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April 27, 2006

Immigrants and an off the reservation comment

A quick comment on the US, domestically, breaking my rule of avoiding that topic. I noted on BBC and picked up on Reuters, this piece of insanity.

I have no idea what these "activists" (always the bloody ideologue activists....) are thinking, but this is simply a terrible idea. I don't believe I care fundamentally what the US decides to do on illegal immigration, but this sort of idiotic nonsense will certainly cause a backlash among citizens. What morons could think May Day 'general strike' and manifestations by non-legal immigrants is a good idea with positive benefits? The American activist Left are among the most deluded fools on this planet. What bloody losing whankers.

[ADDED]
An added observation. From my dear JV partner, when she was in the United States. It was her characterisation (which rather startled me) after some time, that there were "too many of the short Spanish immigrants." She meant the Central Americans (Mexicans, etc) by that. It was a queer observation, unprompted certainly by me. She added as well that she was sympathetic to the US controlling immigration more now, having seen that there "are too many Spanish immigrants."

Factually speaking, well, I have no idea what on earth too many is. I share this for ... well I am not sure what value it is, other than the reaction of a visitor to the US without immigration intent, after perhaps a month or so. I should expect that the 'native community' might have equally strong reactions deep down.

Posted by The Lounsbury at April 27, 2006 07:15 PM
Filed Under: Politics

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Comments

Agreed that this is being handled all wrong, though with the amount of blatantly racist anti-Mexican (and anti-other Latino) rhetoric I've seen, I hardly blame the demonstrators themselves for trying to defend their heritage.

However, without getting into the debate of how much and what kind of immigration the U.S. should allow, let me just mention that all the bills banging around this session have also included significant quota increases for highly skilled, legal, employment-based immigration, which would alleviate the quota-nduced delays which are now over 5 years for certain job categories and nationalities. More info here on legilation, stats, economic impact, etc., and here on green card backlogs. And the employment-based delays, by definition, are currently several years after the lack of available, qualified U.S. workers has already been certified by the Dept. of Labor.

Most people don't realize how long it takes to join a close relative in the U.S. via the legit route, or that you can't even get in the line in the vast majority of cases without a preexisting close family relationship or offer of skilled employment.

Posted by: Eva Luna at April 27, 2006 08:45 PM

Defending their heritage? What the fuck does a call for a general strike have to do with defending their heritage, whatever the fuck that means.

The idea is fundamentally idiotic at every level - non-citizen mass demos re them not haveing proper papers (regardless of good or bad reasons why) is just bad political calculus.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 27, 2006 08:54 PM

Well, having attended one demo (which I could hardly avoid, as it involved an estimated 100,000 people marching within shouting distance of my office at lunch hour), I can attest that

a) there were an awful lot of Mexican flags flying; and
b) b) much of the speakers’ rhetoric (not reported in most mainstream media, as non-Spanish-speaking journalists wouldn’t have been able to understand it, though it included Spanish-speaking aldermen and Congressional reps and the like) was along the lines of “this city/country wouldn’t run properly without our hard work at poverty wages.”

Not criticizing your opinions at all per se, but there has been some awfully racist and hateful ugliness expressed re: “dirty spics,” “wetbacks” and the like, though if you look at the Pew numbers, a) a significant proportion of undocumented entered legally but overstayed a visa; and b) nearly half aren’t Mexican, and a significant minority aren’t even Latino. If I were Mexican, I’d probably have the urge to defend my compatriots’ honor as well. And with the proportion of families with mixed legal/illegal status, plenty of U.S. citizens and permanent residents were there as well.

But then I never meant to discuss the relative merits of illegal immigration anyway, having very mixed feelings on the subject and all.

Posted by: Eva Luna at April 27, 2006 09:21 PM

The innovative [E: fixed html] does not work for me ;)

Try this


Posted by: secretdubai at April 27, 2006 10:24 PM

Secret, you message escapes me.

Eva:
, but there has been some awfully racist and hateful ugliness expressed re: “dirty spics,” “wetbacks” and the like..... If I were Mexican, I’d probably have the urge to defend my compatriots’ honor as well. And with the proportion of families with mixed legal/illegal status, plenty of U.S. citizens and permanent residents were there as well.

I am well aware of the ugliness expressed. I've been hearing it. I am abstracting away from right and wrong and merely looking at political calculation. Honour has fuck all to do with it, it's about not cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Watching BBC this evening there was some idiot Latina 'activist" blithering on about the horrors of illegals being deported and the like, and how the demos would demonstrate Latin power or something. It was idiotic.

Fact does not matter here, this is a loser, a stunningly bad idea idiot lefty activists think is good (like the anti WB vandalisms of 99-00) because they're so bloody clueless.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 04:39 AM

Well, how would you go about it if you were trying to convince Congress to pass an amnesty (though nobody will ever call it that) and/or some sort of unskilled worker visa category? or increased green card quotas, whether family-based or low-skilled-employment based? or sheer duration-of-keeping-nder-the-radar-based? I already agreed with you that Mexican flags are not likely to get anyone anywhere, except possibly back to Mexico - but let's face it, I am neither planning demos or otherwise making policy. I feel for these people because they are human beings, but a) I'm not in their shoes, and b) it's not (directly) my problem except to the extent that they get in the way during my lunch hour and tie up traffic, which doesn't particularly bother me once in a while.

