“Equal Rights!” Ruthless Criticism

“Equal Rights!”

Banners at a demo:

“Equal pay for equal work!”
“Are immigrants second-class citizens?”
“Equal rights for immigrants!”
“Immigrant rights: work, pay taxes, no vote!”
“Rights for foreigners!”

Equal pay

Those are demands by immigrants and their native friends. What really changes in the material situation of immigrants if equal work is paid equal wages?

If immigrant workers complain about the wage, why then do they seek as a benchmark the wage that American workers complain about in the same workplace?

Does no better benchmark occur to them for their income problems?

Or do they hold any other benchmark, possibly that which they might have had upon their entry into the US, to be improper?

Is it then not clear to them that they will barely find a hearing for their grievances if they demand what they regard as decent and proper according to American standards?

Is it not clear that questions of decency in wage matters are decided by the interest of the company? Is it not known to them that justice is the virtue of the excluded and its redemption ensures over and over again that more than enough reasons still exist for grievances?

Don’t they know that justice and equality are also fulfilled if, for example, all the same work is done only by immigrants or the Americans are downgraded to the wages of the immigrants or only Americans are employed at all?

If it is about justice, thus about complaining only in such a way that one is heard as a decent and modest laborer, then one can equally quite unselfishly and modestly express his contentment with everything that is dumped on one. This is considered the epitome of decency.

But if one wants to complain about poor pay and maybe wants a higher wage (not an equal one), then one should forget about justice, decency and morality. They do not go together.

Voting rights for immigrants

What is really gained if immigrants may also decide in the future which party enforces the conditions of entry and the laws for deportation?

How does it help them if they may have a say over whether these laws about aliens are executed by Democrats or Republicans on the basis of national criteria?

Isn’t it known to them that the vote exists neither here nor in Mexico to satisfy the interests of the citizens, least of all those who stand completely in principle under the suspicion of lacking in ultimate loyalty to the American state?

Shouldn’t it also be well known to them from Latin America – countries where citizens are found ready for democratic relations little by little – that only alternatives between one single concern are up for vote, namely the concern to take the country and people into service for the power and glory of the state? And should it have escaped them that this is not really identical to the services which the state grants its citizens?

How do the American friends of immigrants or Mexicans come on the idea that political conditions in the great NAFTA partner are so different in principal than at home? Just because capital prospers here will the chief administrator and protector of this wealth shower a cornucopia upon the citizens?

Then the wealth would no longer be capitalist wealth, which seeks everywhere in the world new profitable arrangements and whose success must be urgently attended to. Then the wealth, which the immigrant workers here perform such outstanding services for, would no longer need to be protected from those who have no property. And then the whole electoral circus which the immigrants want to enjoy would not at all be necessary. Because the mechanism of a relationship between voters and candidates, which will insist on the unconditional validity of the interests from the top down and the conditional validity of all wishes conceded from the bottom up, is a relationship only where the elected set in motion and administer the damage of the majority of their electors with their own agreement. And this form of self-disempowerment is to be opportune for immigrants? And they promise themselves an improvement of their situation with, of all things, this democratic route of refraining from the realization of all their own interests? This can only be the case if democracy means more to them than ending the miseries which characterize their alien status. What they get with the vote is nothing but the beautiful feeling that everything that tramples over them is done with their democratic participation.