Sunday, June 21, 2009

Economic Migration

"Africans returning from the wealthy world often perpetuate these myths that life there is easy and money very easy to come by. They may not wish to divulge that they earned their salaries by cleaning bathrooms, suffered humiliating insults, and that they did not live like kings while abroad. Few in Africa have any idea of just what squats and slums and hardship really await the unskilled or the sans papiers (illegal) immigrants in Europe or North America. Some are shocked when they learn that in major European and North American cities there are homeless people living on the streets. Few people seeking visas seemed to want to listen to me list the constraints they would have to adapt to in the wealthy world, where competition is extreme, taxes must be paid and where time is money and thus king, ruling every minute of the day. From their perspective, these issues were all irrelevant. The important thing was a steady income that would provide funds to help support the family back home and could be saved towards a more secure future. A minimum wage job in Europe or North America could bring in more than a teacher or even a doctor earns in much of Africa."
--Joan Baxter


Somehow having to endure the privation of illegal status to mitigate the privation of poverty seems to be unbalanced in the over all equation of the societies within which we live.

In Holland, where I was born and raised, we started to get guest workers from Morocco and Turkey in the mid sixties and they were totally misunderstood. They indeed worked to provide for their families but the huge problem then was, that any woman or girl who did not wear either an engagement ring or wedding ring were free game.

I remember sitting in the last bus home and had to fight them off. I soon learned that a cheap wedding type looking ring did the trick.

Different cultures in different countries can be really hard.

Does this make sense?
yesterday i was having a conversation w/our neighbors from palestine. they had a friend from libya over and she was sharing w/me the shock she discovered coming to america and seeing the homeless problem. i told her the american dream is by and large a system-created marketing ploy in order to create a global empire.

the monetary system and how it's been set up has created lack and unnecessary suffering. and as mentioned, the competition is fierce (unless i'm playing poker, i don't want to compete w/anyone for anything). all so unnecessarily ugly and draining on the human spirit. have you heard of the venus project?

thankx for the reference to derrick jensen. i checked out his website and am intrigued to read his material.
Another fantastic quote benji-and great to see other comments-and yes MD you made total sense!! One thing among many that always hit me about Americans and Mexicans (undocumented workers) is the hatred build up-i have grown so tired of privileged white folks bitching that the Mexicans are stealing our jobs-I have yet to see a one of them that would take on the job these people do! Often-and I am going into conspiracy land here-with NAFTA/GATT and all the rest it seems that the PTB ultimate goal is to wipe out any sort of middle class-best to you as always!!
My interactions tend more to be with the wealthier immigrants from "El Tropico" wanting a "better" life for their children. They too are unprepared and come to Steeltown, Canada and lose their shirts when Steelworkers mysteriously do not flock to the new "El Tropican" restaurant. Their children however get a Western education and grow up to be money slaves and are thus "happy" we must assume.
There are some worrying things happening on this side of the pond. I don't know whether you see news from the UK but I will tell you what the unsettling things are.On June 4th we had some national elections and also European Parliament elections and the BNP did rather well - this is The British National Party whose maifesto is thoroughly rascist. In N.I. last week 100 Romanian immigrants were driven from their homes by rascist bigots who didn't want them there. The majority of Brits abhor these things but the concern is that they are happening at all, after all thes people were only trying to better their situation.
I remember a friend of me telling that when he was back home, people would tell him these wild stories about America, how there was literally money in the streets, in the garbage, etc.. Of course, he was disappointed to no end whereupon leaving a third-world nation, he found third-world conditions in the Emerald City.
Ah, but in Canada you can't clean a toilet without being in the caretakers' union.
And gotta fight to wash a dish.

...Find out things when you lose the money. Start to feel like a journeyman African.
Hm. Maybe I lose too much.
TWM: you have a gift for articulate summation my friend.

MD: it does make sense, though I think the point Baxter was making goes beyond that in pointing out the imbalance between cultures and especially countries. I think that imbalance actually serves to inflame any potential culture clash. Tariq Ali argues this brilliantly in Clash of Fundamentalisms.

Nina: Not familiar with the Venus project, I'll look it up.

Devin: I can see that, but I think that goal is probably indirect, i.e. the real goal is to accumulate power and control ("give me absolute control over every living soul" as L.Cohen put it), and when the most powerful work for that goal they destroy the powerful middle class in the process. But the poor get hit worst and first.

FWG: I worked a lot with skilled immigrants when I was in Toronto and there seemed to be a lot of anger that they were being shut out from the economic engine here. They'd never experienced that before, having always had success at home. There were indeed shocked that Canada would waste their skills and ignore their talent. Sometimes the potential success of their kids was the only compensation.

Kissa: I wasn't aware of that. But I have heard of that general trend in Europe, like Lapin in France as one example. I guess that fascist line of thinking is alive and well, if marginalized.

XD: a perfect anecdote for this thread, says it all.

Ivan: these days it seems the fight is more for white collar holler jobs than dishwashing. Those are increasingly the jobs that immigrants CAN get, the kind no one else wants, as Devin pointed out.
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