The working class and the "immigration debate"

The Kaiser Chiefs: you can deport them

A critical response to an article about immigration in the Financial Times quoted favourably on a "pro-working class" website containing anti-immigrant misinformation and scaremongering.

I have been meaning to write more for a while, however often writing something from scratch I find I don't know where to start. Therefore instead I thought I would try to practice by analysing and critiquing other texts. I would appreciate feedback and comments on the article and my writing style.

The text below was one I noticed last year, and I was pointed to see it posted with favourable comment by a socialist (and libcom poster no less) on a socialist/"pro-working class" website, Meanwhile at the bar (which had involvement from people around and supportive of the Independent Working Class Association and Liberty & Solidarity, some of whose members and supporters have espoused similar views).

The article is Time for a debate on immigration by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times from 2009, and it was commented by the poster oisleep that it was "fairly decent", and you can read it online here. I thought about doing a more general post about the irrationality of workers supporting immigration controls overall, but for now I will limit myself to just addressing this set of arguments.

Wolf begins by responding to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson's admission that "the government [had] been “maladroit” in its handling of immigration" by describing this admission as "British understatement" and stating instead that in fact "it [was] dishonest: it … pursued a radical policy, with profound consequences, on weak grounds, without serious debate. That is why the British National Party is on BBC television."

He continues: "The government has been able to get away with its dishonesty because immigration is the “third rail” of politics. Few wish to discuss the topic openly. But some discussion is essential. Present policies have big implications. These should be evaluated and discussed openly. That is the democratic way."

This kind of sentiment often crops up in many of the myriad news articles in mass circulation newspapers, TV news reports, televised debates, etc: that the immigration issue is not discussed openly. This is clearly a contradiction in terms. Discussion of immigration is everywhere, in much greater proportion to its relevance even I would argue. Compare it with much more significant issues which really don't get "discussed openly" in the media, for example the billions of pounds in subsidies given by taxpayers to the pensions of the rich, the 20,000+ people in the UK every year who are killed by their work, etc.

Wolf then states a few initial "facts" about future projected population figures, namely that the UK population is predicted to increase from 60 million to 70 million by 2030 and that immigration is predicted to be a major contributor to this. It appears that the intention of these figures is to make them sound scarily large. However, I can well imagine Wolf's grandfather writing in Ye Olde Financial Times 100 years saying that the population was 30 million and could hit 40 million by 1950. Which of course it did1. But so what? Was the UK of 1950 a much more terrible place to live than 1910? Of course not.

In terms of population density, the UK is nowhere near the top of tables. Current population density is 650 people per square mile: well below Japan (836), Belgium (889), the Netherlands (1259) and utterly dwarfed by places like Hong Kong or Singapore (18,000+)2 - all places without social problems significantly worse than the UK.

Now, moving on we come to one huge assumption which is very significant in Wolf's view, and that of many other people but in fact is completely baseless:

The UK has a real income per head of about five times the world average. One must assume that the inflow, under unrestricted immigration, might be numbered in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions. The impact is not hard to imagine.

Now for a lot of people I think this is why people support immigration controls, because they actually think this would happen.

In fact most people are loath to leave their friends, their families and their whole lives behind to move countries. However, you don't just have to take my word from their concrete historical examples which demonstrate this is untrue.

For starters, for most of history immigration controls haven't existed. And despite the global North being so much richer than the global South, migration from Europe to Africa and the Americas since the 16th century has been double the migration into Europe from Africa.3 In fact, immigrants have been actively sought out and encouraged to come (or forced with slavery) to work in the North.

Another recent example of the abolition of border controls was when the USA allowed open migration from the Caribbean. Between 1950 and 1980, when borders were closed, only 0.6% of the Caribbean population moved to the US and England, despite the obvious economic attractions. If this figure were to be applied world wide now the figure would be about 24 million per year or a growth of about 2.4% in population of the industrialised countries - probably under the anticipated labour demand in several European countries.4

There is more than a whiff of Western arrogance in the idea that everyone would just love to come and live here, with our crappy weather and often even crappier job opportunities.

Wolf then discusses the bourgeois economic arguments around immigration. As communists, these don't interest us, as we recognise that the interests of workers do not coincide with the interests of the economy. So I will leave these and move on to the others.

Wolf now acknowledges that the sheer number of people is not an issue, despite having presented the scaremongering figures earlier, stating that England is not "full up", and that 700 million people could fit here with a population density similar to London. However he is basically arguing against an increase in population - stating that "the impact of accommodating a population increase of 10 million, equal to seven Birminghams, would be substantial". However, when he continues he unveils the real problem: "This is particularly true in a country unwilling to expand the housing stock or invest in infrastructure."

The issue of shortage of housing is completely separate. There is already a housing shortage and widespread homelessness, and there always has been, regardless of the population. This is due to housing being constructed largely for profit than for need. It is not profitable to build housing for people who can't afford it! And of course scarcity of housing is vital for the profitability of house building as it pushes prices up.

Even if there were no immigration, the population will still rise. Of course building housing for 10 million people can't be done overnight, but housing for 60 million people went up okay, and other countries obviously have much higher populations - so this is a complete red herring.

Next we get to a really key point in the article, which actually displays his prejudice more than anything else, and makes it particularly concerning that a socialist would consider this article "fairly decent". He states that "diversity brings social benefits. But it also brings costs. These costs arise from declining trust and erosion of a sense of shared values."

These are just assertions. Wolf does not explain even what he means by "trust", or any evidence that it is "declining" and certainly not any evidence that "diversity" has any effect on it at all. As for a sense of shared values, these don't necessarily have anything to do with nationality. I certainly don't have many shared values with white British Tories or racists, or fans of The Kaiser Chiefs, but that doesn't mean that I think we should change the law so that we can boot them out of the country (apart from The Kaiser Chiefs fans).

