Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Uselessness of Stopping Immigration

The History of American Policies Against Immigrants in Order to Insure National Security

The United States’ recent passage of the Patriot Act has created a furor amongst civil rights groups and a corresponding reaction amongst security “hawks.” An aspect missing from the current debate however is the history of similar laws and practices. Another aspect missing is an examination of the historic “loyalty” amongst the native born and the immigrant. Herein the major precursors of the Patriot Act are examined not only for content but also for effectiveness. Starting with the earliest, the Alien Act, and continuing through the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Japanese Internment all major acts combining immigration and national security are addressed.
The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed in 1798 by the Federalist party in order to not only ensure national security in times of war but also to prevent the unlawful slandering of the president or government (Alien Act 3). Critics, probably justifiably, labeled the Sedition Act as designed to thwart the influence of Thomas Jefferson’s fledgling Democratic-Republican party. The Alien Act, however was much more important for our purposes here. It provides for the removal of “all foreign nationals, being male and over 14 years old” and for them to be “apprehended, restrained, secured and removed.” (Alien Act) If any charge can be brought against them they can be prosecuted within any of the courts in the US, local, state, and supreme courts. If they are found to be “chargeable with actual hostility” they will be “secured” until they can make provisions for their “goods and effects for removal.” The law in effect gives the President the authority to deport all foreign nationals in time of war.
The Alien Act, like the Sedition Act, was never implemented by the government. In fact the Democratic-Repulican party used outrage over the Alien and Sedition Acts in order to sweep into power in 1800. While the Alien Act was never used much it did scare a number of people out of the US, particularly the residual French nationals left from the American Revolution. However the Alien and Sedition Acts were castrated by public opinion very quickly and their most important legacies lie in likewise castrating President Adams and alienating the formerly friendly French.
The next legislation of note is the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act was in response to the influx of Chinese labor escaping China and settling in California. As the railroad building boom reached it’s climax Chinese immigrants were heavily recruited as cheap labor by railroad companies. In the 1860’s they were considered polite, hard working, self sufficient, and clean. However as the labor market became saturated these “happy” stereotypes morphed into secretive, greedy, clannish and anti western. This was further developed into their being a “threat to good order” and took on a security aspect as well. Ironically the primary lobbying to illegalize Chinese immigration was done by the Knights of Labor. The Knights of Labor were a massively powerful labor union otherwise notable for incorporating blacks and women (Boyer 567). However they used vicious racist tactics to stigmatize Chinese. Largely because they were perceived as a threat to labor they were villianized.
The Chinese Exclusion Act itself is designed to vigorously exclude any Chinese person from coming to the US “and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or, having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.” Chinese being stranded in the US due to some problem at sea are to be carefully tracked during their stay. “Chinese laborers, which shall be entered in registry-books to be kept for that purpose, in which shall be stated the name, age, occupation, last place of residence, physical marks or peculiarities, and all facts necessary for the identification of each of such Chinese laborers, which books shall be safely kept in the custom-house; and every such Chinese laborer so departing from the United States shall be entitled to, and shall receive, free of any charge or cost upon application therefore, from the collector or his deputy, at the time such list is taken, a certificate, signed by the collector or his deputy and attested by his seal of office.” (Chinese Exclusion Act) The act was to be in effect for a period of 10 years but was extended twice before being made permanent in 1910.
The act had the effect of ending the immigration by Chinese into the US. China was so weak at the time that its protests were inconsequential. It did improve the security of the nation by reducing the number of race riots in California. Also it caused the price of labor to rise as the Knights of Labor and other unions consolidated their control over workers and further excluded Chinese from work. Thus, ghastly and racist as it was it was perhaps the most effective of all anti immigration laws put into effect in the US.
