choice is ours. Those in power could care less how it happens, just so long as they're insulated.

While we've gotta fall, that's no excuse for corporate power kicking us down the stairs the way they're doing with the H1-B visa program. With CA unemployment realistically at 20%, those H1-B visas should all be revoked immediately and those persons sent home. Yeah, that's tough shit, but its even tougher shit for us to compete against people desperate to escape poverty.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Sep. 29, 2010 @ 11:24 am