Wolf then tries to give this clearly prejudiced view a liberal veneer by stating that "such costs are likely to be particularly high when immigrants congregate in communities that reject some values of the wider community, not least over the role of women in society" and "it is not unreasonable to feel concern over such rifts. I certainly do."

Again, no evidence is presented to back up these assertions. As I said above I know plenty of white English people whom I don't consider I have "shared values" with (and I'm sure they'd feel the same about me), and plenty of white English people have dodgy views on women, gays, etc. But that doesn't mean that I don't think I shouldn't share the same geographical space with them. Because really, what difference does it make what nationality or ethnicity of people you live around? We have the choice to freely associate with whomever we please, so we can surround ourselves (as most of us do) with people with whom we do share values, and it's great that we have the opportunity to do so with people from different backgrounds, from different countries and different ethnicities. Imposing restrictions on migration not only restricts our possibilities of socialising and communicating with people from other areas, but it also risks international backlash against British citizens living elsewhere. Your average British emigrant may not share many values with many people in their new country, but they still have the freedom to live there.

In conclusion, while that article may have been written in reasonable language, really it just presents assertion as fact in order to argue for immigration controls - which pretty much is the mass media approach to migration as a whole. What is a real shame in this instance is that this media bombardment is so overwhelming that a fair few self-declared anarchists and socialists, who would normally be more critical, are falling for it and actively supporting anti-working class policies.

Nationalism of any sort has no place in the workers' movement. By accepting the government and the media's line in any way that other workers are the problem, it sets us against one another and reduces the possibility of us uniting to fight together around the real problems which we face: shortage of housing, low wages, job losses and crumbling public services. The slogan is "workers of the world unite!", not "workers of the world unite! Unless you're a foreigner".

Comments

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 12:24
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo, it's not at all clear to me what you've written here that couldn't just as easily be applied as an argument for the harm that women entering into the workplace has had on the pre-existing working class and so we shouldn't be so dismissive of men who want women barred from employment.

Or maybe you should take up the fight against young people entering the workforce. After all, since they are less likely to have families to support, they're probably willing to work for less and so they undercut the wages of the working class and take the jobs of older workers. And leftists certainly don't spend much time focusing on the harm that young people have on the working class. And certainly I've known plenty of workers who complain about "millenials" and I can't imagine the threat of having their job taken by someone younger, cheaper, and perhaps more pliable helps. Why aren't you taking up this cause?

I don't take up the cause of anti immigration, I merely state that it harms native workers under capitalism.I can support immigration and not lie about its affect on workers.

So do you admit the negative impact that young people entering the workforce has on workers? Don't lie here.

The comparison does not make sense, it is designed to create a gotcha moment but the false equivalency between young people joining the workforce, to immigration, is redundant. Young people, under capitalism have to eventually enter the workforce, as they become working age and as older generations retire.There is no way not to have young people become workers, there is a mechanism to stop immigration.

Your whole premise does not make sense.

You can't stop young people becoming workers, you can stop immigration. In fact it is the young poor workers looking to get entry level jobs who are amongst the hardest hit by immigration.

radicalgraffiti
Sep 9 2015 12:24
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Which is why I said within a capitalist system immigration hurts native workers and is agains there interests. You are arguing that immigration within capitalism isn't harmful, because we should overthrow capitalism. That is again avoiding the issue.
...

If we are to continue living in a capitalist society, in that context, it is in the native workers material interests, to be against immigration.

you've been asked to produce evidence of this and you have completely failed to do so instead just saying the same thing again and again as if the truth of something was determined by how often it is said, and accused everyone who doesn't simply accept right wing propaganda of being lies.

Take a look at any of the long term studies on immigration to the UK. Even ones that show positive enhancements to the capitalist economy (which would be ironic for you to uphold as a reason to support immigration) shows that since the 90's it has cost the state (read the tax payer) around 95 billion.

As for providing evidence immigrants drive down wages, well if you really don't believe this I don't know what to tell you, you simply won't ever change your opinion because of your dearly held political beliefs. At least a few people in this thread have acknowledged this.

UK research suggests that immigration has a small impact on average wages of existing workers but more significant effects along the wage distribution: low-wage workers lose while medium and high-paid workers gain.

sauce

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/labour-market-effects-immigration

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/migobs/Briefing%20-%20Labour%20Market%20Effects%20of%20Immigration_0.pdf

Quote:
Dustmann et al (2013) find that each 1% increase in the share of migrants in the UK-born working age population leads to a 0.6% decline in the wages of the 5% lowest paid workers and to an increase in the wages of higher paid workers. Similarly, another study focusing on wage effects at the occupational level during 1992 and 2006, found that, in the unskilled and semi-skilled service sector, a 1% rise in the share of migrants reduced average wages in that occupation by 0.5% (Nickell and Salaheen 2008).

thats quite a small reduction, not that any reduction in wages is good for workers, but if workers organizer as in the example cite by others in this thread then it should be possible to counteract this

although since the main workers affected by mitigation are the migrants then maybe you wouldn't care

Quote:
The available research further shows that any adverse wage effects of immigration are likely to be greatest for resident workers who are themselves migrants. This is because the skills of new migrants are likely to be closer substitutes for the skills of migrants already employed in the UK than for those of UK-born workers. Manacorda, Manning and Wadsworth (2012) analyse data from 1975-2005 and conclude that the main impact of increased immigration is on the wages of migrants already in the UK.
Quote:
The study found little evidence of an adverse effect. There is some evidence to suggest that, just like the impact on wages, the effects of immigration on unemployment differ between the short and long run. An OECD study of the impact of immigration on the unemployment of domestic workers in OECD countries (including the UK) during 1984-2003 found that an increase in the share of migrants in the labour force increases unemployment in the short to medium term (over a period of 5-10 years) but has no significant impact in the long run (Jean and Jimenez 2007).
Quote:
The results suggest that there is no impact of immigration on the claimant count rate. This result holds even during periods of low economic growth or recession.

so there is a short effect or no effect on employment, of unspecified quantity, depending on what study you look at. this is not exactly stunning vindication of the migrants take our jobs theory now is it?

