WSJ on A16

John Kawakami johnk at
Sat Apr 8 14:03:50 PDT 2000

>>I think that the rhetoric of protecting "American" jobs, keeping China out,
>>stopping cheap labor abroad from bringing "our" living standards down, etc.
>>has not appealed to activists of color.
>Probably because, within the US, minorities form a pool of low cost
>labor in competition with white labor. This is somewhat true in the
>]mbs] You are speculating on the cause of an assertion for which
>no evidence has been advanced, except for the micro-datapoint
>known as Rakesh.

I'll go with my gut instinct. When you attack China, some Chinese will take it personally, even if they're progressive. If you go the next step and say that you have to control the labor market to keep "our" wages up, some low wage workers will wonder what's meant by "our".

They could avoid these problems by getting the support of ethnic leaders first, and seeding the ethnic press with assurances that it's not directed against them (er, us). It's basic outreach.

OTOH, the labor market is segmented, and it benefits whites. Who'd willingly give up that kind of advantage? And, immigrantion is part of globalization, and the immigrant identifies with the process of globalization, so arguing against it is an uphill battle. Maybe it isn't worth the effort to do the outreach.

>>>>>>>>> . . .
>When you have social dynamics like that, you're not going to appeal
>to minorities by indirectly attacking one of the most prominent
>minority groups in America (and the world, if you think about it) and
>attacking low-cost labor in general.
>The AFL is not 'attacking low-cost labor.' Quite
>the contrary.
>>IMPORTS. Who makes 'em is irrelevant. What they
>>get paid is relevant.
>The problem is that, due to colonialism (and slavery), there's a
>strong correlation between color and poverty, on a global scale.
>[mbs[ No shit. But the issue was whether opposition to
>trade stemmed from chauvinism of some type, or from
>a desire to defend one's standard of living. Our free-
>trade anti-imperialists repeatedly accuse labor's trade
>critics of racism. The only thing that has been cited
>here to support that are some unspecified allegations
>towards one dude -- the infamous Michael Dolan -- who
>is not a labor union person to begin with.
>>>>>>>>>>>> . . .
>This happens even in the US. Recently, my mother's workplace was
>bought by a Japanese food conglomerate, which has been actively
>eroding benefits and rights that were secured by the union years ago.
>They're taking advantage of the large number of Latino workers in the
>LA area. So, now, you have Japanese owners bringing in Anglo management to
>exploit Latino labor.
>Sounds like this can only heighten class consciousness,
>since the racial/ethnic roles are so scrambled.

It does. It's a new adversary. But it can't help Asian-Latin relations, which have always been mixed.

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