Archive for the ‘Open Borders/Immigration Controls’ Category

by Phil Duncan

With Winston Peters announcing that his New Zealand First party is going with Labour and not with National, it looks like the Tories are out and the Xenophobes are in. We’ll now have the two most xenophobic of the four main parties in coalition government (Labour and NZ First). Although the last Labour government was pretty racist in relation to immigration, a Labour-NZF coalition may well be the most xenophobic government since Muldoon in the late 1970s (and the pre-Muldoon Labour government which began the dawn raids on Pacific Islands immigrants).

Watch out immigrants, especially poor people who want to migrate here to make a better life for themselves!

While no-one is under any illusion about Winston Peters’ xenophobia, given that for the last several decades he has made a career out of anti-immigrant – especially anti-Asian immigrant – policies, the liberal left prefers to turn a blind eye to Labour’s anti-Asian racism.  In fact, much of the liberal or centre-left shares  (more…)

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Ardern and English: two faces of what is really one party

by Phil Duncan

Two events yesterday provided a micrcosm of the problem with the NatLabs, and yet more evidence of why workers and progressive people generally shouldn’t support either wing of this party.

One of the most obnoxious events in politics, and in elections in particular, is when capitalist politicians – people dedicated to managing the system that exploits workers- show up at workplaces.  They put on hi-viz jackets or hard hats or hair nets or whatever and walk around making absurd chit-chat with workers and posing for photo opportunities.  The more obsequious workers agree to be part of the photo opp and the most obsequious even take selfies and stick them on their facebook pages.

But, thanks to the courage of Robin Lane and several other workers, Bill English found one of these workplace walkabouts highly embarrasing.  Shortly after inspecting a tray of lemons at Kaiaponi Farms (near Gisborne), English looked like he was sucking on a (more…)

From 2010 to 2015 Liberal Party MP Sir John Vincent Cable was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in Britain.  The following is part of a retweet of Cable yesterday by author J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.  Cable said:

In other words, even in terms of the operations of capitalism, scares about immigration depressing wages and limiting employment don’t hold up.

 

The article below is the discussion piece for the next gathering of the Imperialism Study Group.  It is reblogged from Monthly Review, here.  John is the author of  Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, winner of the Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy Memorial Prize.  Our interview with him on the subject of 21st century imperialism is here

The Monthly Review editors note in an introduction to the article:

“In an interview with Richard Seymour in the March 2017 issue of Monthly Review, interviewer Michael Yates, in a question about imperialism, pointed out that noted Marxist scholar David Harvey ‘claims that wealth in the rich nations is being drained by the countries of the Global South.’1 Specifically, Yates quoted Harvey:

“‘Those of us who think the old categories of imperialism do not work too well in these times do not deny at all the complex flows of value that expand the accumulation of wealth and power in one part of the world at the expense of another. We simply think the flows are more complicated and constantly changing direction. The historical draining of wealth from East to West for more than two centuries, for example, has largely been reversed over the last thirty years.’

“Seymour suggested that what Yates said was too strong an indictment of Harvey. That is, the above quote by Harvey, taken from Prabhat and Utsa Patnaik’s book, A Theory of Imperialism,2 should be taken to mean that certain reasonably wealthy countries in the Global South, such as Taiwan and South Korea, ‘might now be “sub-imperialisms”.’ John Smith, author of the Monthly Review Press book, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century,3 takes issue with Seymour’s interpretation of Harvey’s words. In what follows, Smith lays out his argument. Smith’s comments have been edited from several emails and files sent by Smith to Michael Yates. Smith has gone over these to make sure they accurately reflect his view. —Eds.”

by John Smith

I. An Imperialism Denier

David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and other acclaimed books on the history of capitalism and Marxist political economy, is an imperialism-denier who uses his considerable prestige as a prominent Marxist theoretician to miseducate his readers on the single-most important issue confronting Marxist political economy: the huge drain of value and surplus-value from the global South (in which I include low-wage countries in East Asia) to the imperialist centers, a flow which has greatly increased in scale and importance during the neoliberal era.