Quote:
When you read that then ask me for the 95 billion one, which not only affects the working class but everyone in Britain, their access to healthcare, funding for community projects etc.

i already explained why i thought you are wrong about this

Quote:
But of course you don't really care if immigration hurts workers under capitalism, because you want to abolish capitalism. In the meanwhile the lowest paid workers will be the ones most affected by immigration. And as the abolition of capitalism isn't round the corner, I guess they just have to deal with it.

except communism is about workers improving there lives now and how that process conflicts with capitalism, not simple a new society at some unspecified time in the future.
or maybe you dont like those rights you where going on about in the other thread which where in many cases fought for by communists.

radicalgraffiti
Sep 9 2015 12:25
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Quote:
It isn't white working class men making up stories in order to generate hate against foreigners,

no its middle class men who work for national publications making up stories, and members of the bougeose paying them to do it.

No, it is the bourgeoisie who want immigration, they are the fuckers who benefit from it by undercutting local workers and exploiting immigrant labour. In what fantasy world are the capitalists anti-immigration. The only reason politicians have even started to address immigration in the UK is because of working class mass anger over it.

this is straight up capitalist propaganda, the media have being promoting hate against immigrants for as long as i can remember. capitalists may want to employ immigrants but it doesn't mean they don't want the "native" to hate them it severs there interests if there is division between immigrant an non immigrant , makes that organizing that you claim is impossible harder

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 12:28
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Which is why I said within a capitalist system immigration hurts native workers and is agains there interests. You are arguing that immigration within capitalism isn't harmful, because we should overthrow capitalism. That is again avoiding the issue.
...

If we are to continue living in a capitalist society, in that context, it is in the native workers material interests, to be against immigration.

you've been asked to produce evidence of this and you have completely failed to do so instead just saying the same thing again and again as if the truth of something was determined by how often it is said, and accused everyone who doesn't simply accept right wing propaganda of being lies.

Take a look at any of the long term studies on immigration to the UK. Even ones that show positive enhancements to the capitalist economy (which would be ironic for you to uphold as a reason to support immigration) shows that since the 90's it has cost the state (read the tax payer) around 95 billion.

As for providing evidence immigrants drive down wages, well if you really don't believe this I don't know what to tell you, you simply won't ever change your opinion because of your dearly held political beliefs. At least a few people in this thread have acknowledged this.

UK research suggests that immigration has a small impact on average wages of existing workers but more significant effects along the wage distribution: low-wage workers lose while medium and high-paid workers gain.

sauce

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/labour-market-effects-immigration

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/migobs/Briefing%20-%20Labour%20Market%20Effects%20of%20Immigration_0.pdf

Quote:
Dustmann et al (2013) find that each 1% increase in the share of migrants in the UK-born working age population leads to a 0.6% decline in the wages of the 5% lowest paid workers and to an increase in the wages of higher paid workers. Similarly, another study focusing on wage effects at the occupational level during 1992 and 2006, found that, in the unskilled and semi-skilled service sector, a 1% rise in the share of migrants reduced average wages in that occupation by 0.5% (Nickell and Salaheen 2008).

thats quite a small reduction, not that any reduction in wages is good for workers, but if workers organizer as in the example cite by others in this thread then it should be possible to counteract this

although since the main workers affected by mitigation are the migrants then maybe you wouldn't care

Quote:
The available research further shows that any adverse wage effects of immigration are likely to be greatest for resident workers who are themselves migrants. This is because the skills of new migrants are likely to be closer substitutes for the skills of migrants already employed in the UK than for those of UK-born workers. Manacorda, Manning and Wadsworth (2012) analyse data from 1975-2005 and conclude that the main impact of increased immigration is on the wages of migrants already in the UK.
Quote:
The study found little evidence of an adverse effect. There is some evidence to suggest that, just like the impact on wages, the effects of immigration on unemployment differ between the short and long run. An OECD study of the impact of immigration on the unemployment of domestic workers in OECD countries (including the UK) during 1984-2003 found that an increase in the share of migrants in the labour force increases unemployment in the short to medium term (over a period of 5-10 years) but has no significant impact in the long run (Jean and Jimenez 2007).
Quote:
The results suggest that there is no impact of immigration on the claimant count rate. This result holds even during periods of low economic growth or recession.

so there is a short effect or no effect on employment, of unspecified quantity, depending on what study you look at. this is not exactly stunning vindication of the migrants take our jobs theory now is it?

Quote:
When you read that then ask me for the 95 billion one, which not only affects the working class but everyone in Britain, their access to healthcare, funding for community projects etc.

i already explained why i thought you are wrong about this

Quote:
But of course you don't really care if immigration hurts workers under capitalism, because you want to abolish capitalism. In the meanwhile the lowest paid workers will be the ones most affected by immigration. And as the abolition of capitalism isn't round the corner, I guess they just have to deal with it.

except communism is about workers improving there lives now and how that process conflicts with capitalism, not simple a new society at some unspecified time in the future.
or maybe you dont like those rights you where going on about in the other thread which where in many cases fought for by communists.

note these studies also don't have any way of addressing cash in hand work, for labour and other jobs that immigrants have taken. Which makes up a massive amount of jobs formerly held by native workers in communities.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 12:30
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Quote:
It isn't white working class men making up stories in order to generate hate against foreigners,

no its middle class men who work for national publications making up stories, and members of the bougeose paying them to do it.

