It is a fact that never in the history of this country’s parasitical existence has it every fully supported itself. Just as the settler economy of the east was erected on the backs of African and indigenous slaves, so too was the economy of the west erected on the blood and sweat of Mexicanos and other oppressed nationalities.
Throughout the early and mid 1800s when the U.S. chain of settler colonies was in its final stages of transforming into a settler empire, it launched a mass campaign of land grabbing and terrorism, reducing the northern 40 percent of Mexico to a semi-colonial status. To consolidate its colonization and land theft, the Mexicano and indigenous population was not only reduced through a genocidal campaign to dismember them as a nation, simultaneously their labor-power was replaced with the imported labor-power of other oppressed nationalities in the west.
In particular reference to California, Rodolfo Acuna, captured this well in his occupied America:
“During this time the Chinese were used as an alternative to Chicanos as California’s labor force, Chicanos were pushed to the southern half of the state and were literally forced out of California in order to escape the lynchings, abuses and colonized status to which they had been condemned”….
Once the settlers grip on the annexation of Mexico had been secured, cheap Mexicano labor was re-imported back into the region and used as a tool to drive out those oppressed nationalities who had once replaced them.
At the turn of the 19’h century, through imperialist expansion, the U.S. began outsourcing its domestic exploitation abroad, not only raising the standard of living of much of its own population in the process, but increasing its parasitism on the gente.
The nature of a given phenomenon is not determined by its external appearances or the labels we attach to it, any more than a paint job on a car determines its make or model. The nature of a given phenomenon is determined by the objective necessity existing within it, i.e. by the laws which govern the direction and development of its motion. Although the various forms in which a given phenomenon manifests itself depends upon the particular conditions in which it develops and interacts in.
The same is true of U.S. imperialism and the various forms in which its expansion manifests itself. Whether it manifests itself in the form of a direct military invasion of Iraq under the guise of fighting terrorism, or if it manifests itself in the form of so-called “Free Trade” agreements to further plunder the natural resources and cheap labor-power of Mexico, makes little difference. The essential nature of imperialism remains the same, i.e. driven by capitalism’s inherent necessity to expand.
Over the years Mexico has become a looting ground for imperialism. The value-creating intensive jobs of Sony, Caterpillar Tractor, RCA, Samsung, Ford Chrysler, Walmart, G.M., Foster Grant, Samsonite, Mattel, Fisher Price, Kraft and innumerable others have expanded to Mexico while the higher paying non-value creating white collar managerial, professional, clerical, technical, sales and distributive jobs created as a result of this production have been retained within U.S. borders.
Likewise, large landowners and businesses acting as neo-colonial agents for U.S. supermarket chains have driven millions of campesinos from their lands and into Mexico’s shanty towns and U.S. cities.
The United State’s parasitical relationship with Mexico is not only horizontal in that it transcends the border between two countries; it is also vertical in that Mexico’s capitalist class is sustained on the exploitation of other Mexicanos. As well as providing a bloated consumer market that absorbs 80 percent of Mexico’s exports which are produced by cheap labor, the second largest source of profit for Mexico’s ruling class is derived from undocumented workers in the U.S. sending financial assistance back to Mexico.
More recently in an effort to further tighten its grip around gente, the U.S. has influenced the presidential elections in Mexico in favor of their preferential candidate, Felipe Calderon, by providing his P.A.N. party with U.S. campaign strategists and millions of dollars. In exchange, Calderon will insure Mexico’s capitalists the ‘right’ to further pillage state owned enterprises through privatization, and has vowed to expand foreign investment in Mexico which in reality amounts to a greater exploitation of labor-power, natural resources and a greater access to cheap goods for those U.S. middle class consumers obsessed with excessive consumption.
Attempting to challenge Calderon from within the confines of the established political framework is Manuel Lopez Obrador of P.R.D., who has enthralled his supporters with pseudo-leftist rhetoric and empty promises to serve Mexico’s 50 miilion who live in abject poverty, all the while promising foreign corporations tax breaks if they come to Mexico and open up more sweat shops. Despite his accurate claims of electoral fraud and the construction of his phony parallel government, the gente should not allow themselves to be deceived with illusions of grandeur. Obrador is no Mao Tse-Tung or Emiliano Zapata. The differences that exist between Calderon and Obrador exist in form only. In essence they are identical. Both are agents of domestic and foreign capitalist interests.
Lenin correctly said …politics is concentrated economics…, and Mexico’s political system is no exception. It is not only an outgrowth and reflection of Mexico’s economy and the property relations on which its economy rests upon, but its political system and institutions reacts back on its economy in an interpenetrating way, reinforcing these property relations and the financial interests of Mexico’s privileged classes at the detriment of Mexico’s proletarians and campesinos. The economic transformations necessary to free the gente from the clutches of foreign and domestic capitalist parasites cannot be achieved from within the confines of a political system that is inherently designed to perpetuate the current economic system. Only through a successful struggle on the part of the gente armed with an advanced political class consciousness and a complete transformation of the existing property relations accompanied with the implementation of a planned economy based on need rather than profit, will the gente have their needs met in full.
This article originally appeared in Prison Focus Spring 2007 #27