Friday, October 13, 2017

Edward Abbey Vs. Liberal Dogma on Immigration


To The New York Review of Books, 12/17/81:

             “John M. Crewdson’s review of Miller’s On the Border and Hansens’s The Border Economy, though lengthy, provides little essential information on the illegal immigration problem, and misinterprets what information it does provide. Those of us who actually live in the U.S.-Mexican border region owe it to other readers of the NYR to correct Mr. Crewdson’s misunderstandings and fill in his lacunae.
            “It is absurd, for example, for Mr. Crewdson to repeat Tom Miller’s facetious ‘calculation’ that it would take two and a half million men, standing shoulder to shoulder, to close the Mexican border to illegal aliens. In fact most of the border runs through flat, wide open, sparsely vegetated desert country. Except for the far-scattered towns and cities, most of the border could be easily patrolled and easily ‘sealed’; a force of twenty thousand, or ten men per mile, properly armed and equipped, would have no difficulty – short of a military attack – in keeping out unwelcome intruders. In and near the few towns and cities a physical barrier is obviously needed, of the type routinely used everywhere else to restrict and control access. People do not cut holes through fences when the fences are watched and guarded.
            “Furthermore, there is widespread popular support for closing our southern border to the Latino invasion. A recent NPR [National Public Radio] broadcast (the All Things Considered program) cited various national polls indicating that 80 to 90 percent of Americans now object strongly to these mass immigrations from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. A poll by Arizona’s Senator DeConcini revealed that 79 percent of his constituents (and this in a state with a large and rapidly growing Hispanic population) want the illegal aliens deported and the immigration laws strictly enforced.
            “No doubt there is an element of ethnic chauvinism in this hostility to Mexicans et al. – and that element will grow violent and much larger if the influx continues – but the sentiment is based on the clear awareness that these aliens do indeed take jobs away from American citizens and that the estimated ten billion dollars remitted annually from Mexican aliens to their relatives still in Mexico is money that should be going into the pockets of American workers.
            “To say, as Mr. Crewdson does, that the presence of these foreign millions ‘creates’ employment for American workers is [in line with] the magical economics of Reagan & Co., that wondrous world wherein food is produced in supermarkets and rabbits are born in hats. If, as Mr. Crewdson seems to believe, the proliferation of human bodies somehow ‘creates’ new wealth for all, then Mexico would be a rich nation without need to push its surplus population northward, and India and China would be the richest nations on earth.
            “The actual reason why our immigration laws are not enforced is simple, obvious and well known, (though seldom mentioned in polite print): there are small but powerful groups on both sides of the border who benefit from this expanding northerly migration.
            Cui bono? Is now as always the appropriate question, and the answer is, first, American employers in all fields, from industrialized agriculture to factory manufacturing, who thrive on this unlimited supply of cheap, docile, non-union labor. One simple way to halt the alien incursion would be to penalize employers, with jail sentences if necessary, who hire illegal aliens. Simple but politically unlikely to be enforced; no doubt it will be easier to militarize the international border.
            “The second group of beneficiaries are the merchants on the American side of the border towns, who do a brisk trade in selling American goods to Mexicans. A third group are the Mexican-American politicians in the Southwestern states, eager to expand their power base. The fourth group are the wealthy and dominant classes in Mexico itself, who require the safety valve of emigration in order to postpone for as long as possible the next, and inevitable, revolution in their desperately overpopulated nation.
            “American ‘interests’ (the term ‘ruling class’ is now taboo, right?), anxious to secure access to Mexico’s oil, must therefore appease Mexican ‘interests’ by overlooking illegal immigration while at the same time offering at least a token response to the popular demand for a halt to it; thus we have the cosmetic but ineffectual proposals of the Carter and Reagan administrations.
            “These are harsh, even cruel propositions, but in fact the American boat is full, if not already overloaded; we cannot allow further mass immigration. The American public is fully aware of this truth even if our ‘leaders’ prefer to attempt to ignore it. We know what they will not acknowledge, that the tendency of large-scale immigration is to degrade and cheapen American life. Anyone who has made a recent visit to Mexico, to East L.A., or even to Miami, Florida, knows what I mean.
            “When the call for compassion is raised (a word now hopelessly corrupted by its use in the mouths of such as Nixon, Carter, and Reagan), we must answer that the most compassionate thing we can do for nations such as Mexico is to encourage them, somehow, to commence the policies of radical internal reform and vigorous population control that are clearly necessary.” 

