The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
A Made-Up Border Wall Crisis

Feb 18, 2019

And the political games continue.

Congress, with great fanfare, declared that they had reached a budget deal that avoided another government shutdown. And then, President Trump, in his attempt to declare victory after Congress passed a budget without money for his wall, signed an emergency declaration designed to take that money anyway.

Democrats in Congress are crying foul, insisting that Trump has made an end-run around the constitutional separation of powers. They promise a boatload of lawsuits, which will almost certainly tie Trump’s “emergency” up in legal limbo for months and months. And both sides are perfectly happy with this: Democrats and Republicans in Congress got to pass a budget deal, and Trump can say he is building his wall – whether it gets built or not. And both sides can use this “conflict” as fodder for their 2020 campaigns.

And in the end, what has really changed? What has passed, in this budget that both Democrats and Republicans are so happy about? Certainly nothing that helps working people. The huge corporate tax breaks continue, as do the huge military budget and the cuts in our standard of living. In the end, under the smokescreen of this wall “conflict,” it’s business as usual.

And in business as usual, it is efficient to pit workers against each other.

Trump’s “emergency” is completely made up. He admitted as much when he said, at his news conference, “I didn’t need to do this.” All facts show that there is no immigrant “crisis,” and that a border wall doesn’t solve any real problem.

While the U.S. population numbers around 326 million, these refugees who are seeking asylum number in thousands. Many are families, and women with children. Even if the number of undocumented workers in the U.S. stands around 12 million, these people, most of whom have been here for many years, obviously do not constitute a threat.

Nancy Pelosi called the wall “an immorality,” and in that she was right. But she and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, have insisted that the “Democrats are committed to border security.” Democrats want to “secure the border” just as much as Republicans and Trump do. They helped pass money to do it. They’re disagreeing on the specifics, while agreeing on all the fundamentals.

So why do both parties agree to secure the border, if it is not truly a threat? Because they both represent the U.S. capitalist class. They just do it in slightly different ways. And that capitalist class has an interest in controlling the flow of its labor force, back and forth across the border.

For decades, U.S. capitalism has dominated the countries of Central and South America. For big capital, nationalism has little meaning when it comes to production for profit or trade and speculation. For decades, U.S. manufacturing and finance magnates have considered these countries their backyard – theirs to play in, theirs to exploit, and more recently, theirs to devastate and impoverish.

Mexican and South and Central American workers are a part of the giant network of labor that U.S. capitalism depends on, on both sides of the southern U.S. border. For decades, U.S. capitalism has been recruiting workers to labor in U.S. industries, fields and homes. For decades, U.S. capitalism has been controlling the economies of Central and South America and Mexico in business and finance.

In the most recent period, there has been an increased number of immigrants coming from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua; primarily families who are seeking protection from a violent degeneration of conditions in their home countries. This degeneration of the economies and living conditions, war and terrorism on the part of the state apparatuses and on the part of gangs competing for influence, and sheer poverty, has been perpetrated by the U.S. government and U.S. policies of exploitation.

And the Democrats are just as culpable in pushing this agenda as the Republicans are.

Working people have a different interest. Working people do not benefit from being divided, “legal” from “illegal,” U.S.-born from “foreign”-born. This only benefits the bosses who try to use one group of workers against another – to attack us all.

Our fight is together, against ALL these enemies.