31 July 2006

Exporting Democracy South to North

Here is a reason why elites (both Republicans and those in the erstwhile "opposition" party) in the US might find the Free Trade Zone of the Americas (I think that is the name) problematic. The Mexicans might begin to export more than just cheap labor across the border. They may actually begin to export democratic expectations and practices as well! As The New York Times reports, somewhere in exccess of a million people protessted yesterday in Mexico City in support not just of their own candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (although let's not be naive about who is mobilizing these folks!), but in support of fair eleections too.

© Janet Jarman for The New York Times

I have posted earlier (here and here) on the photographic documentation of immigrant workers and their resistance to various proposed draconian immigration "reforms" in the US - about being able to see those whose labor keeps our economy going. What if they also began to energize our polity? What if there had been marches like this when the Supreme Court usurped power and decided the 2000 election? What if Al Gore had called on his supporters to actually defend democracy rather than conceding in the face of BushCo's questionable if intransigent victory claims? Or what if those who voted for candidates other than Bush had simply occupied the Mall in Washington and central spaces elsewhere without waiting to be asked? Think of all we might learn from the Mexicans about how to respond to sketchy elections. God knows we have had some whoppers. Now that is an argument for open borders!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - it made me smile. It has been a difficult day. The awful news from the middle east is sad and depressing, the heat is verging on the oppressive and the sky has been ovrecast. Anyway, not to drone on - the moon peaked through the clouds as I approached home, a hopeful sign. Then I saw your post and the scene is engagingly optimistic - the vast crowd standing for something they believe in, and the color yellow - perhaps I am getting carried away. I liked the optimism that seemed to permeate your argument too. The best argument that I have ever read about open borders though, is by political theorist Joseph Carens, he argues that all major political theories/ideologies would actually provide the basis of an argument for open borders if their principles were applied consistently (I may be over simplifying here). Anyway, thanks again for the post.

31 July, 2006 23:08  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Thanks for the comment. I am gladyou liked the post. I know and like Joe Carens although I have never read this piece. I have been told in the p ast that I should read it and so really need to track it down.

Blogger was uncooperative much of the day so it took a long while to upload this image. But it resonated with me because of the images of the pro-immigration rallies and marches that occurred earlier this spring in the US.

As for the heat, it is meant to be record-breaking here tomorrow. I am not much for the heat and humidity. But it may be a good day nonetheless.

01 August, 2006 00:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2004 the Democrats swore they'd be all over the vote count in order to guarantee a fair election. Result? The Republicans stole the vote so neatly the second time around, they didn't even need their hand picked cronies in the Supreme Court to tip things their way- even after the president of the company that makes the voting machines used in Ohio swore (before the election) that he personally guaranteed the state would deliver Republican!!! And what did the Democrats do- silently whimper into the sunset yet again...

01 August, 2006 17:54  

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