 -----Edward Abbey

(Quoted in Postcards From Ed - Dispatches and Salvos From an American Iconoclast, pps. 109-11)

When Edward Abbey TKOed Alexander Cockburn

The following letter from the late Edward Abbey (popular author of "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and "Desert Solitaire," among other great works) appears to be the letter  Alexander Cockburn refers to in "The Golden Age Is In Us," which he says he left unanswered because he didn't know how to respond to it. The non-response illustrates a peculiar inability to engage real political dialogue on the part of the American left, particularly surprising in Cockburn himself, who was at least open to listening to right-wing libertarians and populists on occasion. But here not. Note the closing line, more relevant today than ever.

To Alexander Cockburn 5/5/88: 


        “I’m a regular reader of your column in The Nation, always with interest, usually with general agreement. You can easily imagine, then, how deeply you have wounded my feelings by calling me (and my good friend Dave Foreman) “fascist,” “racist,” etc. I am accustomed to such childish name-calling from sectarian fanatics like Murray Bookchin, but I would have assumed that you would adopt a more rational tone.

         “Opposition to mass immigration, legal or illegal, from any source, does not make one a fascist or racist. It merely makes one an opponent of mass immigration, as are the overwhelming majority of American citizens, including most Mexicans, blacks, Indians etc. (If we can believe the polls. And the response of Congress to years of complaint.) Most labor leaders and unions are against more immigration, for good and obvious reasons; almost all conservationists are against immigration, for reasons even more good and obvious. The basic fact is that America is sinking under an overload of political, social, economic and environmental problems; we are in no position to take on those of Latin America, Asia and Africa as well.

          “Of course much of the Third World’s misery is caused by European and American imperialism. Among our many moral obligations is to bring that infernal meddling to an end. E.g., no more loans, no more weapons, no more medical missionaries, no more CIA chicanery. Agreed. But it’s merely a white middleclass liberal guilt neurosis to imagine that our domineering arrogance is the sole or even the central source of mischief. Africans were murdering, eating and enslaving one another long before Vasco de Gama appeared off the Angolan coast. The endless horrors of Mexico go back at least to the Mayan and Aztec empires and their culture of war, massacre, slavery, torture, human sacrifice and cannibalism. To most Mexican Indians, Cortez probably appeared (at first) as a liberator. And Asia: India and its caste system, China, Japan . . . Ah well, you see my point.

  “If you hope for any sort of dialogue and unity with all factions on the vaguely leftist or radical side of politics, you must cease from silly verbal abuse. If you don’t want it, then we go on as we are, fractious and impotent.”

-----Edward Abbey

(Quoted in "Postcards From Ed - Dispatches and Salvos From an American Iconoclast", pps. 239-40)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Putin-Russo-Phobic Source?

"Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety and distress…the content of the obsession is alien, not within the control of the obsessive."


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Guns, Statues, Anthems, Toilets and War




After still another mass murder tragedy even worse than past experience and immediately followed by wafer-depth debates as to whether the usual presidential platitudes after the horror were suitable or whether the false flags of illuminati allegiance were waving behind it all, a still shaken public will find renewed arguments over what is called gun control in a national marketplace that shows signs of sinking more deeply into chaos. While this can be said at any moment, given rising real estate “values” as homelessness increases and renters are under assault, to mention only one economic contradiction, present circumstances give anyone a very difficult time to come up with sane explanations for what passes for democracy in a nation ruled by allegedly free market forces under total control of minority private sources.

When a relative handful of billionaires have more money than the majority of working Americans put together, that defines a political democracy the way economic analysis defines no-dinner-no-movie rape as a profitable form of dating.

So we will have renewed discussion about exercising some controls over particularly shameful behavior at the mall we call our home and putting some limits on who and how many weapons can, should, or will be owned by one or another citizen. Left out of the debate is the national weapons production and war making profits that are the backbone of our political economy. In the land of fast food and slow thinking, guns, bombs, missiles, death rays, drones and other aspects of murder play even greater a role than fossil fuels as both serve in mutual attacks on life’s social and natural environment. But we’ll more likely hear about the menace of silencers on guns, thereby muting any focus on the substance of the problem; our enormous creation of weaponry and a warfare budget and long term debt to support it that dwarfs anything else in our market democracy which is about as free as food, clothing and shelter.