My boss has been working the phones on behalf of the employees, but of course they aren't the main issue - there are far fewer of them, they are already legal and on their way to green cards (if much more slowly than they, or I, would like), and they are pretty much undisputably making a lot of money on behalf of a large U.S.- based corporation.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 28, 2006 04:59 AM

The activists think May day " strikes" are a good idea because they are crypto-Marxist wackos out of touch with normal Americans.

Col is absolutely correct. The anger that this is going to stir will be volcanic. Don't underestimate it.

Most Americans do not want massive deportations and would probably be moved by pro-citizenship demonstrations that waved American flags and emphasized how much illegals wanted a chance to to join the American dream. All voters really would like is a reasonably secure border that 250,000-600,000 illegals can't cross annually.

Instead, when angry, anti-gringo, Mexican nationalists parade their anti-american belligerence, insulting the country and making threats they will stir up a huge backlash and possibly result in a very, very, tough immigration bill. Congress is capable of turning very fast on visceral issues like these. The people who will be greatly angered - and who formerly might have ben sympathetic - actually vote in elections while the demonsrators do not. And they will vote for candidates who will promise to kick the Mexican flag-wavers the hell out of the country.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 28, 2006 05:20 AM

Which is why California votes solid Republican these days.

Posted by: Tom Scudder at April 28, 2006 05:50 AM

Well, how would you go about it if you were trying to convince Congress to pass an amnesty (though nobody will ever call it that) and/or some sort of unskilled worker visa category?

I don't know, you know I don't generally give a fuck about domestic American politics.

However, as a general matter political action has to appeal to voters - axiomatic really.

This idiocy is ripe for pissing off citizens who will feel threatened by large displays of non-citizen or perceived non-citizen force.

Fuzzyminded appeals to emotion don't change that fact.

Nor your "I feel for these people" - I don't give a bloody fuck one way or the other, but if one wants to achieve political ends, feeling has fuck all to do with it (except knowing how to appeal to the levers of power).

(And in the end as a classic liberal, I am naturally sympathetic to the idea of free labour markets and the like, and thus more or less to liberalised immigration. None of this is about "feeling" - it is about bloody political calculus.)

I agree with Mark's note: Most Americans do not want massive deportations and would probably be moved by pro-citizenship demonstrations that waved American flags and emphasized how much illegals wanted a chance to to join the American dream:

Demonstrations indulging in American as Apple Pie imagery, big American Flags, hugging bunnies stuff.

That wins over citizens. Appeal to shared nationalism. Shared.

But the drooling moron activists - indeed I suppose crypto Marxist fools - well, they seem to be walking down the road to pissing off and blowing up their agenda with a large portion of the US population (based on what I see and my general sense of political dynamics).

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 06:11 AM

Tom Scudder is right. Lounsbury and Safranski are wrong, and indeed hilariously so.

There may be a short-term backlash by insecure white folks who soil their Fruit-of-the-Looms whenever they see large congregations of the swarthy, but the larger political effect will be the mobilization of the legal Latino community (who made up the vast majority of the marchers).

Posted by: tequila at April 28, 2006 09:47 AM

FWIW the one demo I went to here was not by any means full of "bring the gringos to their knees" vitriol, and though I haven't been involved in activism on this subject, I do know one of the organizers - and he is by no means a "bring down the gringos" kind of guy.

I was kind of disappointed to see all the speeches in Spanish, because they really were all about wanting a piece of the American dream - after all, in a way it's the labor of those here illegally that enables some Americans to have the American dream.

As for demonstrators not voting: bullshit. Tons of people here illegally have relatives here legally; if not immediate family members, then close family members in any case. And they vote. Look at the numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center.

(And why is the idea of me giving a shit about people apparently so offensive to you? I don't get it - I never said it had anything to do with normative judgements - it was just a side comment, and one that is shared by large numbers of American voters. And which may, in the end, affect the outcome of this debate.)

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 28, 2006 01:05 PM

"There may be a short-term backlash by insecure white folks who soil their Fruit-of-the-Looms whenever they see large congregations of the swarthy, but the larger political effect will be the mobilization of the legal Latino community (who made up the vast majority of the marchers)."

T. You are remarkably ignorant of American political dynamics and are substituting P.C. wishful thinking (" people who disagree are racist/sexist/fill-in-the-blank and can be discounted" )for actual thought.

The legal immigrant Hispanic community and Mexican-Americans do not universally support these demonstrations or agree with the presentation they are taking.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 28, 2006 02:12 PM

Case in point how this plays out where it matters:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060428/ap_on_el_ge/brothers_salazar_immigration

Posted by: mark safranski at April 28, 2006 03:00 PM

Let's separate issues:

The May Day strike became an idea because the pinko-commies at groups like ANSWER decided it was a good way to revive Communist-labor day. They are well organized and tend to take over "marginalized" group activism. There may be a possible advantage -- long-shot -- in people seeing the significance of immigrant labor illustrated in a strike, but I wouldnt take that bet.

Large demos are fine. The real value in demos is not whether they win over other people, it's whether they create networks of activism and the energy enthusiasm for it, while minimizing provoking opposition - something not done by doing stupid things like displaying foreign flags. Amnesty isnt St Patty's day.

