Sunday, June 20, 2004

Huntington's newest enemy: Mexicans

Workers World May 27, 2004: Huntington's news enemy: Mexicans

Huntington's newest enemy: Mexicans
The best answer is solidarity
By Teresa Gutierrez

The Mexican people are currently a running theme in the bourgeois media.

For example, a recent article by Samuel Huntington in Foreign Policy, a magazine by published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, made certain headlines and created a stir in some press. Huntington was a member of the National Security Council during President Jimmy Carter's Democratic administration.

The March/April front cover headline of Foreign Policy reads:"José, Can You See? Samuel Huntington on how Hispanic immigrants threaten America's identity, values and way of life."

The Foreign Policy article is one of the most anti-immigrant articles ever. It was racist, appealing to a narrow sector of the white population, and a call to arms to defend "white America."

Not just any "white America"--white Anglo-Saxon Protestant "America."

(We should remind our readers here that "America" is not synonymous with the United States as it is presented in the media here. That formulation is colonialist language that represents U.S. desires to dominate the entire hemisphere. We should remind the imperialists that the Americas are two continents, not just the United States.)

The Foreign Policy front cover picture is a Latino dressed in a suit. The man is crossing his heart with his hand while holding a small U.S. flag. One imagines he is at his U.S. citizenship induction ceremony.

Huntington's entire premise is that the multitude of immigrants coming to the United States--specifically Mexi can immigrants--is threatening the very fabric of his society.

He writes: "The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves-from Los Angeles to Miami-and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril."

Huntington may be singling out Latin@s now, but in 1996 he also foretold a "global conflict between the West and the Muslim world."

Huntington states in Foreign Policy that the "values, institutions, and culture" of the "white, British and Protestant settlers" are the foundation of this country that shaped the United States for all following centuries.

That it is these values and institutions that attract so many immigrants.

That even though this country is "multiethnic and multiracial," ethnicity and race have "virtually disappeared as a defining component of national identity."

(Tell that, Huntington, to the thousands of African American youth who are daily stopped--or worse--by police solely for being Black.)

Today, Huntington declares, the "United States' national identity ... is challenged by the forces of globalization.

"The single most immediate and serious challenge to America's traditional identity comes from the ... immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico, and the fertility rates of these immigrants compared to Black and white American natives."

(The magazine's second front-page cover cleverly shows a picture of a Mexican woman holding a baby. We guess this is meant to drive the fertility point home.)

Mexican migration is different for several reasons, Huntington fears. One is that the United States and Mexico share a border. "No other First World country has such an extensive frontier with a Third World country," he wails.

Another is the scale of immigration. "Hispanics may constitute up to 25 percent of the U.S. population by 2050," Huntington laments.

Another concern for Huntington is that "illegal" immigration is overwhelmingly a Mexican phenomenon. That "Hispanics ... tend to concentrate regionally," he continues, and that the "schools of Los Angeles are becoming Mexican" ("Eeeks!" Or better yet: "Chihuaha!").

Huntington warns, "No other immigrant group in U.S. history has asserted or could assert a historical claim to U.S. territory."

(After all, when they stole over half of Mexico, it never occurred to the robber barons that Mexicans might want the land back! What audacity.)

Huntington is really concerned that the size of "Hispanic immigration tends to perpetuate the use of Spanish. ... Spanish speakers in New York, Miami and Los Angeles" can live "normal lives without knowing English." (Again, what audacity!)

He quotes a late Republican reactionary senator as asking, "Why is it that no Filipinos, no Koreans object to making English the official language?" (Is Huntington promoting the racist stereotype that Asians are the "model minority"? We think so.)

Huntington's last sentences provide words to remember: "There is no Americano dream. There is only the American dream created by the Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English."

A rebuttal to Huntington

We should first point out to Huntington that the "American dream created by the Anglo-Protestant society" he refers to is in fact a horrible nightmare for the vast majority of humanity. That nightmare is best represented today by the photos of Iraqis tortured by U.S. occupiers in their own land.

We should ask Huntington: Who is cutting his lawn? Who is delivering his food? Who is packing the meat that arrives on his dinner plate every night? Who is it that is working in the most dangerous industries of all?

And who is dying for it?

The gap between Huntington's views of Mexican immigrants and the reality of their daily lives is so wide an ocean could not fill it.

One Mexican worker a day dies at the work place in this country, according to a recent shocking Associated Press report.

"A Mexican worker is four times more likely to die on the job than the average U.S. born worker" in some places in the country, the AP reported.

"These accidental deaths are almost always preventable and often gruesome: Workers are impaled, shredded in machinery, buried alive. Some are 15 years old."

So much for your "American dream," Huntington.

Conditions for Mexican workers in this country are so deplorable and so widespread that the AP report actually described the situation as an epidemic. This should have made national news. But the facts were buried and little talked about.

Hundreds if not thousands of immigrants die every year crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. And President George W. Bush is making sure that crossing gets harder.

The Department of Homeland Security obtained $10 million for the Arizona Border Control Initiative. This includes 200 new border patrol agents, 350 helicopters and an unknown number of aircraft to patrol the most remote parts of the border.

This will only lead to increased deaths, immigrant advocates concur.

The Public Policy Institute of California reports that these measures will force workers to go to more remote areas that are even more dangerous. PPIC states that the number of drowned immigrants rose from 48 in 1994 to 92 in 2000. Deaths rose from nine to 135 in the same time period.

At least 151 immigrants died in the Arizona desert last year.

The Bush administration and Congress have renewed their focus on undocumented immigration. Earlier this year Bush proposed major changes in immigration law that amounted to a guest-worker program. That is, foreigners would be allowed to come in and work legally, but would then have to return. There would be no amnesty and more repression.

This apparently is not enough for Huntington.

Huntington would like to distance recent immigrants from the immigrants of the past waves. He would like to stir up divisions between immigrants and the African American people. He would like white workers to rally around his New Nativism to protect "American Christian values." He would like all immigrants to speak English.

But Huntington's view will not prevail.

What is on the horizon for this country is a renewed level of class struggle. Immi grants are bound to take up some of the most righteous class struggles not seen in a long time. They have already begun.

It will be in the fine tradition of immigrants before them, contrary to Hunting ton's revisionist history. Just like the Jewish, Italian and all South and Eastern European immigrants at the turn of the last century, today's immigrants will fight for their desperately needed rights.

Their struggle has the potential to rock the system to its core. And that is exactly why Huntington and his likes are promoting an anti-immigrant panic.

What is the best answer to Huntingt on's anti-immigrant tirade?


Organizing a movement of every single nationality, with U.S.- and foreign-born workers, documented and undocumented, young and old, women and men, gay and straight. And that movement must be against the war at home as well as abroad in order to prevail.

Reprinted from the May 27, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper
(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via email: Subscribe Unsubscribe Support independent news


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