No, it is the bourgeoisie who want immigration, they are the fuckers who benefit from it by undercutting local workers and exploiting immigrant labour. In what fantasy world are the capitalists anti-immigration. The only reason politicians have even started to address immigration in the UK is because of working class mass anger over it.

this is straight up capitalist propaganda, the media have being promoting hate against immigrants for as long as i can remember. capitalists may want to employ immigrants but it doesn't mean they don't want the "native" to hate them it severs there interests if there is division between immigrant an non immigrant , makes that organizing that you claim is impossible harder

Who squashed the investigations into corporations using exclusively foreign illegal labour in the US .... Business interests. Not fucking workers.

S. Artesian
Sep 9 2015 12:43

Same arguments were used during the Great Migration of African-Americans from the US South-- taking jobs away from "native"= white European origin workers; lowering wages, blah, blah.

And of course then the same "logic" was used to oppose allowing African-Americans to move into "white" neighborhoods-- lowering the property values and all that rot.

It's just bullshit, spun in the service of nostalgia for a status quo that's based on exploitation and the expanded misery of others.

Fuck this guy. He says in another thread that he thinks he's become a "classic liberal." Indeed.

Get rid of him, send him to libclassic.com, not libcom.

Tyrion
Sep 9 2015 12:43
Benzo89 wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo, it's not at all clear to me what you've written here that couldn't just as easily be applied as an argument for the harm that women entering into the workplace has had on the pre-existing working class and so we shouldn't be so dismissive of men who want women barred from employment.

Or maybe you should take up the fight against young people entering the workforce. After all, since they are less likely to have families to support, they're probably willing to work for less and so they undercut the wages of the working class and take the jobs of older workers. And leftists certainly don't spend much time focusing on the harm that young people have on the working class. And certainly I've known plenty of workers who complain about "millenials" and I can't imagine the threat of having their job taken by someone younger, cheaper, and perhaps more pliable helps. Why aren't you taking up this cause?

I don't take up the cause of anti immigration, I merely state that it harms native workers under capitalism.I can support immigration and not lie about its affect on workers.

So do you admit the negative impact that young people entering the workforce has on workers? Don't lie here.

The comparison does not make sense, it is designed to create a gotcha moment but the false equivalency between young people joining the workforce, to immigration, is redundant. Young people, under capitalism have to eventually enter the workforce, as they become working age and as older generations retire.There is no way not to have young people become workers, there is a mechanism to stop immigration.

Your whole premise does not make sense.

You can't stop young people becoming workers, you can stop immigration. In fact it is the young poor workers looking to get entry level jobs who are amongst the hardest hit by immigration.

So because you view it as inevitable, you're refusing to admit the negative impact that young people entering the workforce has on workers? Stop lying to the many workers on this site. If immigration couldn't be stopped by the government, would you abandon this talk of how it harms workers?

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 13:01
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Benzo, it's not at all clear to me what you've written here that couldn't just as easily be applied as an argument for the harm that women entering into the workplace has had on the pre-existing working class and so we shouldn't be so dismissive of men who want women barred from employment.

Or maybe you should take up the fight against young people entering the workforce. After all, since they are less likely to have families to support, they're probably willing to work for less and so they undercut the wages of the working class and take the jobs of older workers. And leftists certainly don't spend much time focusing on the harm that young people have on the working class. And certainly I've known plenty of workers who complain about "millenials" and I can't imagine the threat of having their job taken by someone younger, cheaper, and perhaps more pliable helps. Why aren't you taking up this cause?

I don't take up the cause of anti immigration, I merely state that it harms native workers under capitalism.I can support immigration and not lie about its affect on workers.

So do you admit the negative impact that young people entering the workforce has on workers? Don't lie here.

The comparison does not make sense, it is designed to create a gotcha moment but the false equivalency between young people joining the workforce, to immigration, is redundant. Young people, under capitalism have to eventually enter the workforce, as they become working age and as older generations retire.There is no way not to have young people become workers, there is a mechanism to stop immigration.

Your whole premise does not make sense.

You can't stop young people becoming workers, you can stop immigration. In fact it is the young poor workers looking to get entry level jobs who are amongst the hardest hit by immigration.

So because you view it as inevitable, you're refusing to admit the negative impact that young people entering the workforce has on workers? Stop lying to the many workers on this site. If immigration couldn't be stopped by the government, would you abandon this talk of how it harms workers?

What are you talking about? the comparison is asinine. Capitalism requires, civilisation and the running of society means when you are of working age you work. Capitalism, nor communism could work if at some cut off point younger generations did not work or do labour. In fact the older generations who could no longer work would starve and die if no young people become farmers, doctors, transport workers etc. Your comparison is illogical in the extreme. If immigration stopped it would not inhibit workers from filling those roles.

Immigration can be stopped. This is simply you trolling because you don't like me pointing out immigration does harm native workers and stopping immigration would lead to better material conditions for local workers.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 13:02
S. Artesian wrote:
Same arguments were used during the Great Migration of African-Americans from the US South-- taking jobs away from "native"= white European origin workers; lowering wages, blah, blah.

And of course then the same "logic" was used to oppose allowing African-Americans to move into "white" neighborhoods-- lowering the property values and all that rot.

It's just bullshit, spun in the service of nostalgia for a status quo that's based on exploitation and the expanded misery of others.

Fuck this guy. He says in another thread that he thinks he's become a "classic liberal." Indeed.

Get rid of him, send him to libclassic.com, not libcom.

You sound like a monty python sketch. He disagrees with me and i can't refute his points, get rid of him so I don't have to be exposed to contrary points that are at odds with my own.

Pennoid
Sep 9 2015 13:31
Quote:
There is no way not to have young people become workers, there is a mechanism to stop immigration.

This is the kicker right here. You're completely wrong. There are imagined ways to stop immigration. But at no point in the history of capitalism has immigration from any country to any country been completely eliminated.