Latinos vote in big (or getting bigger) numbers as do other naturalized Americans.

And feelings do matter. If potentially sympathetic citizens (e.g. Eva) are also activated to be supportive by their actions, that also makes a concrete difference in terms of downline issues like Congressional lobbying, media access and so forth.

The real power of a demonstration happens on the ground with cards, email addresses, and phone numbers being exchanged, and political slaiva being stimulated. The negative is in the provocative risks of the style of the demonstration, initially done badly with the Latin American flags but in the last demonstration in D.C. it was a star-spangled festival.

The dangerous and probably stupid high-stakes gambling is a strike on Communist Christmas.

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 28, 2006 03:06 PM

Well, I hate to argue about domestic US politics.

Nevertheless this strikes me as stupid: There may be a short-term backlash by insecure white folks who soil their Fruit-of-the-Looms whenever they see large congregations of the swarthy, but the larger political effect will be the mobilization of the legal Latino community (who made up the vast majority of the marchers):

As I have heard black Americans making anti-immigrant comments, it strikes me that the backlash would center in the lower income citizen space. I don't think it would be this easy racialisation that you propose.

I don't the Latino / Latin American citizen numbers, but again large demos with anti-US flavour as I got the sense from the BBC reporting (or rather the words from the organisers mouths), that just doesn't strike me as sitting well.

AS I said supra, just in the sense of understanding how citizen populations react (Europe as well as Americas) to immigrant populations tells me these marches are not a good idea. They might convert if the organisers and the imagery turns out happys, pro-host country mom and pies type (we want to be you), but if it is angry and about oppression, it is a loser politically.

But hey, your problem, I'm just observing and was motivated by the sheer idiocy of what the people BBC interviewed said.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 03:21 PM

"As I have heard black Americans making anti-immigrant comments..."

Yes, but here is where the level of activism matters, and domestic American politics (understandably not of interest) gets complex and ironic: black Americans dont vote or participate in proportionate numbers, much to their self-harm.

It's all a gamble on who will show up more, but the anti-American tone you describe will add to the anti-immigrant risks as it brings out opposition. I suspect that the BBC interviewed the Lefties associated with the May 1 deal, who represent only part of the ongong political mobilization, and who actually feed off continued marginalization.

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 28, 2006 03:28 PM

Right, right.

Well, I agree that it is all in the packaging. In many ways these are universal political lessons (which is one reason I broke my no commenting stupid American domestic politicking whanking).

What rang alarm bells in watching the BBC as well as reading some online news, was the reporting on some boycott threat in Mexico against "yankee" products.

All in all, if these kinds of things dominate the news cycle / information that Middle Americans get, and then there is some actual 'general strike' of immigrants not going to work, going to demos, and the demos have foreign flags, etc. .... in short if the impression given plays out, it's a disaster.

Certainly the rhetoric I heard was disastrous, and if BBC picked it up, I imagine that US stations picked up (I find domestic US TV news too painful to watch, the level of childish hyping has reached astounding proportions) and that would be "bad"TM.

Thus the "ANSWER" (who are these people by the way, I know they were involved in the anti-globo crap that I got caught in several years ago in DC, innocently wandering down to the WB as I was).

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 03:41 PM

Ah yes, re Black Americans, am aware they don't vote. My reply was really to what I presume is our young hyped up Latino/a reader what was racialising the immigrant-non-immigrant response I was discussing as a "Whitey" thing.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 03:44 PM

(And why is the idea of me giving a shit about people apparently so offensive to you? I don't get it - I never said it had anything to do with normative judgements - it was just a side comment, and one that is shared by large numbers of American voters. And which may, in the end, affect the outcome of this debate.)

Offensive, merely annoying as my comment was focused on one issue - and I don't give a fuck about feelings. It's the winning calculus that matters to me.

Sympathy, I am sure it exists out there. Equally sure that if one stands symapthy for immigrants up against nativism, symapthy for immigrants tends to lose, ceteris paribus.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 03:51 PM

Well, whether the ceteris will be paribus is very much still up in the air. But your remarks seemed to me to indicate that you don't think feelings are playing and/or should play a role in the winning calculus, which they clearly do.

Posted by: Eva Luna at April 28, 2006 04:05 PM

ANSWER is an Old Left ( really, really, Old Left ideologically speaking)front group/ network for Communist activists and organizers. They are basically an interlocking directorate with a number of other wacked-out groups for diverse issues.

They are most (in)famous for their support of Kim jon-Il's regime in North Korea and formerly for Slobodon Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.ANSWER essentially became a major force in the antiwar movement before the Iraq war due to their very real and tireless capability as protest organizers ( a position which they used, naturally, to purge other Leftists from leading roles in the movement with whom they had an ideological axe to grind. Little has changed it would appear).

Basically, they are Stalinists looking for contemporary relevancy on whatever issue they can graft on to.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 28, 2006 04:42 PM

How many of you think the average white-bread American even has a clue about the political significance of May Day?

