Episode

9/22 American Capitalism and the Exploitation of Immigrants w/ Daniel Melo

September 22, 2021

Sam and Emma host public sector immigration lawyer Daniel Melo to discuss his recent book Borderlines: The Edges of U.S. Capitalism, Immigration, and Democracy, which contextualizes immigration policy within the history of the US, and exploring what we can do to push back against the unfair designation of the migrant position. Melo begins by stepping back to the early battles between colonies, then states and the federal government on who has say regarding who can come into the country, looking particularly at the fears of negative influences on the early capitalist economy, whether that be anarchists, poor Irish folks, or the spirit of the Haitian revolution. Next, he dives into the first laws in the early 1920s that worked to criminalize immigrants, and how the developing Great Depression and reassertion of white supremacy worked to bolster this rhetoric of scapegoating migrants. Emma, Sam, and Daniel then cover a little theory, addressing the role migrants play within a Marxist view of our economy, providing capitalists with a cheap labor sector to aid the exploitation of the working class, before moving on to the false narrative constructed around immigration, from the ability to simply “get in line” for acceptance into the country to the idea that migrants drive down wages for US citizens, and how the law gets used to reinforce this status quo. They wrap up the interview by discussing the current state of the US immigration system, the importance of unpacking the undemocratic nature of the citizen-migrant dichotomy, and what the role of labor organizing can play in bolstering a progressive immigration agenda. Sam and Emma conclude the free half by touching on the state of the infrastructure and reconciliation package, and CNN’s apparent lack of awareness about what the Democratic platform has been in the fight for this over the last few months.

And in the Fun Half: Emma and Sam dive back into CNN’s miscalculations of the infrastructure package, not quite realizing that $6 trillion is indeed not $3.5 trillion, and its inability not to finger point at progressives who’ve made their stance clear for months. Rudy from Orlando calls in to chat about the importance of taking away the exclusionary regulations around the medical industry that attempt to ensure patient survival, and Stephen Crowder finally gets back into his groove after hospitalization, fully diving back into middle school racism. Lastly, the MR crew basks in the schadenfreude of Bill Gates finally being questioned about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, and Kowalski from Nebraska calls in with his farm report, plus, your calls and IMs!

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