#NoBanNoWall or “No Borders”

by Jehu

“[I have] said it before, but the real mega-war is between those confirmed as belonging to the state, and whoever is regarded as stateless” –Tweep

“The working men have no country.” –K. Marx and F. Engels

Communists have to decide how they see the next few years unfolding: Are we simply against Trump or the system that made Trump possible as well. The Democrats, who control the movement at present, want to limit the aims of the movement to an anti-Trump agenda. Communists need to sharpen their critique of Trump to go beyond the merely superficial differences between Trump and Pelosi/Schumer.

We need to make it clear that we consider Trump, Pelosi and Schumer to be the same despite their superficial differences: they both seek to control the labor power of the working class

After years of watching the Democrats pretend they have no power to address many social issues because of GOP resistance, Trump appears to signal the sort of activist state Democrats claimed did not exist. This has led to many communists to see in Trump something unique or unprecedented. And they ascribe this uniqueness to his social agenda, which is somehow said to involve previously unexpressed racism, misogyny and nativism.

Communists need to reject this nonsense: Trumpism does not express any unique characteristics that were not already explicitly expressed by Obama. If communists are unclear about this fact, how do we expect the movement against Trump to ever become clear on it? We already know Obama expelled huge numbers of migrant workers from the United States. Trump did not invent expulsions as the Democrats would have us believe. The focus on his expulsions is in large part political theater choreographed by the Democrats. Trump did not invent the wall on the border of Mexico as Democrats would have us believe. The loud protests against the wall are nothing more than a coordinated political campaign, again managed by Democrats.

If communists are going to fall for this bullshit for the next four years, we will never focus on what the two parties have in common. We can continue to be played by the Democrats for the next four year or we can actually accomplish something useful — but we can’t do both. Communists who continue to emphasize the alleged uniqueness of Trump’s social agenda are doing nothing but playing the role of narcs, cops and provocateurs, in the movement; working to divert the movement from its aims and sidetrack it.

Is the term, “narc”, to strong in this case? I don’t think so

Usually, narcs work to encourage naive activists to engage in illegal behavior to provoke arrests, but provocations can also be employed to encourage activists to engage in a critique that works to the advantage of the Democrats. One path this often takes is the idea the immediate movement is so critical in itself, we can’t think about the long term. For instance, Trump and the alt-Right is described as so uniquely horrific, we should place “resistance” to him ahead of any long term consideration of our ultimate aims.

Who does this line of argument help? The Democrats, of course. They have a huge disinformation machine working for them; their network of paid and unpaid activists, official and unofficial organizations and their coffers are almost unlimited; and they have spent decades creating this machine and its is a marvel. We have nothing to employ against this machine except our critique. Anyone who says we should ignore our critique is asking communists to give up the only tools we have at present.

Our critique says there’s no more difference between Trump and the Democrats than two sides of a coin, identical in every way but appearance. If our argument never challenges the appearance, how do we ever reveal the identity? In my opinion communists have lost the capacity for critique. They think, for instance, that Trump’s protectionism is different from Obama’s neoliberalism; they think NAFTA is different than a border wall with Mexico.

These sorts of things confuse and disturb them; they can’t explain the differences between the two parties so they ascribe the differences to personalities or passing political fashion. Thus Obama is a neoliberal because he does neoliberalism. Trump is a racist because he does racism. These purely personal attributes are turned into explanations for the policies each pursue.

It never occurs to some communists that things appear this way because they are merely dealing with superficial appearances. At the level of appearances we only see difference; we do not yet see identity. Evidence for identity may even be ignored, like when it is discovered that the Trump administration used a list developed by the Obama administration to target its ban on the entrance of migrants. Or, when Obama, despite his alleged neoliberalism commitment to an “open world economy”, erects barriers against Russia. Nor can we explain why a president with the largest popular vote majority in American history and complete control of both houses of congress could not get his program into place, while a minority president seems to encounter no difficulties realizing his own program.

These sorts of discontinuities suggest there is something else at work that is far from explained by the differences between the two parties. If we go beyond the merely superficial differences between the two parties in fighting Trump’s immigration policies and his “fucking wall”  we have to ask ourselves if we can be satisfied with a “humane” immigration policy or do we aim for the complete abolition of borders. The Democrats quite naturally frame their policies as “humane” and contrast their policies to Trump’s racist, anti-Muslim and nativist policies.

We cannot afford to fall for this nonsense because our forces are far too small. Our argument, because it is necessarily overwhelmed by Democrat propaganda, should be crisp:

The working class itself is stateless: we have no country.

We defend no borders; we refuse admittance to no migrant; we consider every worker a full citizen anywhere they choose to settle. All attempts by nation states anywhere to prevent the freest possible movement of the working class must be fought.

Such a position would be so much moralizing bullshit if we did not honestly address the implications of this stand: in first place it means workers from less developed regions would likely move to more developed regions in search of work and a better life. In second place, it implies, of course, greatly increased competition within the labor markets of the more developed regions and heightened frictions. In third place, since the migration of workers is at the same time the migration of variable capital, freest possible movement of workers implies the freest possible movement of capital. Finally, if the movement of capital should not be limited in any way, no nation can have control of its national capital nor any form of national economic policy.

All national economic policy ultimately rests on controls over the movement of capital and labor power; this in turn implies communists must be against all forms of national economic policy. We are not against borders out of some moral argument, but because we are against all attempts by any state to exert control over national economic life and, therefore, over the working class. All national economic policy comes down to control of the labor power of society and, therefore, control over the working class of a country.

Communists cannot accept state control over the labor power of the worker in any form and no matter how “humane” the controllers declare themselves to be.