Oddly, I just had a conversation about the May 1st planned demos with an old friend (an employment-based immigrant who happens to be a fairly high-level investment banker, and not someone who normally supports left-wing political causes). He and his wife (also an immigrant) were saying that most of their friends (mostly MBA finance types) are immigrants, and they were wondering whether they should come out in support - but of course, being workaholic Wall Street types, they would never skip work. (He was the one who commented that most Americans have no clue what May Day is all about, and I would tend to concur.)

Posted by: Eva Luna at April 28, 2006 04:57 PM

And they have some obsession with one Mumia Abu-Jamal who is facing a death penalty.

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 28, 2006 05:03 PM

First, Eva, as usual you are unable to distinguish between objective analsysis and personal motivation.

My interest and concern in re the subject are abstract. Your comments mix and confuse the personal with the abstract.

This aside:
How many of you think the average white-bread American even has a clue about the political significance of May Day?

Or brown bread for that matter.

The question merely arises, will the people with a political interest in opposing raise the issue of the "Red" connexion? I think so.

Will it be successful, I don't know - if the kind of overheated lefty talk I heard on BBC dominates, it might well be. ANSWER and its anti-Globo morons may well dominate or rather dominate the image by visibility.

If moderate, reasonable 'pro America' sounding talk and imagery predominates, then it will not be.

Calculus. The imagery that dominates is what counts.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 28, 2006 06:36 PM

I've not been following the issue too closely, and I don't want to get into the relative tactical merits of boycotts and flag-waving. But as I see it, the sheer numbers involved in the large street demonstrations have already been successful on one front- Congress no longer seems to be talking about making it a felony to have anything to do with illegal immigrants, which is what first sparked the protests. Whether this will be channelled into meaningful reform remains to be seen, of course.

Posted by: dubaiwalla [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 28, 2006 06:37 PM

as usual you are unable to distinguish between objective analsysis and personal motivation.

No, I seem to be experiencing different perceptions from different sources than you are; that doesn't mean one of us is right and one of us is wrong. And certianly neither of us has seen every media representation around the U.S., which is rather more important than what the BBC is broadcasting for this purpose.

Average Middle America doesn't watch the BBC (not that I watch US network TV news either). I've seen just about every conceivable angle raised, even in the mainstream media - the jury is very much still out re: which imagery will prevail.

As mentioned before, I don't (directly) have a dog in the illegal immigration fight; my more immediate concern is the legal, high-skilled professional immigration debate (it being my livelihood and all). But I'm also not the only American voter who has empathy for other human beings who happen to have been born places where economic conditions are less favorable than they are here. Opinion numbers vary greatly depending on how the questions are phrased, and the fight re: what version (if any) of a comprehensive immigration reform bill will make it to a vote is still very much a knock-down, drag-out thing. And it will depend a great deal on what happens in committee.

At this point, Congress doesn't even know what Congress is going to decide, so it's pretty pointless to have these pissing contests, don't you think?

Posted by: Eva Luna at April 28, 2006 06:51 PM

Having just returned from a short - no more than three-day - vacation, to see this idiocy on the local news, I have to say: the pro-immigrant side is seriously jumping the shark here.
Eva, as you know, I am very much on the pro-immigrant side, but this May Day boycott is going to turn this thing around so fast it'll make your head spin. There is absolutely positively no way anyone with half a clue about the US would do this. It's just about the stupidest, most infantile thing I have ever seen.
On top of that, I was treated to a Spanish version of the Star-Spangled Banner. I swear I would love to know who comes up with these remarkably moronic ideas, so I could personally shoot the bastids - no, I'd want to torture them first, just for fun, and then leave them hanging, bloody, from some tree for the vultures to pick over, so they could die from the infections and the blood loss.
All of us of Hispanic heritage - which includes me and everyone in my family - are going to suffer, big time, from this unbelievable stupidity. Once the reaction is done chewing us up and spitting us out, Indians and other south Asians will be next. Or maybe it'll be Arabs. Who the hell knows. Where it goes is anyone's call.
Stupid, moronic, and worst of all by far, dangerous.

Posted by: pantom at April 29, 2006 12:43 AM

By the way, what the bloody fuck does "jumping shark" mean?

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 29, 2006 01:16 AM

On the TV show Happy Days (about the fifties, in case you missed it, which I did) there was said to be an episode in which the ultra-cool character, The Fonz, jumped over a shark. The show allegedly went downhill after that. (This may be slightly inaccurate, since I only ever saw this TV show by accident, and never saw this episode.) Hence, the expression "jump the shark". Also, there's a website.
But the expression means, the moment when you've gone too far. I believe a Spanish Star-Spangled Banner, never mind the boycott, definitely qualifies.

Posted by: pantom at April 29, 2006 01:42 AM

Right, never had a blood clue what the fuck that meant. I have to say as an expression I don't like it.

However, that aside, I entirely agree. Stunningly stupid.

As for Eva, I know it's pointless to explicate to you, so let me simply note the issue I raised was about focusing and not muddling up with other items.

Regardless, Pantom I believe has it right, and as I said, it depends on what images dominate but Spanish lang national anthems, boycotts if they come off and similar kinds of easily exploited 'anti American' activity play right into the anti-Immigrant. And I believe Dubaiwalla is wrong, I am not sure the criminal proposal has gone away because of the mass demos past.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 29, 2006 02:13 AM

L - well, maybe if you would stop alternately swearing and jumping down my throat, I might be able to focus better on what your point actually was; as you are well aware, this is a topic in which I am personally and professionally invested. Try it sometime - you might be pleasantly surprised. And by the way, anecdotes and data are not mutually exclusive, and I provided both.