Executive order 9066 is the most recent precursor and is most similar to the Patriot Act in its purpose. It was designed so as it “requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities.” (Executive Order 9066) It also authorized the “The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary.” (Executive Order 9066) In other words it authorized internment into concentration camps. Also, much like in the Patriot Act, it authorized internment of any “Japanese” on suspicion alone and did not provide them with any legal recourse. (Korematsu) Suspicious people were almost exclusively Japanese community leaders, especially labor leaders (this seems to be confusing the racist Fascist Japan of WW2 with communism?). (Weber) The national hysteria of the time and fear of Japanese invasion can neatly be summarized in this excerpt from Korematsu “ we cannot reject as unfounded the judgment of the military authorities and of Congress that there were disloyal members of that population, whose number and strength could not be precisely and quickly ascertained. We cannot say that the war-making branches of the Government did not have ground for believing that in a critical hour such persons could not readily be isolated and separately dealt with, and constituted a menace to the national defense and safety, which demanded that prompt and adequate measures be taken to guard against it.“
This measure was largely ineffective. Not one case of sabotage by Japanese Americans has ever been reported (Weber) from the WW2 era. This can hardly be seen as a vindication of the policy however, Hawaii had a sufficiently large Japanese American population that they could not be interned without ruining the local infrastructure and still there was no sabotage. The anti Japanese hysteria did have at least one very important consequence however. In order to limit the opportunity for sabotage American planes in Pearl Harbor were rolled out of their armored hangars into the middle of the taxiways on December 7 1941.
All of these policy’s operate under the assumption that natural born citizens are more loyal than immigrants. This is in spite of the widely ignored fact that the natural born citizen has made no effort to become a citizen where the immigrant has, and often has made a huge effort. The effort is often based on the assumption that the immigrant is more likely to engage in acts of espionage than the native born. While the secretive nature of espionage makes direct study difficult the names and information of known traitors is often made public. The interesting thing about them is that they are almost universally betraying their country of birth. Also they are very nearly all well educated people from high class non immigrant families.
From a list of high profile spies against the US that have been captured nine of nine have spied against the country they were born into. Only one spied for “his people.” Aldrich Ames sold out twenty five operatives for almost twenty million dollars. The people he exposed all ended up with large caliber holes in the back of their heads. He was a well educated middle class man born in Wisconsin. Christopher Boyce and Andrew Doulton Lee, from California and Connecticut respectively, sold numerous military secrets to the USSR. The motivation seems to be thrill seeking. Richard Hanssen, the all American religious man from Illinois sold Russia secrets relating to “the tunnel” in exchange for diamonds. The tunnel was an operation for tracking Russian operatives in the US. The Cambridge Spies, all graduates of Cambridge and native born Englishmen, managed to get nearly all of the correspondence of Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt into Stalin’s hands. Klaus Fuchs was a German scientist who left his native West Germany to help with the Manhattan project. After the war, however he sold the scientific information to the USSR, knowing full well West Germany would likely be the battleground in a US-USSR nuclear war. Alger Hiss was a rich young man from Baltimore. He became politically radical as a reaction to his conservative parents (his dad committed suicide) and proceeded to sell the confidential material passing through the Supreme Court. The Walker Spy family sold massive quantities of sensitive military information to the USSR during the 70’s and 80’s. They were a group of American born navy sailors with a history of con jobs. The only spy I found who sold out the US for the sake of his “people” was Jonathan Pollard. Pollard was an American born Jew who sold military technology to Israel in the 60’s, and changed them outrageous sums for it.
Viewed in a historic context the success of Patriot Act type bills has been minimal. They usually target the wrong people and are dependent on hysteria for their support. Furthermore immigrants have historically proven incredibly loyal and thus make dubious targets for added security measures.

