LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

The Saga Of Displaced Workers

The rift between American workers and immigrant workers is reaching a fever pitch. This has been brought about by the displacement of a large segment of ruling class workers who never in their wildest dream felt that they would ever be replaced.

Is this a new phenomenon? Not really. All one has to do is look back in history and see how Whites responded when their jobs were being threatened by others.  In her book titled Water from under the rock, Sylvia R. Frey made the following observation. During the war (Revolutionary War) and in depressed postwar years Negroes enjoyed a temporary advantage over white artisans and mechanics. Their willingness to work for low wages brought them into economic competition with poor white workers and was a source of considerable hostility. In 1783, for example the house carpenters and bricklayers of Charleston protested that “Jobbing Negro Tradesmen, who undertake work for little more than the stuff would cost,” depriving them of the means to earn a living and requested the assembly pass a law prohibiting Negroes from “undertaking work on their own account.” Negroes also worked on Sunday that was traditionally a day of rest. Black slave pilots held a virtual monopoly on the river traffi c also provoked a series of protest from white pilots in the post war years. Is there a parallel between what took place in 1783 and what is happening today as American workers try vainly to compete with Mexican and other nationalities in the American job market. Let us take this comparison a little further. Blacks were imported as slaves and free labor. Many people of the period saw this as a necessary evil for the good of the American economy. Never in their wildest dream did they see the day that these very people would be a source of competition for white workers. Naturally, slaves kept wages down. After all, wages, which amounted to nothing in most situations, could not be beat. People who owned plantations and slaves saw nothing but good in cheap and plentiful labor. It is easy to see the same thing with Mexican workers. They were introduced into the US as cheap labor, working in the fi elds and orchards.  Little by little, they began to seek work in other crafts.  As US employers searched for ways to cut cost, they turned to Mexican workers. They saw nothing but good in being able to hire two people for what they paid one American worker.

 

They saw the benefit of employing people that they did not have to pay benefits, employees who didn’t complain and were willing to work under horrible and sometimes dangerous conditions. Directly across our southern border were thousand of Mexican workers just waiting for the opportunity to come to the US and make some real money. When the legal way to get in this country and find work wasn’t working fast enough, many began coming in illegally. Many US companies eagerly hired these folks with no consideration of the impact on the American worker.

The decision to hire large number of Mexican workers has come back to haunt the US. It has dealt a crushing to lower and middle class workers. We must remember that many of the jobs that Mexicans have replaced American workers in, are jobs that once afforded middle class living. Consequently, since less is paid to workers, business owners and other upper echelon folks keep more of the profits. As a result those who already make more than they spend, continue to pile up more money, while the middle  and lower class worker continue a downward spiral into mediocrity and many will eventually sink into poverty.

The US government, until now, has turned a blind eye to what is happening to displaced American workers.  It is hard to imagine civilians having to patrol our borders to keep out illegal workers; while we spend huge sums of money and sacrifice many young American lives trying to nation build in Iraq. The current administration has been extremely reluctant to address the legal and illegal Mexican worker problem.  One can only imagine that the reluctance has something to do with obligations to companies that it owes favors.

___________________________

Copyright March, 2006
This commentary written by L.C. Thornton, for The Peoples Voice Black Weekly News
To reprint With permission only, contact:
L.C. Thornton at mrzeke0@aol.com

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March 31, 2006 - Posted by | Failed economic poicy, The Black Man, Uncategorized, wealth redistribution

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