Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shoring Up The Base

Bush's announcement that he will order National Guard troops to act as border security should come as no surprise. He's shown time and time again that his first and in many cases only option is to exercise his powers as Commander In Chief.

But there may be more than just a border security issue here. Bush may be trying to shore up his hard-right base by getting tough on immigration.

Bush is in quite a spot here on this issue; he wants dearly to bring the Latino vote into his "big tent" (never mind what one of the requirements of entry is), but also needs to deal with the nativist and perhaps slightly xenophobic and racist right that provides the "red(state)/(neck) core" of the GOP.

But there may be a third element in play here, corporate America. People fail to realize that this whole immigration debate could be a kind of "blowback". Corporations, seeking cheap and exploitable labor and utilizing corporate-friendly governments, sent US jobs to Mexico, etc (has anyone ever thought that many of these illegals are just passing through Mexico?). With slave wages, little regulations and limited abilities to organize, bargain, and strike, is it any wonder that they seek opportunites here in the US. Of course, all they find in many cases is much of the same exploitation.

If Bush were truly concerned about immigration, he'd be pushing these countries to ensure that the workers have a living wage, and the power of unions on thier side.

A side effect of this decision to militarize the southern border is that Bush may have truly added a whole group of people to the "critical mass". The question is are the groups that make up the ever-growing "grassroots base" of the Democratic Party willing to do what it takes. I'd hope that MoveOn either creates a "Latino Outreach" divison or perhaps even creates a whole other group to get Latinos to organize and mobilize. Perhaps "Camp Chavez", inspired by the "Camp Wellstone", could help train new and future generations of Latino activists and organizers.

Once again, Bush has created an opportunity for rallying a group against him and his handlers. Question is, can they take advantage of it.

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