And as I also said previously, we have yet to see what image(s) will dominate. Monday should be interesting - I'll be right in the thick of it, and they are expecting 3x as many demonstrators as last time (though last time was MUCH bigger than expected here, bec. one of the Spanish-language radio DJs decided to make it his personal mission to increase turnout in the couple of days beforehand). Even the demo organizers were shocked.

Also agreed that telling kids to skip school, in particular, is idiotic.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2006 02:21 AM

BTW, L- have you noticed that I'm actually agreeing with most of what you stated? You might also consider that even if you don't make political decisions without letting emotion figure in, plenty of other people do.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2006 02:29 AM

Sorry - I think I threw one too many negatives into that last sentence. Must be letting my emotions take over again - will have to button my stiff upper lip again, if I can shut my mouth long enough.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2006 02:39 AM

This is getting a bit tedious, but of little surprise:

You might also consider that even if you don't make political decisions without letting emotion figure in, plenty of other people do.

If you reread, you will note my comments fully comprehend emotive reactions in political decisions. Indeed fundamental to the observation I was making.

Well, we should leave it at that your mode of understanding or approaching issues is rather far from with mine. Agreement was not my source of irritation. Focus was.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 29, 2006 05:52 AM

So what exactly is the source of your annoyance re: focus? Or do you not think abstract information (which I also provided) has individuals behind it? Silly me for thinking it was about emotion, when the bulk of your agression and swearing above come into play whenever emotion or whatever you seem to view as irrational decisionmaking are discussed.

For a guy who claims not to care about American domestic politics, you seem to be getting awfully worked up.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2006 11:27 AM

My pro-immigrant ad linguistic hobby bias may neutralize my inner redneck, but can someone explain why a Spanish-language "Star-Spangled Banner" is so offensive? I know it has that effect, but even Muslims who protest cartoons aren't getting upset about translations of the (meaning of the) Quran into English.

Besides, the poem is about a battle against ("their foul footstep's pollution") the people who were English and invented the language, so what's the necessarily English aspect to it.

But, in the alleged words of late Texas governor Miriam (Ma) Ferguson: "If the King's English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for the children of Texas!"

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 29, 2006 01:31 PM

" but can someone explain why a Spanish-language "Star-Spangled Banner" is so offensive? I know it has that effect, but even Muslims who protest cartoons aren't getting upset about translations of the (meaning of the) Quran into English."

The reaction is visceral because it ties a symbol of America with a perceived unwillingness to assimilate on the part of Mexicans by learning English.

Now, I'm well aware that most Hispanic immigrants learn English. That's irrelevant here. Most Americans know that the drive in their local public schools to have Bilingual programs is primarily from anti-assimilationist Mexican-Americans activists in the education establishment. While many teachers there are concerned and caring, in the aggregate these programs amount to linguistic ghettos for Hispanic children while non-English speaking students from every other nation except Mexico go into ESL programs and rapidly gain English fluency. If you do nothing other than abolish Bilingual Ed. education scores for Hispanic children go up.

This rankles with the public as does voting or Driver's license tests in Spanish and the like. These special pleading exceptions for Spanish are long-existing political irritants. So when the TV news blares the Star Spangled Banner in Espanol, people flip.

Case in point, yesterday an acquaintence of mine, a liberal lifetime union man who despises George Bush was raving angry about this - so much so that they already contacted their Congressman about immigration. That was somebody who could have very easily been lined up to support the pro-illegal immigrant side of the debate with a properly framed appeal. Now he's lost for good with one boneheaded move.

Symbols are visceral touchstones.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 29, 2006 03:39 PM

Safranski - The evidence from the political direction of California politics suggests that my case is better substantiated than your own. Initial backlash driven primarily by racial/cultural fears submerged as the initial hysteria dies but a new politically engaged Latino voters remains.

You are right that the Latino community is not 100% on this issue --- no community is 100% on anything. The overwhelming majority of the newly mobilized and politically engaged, on the other hand ... I'm very sure I win that one.

As for African-American backlash, it will be politically insignificant. Certain black leaders especially from urban areas where immigrants have become recent majorities will hang with the white Right Know-Nothing types for similar reasons, but this is not a natural coalition and will not survive or accomplish much. Immigration, in the end, is not a be-all end-all issue for the African-American community.

Posted by: tequila at April 29, 2006 04:08 PM

Mark --

Yes, but this is stupid viscera. Who cares, the more languages the better for a song. But I guess the reality is the reality.

(Still I mean if we were forced to sing it in Spanish that would be weird, dare I say even Canadian, but a song sung in a different language is a tribute.)

Cancel bilingual programs, aboslutely. All public documents in English, fine, as it favors only Spanish immigrants over others to do otherwise. Even official English, though I oppose it on technical grounds, doesnt bother me.

Foreign flags in an illegal alien demonstration, bizarre and dangerous.

But a song we love, accesible to others. Cool. It is not required to sing it.

Sign of recurrent degeneration for people to get upset over translating a song. We were FIGHTING the "English" in that song! The song is about fighting English and resisting unwanted people on our shores, so I donate the ironies.