Chinese Exclusion Act. Executive Order 9066.
Alien and Sedition Acts
The Japanese Camps in California by Mark Weber (off internet http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v02/v02p-45_Weber.html)
Boyer, Paul S; Clark, Clifford E. Jr; Kett, Joseph F; Salisbury, Neal; Sitkoff, Harvard; Woloch, Nancy. The Enduring Vision, A History of the American People Vol.2. 2004. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Most Important Civil Rights Leaders You Never Hear About

Nikita Kruschev and Josef Stalin, the most influencial figures in the Civil Rights Movement.

We are all familiar with the romantic stories about how good overcame evil in the civil rights movement. Nights in shining armor such as Dr. King and President Kennedy fought the dark forces of racism because they were good people and racism is wrong. Now Dr. King, being an oppressed citizen had an obvious secondary motive in the civil rights movement. What many fail to apprecieate however is the mechanism of power I believe most primarily responsible for the civil rights movement amongst those who did not directly profit from it.

Starting almost immediately after the fall of Germany in WW2 the US and the USSR began competing for control of the 3rd world. The west was protecting them from the communists and the communists were liberating them from the capitolists ect. Much of the third world, as you may well have noticed, is in Africa.

From the USSR's position Africa was a very tempting prize, much of it is rich in natural resources and the largely uneducated population is easier to control (the US saw this too no doubt). Large scale invasion by either superpower would have been an absolute PR dissaster and an invitation for defection with allies and rebellion with the occupied territory. Not to mention, an invasion by either would likely have brought the other in to protect the continent (and start a big war). Political means, therefore, were much prefered. The US, however had a very large skeleton in its closet when courting African nations. It treated blacks at home like shit. The leaders of the USSR, particularly Kruschev were not stupid and took very effective advantage of this to leverage much of Africa away from the US politically. It was also using the US's horrible treatment of blacks for PR all around the third world. "See this, this is what the capitolist pig wants to do to you." They were of course correct, the US did want to treat the third world that way. To counter this effective PR campaign, and to hold onto its slice of the third world the US needed the civil rights movement, and it had nothing to do with "the right thing."

Therefore, I believe that as Glastnost was a Soviet PR adjustment to its human rights abuses being aired out, the civil rights movement was an American PR campaign reacting to it human rights abuses.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Good Patriotic Folks

Pictured Enver Pasha, Leader of The Young Turks, killer of 2.6 million people.

Let us examine patriotism for a moment. What does it do? Well, in the good column it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside, perhaps even our chests swell a bit when we think about it. In the negative category it justifies us killing millions of people and denying the chance for relevance and greatness to billions of others.

Why does patriotism make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. After all we don't have anything to do with being born in any certain spot. We have about as much to do with our country of origin as we do with the laws of physics. Taken from this view point, patriotism makes about as much sense as being proud that the earth is held in orbit by a force called gravity. And yet most human beings take great pride in the placement of their mother's vagina the day they were born (unless the individual created the country, or immigrated in which case they can justifiably be patriotic). The reason is inevitable superiority. You can always feel special for being patriotic. It makes you special, it makes you better than someone else. Better yet you can never screw it up, and being that it is inheritance you get it completely undeservedly. That is why we are proud of arbitrary and rapidly shifting boundaries scribbled across this globe. To be powerful and special regardless of how worthless and incompetant, regardless of how undeserving of life you are, this is the goal of humanity up to this point.

What bad has it done? Well off the top of my head, and limiting myself to genocides in the last 90 years (to include the wars caused by patriotism would likely stretch this article to thousands of pages) I seem to remember a great deal of carnage and wasting of humanity. First, starting in 1915 the Turkish people swellled up with national pride and decided to increas their national unity. The subversive and decidedly un Turkish Armenians therefore had to go. 2.6 million of them were executed, beaten to death, starved, or tortured to death for the sake of national unity. Starting in the early 30s Josef Stalin noticed that the Cossacks were not living the Russian way. This threat to Russianness, this festering afront to national security was summarily liquidated to a huge extent, some say up to 30 million. Good patriotic folks from Germany gave up everything for the glory of the nation and in the exitement threw a little party called the Holocost. Later pride in being a Hutu and the desire to strengthen Hutuness led them to murder 800,000 innocent Tutsis in Rwanda. We all remember our friend Slobodan Milosevic and his little cleansing?

