Immigrants, communists, and libertarian economists

The Communist League of Tampa wrote a short, fun polemic recently about Trump and anti-immigrant sentiments among America’s White working class.  The following excerpt stood out, mostly because it echoes my thoughts on how worker solidarity is the best way for “native” workers to deal with the “problem” of immigrant workers.

The truth is that the best thing for the working class would be to grant the undocumented a legal status so that they fight wage theft, demand better pay and conditions, or struggle for union recognition, without looking over their shoulder for the INS every time they piss off their boss. Immigrant workers don’t like being treated so shabbily, and giving them the space to push back against employers would do a lot more to help wages than walls or deportations. That is to say the only way for the white working class to lesson its exploitation is to lessen the exploitation of the undocumented. But working people don’t hear this argument because the capitalist media can’t make it. If you follow the logic of this line of reasoning to its conclusion you end up at working class solidarity across ethnic and national lines, something far more threatening to the ruling class than even the prospect of a Trump presidency.

Another thought has also been occurring to me on this subject: namely, that it seems almost like on the matter of immigration, communists and libertarian economists are largely in sync.  Take, for instance, the economist due of Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution, and their consistent support for open borders (or at least, drastically more rights for immigrants).  Of course, its highly doubtful that libertarian economists would approve of communist workers banding together across borders and fighting for rights, higher wages, and increased control over the means of production (or as they would put it, “fighting to reduce labor market flexibility”).  But regardless, communists and other radicals who want to see the destruction of borders and nationalism, and the unification of the global proletariat, should almost certainly try to appropriate the research and arguments that libertarian economists have been making for a while–and radicalize these arguments via a Marxist framework.


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