Again, it appears to be the case that it rankles (sad and stupid). Still, the speacial pleading for Spanish is indeed wrong, but in a private song. BFD.

Postcript: I mean we dont freak out, because we crackers dont know, that Afican-Americans have their own (English language) national anthem "Life Every Voice".

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 29, 2006 04:14 PM

Personally,
Holding these demonstrations on May Day makes much more sense than holding them on May 5th, on a number of levels. Particularly in Chicago, where they're expecting a 300k-500k person turn out.

The first 100k-person demonstration was nearly a complete surprise until we saw all the families heading home carrying Mexican flags and pushing strollers.

Thanks to the semi-panicked warnings sent by office building management, most of the Loop knows about the demonstration, and could go to Grant Park to see what the fuss is about during their lunch break.

Otherwise, I'd love to hear a latino version of the national anthem, once.

The english version is barely sing-able, and most people are ignorant as to what the lyrics are about (The Brits just burned down Washington DC and sent the President fleeing, but, Hey, they didn't take Baltimore's Fort, too).

Posted by: Patrick (G) at April 29, 2006 04:26 PM

Indeed another irony or two: Cinco de Mayo is a foreign holiday but more or less accepted to celebrate. May Day, though ultimately now a commie one, was an American event.

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 29, 2006 05:19 PM

"Yes, but this is stupid viscera"

Visceral = unthinking.

"The evidence from the political direction of California politics suggests that my case is better substantiated than your own."

No, it demonstrates that the demographics in California are different(and they are, being in themselves a result of decades of illegal immigration, an argument to a certain point of view -say Rep. Tancredo's- to toughen up the border controls). The greater the difference in demographics for a given state, the more likely your political analysis is to be incorrect.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 29, 2006 05:55 PM

Good lord, more comments?

Well, well, well.

First, Eva let's drop it, I'm not inclined to bang away.

Second, as to the subject, well. I have to agree with Mark Safranki's general comments, re demographics (California I am always led to understand having rather different demographics). I am also under the impression the anti- Republican party reaction there was post-action, that is it was a reaction. There is, if that is correct, a lesson.

That aside, I have added a thought to the entry re an observation.

On a factual basis I certainly personally think that a Spanish language translation of a national anthem is or should be a problem.

However, on an image basis, and the timing in particular - coming at a moment when Central American immigration to the US has become a central political issue. Well it is not good timing. This is the sort of issue that were the song released say 3 months ago when irrational fear of Arabs and Dubai port operators was the flavour du jour, no comment aside from among the loons would have been made.

Wonderfully irrational is politics, or the spirit of the mob (I see little difference when speaking to this sort of politics, it is the spirit of the mob).

1 May I suppose shall prove which kind of imagery holds, but I rather suspect the tequilas behind this are badly interpreting the political dynamic - for all that they may be saved from their own stupidity by lots of kids with American flags and that sort of thing.


Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 29, 2006 06:52 PM

On the May 1 timing, I suspect (maybe I am giving them too much credit) the ANSWER-type far Lefties want an incident or something so that May Day can have a new meaning which they can tap into to draw warm bodies and cash from a new community.

The Lefties dont care about winning or being persuasive, they profit off carping and willfull unnecessary alienation. (Cf anti-globo)

Mark -- Some viscera are more unequal than others.

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 29, 2006 08:10 PM

Matthew: Yes one rather suspects.

And indeed if reading the online blithering (as I have been today) is an accurate guide to the Bolshy types, you're quite correct on the second item.

Well, such are ideologues.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 29, 2006 08:23 PM

First, in the interest of completeness, this strike is supposed to be the real-life acting out of a movie/documentary, A Day Without a Mexican which purports to explain what life would be like in the U.S. without illegal immigrants.

Second, this whole protest movement is dancing on the razor's edge. They might pull it off but there is just so much that can go disastrously wrong.

In the protester's favor, Americans have a soft spot for individual illegal immigrants providing they are hardworking, honest, modest, etc., etc. If the protest movement succeeds in transfering that imagery to illegal immigrants in general, they might succeed. That's why the original Mexican flag thing was so boneheaded. Patriotic Mexicans demanding that the gringos give them their "rights" was worse than a non-starter. They seem to have rectified that lately, though the national anthem thing was another blunder. Far, far better, to have a "sing in" and teach a hundred thousand illegal immigrants to sing "God Bless America" in broken english while waving American flags. Now that's a visual.

The strike and new mass demonstrations are a very risky stratagem. The hope is that Americans will fully appreciate what these people do for them. But this can go wrong a lot more ways than it can go right. For example, if fewer people than expected walk out such that the disruption is minimal, they've blown the perception capital they've built up over the last few weeks.

I think the biggest threat though, is that something will go wrong that will create the impression of a security risk. The protests so far have been brilliantly peaceful. But should that change . . . Suppose, for example, a bunch of employers fire people who walked out on May 1, thereby causing an angry demonstration on May 3? There's already a hazy link in the popular consciousness between illegal immigration and crime. If lots of ordinary middle-of-the-road Americans begin viewing illegal immigrants as a sort of fifth colmumn, you will indeed see a line of busses from Seatle to San Diego.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 30, 2006 09:52 AM

Demographic change accounts for California's different politics? We must now follow Tancredo's border recommendations in order to avoid the pro-immigrant voting backlash?

