The current migration of people from south to north must be viewed from a global and historical perspective rather than through the narrow and present-day prism of specific political borders and restrictive laws.
Recent laws and court decisions that are related to immigration issues such as Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56 are a political reaction to a historical movement of humankind that artificial borders cannot permanently hold back. Attempts by the U.S. government and some of its states along with numerous European countries to
An overall political solution is needed and not more anti-immigrant laws and racial hatred (click photos to enlarge)
totally prevent the migration of people into their territories is similar to trying to stop water from eventually flowing. The historical migration of different groups of people on this planet from one region to another over hundreds of thousands of years is an irreversible trend motivated by a basic instinct for survival that can be slowed or temporarily stopped, but not prevented. Today, this international movement of people from the ex-colonies of the south to the northern regions is being propelled by various factors. These include the strong economic forces of global capitalism whose international division of labor is causing a displacement of societies and families, political and military conflicts, and the quest by impoverished and desperate people from the underdeveloped part of the world to seek work and opportunities for their families in the more prosperous northern hemisphere. The recent surge of discriminatory laws that attempt to restrict such immigration accompanied by an increase of right-wing groups who spew racial hatred are an attempt by political extremists to stem this northward flow of people without providing any meaningful solution.
The settling of the continents during the pre-historic period
The pre-historic migration of people out of Africa into the northern and eastern regions of the planet over a million years ago began the movement of different groups that continues to this day. This ancient movement of people into the Middle East and Asia also led to the settlement of the Americas as what are now indigenous people migrated from north to south until they reached the tip of South America. The early civilizations of Mesopotamia and their people expanded
The migration of people is a global and historically continuous trend
outwardly as did the ancient civilizations in China and India. Egyptians moved into other areas of Africa and the Middle East while the city-states of Greece and the empire of Alexander the Great drove exploration and the movement of Greeks to new areas that extended as far as India. Following this, the ancient Romans migrated and colonized other areas of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa while the Arabs invaded and forcefully settled Spain and southern Italy. In what would be named the Americas, the Aztecs expanded south into new lands as did the expansion of the Maya and Inca civilizations throughout Central and South America. All of these early migrations were motivated by a survival instinct as people searched for better sources of land and food for their families and city-states sought to militarily expand their trade and power.
Colonial conquest and the migrations out of Renaissance Europe
The Spanish defeat and expulsion of the Arabs in 1492 after more than 700 years of occupation along with the removal of the Sephardic Jews created a mass migration out of that country by these two groups. Mercantilism and the Spanish war machine created a new colonial
The era of modern colonialism and European expansion emerged during the 15th century
system that invaded and plundered the modern-day countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Southern Italy and others in North Africa. This transition from feudalism to a developing capitalism and militarism was combined with a fanatical Catholic zeal and an early nationalism that drove migration out of Spain to the Americas and eventually settled territory which extended from the present U.S. Southwest to Tierra del Fuego in South America. The expansion of this colonial system that sought wealth, resources and markets for trade, also led to the Spanish conquest of the Philippines and Guam in the Pacific region. All of these military confrontations and colonial acquisitions created a mass Spanish exodus to these areas and an inter-mixing of people in the indigenous societies of these colonies
The 500 year period of massive white immigration out of Europe has now ebbed
as well as a drastic reduction in their population due to repressive violence and diseases that were inflicted upon them by the colonizers. Added to this massive movement of people out of Europe during this historical period of the “Renaissance” or rebirth was the seizing of colonies during the subsequent centuries by other European powers such as England, France, Portugal and Holland, and the movement of people from these countries to the newly colonized regions. Thus, there would be a massive outflow of European whites to the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East for the next five hundred years that would eventually change the racial, national and cultural textures of the planet.
