Who’s to Blame for Resentment of Immigrants?

Ran in to this today on an internetting tangent:

Dear Singaporeans,

Sign our Support  Singaporeans First petition here:-


Stop this relentless foreigner influx!

Spread the word around and stay united as one Voice!

Singapore for Singaporeans!

Gilbert Goh

Petition Organiser

The familiar tone from an unfamiliar setting got my wheels turning.  All good, progressive liberals firmly understand that harsh immigration policies are discriminatory and inhumane — it’s one of our axioms, right?  Why shouldn’t people move freely across arbitrary borders in order to better their lives?  The jingoistic chauvinism so often wrapped up in anti-immigrant sentiment tends to strike us progs as thinly-veiled instances of self-interest or, much worse, racism.  That’s a fair snapshot of the party-line, I think, but what are the deeper implications of globalized resentment for non-native workers?

We know there are heated immigration battles in Arizona (and all across America), Norway (tragically), FranceGermany, and, recently,  even temperate Sweden.  Immigration presents us with an issue that’s been hatched from within the globalization incubator.  Here in the US, the debate over Arizona’s specific flavor of nativism is about to be granted forum at America’s most hallowed venue, SCOTUS.

This surely isn’t a phenomenon that’s unique to America and it can’t be as simple as the bigots vs. brown-skin argument we’re force-fed in the media, right?  Sure that’s some of it, but the anger over a declining standard of living has to be primary.  Who’s the real Scooby-Doo villain here, once we’ve removed all the masks?

While the animus directed towards individuals who, by legal or illegal means, enter this and other countries to live and work and build lives is widespread, we see very little acrimony for the legal persons providing the incentive for the behavior of said immigrants — the corporate employers who actively recruit and hire these people to displace the local population’s workforce.  Immigrants provide the corporate executives at factory farms, manufacturers, service providers, and any number of other businesses across the globe with two very valuable assets: 1) the cheap labor that’s characteristic of a legally unprotected class and 2) a deflection of the resentment over their treatment of local workers.

To explain #2 above, when a local population is presented with what amounts to an underclass of others who don’t possess full legal protection, aren’t always fully taxed on income, and have a varied level of voice with the national government it becomes instinctive that their wages would remain flat or even decrease.  A new environment of wage competition is plain to all; how could they expect higher wages when the _____ others are here to take their jobs?

Why isn’t there more debate in this direction?  Why don’t we start asking these multi-national corporations why, all across the globe, they’ve spent decades playing an unprotected underclass against locals, creating hatred, derision, and deadening human dignity in every market they enter?  Could it be that a few of these very MNC’s control most of the interests in our global corporate media?  I really couldn’t say.  I’m just hopeful all the misguided disparagement for immigrant groups finds a truer target one of these days.

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