Let's take some examples:

Build a wall- Wouldn't work for immigrants, wouldn't work for young people
More community policing and ESOL Programs and Job-worthyness Programs: Doesn't stop immigration/youth entering workforce, takes it as given and focuses on controlling it's effects.

The reality is that you have no conception of material interests of workers as compelled by the class structure of capitalism. Instead, you see what workers often might say or repeat, and therefore what they might think and determine that workers always have a correct appraisal of their situation. Frankly, they don't.

Further, capitalism must regulate the reproduction of the labor force in general, and this plays out over a number of ideological disputes. For example, sectors of the bourgeoisie are most certainly "anti-immigrant" in the activist/liberal sense of degrading and harming immigrants. But you're correct that they are not ACTUALLY anti-immigrant. They recognize immigration is useful to them. On the other hand, "pro-immigrant" people want to help immigrants become "integrated" and "assimilated." Either side takes the category of immigrant as a given, takes capitalism, and all it's categories has givens, and not historically determined imperatives connected to the class structure of society, and it's runaway dream of accumulation. Even the last pro-assimilation group is split between people who want immigrants to "assert their subaltern culture" and refuse "cultural assimilation" and those that don't really think about that and would just see them get jobs etc.

You see, THESE are examples of leftists, and left positions that DO NOT take the interests of workers AS workers into account, and tend to fail to address the problems of immigration regarding the working class.

What you're saying is "Sometimes, an immigrant will take a job where a lot of white guys work, and they'll say racist things about him, because Chuck was gonna have his nephew apply for the job but now they gave it to this black guy because they can pay him less." And that because this might happen, even somewhat frequently, it necessarily means that immigration has a total negative effect on the lives of workers. It CERTAINLY can be made to SEEM that immigrants working is bad for workers. But then, in order to avoid the COMPOSITION FALLACY, we would have to apply different methods in order to see if on a MACRO level, immigrants are dragging down wages or pulling a significant amount more than they put into the tax system. I think both have been disputed here, with figures.

In reference to S. Artesian: Thomas Sugrue has an interesting book on the decline of Detroit in the 50's after WWII. In one section he discusses the nature of perception, ideology, and different forms of employment. Many black workers were de-facto excluded from union jobs in the plants, or limited because of lack of skill. So a lot of black workers did unskilled construction work I think. The nature of that work was sort of like a shape-up, where workers would wait on a corner for a foreman/boss to pick them up, and pick which laborers he wanted. While they waited, they would throw dice, tell jokes; just hang out, you know like you do.

It was not uncommon for white workers, driving to the plant to see these men and reflect "Look at these lazy black guys just goofing off on this corner! Why don't they get a job!"

Combined with a vague conception of how jobs, markets, immigration, work and the mis-guided notion that what you SEE is universal fact, you're in for a wild ride of chauvinism and misguided "frankness."

Whats that they say about a little bit of knowledge?

Pennoid
Sep 9 2015 13:40

"Look its raining, look at these rain drops making us wet!"
"Uhm, I think it's the rain in general, and our exposure. Why don't we build or find a roof?"
"What? You can't deny that raindrops make you wet."
"Yeah, but if you have a roof..."
"Name one person with a roof, who hasn't gotten wet by raindrops before!"
"What?"
"You're using the logic of someone who doesn't want to get wet to explain why raindrops don't make you wet!"
"Huh? All I said was that if we find a pavillion somewhere we could get dry?"
"All I said was that raindrops make you wet, and you won't admit that I'm right. The only thing we can do is invest in weather-control technology and research and pray for the day!"
"Uhm, why don't we just work together to protect ourselves."
"Sicne when has that ever worked?!"
"With you? I'm not so sure...."

wojtek
Sep 9 2015 13:45

How do you account for falling birth rates and the fact that people are living longer in many European and some Asian countries that I know of,e.g. S.Korea and Japan? Does this not point to the neccessity of immigration?

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 13:51
Pennoid wrote:
Quote:
There is no way not to have young people become workers, there is a mechanism to stop immigration.

This is the kicker right here. You're completely wrong. There are imagined ways to stop immigration. But at no point in the history of capitalism has immigration from any country to any country been completely eliminated.

Let's take some examples:

Build a wall- Wouldn't work for immigrants, wouldn't work for young people
More community policing and ESOL Programs and Job-worthyness Programs: Doesn't stop immigration/youth entering workforce, takes it as given and focuses on controlling it's effects.

The reality is that you have no conception of material interests of workers as compelled by the class structure of capitalism. Instead, you see what workers often might say or repeat, and therefore what they might think and determine that workers always have a correct appraisal of their situation. Frankly, they don't.

Further, capitalism must regulate the reproduction of the labor force in general, and this plays out over a number of ideological disputes. For example, sectors of the bourgeoisie are most certainly "anti-immigrant" in the activist/liberal sense of degrading and harming immigrants. But you're correct that they are not ACTUALLY anti-immigrant. They recognize immigration is useful to them. On the other hand, "pro-immigrant" people want to help immigrants become "integrated" and "assimilated." Either side takes the category of immigrant as a given, takes capitalism, and all it's categories has givens, and not historically determined imperatives connected to the class structure of society, and it's runaway dream of accumulation. Even the last pro-assimilation group is split between people who want immigrants to "assert their subaltern culture" and refuse "cultural assimilation" and those that don't really think about that and would just see them get jobs etc.

You see, THESE are examples of leftists, and left positions that DO NOT take the interests of workers AS workers into account, and tend to fail to address the problems of immigration regarding the working class.