But ... I thought that "the legal immigrant Hispanic community and Mexican-Americans do not universally support these demonstrations or agree with the presentation they are taking"?

Lounsbury / Safranski predict some kind of nativist backlash --- I actually agree. You will see something along these lines. But this will be a short-term effect that will eventually be wiped out by the vast numbers of Latino voters who have been energized by this campaign (and will be be further motivated by the backlash against it, especially if that nativist backlash is centered around moronic symbols like "don't you dare wave a foreign flag on American soil!"). Even if you put machine guns and dogs on the border, there are more than enough Latinos already here to tip control of Congress to the Democrats if voter participation numbers rise --- see the demographic changes in a broad swath of the South. Texas could become a competitive state for Democrats again. Again, this is AFTER the nativist backlash.

Posted by: tequila at April 30, 2006 02:00 PM

"An added observation. From my dear JV partner, when she was in the United States. It was her characterisation (which rather startled me) after some time, that there were "too many of the short Spanish immigrants."

When I passed by one of the demonstration crowds, my somewhat taller-but-not-much-taller-than-American-average-self felt like Gulliver in Lilliput.

Do we have too many opinionated Berber female visitors?

Posted by: matthew hogan at April 30, 2006 04:16 PM

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 04:47 PM

tequila, you have inferred what I did not imply because you'd rather not acknowledge the validity of the point - namely the premise from which you are extrapolating - the political dynamics of California - aren't representative of the rest of the country.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 30, 2006 06:00 PM

Furthermore,

"Even if you put machine guns and dogs on the border, there are more than enough Latinos already here to tip control of Congress to the Democrats if voter participation numbers rise --- see the demographic changes in a broad swath of the South. Texas could become a competitive state for Democrats again. Again, this is AFTER the nativist backlash."

Another example of wishful thinking in extremis.

Nothing personal tequila, but you are stringing together a ( now monumental) chain of events that happen only if things go exactly your way at every step of the process.

Posted by: mark safranski at April 30, 2006 06:06 PM

and will be be further motivated by the backlash against it, especially if that nativist backlash is centered around moronic symbols like "don't you dare wave a foreign flag on American soil!"

This demonstrates, once again, just how far the left is out of touch with that sleeping monster that is middle America.

I promise you, if Nancy Pelosi were to appear at a rally in front of a couple of hundred thousand people waving Mexican flags and demanding that the gringos recognize their God-given right to come to America at will, she couldn't get elected as dog catcher -- not even in Berkeley.

Middle America is charitably disposed toward illegal immigrants and activists have a chance to build on that. But when the message switches from "We love America and want to be a part of it. Please let us stay" to, "We are proud Mexicans and we demand you give us what we want," charity becomes extortion.

Middle America is inclined to turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants who they percieve as reaching for the American dream. They are not inclined to turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants who effectively say. "Screw you, America. There's enough of us now to just take what we want so you'd better get used to us."

Forget that at your peril.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 30, 2006 07:21 PM

Tequila wrote "will eventually be wiped out by the vast numbers of Latino voters who have been energized by this campaign"

Queer, my cursory knowledge of US citizen demographics tells me this is a fantasy in the near term.

Perhaps I am out of date.

will be be further motivated by the backlash against it, especially if that nativist backlash is centered around moronic symbols like "don't you dare wave a foreign flag on American soil!"

Moronic or not, it strikes me as an easily leveraged nationalist-nativist symbol.

Again, this is AFTER the nativist backlash.

Shrug. I very much doubt it, but I suppose you need to convince yourselves of these scenarios.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at May 1, 2006 12:04 AM

Well, since you folks have been reduced to arguing that I am stupid, let's just look at the demographic data.

http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=50

The numbers start small, but the utterly explosive growth in Hispanic pop across the South is indicative of the future. As these folks settle and start having families, they will represent the fastest growing demographic in several Southern states by far.

Given the 50/50 nation we have already, an energized, angry Latino pop is more than enough to overturn the Rep majority in the Senate and challenge it in the House in '06 and '08. Long term erosion of the Republican strongholds of the South and West seems a given.

Posted by: tequila at May 1, 2006 09:54 AM

My dear fool, " have been reduced to arguing that I am stupid" isn't the turn of phrase you were looking for, "obliged by my pathetic wishful thinking" would be better

So, as to the demographics, my hazy recollection was correct, Latin American descended or origin citizens are not currently of such weight as to be important in the near term. Indeed see http://www.censusscope.org/us/chart_race.html - rather clear that your "50/50 nation" is empty agitprop speak as the census indicates the self-identified "hispanic" population has merely doubled to 12 percent of the US population. "Whites" remain just under 70 percent, and blacks (of various origins but surely largely American native born) 12 odd percent.

Your gleeful activist speak aside, a rational look at the data suggest to me that it is the in self-deluded tradition of most Left activism.

So, you rely on hand waving and frankly tortured reading of data to get to your happy place.

No wonder the US Left can't win a bloody thing.

Long term erosion on the other hand, well that's not what this convo is about, but rather the immediate results of one particular strategy. That is a different issue (for the rationality impaired).

