To solve immigration, abolish capitalism

Courtesy of the Suffolk Marxist Student Association

Courtesy of the Suffolk Marxist Student Association

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Last week, an article entitled “Enforcing immigration law on campus – a necessity” was published in The Suffolk Journal, in which the author took aim at a petition — created by the Suffolk Marxist Student Association and endorsed by the Suffolk University College Democrats—to protect immigrant students on our campus. This article contains many ideological confusions I believe should be clarified.

The article begins by applauding Democratic leadership for holding President Trump accountable under the law. The author proceeds to express his disappointment that the Suffolk Democrats would support “a policy plan that would aid and abet criminal activity on campus.”

This equivocation between the behavior of the president and that of immigrants displays the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of much of modern conservatism. To conservatives, generally speaking, “all laws are created equal.”

They cannot consider the possibility that there are some laws, such as our immigration laws in the United States, that do not share the moral status of other laws, such as those forbidding a sitting president from “[leveraging] American foreign policy for his own personal gain.” The former is draconian, demonizing entire groups of people, while the latter is necessary for the functioning of bourgeois democracy. 

The idea that all laws are equally just, and should be enforced in equal measure, is of course not applied consistently. It is no wonder a large majority of Republicans are so eager to enforce immigration law, which mostly harms those who have done the American people no harm. No wonder they have little issue with “the law” not being applicable to the rich and powerful.

The author goes on to stoke fear into the hearts of readers at the horrific crime on the part of Chinese “collaborators” of, wait for it… sharing life-saving medicine with the people of other countries! It does not occur to the author to ask: why is the sharing of life-saving medicine with the people of other countries considered a crime in the first place?

Or, if it does occur to him, he does not ask it precisely because the answer exposes the underlying issue at hand, an issue not often made explicit: the utter absurdity of global capitalism. Here we have a system that has produced such wonders as modern medicine, as well as the communications and distribution networks capable of providing such medicine to all who need it. Yet our laws prevent this amazing technology from being used while people die all over the world, all in the name of “intellectual property.”

Such absurdity is part and parcel of the contradictions that, with each day, pile up under the global capitalist system. In June 2017, a scientist writing for the publication Nature’s news section rightly pointed out that the sanctions on Cuba—a measure largely supported by both parties—prevented scientists from collaborating on potentially life-saving medical research.

These restrictions do nothing but harm the working classes of all countries. The capitalist class can rest assured that they will be able to make use of their privilege to obtain whatever they need, while the rest of us suffer due to the restrictive nature of nation-states.

As a Marxist, I do not call for all immigrants to be granted legal status as the complete solution. That is only one step in the eventual dissolution of the nation state system as a whole. This is a system that does not serve the interests of the working class of the world, serving only the interests of those at the very top.

Thus, the question of immigration does not begin or end with a conversation about immigrants within the Suffolk community—although we will fight tooth and nail to protect all students in our community. The question rather extends to the core of the issue at hand, which is the capitalist domination of the world. Immigration law is inseparable from the larger problem of global capitalism.

The author fails to understand that the tensions between two capitalist countries—such as the U.S. and China—is an inevitable effect of the scarcity artificially constructed under global capitalism. Under this system, instead of all nations cooperating in order to create a better world by pooling together to try and combat poverty and hunger, we have a system where the productive potential built upon the backs of the working class are funneled up to a tiny minority of the population, the rich and powerful. The productive process is held hostage for the sole benefit of capitalist profits, while the mass of laborers living under capitalism face ever-increasing impositions of austerity and misery.

Marxists advocate for a system in which such absurdity is brought to an end. That is, a system in which the fruits of the research and labor of our intellectual and manual workforce are placed in the hands of those who actually produced it, without the limitations imposed by international borders.

We advocate for democracy—not the phony capitalist “democracy” currently in place, but a true democracy in which those who produce the majority of the wealth are the ones who pull the political and economic levers. Achieving this requires the working classes of all countries, including the higher educated, to unite against this suffocating economic system. Our advocacy for immigrant students is a necessary step in this process.