While liberals will support stronger background checks on gun purchasers, conservatives will wave the second amendment false flag with neither argument touching on the background checks we need on the wealthy owner-operators of our government. That state entity serves the interest of a tiny minority and does so at the expense of the great majority who have nothing but a symbol they are trained to salute while ignoring the fact that it has no substance. No landlord will accept a flag as rent or mortgage payment nor will any food mart take statuettes in lieu of plastic or cash. So while in righteous anger we trash, burn or tear down symbols, the reality of violence and poverty increases and thus leads to a more passionate public furor over symbols.

We are dis-organized to obsess over the production of water pistols while creating billion dollar upgrades to our nuclear weapons stockpiles. Actually, we haven’t confronted that terrible threat of wetness, but under peace prizewinner Obama we took steps to assure our nukes could destroy humanity faster and better than anyone else’s. This is America, the essential nation of master race self chosen people, where we are manipulated into actually believing there is more than one race and that we belong to whichever one is able to exercise its privilege to have housing, go to college and survive encounters with police without getting shot, while others live in the street, ghetto or projects and suffer a much lower survival rate when encountering public servants under trying circumstances. Money and class background, of course, have nothing to do with any of this.



The gun lobby will argue, as usual, that the overwhelming majority of gun owners do not commit murders, and they will be correct. But this makes as much sense as pointing out that the overwhelming majority of Americans have never killed any Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Palestinians, or any of the other peoples the USA has slaughtered by the millions. And that’s only covering the period from mid 20th century to the present. If we add the death tolls most of us had no direct role in inflicting in the Second World War, we could all have as many rifles as the Vegas murderer had accumulated but simply never use them to kill anyone and voila; we’d be a pacifist nation?

The problem is the enormous number of weapons and the cult of fear and violence that causes us to live in some kind of psycho-babble induced terror lest the evil government-terrorists-russians-koreans-syrians-whoevers come bursting into our living rooms and attack us while we peacefully drink wine, smoke pot, eat burgers, watch surreality tv or pray to jesus-moses-allah-the big bang. We must be prepared, according to a constitution most of us have never read and few even care to, which guarantees our right to keep and bear arms even if it offers us no right to have food, clothing, shelter or health care when we need it.

 We are a people who can become righteously supportive of favored identity groups – when those groups represent no threat to the rule of our oligarch royalty class and will add to its profits – but forget the ideals of real democracy which involve coming together as a majority in order to make life better in what used to be known as the common good. But who wants to be common? That’s why we can rally to the banner of social justice for some of us as we support the political economics of social injustice for most of us.

We are good to consider the toilet problems of a minority who are defined as trans-gender but rather lame brained if not bad to completely neglect a larger minority who have a toilet problem because they have a greater problem of no home. Which is where most of us use toilets unless we are of the tiny minority that finds them social meeting places like coffee shops, wine bars and food courts. Toilets are hardly as symbolic as flags or statues but our manipulated treatment and awareness of them are sadly signs of our mental and moral condition under the dictatorship of the rich and their media and political servants.

When relatively privileged members of society come forward to support the rights of those less privileged, it speaks to our potential strength as a people. But when that coming forward only looks at those less privileged as the source of our social problems and totally neglects the minority forces that profit from injustice, that strength becomes a terrible weakness. As when college educated folks, many destined for professional class unemployment, look at those even less educated and nowhere near professional status employed or not, and identify them as the problem source of inequality or racism or sexism or whatever branch of the poisoned forest whose tree they have been socialized to focus on, causing all of us continued suffering.  

The blame game that puts responsibility for a crumbling political economic system on the backs of evil leaders and politically incorrect identity groups will only bring individualists any comfort, and not for much longer. These are the types who note what an egoist we currently have in the nation’s CEO position while using the first person singular as often as he does. That’s how we are socialized, shaped and branded. To see ourselves as isolated except when it is safe to identify as a group which can be organized to play a greater role in the consumption of waste system, what the pope calls the “throw away economy”, which is throwing more human beings away every day.

We have a problem and it’s much bigger than you and me and whether each of us is armed or not, and we can only solve it by coming together and truly acting as a democratic people. It isn’t just some violent gun owners but of a homicidal bordering on insane system of warfare that will destroy all of us if we don’t radically change it before a greater than ever imagined tragedy will take it away from all of us.