However, I would not count your political chickens before they hatch, as I have frequently read many Latinos trend Republican in their voting patterns, lacking the political history that locks the other minority block (black Americans) into one party (essentially).

But rather clearly you will continue to believe the activist mumbo jumbo and whatever selective reading of American data that leads you to your happy place. Feel free, but it makes for poor political calculation.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at May 1, 2006 05:17 PM

It occurs to me this reference I may have misread:Given the 50/50 nation [Americans] have already, an energized, angry Latino pop is more than enough to overturn the Rep majority in the Senate and challenge it in the House in '06 and '08. Long term erosion of the Republican strongholds of the South and West seems a given.

I read this as a ludicrous assertion regarding ethnic make up, but on reflexion it might be something regarding the political party balance.

If that is the case, it still relies on faulty thinking as it presumes, ceteris paribus, that energised (to use that ugly term) population only goes one way (in the immigration activist favour).

Rather obviously in the instance of backlash, it may go the other way, with native born voting for the anti-immigrant candidate. Given all things being equal, across countries, UK, Canada, US, native born citizens tend to dominate and vote at higher rates than even naturalised citizens, there is an obvious weakness in the thinking here.

Typical wishful thinking, however.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at May 1, 2006 05:27 PM

Well, one might argue that the reason Latinos, both native-born and naturalized, tend to vote Republican more than one might think is because of social issues such as reproductive rights, gay rights, and the like, along the lines of Catholic Church positions. But if immigration is a high-profile issue this next election cycle, and the current compromise bill (and immigrant rights in general) are being heavily supported by the Catholic Church, that might influence enough swing voters to make a crucial difference in some tight races.

(I'm not necessarily arguing that, by the way, but it wouldn't be a crazy thing to argue.)

Posted by: Eva Luna at May 1, 2006 06:50 PM

Perhaps, but regardless the core observation is this tequila person is engaging in political fantasy typical of the activist crowd.

One might argue that anti-immigrant natives will be more energised as well - etc. ad nauseum; I am sure the American electoral season will be complicated as any, and multiple issues may drive. That gets well beyond my level of interest, which was purely tied to noting this report and finding it an example of idiotic political tactics. Which it remains, regardless of the wider issues re immigration, etc. One boycott may or may not in the end be significant, the political calculation that went into the tactic was, however, idiotic and disconnected from reality (thus the division on the issue as I read about it in the American press).

Posted by: The Lounsbury at May 1, 2006 07:19 PM

FWIW I just got back from the local demo - went to take the political temperature. Will have photos later, but my extremely unscientific estimate was 4 American flags for every Mexican one; posters emphasized hardworkingness, desire to be part of America, etc. Very peaceful crowd, almost no cops, which is completely atypical here (typical ratios for anti-Iraq war demos were about 2 cops per protestor for all but the one biggest demo).

Posted by: Eva Luna at May 1, 2006 08:26 PM

Judging from the pix in this reuters article, the organizers managed to get a pretty strong dominance of US flags over the others.

Posted by: Tom Scudder at May 1, 2006 11:25 PM

Here's some running reporter commentary from the local demo - I'm heading back there now.

Posted by: Eva Luna at May 1, 2006 11:36 PM

OK, I lied about the photos - stupid camera phone puts them in the wrong format to upload, and given how crappy they came out, it's not worth figuring out how to convert the file format.

Posted by: Eva Luna [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 2, 2006 02:09 AM

Re: Chicago demonstrations

Saw Hispanic men carrying U.S. flags waiting at Metra stations.

The drive home was FANTASTIC today ! Easily twenty minutes faster than usual. Viva Huelga !

Posted by: mark safranski at May 2, 2006 02:13 AM

Lounsbury,

Thanks for saving me the effort of pointing out how you misread my point.

Again, you skip over where I predict that a short-term nativist backlash will occur. Prop 187 in California did pass, after all, and we may see similar stupidity out of Congress now. This sort of thing tends to galvanize immigrant populations, however, on a much longer-term basis than any flush of nativist rage about immigrants waving Mexican flags or singing in Spanish. Thus the California effect among Latinos in general, who go 55-65% Dem already but could easily be tipped into 75-80% territory by a nasty nativist backlash. Over the medium term, given Latinos' rising pop in key Republican strongholds throughout the South and West, this could easily tip the balance of power in Congress back into Dem majority territory for quite awhile to come.

Call it wishful thinking --- I call it the recent political history of California, which has led more than one political trend if you will recall.

Posted by: tequila at May 5, 2006 03:31 AM

Do I hear a tiny, tiny violin?

Posted by: The Lounsbury at May 5, 2006 05:00 AM

All you racist, bigoted dorkwads can shut up already. This land originally belonged to the Native Americans and Mexicans (I know, Mexicans are of mixed ancestry). You whites need to realize that there will always be a big Mexican presence in California, based on its history. Who the hell are you to kick people out of their indegenious land?

Who's the real ILLEGAL now, pilgrim?

Posted by: Adrian at September 1, 2006 03:03 AM

What on earth are you on about?

Posted by: The Lounsbury at September 1, 2006 03:48 PM

a belch of the internet.

Posted by: Klaus [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2006 08:18 PM

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