Immortality and Barbaric Racial Utopias

rc-am rcollins at
Fri Feb 19 20:05:19 PST 1999

Yoshie also wrote:

>Since anti-immigrant sentiments are not 'rational,' especially in
>contradictory ideas (immigrants take away jobs/immigrants are
>seem to coexist in ideology without discrediting each other (and they
>therefore immune to rational refutations), how do we fight back?

if i thought i knew for sure the answer i could spend my time complaining about the failure of others to recognise my ominiscience.... but some thoughts anyway.

in relation your previous comments, it may well be that the poor, especially poor black and latinos, are highly ambivalent toward anti-immigrant politics, but i would say that insofar as an important part of leftist and marxist politics is addressing those things which divide us, then that too is a part of any anti-racist practice. that though is an organisational question that goes to struggles over the determination of aims, etc. that anti-racist campaigns/orgs are still split along the axis of immigration makes this an important area of struggle.

a similar approach would apply to poor whites. and here, I would think the aim might be to refuse a nominally anti-racist politics which actually makes anti-racist discourse into another occasion for elitist complaints about the vulgarity of the masses, converting anti-racist sentiment into a technique of the state, a call for better forms of control and management - or at least providing the middle class with an alibi for greater forms of social control. here of course, a lot of attention needs to be given to the place of desire in the constitution of politics, but not in terms of the puritanical PC injunction to renounce enjoyment as the founding gesture of political conscience.

but there is another kind of racism that needs to be dealt with: liberal racism which is the least prone to making open declarations of inferiority, more adept at presenting racist 'solutions' as the necessary or only available anti-racist politics, like stopping immigration because it is immigrants who cause racism, or making immigrants liable for the contradictions of liberalism. if anything, recent experiences in auustralia have made me think it is important to refuse a kind of 'united front against racism' which includes these kinds of racists and gives them cover.

in any case, I would think that the left needs to reassess its own implicit or otherwise commitment to nationalist solutions to 'globalisation', calls for protectionism, for instance. the problem with globalisation is not that it really is global, but that the continuing force of national boundaries in labour laws and labour movement makes for easy pickings. at the shop floor, I would also say that calls for saving jobs need to be replaced with calls for a betterment of wages and conditions and a global-industry linkage of such struggles. the former divides, and there is little indication that it is successful in any case; whilst the latter unites - and, whilst it too might not meet with success, it does refigure the identity of those struggling without recourse to racist suppositions.

it's a big issue, and only touched on.


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