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Compañero is just Spanish for Good Ole Boy

category north america / mexico | migration / racism | opinion / analysis author Tuesday April 10, 2007 14:41author by prolecat - Capital Terminus Collective Report this post to the editors

Southerners champion a rugged work ethic. Nothing says “good ole boy” like a hard day’s labor, for the benefit of family. So why the hostility when Juanita and Hector come looking for work? The media claims we’re outraged, because jumping border fences shows disrespect for the law. Yeah, right. Pass the corn liquor, hand me the doobie, and tell me about Southerner’s respect for legality. No, the anger must have another source.

Only a few Southerners are virulently racist, personally insecure, threatened by those who look and sound different. So how to account for the rest, the grumbling majority who neither worship at the feet of cops and politicians while babbling about the “rule of law”, nor cower at the sight of dark skin? What is our problem?

Employment. Economics. Most simply worry about jobs- and with good reason. The suits who control the global economy could care less about workers. If Jose will toil for less pay, sans benefits, he gets the job. But isn’t faulting Jose, blaming the victim? He should be admired for his work ethic. The corporate bosses, on the other hand, who swap humans like tokens on a Monopoly board: are they not responsible both for the poverty that drives Latinos north, and the perilous insecurity of the traditional U.S. work force?

Do not be fooled by the government’s claims of impotency. Business wanted Latinos north of the border, so the federal police turned a blind eye. And make no mistake, the presence of a large underclass of impoverished laborers has, in fact, driven down wages- exactly what the bosses wanted! Less pay for us, more profit for them. So, what to do? White supremacists who imagine the great northward migration can be reversed, live in fantasy. Maria is here to stay. Some wish to formalize her indentured servitude: the proposed “guest worker” status would make permanent the current downward pressure on wages and benefits. But what if...

What if workers all across the South, all across the nation, legal or otherwise, joined forces and demanded that immigrants be made citizens, unconditionally? Bang, the underclass disappears. One working class, united, demanding better pay, conditions, and benefits for all- wouldn’t that strike the fear of God in our bosses’ hearts?! Make it happen. Show the bosses you aren’t scared, of them or your new neighbors. Join the struggle for rights for immigrants, and better lives for all workers. Because it’s right thing to do- and, because it’s in your own best interest.

From the The February 2007 Newsletter of the Capital Terminus Collective. Download the PDF file from or read the articles online at

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