What you're saying is "Sometimes, an immigrant will take a job where a lot of white guys work, and they'll say racist things about him, because Chuck was gonna have his nephew apply for the job but now they gave it to this black guy because they can pay him less." And that because this might happen, even somewhat frequently, it necessarily means that immigration has a total negative effect on the lives of workers. It CERTAINLY can be made to SEEM that immigrants working is bad for workers. But then, in order to avoid the COMPOSITION FALLACY, we would have to apply different methods

Quote:
in order to see if on a MACRO level, immigrants are dragging down wages or pulling a significant amount more than they put into the tax system. I think both have been disputed here, with figures.

the study I Posted earlier showed that immigrants do drag down wages, for the poorest sections of the working class. And you could stop immigration, you could pass strict legislation and have enforcement of labour laws. You could stop the legal influx of legal immigration, you could refuse to give immigrants any access to benefits and healthcare which is funded by taxpayers. This is in the immediate interests of the working class.

I don't support that, as I don't support anti-immigration policy. I am for immigration even though it affects people like me. However if strict anti-immigration policy was introduced it would positively benefit native workers, within the capitalist system.

Just because it is in my interests does not mean I find it morally acceptable. I am for immigration, especially for allowing refugees to settle here. I just won't ignore all the studies that say it does affect native workers. Just like I support women having the right and access to work, just like I have liberal moral stances on all these things.

I am happy to live in a multicultural society and I am happy that immigrants can come here and find a better life. You keep implying the mere acceptance of studies showing immigration negatively affect poor native workers means I then have to hate immigrants and oppose immigration.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 13:51
wojtek wrote:
How do you account for falling birth rates and the fact that people are living longer in many European and some Asian countries that I know of,e.g. S.Korea and Japan? Does this not point to the neccessity of immigration?

No, a falling birthrate simply means a smaller population, a smaller population needs less workers to maintain production and running of society. Also falling birthrate is tied into people not having access to jobs thus not having kids. Me and my girlfriend are in that boat. We are responsible and don't think it is morally acceptable to have kids we can not afford, we certainly don't think it is the taxpayers responsibility to pay to help raise and support our kids, rather we should exercise responsibility.

A lowering birthrate will men less strain on public services too. Lowering birthrates don't require a flood of immigrant labour, it isn't inherently bad. However I wouldn't be opposed to more immigration.

Pennoid
Sep 9 2015 14:11
Quote:
And you could stop immigration, you could pass strict legislation and have enforcement of labour laws. You could stop the legal influx of legal immigration, you could refuse to give immigrants any access to benefits and healthcare which is funded by taxpayers. This is in the immediate interests of the working class.

Wait, how is this

1) Ever been on the agenda for a capitalist country
2) Serve workers?

I think its been admitted by you that immigration is something capitalists are ok with, even if they shit on the people.
Who will pass the strict legislation? The people who've been in office the last 60 years that have given us the immigration legislation we have? The ones who flout and enforce it when it suits them and the petty tyrants it erects in detention centers, sheriff's offices, and borders across the country?

How does not giving immigrants benefits paid out of the taxes paid partly by workers help workers? Is there an "immigrant tax" that I see on my pay stub? No? There's just the same taxes they'd take out whether or not a portion went to helping immigrant workers. Further, why wouldn't workers want immigrants to have a similar standard of living as them? It would expand the base of consumer demand, and it would help bolster their standard of living. If immigrants, desperate for even a little money, can be made to STAY IN THAT POSITION OF DESPERATION, it would only FURTHER undercut workers bargaining position regarding wages?

In fact, the attempts at this happened in the past. And they failed, miserably. The AFLCIO had xenophobic campaigns of "Buy American" and anti-immigrant policies, and still does. And you know what? It doesn't do a damn thing but pit worker against worker. It doesn't even solve the "problems" even as it (mis)characterizes them.

Chilli Sauce
Sep 9 2015 14:28
Quote:
No, it is the bourgeoisie who want immigration, they are the fuckers who benefit from it by undercutting local workers and exploiting immigrant labour. In what fantasy world are the capitalists anti-immigration. The only reason politicians have even started to address immigration in the UK is because of working class mass anger over it.

First here, the capitalist class as a whole obviously has some grasp of their shared interests, but individual capitalists - and certainly politicians - may very well allow their own prejudices to override their immediate interests (as, indeed do many members of the working class), Besides, even in America, the debate is about "illegal" immigration - those some racist politicians make sure they leave back door options open for a steady supply of immigrant labor.

And, has someone has already pointed out, there is an immediate value in stoking up anti-immigrant feeling: namely, fostering division and disunity within the workforce.

S. Artesian
Sep 9 2015 15:04
Quote:
You sound like a monty python sketch. He disagrees with me and i can't refute his points, get rid of him so I don't have to be exposed to contrary points that are at odds with my own.

\

Except I have refuted all your so-called points.

You're a poseur; sure you're happy to live in a multicultural area; sure you welcome immigrants; sure this and sure that. Bullshit. You are feeding racist, xenophobic attacks on the weak, the vulnerable, the most exploited sectors of the working class.

You don't even qualify as a national-bolshevik, red on the outside, brown on the inside. You're a nativist; Your "whiteness," your "native working class" are categories constructed at their beginning through the impoverishment and exploitation of those outside your geographic boundaries.

Notice how you don't come here and propose actions of class solidarity-- against racial attacks, official, and unofficial, against sweatshop exploitation of immigrants-- because exploitation in any and all of its manifestations is never your target. Your target is exactly the same as that of the UKIP-- the distressed, marginalized, once-secure "native Briton."

Fuck off. Yeah this is monty python, and you're shopkeeper selling the dead parrot.

Noah Fence
Sep 9 2015 15:07

Shit Benzo, you sound just like my dad. Soft right Tory.

S. Artesian
Sep 9 2015 15:11

Quotes from the pet shop owner selling dead parrots:

Quote:
I can and do, as I can separate the awesomeness of the system in which I live

Anybody else remember the opening scene and the great lines from The Way of the Gun?

