SMOKE & MIRRORS: Behind the Lines

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by Rod Amis

Those of you who have been long-time members of the G21 Anti-Nations, know that we believe all people are citizens of the Earth and that national borders are barriers to progress, not sacred lines requiring we can be restricted from moving freely.

The only place I've ever seen a border on this planet is on a map. I keep waiting for so many people in the world to catch up to this concept. Maybe that's why I keep traveling across these artificial constructs called borders.

Imagine: IF there were no longer any nations, THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS. If there were no longer any national governments, who would declare the war? Hmmn.

Well, maybe the religious fanatics, I guess. They can't get enough of shedding blood, if history is any teacher.

Here's A CLUE: I can't think of many countries, of the hundreds here on Earth, where there are not people who are supposedly (erroneously claimed) to be from other countries. We are all geographically multi-ethnic these days. But that's just reality and I am loath to let those of us in the Reality-based Community get in the way of your biases and prejudices.

Which brings me back to the issue of Relieving Global Poverty. As the United Nations has so aptly put it, one of the greatest crises facing future generations of humans is the "slumization," as I've put it, of the entire world. As the world gets more crowded and the struggle for resources, food, shelter,, energy, etc., continues, more and more of the cities EVERYWHERE are beginning to resemble the crowding and squalor and ill-humor of a Dickensian London. I keep expecting the Artful Dodger to show up on my block these days. Oh wait, the Untied States made him their President.

The larger issue here is the distribution of resources in this ever-crowding world.

IF there had been no NAFTA, for example, which – while enriching a number of corporations plundering resources in this hemisphere – eliminated the markets for small, family farmers in Mexico and ranchers in Canada – there would be no reason (think: millions of men) for Mexican men seeking ways to a) support their families and/or b) eventually bringing those families to the US permanently. Let's connect the dots on this one.

We moved the demand for men to work farms – now invalidated by companies like Archer Daniels Midland – raising corn, as one example, forcing them to find themselves another market. The labor demand moved to US agribusiness. IF YOUR FAMILY WERE STARVING, what would you do?

That's only one industry. I could list more. There's the construction industry, which I first entered when I was still in college, worked here in Texas when I first met my ex-wife, have worked in California and New Orleans. When I was seriously considering moving to Mexico a few years back, I was advised that I should be good at masonry. Why? All the masons and drywall hangers who had lived in the mountains of Mexico, where I wanted to live, had moved here to the United States. How could that be? Hmmn. Suburban sprawl? No way. That's not even possible.

Look around at construction sites where you are, be it Tampa, Raleigh, Phoenix, New Orleans, or Austin. What language are all the workers speaking?

NAFTA, of course, has NOTHING to do with it.

More to the point of this editorial is this: Do the vast majority of the citizens in ANY of the countries signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement feel that they are better off today than they were pre-NAFTA?

I rest my case.

There are two other issues I wish to discuss:
  • HIB Visas,

  • Off-shoring.
In my – sometimes allowed by various publishers – technology industry pieces over the last decade or so, I've taken the almost Lou Dobbs stance on the myth of the need to increase H1B visas.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, these visas, which are hectored every year by the largest and richest companies of our technology industry here in America, based on the claim there is not enough high-tech talent to go around in our domestic employment base. Since this is my magazine, I don't have to mince words about it – as I often did in my Day Job articles: it's a lie and sham.

The Real Deal was and has always been that by bringing over foreign workers, from India, Pakistan, even Ireland, they could hold that visa over their heads – basically rendering them indentured servants – and paying them far less as programmers, software designers, etc., than they would have to pay a US worker with the same skill set.

Like I said, this is about connecting the dots.

Why does the Customer Service or Tech Support person I telephone when I have a computer problem tell me his name is Brad or her name is Angelina but still have a pronounced India accent? I guess I was calling Bangalore rather than Redmond or Rochester and I didn't even know it.

The Good News is that there is now a thriving industry for classes in India to teach Brads and Angelinas to recognize and replicate the various inflections and idioms of this bastard language called English. The Bad News is that various people are put out of work and effectively having their wages lowered in the United States while having the same skill sets.

Harvey in Redmond, you see, could have done the same job. But he would expect a wage equivalent to maintaining his life in such a city or a nearby community. Brad in Bangalore is moving up in the world for a quarter of what Harvey's wage might be.

The moral of the story is that corporations, unlike many individuals, no longer have a NEED to recognize nations or national borders and ACTUALLY PROFIT from recognizing how atavistic the whole notion of nations has become. While nation states, in complicity with their media outlets and lack of TRULY EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION, give up their citizens to drone-age and peonage. Hmmmmn,

The slumization of the world. That was another dot.

The slumization of the world is now in full-force.

It could easily be argued, at the advent of the 21st Century, that the entire point of nationalism is to keep people divided enough to be easily and readily exploited and plundered, much like other resources such as water, food, shelter, etc.

The missing part of this analysis/equation that you are not often made privy to is that the new corporate-nations need YOU as much as you need them. Without your willing compliance, the machine would grind to a halt. You must believe that you need them more or the whole system fails to work. The existing equation works in their favor, of course.

Imagine: IF you took common cause with working people all over the world, instead of insisting on your own single-selfishness, an organic balance of actual supply and demand might be restored.

In such a process, you would suddenly have a say in how other resources – besides your skill set, your training and experience – would be a factor in the process. A balance of power, as Metternich or Kissinger might say, would be established. If people had the same rights as corporations, more people might have good food, clean water, shelter and clothing. Your children might have a chance at a decent education and a sustainable – in fact, a hopeful - future. Hmmn.

That is why I am a radical.

I am not finished with this Jeremiad yet.

War creates POVERTY. War leaves you with a new horde of widows and orphans who must be supported or fend for themselves. War deprives you of a generation of men who would have been there to support their families, begin new productive families, start businesses, and conceive new inventions. In short, war steals the wealth of the world.

War, as Vietnam and the first Gulf War have now demonstrated to us, leaves you with junkies and alcoholics – suffering from shell shock (what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) to care for the rest of their lives or leave homeless on our streets. It's easy to call them "Bums," because you weren't there, isn't it?

War leaves the ones who aren't physically maimed and don't succumb to drugs or alcohol waking us up in the night, in our homes, screaming in their sleep.

This is not to mention the cost of reconstructing devastated cities and devastated lives, enhancing the great mass of refugees who seem to be the legacy of this new century.

War is NOT about patriotism or "Support Our Troops." War is about amputees, widows, bereaved mothers, lost fathers, sisters you will never see again, daughters who bought the claptrap of being a good citizen, only to find that it was all for corporate profiteers.

WHEN! When are you going to get that through your heads?

War is about destroying, not enhancing, the wealth of nations.

Logic and common sense dictate that any people who really care about justice, about the future, about love, repudiate war. War is not a video game. War is not glory and honor. It is what we should work to avoid. Jesus never raised a knife or a sword, Christians. Buddha sat under a tree. Gandhi proposed that non-violent resistance was the moral high ground. I could go on but why belabor the point?

Every time you advocate for war, you are not only depriving yourself, you are turning your back on your own humanity. That makes me sad. I had thought you were better than that.
Give Peace a Chance.
I'd like to remind you that the Focus Issue 2007 at my own Web magazine is Relieving Global Poverty. I'm proud, therefore, to recommend you to MORAA GITAA's article, the first in our series, which is featured as our Lead Story the 5 February 2007 edition.

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