According to Richard Seymour, Harvey’s contrary claim, that the “historical draining of wealth from East to West for more than two centuries… has largely been reversed over the last thirty years,” might be due to Taiwan and South Korea becoming “sub-imperialisms.” I see no basis for this in the work from which this quote is taken. Moreover, Harvey’s suggestion that the “East” now exploits the “West” repeats almost word for word what he said in his 2014 work, 17 Contradictions and the End of Capitalism:

Disparities in the global distribution of wealth and income between countries have been much reduced with rising per capita incomes in many developing parts of the world. The net drain of wealth from East to West that had prevailed for over two centuries has been reversed as East Asia in particular has risen to prominence as a powerhouse in the global economy. The recovery of the global economy (anaemic though it was) from the traumas of 2007–9 had largely been based by 2013 on the rapid expansions in so-called “emerging” markets (mainly the BRIC countries). This shift had even extended to Africa, which was the one part of the world that seemed to have escaped almost entirely from any effects of the crisis.4

All of this makes it clear beyond doubt that Harvey was making a general point about the supposed reversal in the flow of value between North and South, not one restricted to the exceptional cases of Taiwan and South Korea.

Harvey’s refusal to acknowledge that production outsourcing to low-wage countries signifies a major expansion of (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

Scaremongering about immigration has traditionally been Winston Peters’ territory. Then Labour decided it wanted  a pieimagesce of the action in 2015 and its housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, announced a “tsunami of Chinese money” was heading to our shores. He claimed 60% of house sales in Auckland were to Chinese buyers and he knew this by picking out “Chinese-sounding names” from a list of house sales. Most of the people on Twyford’s list it turned out were New Zealand residents.

Labour now says it will ban foreign property speculators, not just ones with Chinese-sounding names. Well, that will be nice for local property speculators but it won’t help people on moderate or low incomes hoping to buy a house. What is more, it won’t make much of a dent in the speculators’ numbers as just three percent of house buyers were living abroad in 2016, according to Land Information. Labour’s tsunami was exposed as a crude dog-whistle to prejudices. (more…)

Even in the US there is greater awareness of the importance of opposing immigration controls

by Phil Duncan

In New Zealand, working class struggle remains – as it has been for a couple of decades now – at an historic low.  In fact, abject surrender to exploitation and acceptance of the contempt of the employers and their political representatives in National and Labour seems to be thoroughly normal now.  Occasionally a group of workers will struggle, but these workers are a tiny minority and their struggles are limited to immediate conditions and take place entirely within narrowly-prescribed industrial law.

The share of wealth going to workers, meanwhile, continues to decline.  For instance, official figures show that business operating profits have grown from $NZ47 billion in 2009 to just over $NZ65 billion in the latest financial year, an increase of about 38 percent.  But the median-average hourly wage grew by less than 20 percent.   Large numbers of workers simply haven’t received wage rises in the past couple of years.

Mourning sickness

Even when faced with workplace closures, and a possible future of unemployment, the tendency of the employees generally is to look (more…)

The retirement of southern Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny several months ago led to Leo Varadkar taking his place.  Varadkar is young, gay and his father is an Indian immigrant to Ireland.  Varadkar’s victory in the leadership contest in the Fine Gael party and assumption of the role of prime minister has been widely hailed as some kind of victory for gay rights and anti-racism.  Varadkar, however, is a committed anti-working class politician, with no track record of campaigning for either gay or migrant rights.  Varadkar  is no friend of the oppressed and exploited – quite the contrary.  The article is taken from the Irish Socialist Democracy website here, where it appeared on June 30.  It is a timely reminder that people need to be judged by their politics rather than being lauded because they are gay and/or female and/or brown.

The election of Leo Varadkar as Fine Gael leader – and his assumption of the role of Taoiseach – has been hailed as a watershed event in Ireland.  This perspective – which is particularity prevalent in international media coverage – carries the assumption that identity is the overriding factor in contemporary politics.  Within this framework the election of a relatively young gay man of ethnic migrant descent – standing in stark contrast to the profile of leaders that went before – is indeed a seminal event.  The other assumption attached to this identity-centred perspective is that a person from such a background will have a more liberal approach to politics.  However, a consideration of the record of Leo Varadkar quickly debunks such assumptions.      

Right-wing

Despite his relative youth, Varadkar is a long standing member of Fine Gael (he claims to have joined as a 17 year old) – the most conservative party in the state – and has consistently occupied the most right-wing positions on a range of issues, including those related to sexuality and race.  In 2010 he opposed the Civil Partnership Bill and also raised concerns over the prospect of gay couples  (more…)