Monday, January 31, 2005

Slavery Is Alive & Well Under Bush Immigration Plan

From a New York Times editorial today, "An Update on Corporate Slavery"....

"Investors who visit the J. P. Morgan Chase Web site these days are finding more than the usual corporate news. The bank has posted a letter of apology and the results of an eye-opening research project, which found that two of its predecessor banks had participated in the slave trade, accepting about 13,000 enslaved people as collateral for loans issued in Louisiana in the mid-19th century. When the borrowers defaulted on their loans, the banks took ownership of some slaves and presumably sold them.

J. P. Morgan, which in addition to apologizing set up a scholarship fund for African-Americans in Louisiana, carried out this research to comply with a Chicago ordinance that requires companies doing business with the city government to divulge any links to slavery. A similar statute covers insurance companies operating in California, where several of the country's largest insurers have divulged links to slavery. These disclosures are exposing 18th- and 19th-century Northern businesses that sought to profit from the slave trade even after slavery had been outlawed in the North. "

Corporate Slavery has been abolished? Have you read the Bush administration's new immigration "reform" ideas? If enacted as he proposes, George Bush's immigration reforms amount to a new form of legalized Corporate Slavery.

Briefly, he proposes that undocumented immigrant workers (i.e. illegal aliens) be allowed to work in the US for up to six years, and then they must leave the US. They may only labor in jobs disdained by US workers, according to the employers. These undocumented workers receive "guaranteed wage and employment rights," not yet specified by the Bush administration, but presumably less than minimum wage levels and federal labor law requirements.

These immigrant workers don't actually earn the right to migrate here. They don't earn the right to establish a educate their children, to have access to health services, to establish permanent homes for their families, to be part of a community.

This is not an immigration proposal. This is merely a proposal to ensure businesses a steady and renewable source of very cheap labor to do their dirtiest jobs. Nothing more. Said US Senator Joe Lieberman to CNN this month, "George Bush's plan leaves foreign workers as fodder for our fields and factories, without giving them a path to legalization and a fair share of the American dream."

And, of course, the Bush proposal serves the larger, business-friendly purpose of depressing wages paid by the marketplace. American workers won't take the jobs because they're under minimum wage, and that's illegal. American workers won't take the jobs because the working conditions are often detestable and dangerous. American workers won't take the jobs because the employers ignore federal and state labor laws.

George Bush's immigration "reform" ideas benefit just one constituency: American businesses looking to circumvent labor law by exploiting poverty-level, powerless workers, then throwing them away and replacing them with newer, younger workers after six years. All and only for greater business profits.

Sounds to me like an updated version of Corporate Slavery. Cesar Chavez must be turning over in his grave.

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