Noah Fence
Sep 9 2015 15:19

As a lover of pizza I must remember to become a member of Anti Pizza League of a Great Britain. I can then write endless posts about the wonders of pizza and feel terribly hard done by when they disagree with me. This is a sensible thing to do with my time, yes?

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 15:37
S. Artesian wrote:
Quote:
You sound like a monty python sketch. He disagrees with me and i can't refute his points, get rid of him so I don't have to be exposed to contrary points that are at odds with my own.

\

Except I have refuted all your so-called points.

You're a poseur; sure you're happy to live in a multicultural area; sure you welcome immigrants; sure this and sure that. Bullshit. You are feeding racist, xenophobic attacks on the weak, the vulnerable, the most exploited sectors of the working class.

You don't even qualify as a national-bolshevik, red on the outside, brown on the inside. You're a nativist; Your "whiteness," your "native working class" are categories constructed at their beginning through the impoverishment and exploitation of those outside your geographic boundaries.

Notice how you don't come here and propose actions of class solidarity-- against racial attacks, official, and unofficial, against sweatshop exploitation of immigrants-- because exploitation in any and all of its manifestations is never your target. Your target is exactly the same as that of the UKIP-- the distressed, marginalized, once-secure "native Briton."

Fuck off. Yeah this monty python, and you're the dead parrot.

I am within the most exploited segments of the working class. I earn minimum wage and combined me and my partner earn less than 12 grand a year. I think I might have a pretty good grasp of what it is like to be poor and working class.

Yes I am against sweatshops, yes I am against non white people being exploited, yes I am against anyone treating anyone like shit.

Yes I support immigration, yes I support immigrants getting benefits and healthcare, yes i support immigrants organising and demand better ages.

I however don't deny the immediate impact of immigration is negative for native workers. Ask someone in Lebanon right now. You see what workers there are getting angry about?

Auld-bod
Sep 9 2015 17:34

‘see what workers are getting angry about’

Well I do see what you mean, it is so much easier to turn on members of your own class than think things through. You wrote earlier that communists do not care about the problems of the workers in a capitalist society. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just that the ‘common sense’ of blame the one below you on the economic ladder belies any analysis of what is going on. The working class volunteer to kill each other in wars does this make it right? You short circuit any analysis and revert to the manta: ‘outsiders’ attack the living standards of the indigenous workers. The same pathetic bollocks I got more than thirty years ago when a fellow worker in London accused me of taking an Englishman’s job. When will the penny drop - we don’t have a f***ing country

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 17:50
Auld-bod wrote:
‘see what workers are getting angry about’

Well I do see what you mean, it is so much easier to turn on members of your own class than think things through. You wrote earlier that communists do not care about the problems of the workers in a capitalist society. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just that the ‘common sense’ of blame the one below you on the economic ladder belies any analysis of what is going on. The working class volunteer to kill each other in wars does this make it right? You short circuit any analysis and revert to the manta: ‘outsiders’ attack the living standards of the indigenous workers. The same pathetic bollocks I got more than thirty years ago when a fellow worker in London accused me of taking an Englishman’s job. When will the penny drop - we don’t have a f***ing country

You can accept immigration hurts native workers but then have the solution being class unity and overthrowing capitalism, what someone said to you is irrelevant to what I am saying.

And yes you can say the solution to the problem of immigration is to unite, but workers don't want to unite most of the time, most immigrants are not communists and are not looking to unite and overthrow capitalism, so communist organising as an immediate solution isn't realistic, a revolution isn't round the corner. So if Anarchists do support immigration, despite the fact it does affect local workers, you are saying, it does harm workers, but the solution is eventually to overthrow capitalism and end wage slavery.

That is a fine consistent stance to have. But I am talking about within capitalism. For people who support capitalism and the state, as most working people do, then that isn't an option to them and their beliefs. So if a worker who isn't communist (99.9% of them are not) and who supports capitalism, and statism, the logical stance to take, in line with their interests within the system, is to reduce or stop immigration.

Noah Fence
Sep 9 2015 18:28

I've just been involved in a right old ding dong about allowing people with an alternative view some respect and space to put forward that view, but you seem to have turned up with an agenda that is fundamentally at odds with the principles promoted by this site that this freedom you not be extended to you. Why not find other people with similar views to work with? It ain't gonna happen here. You are actually closer to a national 'socialist' position to that of a communist.
I'm no smart theorition or someone with a extensive knowledge of politics but it's pretty clear that you're so set on this idea of immigrants being the problem that you're missing the point of practical Libcom politics. Just one basic example; workplace organising doesn't require everyone or even anyone to be a dyed in the wool communist. You just need to know that you are being exploited and that there are things you can do about it.

Oh yeah, seriously man, get to fuck with your talk of wasting tax payers money by having children. Just how much money is that in the scheme of things? Capitalism fucks everything up and we have to take responsibility for that by not carrying out one of our most natural biological desires? Just fuck off with that, we need to take NO responsibility for the problems capital created. We just need to take responsibility for trying to improve the conditions of our class. OUR CLASS, right? And our class exists all over the world and when members of it come to the geographical area of the world that we live in, WE STAND BEHIND THEM. We don't bang on with thinly veiled, prejudiced finger pointing.

radicalgraffiti
Sep 9 2015 18:28
Benzo89 wrote:
I however don't deny the immediate impact of immigration is negative for native workers. Ask someone in Lebanon right now. You see what workers there are getting angry about?

how the government hasn't picked up the rubbish even though it said it would? sorry what does this have to do with immigration? did immigrants stop the government from organizing rubbish collection properly?

Joseph Kay
Sep 9 2015 18:32

And yet racial prejudice among whites is lower in more mixed areas, where any competition for jobs from immigrants is presumably highest. So despite your best efforts to make the rational economic case for the nationalism and racism of the imagined Ordinary Man on the StreetTM, people don't seem to behave that way.

