Other Nations and Races

A new face of undocumented workers

Elvira Arellano has become the new face of undocumented workers from Mexico. She moved out of a church in Chicago where she was hiding out to avoid deportation and separation from her 8 year old son by the Department of Homeland Security. In a moving speech this week, she said that she came to America to work. Why? Aren't there jobs in Mexico? She stated that since the inception of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), she could no longer support her son with a living wage. So in desperation, she came to America to feed her young boy.

Is what she claims about NAFTA true? Studies show that it most certainly is. If you haven't read the section on this site about Economic Morality you should do so to understand the difference between "free trade" of goods and services and "free trade" of labor markets and forces. At the end of last year,
the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) released a report of the effects of NAFTA on Mexico. Here is some of what they said:

"national manufacturing production capacity has been dismantled and the agricultural industry destroyed."

"The main beneficiaries of the Agreement are the big transnational companies, while the effects on employment and wages have been deeply detrimental to Mexican workers. Indeed, the main competitive advantage of Mexico in the context of the NAFTA lies in the maintenance of low wages and precarious working conditions..."

"The report shows that the destruction of the agricultural industry has driven Mexican families to the urban areas, where they now live in conditions of extreme poverty. Women and children under the age of 16, hired by transnational companies to work in maquilas, in exhausting conditions, and for extremely low wages, are the first victims of this situation."

(to read the rest of the report click here)

So, how many Amercians understand this worsening situation? All Amercians should ask themselves, if they had children and were Mexicans, would they try to cross the border as undocumented to work here? Of course, most would. Unless we can see the world from their perspectives, we can't hope to understand why they do what they do. It easier to just call them "illegals" so we don't have to consider their humanity as equal to ours but rather see them as law-breakers that don't deserve the same respect as any other human being. To see clearly, we must first understand how American econimic policies affect poverty and economic systems around the world. Now that workers (labor forces) are considered a commodity, they can now be treated like big business treats the earth now: as another natural resource to be exploited until we've drained all the money we can from it.

Elvira Arellano was arrested today after speaking out. The government has now separated her from her American born son and will deport her back to Mexico.

Minnesota Bridge

For two days now, the news channels have been giving all-day coverage to the Minnesota bridge collapse. On the bridge were about 60 vehicles, and yes there was injury and death. But, even more unfortunate is what this says about the priorities and values of the United States citizens at this point. You can't blame a news media that is supported through advertising because it will only show what people want to see...otherwise advertising wouldn't work as a support system. In other words, there is little free press in America.

The first problem with this tragedy is that President Bush has gotten another pass in the media. He had just exerted executive privilege in not allowing Carl Rove to testify before congress or hand over any documents or correspondence regarding the firing of U.S. attorneys. This, of course, is a huge news story regarding how far executive privilege can go.

But, more disturbing than this is how much Americans care about disasters like this when more horrific things are happening around the world every single day. We have millions of people a year dying of starvation, for example (yes millions, folks), 150 thousand a month of AIDS, 150 million from diarrhea every month, and 200 thousand dying from malaria every month. The malarial drugs exist to stop the deaths but America refuses to send them. If you take the starvation alone, 18 thousand children die EVERY DAY, one every five seconds (and that is just the children). Read about hunger facts at
here at If you add wars and attacks you get another grim picture. In fact, with the 3000 people that died on 9/11, some countries have the equivalent of a 9/11 tragedy DAILY. Do we see any of this on the news, so people can rally together to save all these people? No. Why? It doesn't sell toothpaste. And we think we have a free press? And yet, when 60 American cars are on a collapsing bridge, suddenly we all care. Why? Because Americans think their lives are more valuable that those of the rest of the world. This is why nationalism is so ugly. Why isn't this picture below on the news every day?


Racism alive and growing again

Wanted to wait before blogging on specific issues but couldn't. It was too humbling to watch the debut of Tony Snow, Bush's new press secretary from Fox News tell the press core that he didn't want to "hug the tar baby" (twice), then hearing John Gibson on May 11th comment on the fact that hispanics in America have more children than white Americans by saying "You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later repeated: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies." (read the full story and watch the documentation by video at Certainly we wouldn't want them to out-procreate the white folks......With all of the fighting regarding the immigration debate, racism is rearing an ugly head again. On CNN, Lou Dobbs got mad at Democrats for inferring racism has anything to do with the immigration debate, but then he himself, said "I don't believe in celebrating differences, I only believe in celebrating what we have in common." Of course he doesn't understand that diversity is what makes us all learn from one another's perspectives, none of which are perfect.