One thing you'll notice is that all of these nations were destroyed, or nearly destroyed as a result of their patriotism. The Turks were so enthralled with strengthening national unity that they were destroyed in WW1 only three years later. Stalin so thoroghly staggered the USSR with his national security measures that he was nearly destroyed by a German force fighting on four fronts. Hitler committed suicide in a completely devastated country only 12 years after founding the most patriotic regime seen on earth. Rwanda went from being a crummy place to a shithole. Slobodan Milosevic now stands in front of a war crimes tribunal and looks out of his cell window only to see a torn and broken Bosnia. Look at how good patriotism is for Sudan right now. Any hope they had of economic improvement is being destroyed and they are facing the very real threat of military invasion.

Why does patriotism cause this degeneration of power? Simply, it prefers its own. At its mildest it prefers its native born for positions of power and stiffles in incoming talent not from its own boarders through immigration strangulation. It absolutely does not pursue human talent from other countries. In its more extreme forms it actively rids itself of talent that would otherwise be helping it. Germany for example, spent a great deal of energy ridding itself of people like Albert Einstien. Also "its own" is often a safe, uninspiring, uninventive person who fits into the national stereotype and is thus useless for the purposes of evolution and innovation. Without those two things power is severely crippled. Without power there is only destruction.

Hurray for national unity in Rwanda

America; Conservatives vs Reactionaries

America, as many of you have no doubt noticed, has become a conservative nation. By conservative I mean traditionalist, resistant to change, and devoid of innovation. America now prefers the old to the new and orthodoxy to evolution. There has of course, been a recent effort to change that, a reactionary retrogressive group of Republicans now seeks to move backwards.

In my opinion, the Democratic Party is conservative. This is a party fighting exclusively for measures introduced no later than the mid sixties. Since a liberal is someone who is not bound by tradition and orthodoxy, the Democratic Party is by definition now the most fundamentally conservative political party extant. As far as I can see, it serves only to preserve in social formaldehyde the last liberal period. Jesus Christ, in classic conservative fashion they are even headed by long entrenched hereditary elites like Motherfing Kennedys.

The Republican Party is not conservative as many people call them; they are reactionary. They are reacting against the Great Society of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Some of them are even reacting against The New Deal. Shall we go down the list of Republican reactionary policies? The death penalty was one of the first successful reactions of the Republican Party. It was suspended in 1972 in the landmark Supreme Court case of Furman vs. Georgia because it was deemed cruel, unusual and arbitrary. Reactionaries however reacted against this and the practice reverted to its pre Great Society status. The death penalty is of course more expensive than life imprisonment and is prone to killing innocent people (at least 23 in the US.) How was it reinstated then?

According to various articles from prodeathpenalty.com it is a way to comfort the victims, i.e. revenge helps! They also argue that Jesus really supported the death penalty but did all that forgiveness stuff as a type of political maneuvering.

Republicans oppose gay marriage for much the same reason. The very existence of gay people, they say, threatens the sanctified and holy institution of marriage. The perverted actions of homosexuals, they maintain, degrade such mystical and nebulous things such as “traditional family values.” Back in the good ole’ days, homosexuals were afraid to be seen and that would be nice to have again, they say. Perhaps if we don’t see it, it is not really there.

Republicans revile the current graduated tax scale because it supposedly punishes success and limits freedom. The top 1% or those making over $285,424 annually paid an average of 27.25% income tax. That leaves the poor soul making that $285K (the minimum to be in the top 1%) salary only the pittance of $207,645.96 on which to live. How do they survive on that? You’ll notice a common thread, everything the reactionaries want involves going back to the fifties or sometimes even earlier.

As such I claim there is no liberal movement of any strength in the United States. Because of this intellectual drought and because the American people recognize the Democratic Party is a party of stagnation, they are turning to anything that moves, even if it goes backwards.

As such, I call on every restless Democrat, every reactionary Republican and every disenfranchised liberal to come up with something truly liberal, something new and to do it soon because stagnation and regression lead to weakness, and weakness leads to destruction.

Here are my sources, feel free to check them out.