In any case, the source you were quoting said there appears to be a neutral or overall increase in wages associated with immigration. Any downward pressure is at the very bottom, mostly among previous migrant workers. The numbers in either direction are dwarfed by e.g. changes in the cost of living, unpaid overtime, or cuts to pensions. So it's not at all clear why the impossible task of stopping immigration is more logical than just hiking the minimum wage, for example. The latter is at least possible. And as others have pointed out, criminalisation of migration doesn't stop immigration, it creates a layer of rightless, exploitable low wage ('illegal') workers - which is supposedly the 'problem' criminalising migrants is meant to 'fix'.

Of course from an economic point of view - which is supposedly what you're arguing here - if supply of labour exceeds demand (all other things held equal), there could be downward pressure on wages. That's the case whether the cause is an increased birth rate, a recession decreasing the demand for labour, or if people move around internally within the country following the jobs too.* But nobody's arguing for internal borders to stop other poor white people 'taking our jobs'. Funny that.

* The opposite also holds; the Black Death was a boon to post-plague peasant living standards, but we don't get hard-headed bubonic pragmatists making the working man on the street's case for the Black Death while decrying dogmatic communist idealists for advocating the 'never going to happen' task of eliminating infectious diseases.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 18:45
Webby wrote:
I've just been involved in a right old ding dong about allowing people with an alternative view some respect and space to put forward that view, but you seem to have turned up with an agenda that is fundamentally at odds with the principles promoted by this site that this freedom you not be extended to you. Why not find other people with similar views to work with? It ain't gonna happen here. You are actually closer to a national 'socialist' position to that of a communist.
I'm no smart theorition or someone with a extensive knowledge of politics but it's pretty clear that you're so set on this idea of immigrants being the problem that you're missing the point of practical Libcom politics. Just one basic example; workplace organising doesn't require everyone or even anyone to be a dyed in the wool communist. You just need to know that you are being exploited and that there are things you can do about it.

Oh yeah, seriously man, get to fuck with your talk of wasting tax payers money by having children. Just how much money is that in the scheme of things? Capitalism fucks everything up and we have to take responsibility for that by not carrying out one of our most natural biological desires? Just fuck off with that, we need to take NO responsibility for the problems capital created. We just need to take responsibility for trying to improve the conditions of our class. OUR CLASS, right? And our class exists all over the world and when members of it come to the geographical area of the world that we live in, WE STAND BEHIND THEM. We don't bang on with thinly veiled, prejudiced finger pointing.

I said I support immigration, how is that thinly veiled prejudice ? I can think immigration has negative affects within capitalism on local workers without wanting to ban immigration. If simply citing how many studies point out immigration WITHIN CAPITALISM affects local workers, then yeah anyone who cites these studies is simply an immigrant hating bigot. My stance on immigration is to the far left of any one I know in real life. Most want immigration reduced or restricted, I don't.

So can everyone stop implying i am against immigration despite pointing out how I am not for 100 posts?

And if people don't want to engage they simply don't post. It is a great system.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 18:53
Auld-bod wrote:
‘see what workers are getting angry about’

Well I do see what you mean, it is so much easier to turn on members of your own class than think things through. You wrote earlier that communists do not care about the problems of the workers in a capitalist society. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just that the ‘common sense’ of blame the one below you on the economic ladder belies any analysis of what is going on. The working class volunteer to kill each other in wars does this make it right? You short circuit any analysis and revert to the manta: ‘outsiders’ attack the living standards of the indigenous workers. The same pathetic bollocks I got more than thirty years ago when a fellow worker in London accused me of taking an Englishman’s job. When will the penny drop - we don’t have a f***ing country [/quote]

By your worldview. As i have said 1000 times if you are an Anarchist supporting immigration and looking to abolish the state and capitalism that is the logical conclusion. Most workers and immigrants are not communists. So as that isn't how the vast majority of people view the world, the unite and smash capitalism isn't an option, within capitalism, for the majority of workers who want capitalism and representative government. So if immigration is affecting workers, who don't want to abolish capitalism and the state, the only practical solution to the negative benefits of immigration is to reduce or stop immigration.

Benzo89
Sep 9 2015 18:56
Webby wrote:
I've just been involved in a right old ding dong about allowing people with an alternative view some respect and space to put forward that view, but you seem to have turned up with an agenda that is fundamentally at odds with the principles promoted by this site that this freedom you not be extended to you. Why not find other people with similar views to work with? It ain't gonna happen here. You are actually closer to a national 'socialist' position to that of a communist.
I'm no smart theorition or someone with a extensive knowledge of politics but it's pretty clear that you're so set on this idea of immigrants being the problem that you're missing the point of practical Libcom politics. Just one basic example; workplace organising doesn't require everyone or even anyone to be a dyed in the wool communist. You just need to know that you are being exploited and that there are things you can do about it.

Oh yeah, seriously man, get to fuck with your talk of wasting tax payers money by having children. Just how much money is that in the scheme of things? Capitalism fucks everything up and we have to take responsibility for that by not carrying out one of our most natural biological desires? Just fuck off with that, we need to take NO responsibility for the problems capital created. We just need to take responsibility for trying to improve the conditions of our class. OUR CLASS, right? And our class exists all over the world and when members of it come to the geographical area of the world that we live in, WE STAND BEHIND THEM. We don't bang on with thinly veiled, prejudiced finger pointing.

Also DUDE YOU EARN £30,000. It isn't your jobs affected by immigration, so you can chortle at blue collar workers who know the reality of the situation, however it isn't very enlightening.

Calling for communism as the solution is fine. Pretending acknowledgement of the reality of the situation is a front to peddle some right wing agenda is nonsense.

radicalgraffiti
Sep 9 2015 19:00
Benzo89 wrote:
I'm not racist, but...