The era of imperialism and World War I displaced even more people
The development of U.S. capitalism and colonialism during the 1800′s created a westward surge of white European migration and aggressive settlement euphemistically named “Manifest Destiny” which displaced and decimated the indigenous population. Largely due to the pressure of overpopulation in Europe, this movement of people to the western hemisphere also led to the U.S. conquest and annexation of northern Mexico and the settlement of these territories now known as the Southwest by immigrants who were primarily brought in from Ireland and Germany. The population of Mexico comprised of mestizos, Spanish
Two imperialist alliances which the U.S. was a part of, fought in 1914 to redivide the world and this resulted in more migrations
descendants, indigenous peoples and smaller black communities along the coastal areas was very small in comparison to the growing European outflow of people to these fertile regions. This immigration out of Europe also penetrated Puerto Rico and the Caribbean area along with the rest of Latin America. By 1914, the world had been divided up among the great imperialist powers as the U.S. seized Hawaii, split Samoa with Germany, and completed the conquest of the Philippines while an aggressive Japan annexed Korea. No territories on the planet were now left unconquered by the industrialized countries of the north. The fight over colonies that characterized World War One resulted in over 25 million deaths and created an enormous amount of new migration as borders were artificially changed and people either moved voluntarily or through the use of force. The rise of fascism during the 1920′s and 1930′s in Japan, Germany, Italy and other European countries, once more resulted in war, violence and a massive dislocation of people.
Strong economic forces are driving this present migration
Today, we are witnessing one of the largest mass migrations in history as people are seeking a better economic, political and social environment to live in. Large numbers of people from Mexico, Central and South America are moving to the U.S. and even Canada. People are migrating out of Asia and the Pacific Rim from countries such as India, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Samoa destined for the U.S., England and Canada. This global activity also encompasses immigration from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the U.S. The fundamental and root cause of this present movement of people is the economic division of the world into a wealthier and more industrialized north and an underdeveloped and impoverished
Immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, attempting to enter Europe are being met with anti-immigrant laws and hate from fascist groups
south. This deep economic divide is a remnant of the exploitative colonial period when the world was forcefully and unequally divided into the exploited suppliers of raw materials and cheap labor and the dominant producers of finished goods. A related cause that is also fueling this latest migration of people is the economic and social inequality that exists within these countries of the south and which stifles opportunity and reinforces poverty. Emerging economic powers such as Brazil, China and India are surging forward economically and beginning to change this situation, however, the rest of the countries in this part of the globe still have a way to go in order to close this wide economic gap. Today, the ex-colonial peoples of the south are not willing to work for cheap wages and endure a low standard of living and are immigrating to the developed countries in search of better-paying jobs and economic opportunities. In addition, U.S. intervention in certain countries and accompanying political and military conflicts have generated out-migration from the Middle East, Asia and Central America to this country. This mass movement of people is also being fueled by easier methods for exchanging information internationally and the forging of a global culture among the young.
A broad political movement is needed to achieve a political solution
A fundamental change is needed to the unspoken economic system that has existed for over a hundred years which allows northern Mexico to be utilized as a large reserve of cheap labor. This system permits U.S. corporations to bring Mexican
Minutemen rally in favor of Arizona's SB 1070 by giving Nazi salutes to the American and Confederate flags
workers into the Southwest to be exploited at will, and then quickly disposed of through mass deportations when no longer needed. This use of human beings as disposable commodities is what has to be drastically changed and replaced with a fair and equitable bilateral system to regulate the flow of labor between the two countries. Within the U.S., a policy of comprehensive immigration reform must also be implemented in order to legalize the status of the 10 million or more people who are integrated economically and socially into our society, but whose families are still undocumented and living in fear. The achievement of these overall political objectives requires a strategy of organizing a broad political movement which involves the communities of working-class Latinos and other progressive allies. Only such a political movement can apply the necessary pressure on Congress and reinforce the legal struggles needed to reform immigration as this battle cannot be won solely in the courts and from school campuses. The Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts of the past were primarily won through massive political pressure that was applied on the government as hundreds of thousands of people
The present legal battles need to be combined with a political movement to achieve an overall political solution
converged on Washington D.C. to demand change and achieved it. This is what is needed once more. Immigration from Mexico has now slowed down to a trickle as the bad economy, a lack of jobs and government harassment have all affected this flow. In the meantime, the browning of the U.S. Southwest and even the South will continue despite the slew of restrictive political measures being approved. This is not because of some grand and conscious “reconquista” strategy as many paranoid nativists believe, but is due to one aspect of this natural and historical flow of global migration that has now reversed itself. The 500-year historical trend of white European migration from north to south has ebbed as well as their birthrate. Thus, the flow of brown people with indigenous roots will continue northward and the Americas of the future will eventually begin to resemble a bronze world. There are some things that the motive forces of history and economics can objectively and spontaneously achieve on their own, that politics often cannot do.