The Urban Plantation

The Democrats have been shouting from the rooftops about their love for Mexicans. This is best reflected in the unabashed loyalty that top Democrats—and the Democratic Party platform—show toward illegal aliens. In the past, Democrats at least paid lip service to the necessity for immigration laws to be enforced, and for all people to obey those laws. The Democratic platform of 2016 subtly left out the term “illegal” or any variation thereof. Instead, it described America’s immigration system as a problem but not illegal immigration. Today, the Democrats are the party that sides with the illegals.

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Under the Obama administration, illegals became a sort of privileged lawbreaking class. Initially, Obama did not hesitate to deport illegals, essentially carrying out the law and continuing policies of the preceding Bush administration. Then Obama changed course and publicly announced that through an exercise of prosecutorial discretion immigration laws would only be enforced against certain types of illegals—namely violent criminals—while so-called “normal” illegals would be left alone. The problem with this arbitrary approach is it sets an informal and unpredictable position and tends to tie the hands of the next administration.

Under Trump, Democrats in blue states are fighting hard to protect illegal aliens from being deported. We’ve all heard about the sanctuary cities that now dot blue states across the country. Mayors of these cities have made their position quite clear: They have no intention of cooperating in the enforcement of immigration laws. On the contrary, they will give “sanctuary” to lawbreakers who seek to evade capture and deportation.

Sanctuary CIties Map

In a 93-page ruling released in early June 2018, a U.S. District judge sided with Philadelphia (in my home state) to retain its sanctuary city status. Philadelphia doesn’t officially label itself a “sanctuary city.” The term, which has no precise legal definition, generally refers to jurisdictions that put rules around or limits on cooperation with federal immigration officers. Per the Office of Immigration Affairs, City of Philadelphia, which believes the phrase has become too politically loaded, Philadelphia prefers to be known as a “Welcoming City.” Philadelphia’s “action guide” on its immigration policies, dated January 8, 2018, states the following under the heading “Get Informed:”

Philadelphia is a city of immigrants. America was founded on the belief that everyone is created equal—and every person means every person, no exceptions. Philadelphia treats immigrants as we would any other resident under our criminal justice system.

The action guide lists several “facts” regarding why immigrants are vital to the City of Philadelphia.

  • The economic impact of Philadelphia’s immigrant population helps the City grow revenue and create jobs. Since 2000, immigrants are responsible for 75% of the workforce growth. Of the nearly one billion dollars in earnings generated by small business owners in Philadelphia, immigrant entrepreneurs are responsible for $295 million of those earnings.
  • Immigrants have played an important role in Philadelphia’s population growth in recent years. Immigrants helped reverse fifty years of population loss, thereby strengthening the City in the eyes of government officials. In some Philadelphia neighborhoods, the influx of immigrants has supposedly prevented destabilizing blight, improved public schools, and help spur growth in neighborhood commercial corridors.
  • More undocumented immigrants live in Philadelphia than in any other large North American city. And many Philadelphia families live in mixed-status households, which means that some family members are documented, but their parents or siblings might not be.

Progressives in California and New York go even further. California Democrats recently passed a law forbidding law enforcement from asking anyone’s immigration status or holding them for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents—unless they have been convicted of a crime. California also passed a law making it a crime for landlords to report illegals to the federal government.

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In New York, even a criminal conviction is not enough to deny illegals the protection of the state. New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo recently pardoned eighteen alien criminals—no murders, mostly thieves and drug dealers—for the express purpose of saving them from deportation back to Mexico. “These actions,” Cuomo said, “take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”

Okay. Reality check. Illegal aliens are not immigrants. An immigrant is someone who has emigrated legally to this country through a sanctioned immigration process that has been in place since Congress passed the first naturalization law in 1790. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 affected American perspectives on many issues, including immigration. A total of 20 foreign terrorists were involved, 19 of whom took part in the attacks that caused the deaths of 2,977 victims. The terrorists had entered the U.S. on student or tourist visas. Four of these individuals had violated the terms of their visas. The attack exposed long-standing weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system that included failures in visa processing, internal enforcement, and information sharing.

The point of combining illegals and immigrants, however, is to pretend that in resisting illegal immigration, Trump and the Republicans are against the immigrants themselves. The media is complicit with the Democrats in arguing that progressives are the partisans of the poor wretched masses that have poured into this country for nearly two centuries. Democrats point out that Latinos are voting for them over the Republicans two-to-one. In their minds, this proves they are friends and protectors of immigrants. I have just one question, though. How enthusiastic would Democrats be about fighting for illegal aliens and giving them a path to citizenship if, upon securing citizenship, they started wearing Make America Great Again hats and voting Republican? Progressive affinity for illegals seems contingent upon an implicit bargain—a quid pro quo—in which Democrats secure benefits for illegals and in exchange illegals agree to become Democrats.

THE URBAN MACHINE

The urban machine was a creation of the Northern Democrats in the Jacksonian era, and it reflected Democratic power in the cities of the North. The urban plantation was characterized by the fact that it produced nothing. No products. In this respect, it was very different from the rural slave plantations, which produced cotton, sugar cane, rice, tobacco, and so on. Rural slave plantations were designed to be productive. Urban plantations were not. They were both designed as mechanisms for stealing. Yet the thefts in the two cases were different kinds. On the rural slave plantation, the theft was fairly straightforward. One man steals from another man by making him a slave. The product stolen is the slave’s labor. Larceny is effectuated by force.

The rural and urban plantations were connected closely enough that the practices of the former could be drawn upon to describe the practices of the latter. Both operated on a principle that has defined the Democratic Party since its founding: the principle of dependency.

In the urban plantation, the theft is more sophisticated, although no less profitable. The thieves on the urban plantation have a much bigger prey. Here they steal from a much larger group, one made up of the entire body of productive citizens. The target of the urban plantation is taxpayers of all income levels—anyone who contributes to the public treasury. In this scenario, Democrats promise nameless immigrants meager favors—a job reference, a place to stay, money for food—in exchange for something that doesn’t cost the immigrants anything. Their vote. Democrats then use these votes to accumulate enough political power to get their hands on as much of the public treasury as possible. Sadly, taxpayers who have paid into the system have no idea what is being done with their money. This all started in the mid-nineteenth century through the model of the urban plantation—the urban political machine—which was also an ethnic machine.

MARTIN VAN BUREN AND THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE

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Contemporary  and modern accounts agree that Van Buren virtually singlehandedly created the urban political machine, and he also helped forge the winning alliance that not only propelled Andrew Jackson and then Van Buren himself to the presidency, but also sustained the Democratic Party as the majority party for forty years. Incredibly, Van Buren did all this before he became president.

We may say of Van Buren what we might say of the younger Democrat Stephen Douglas, who would rise to prominence in the 1850s: neither of them actually cared whether slavery was voted up or down. What Lincoln later said of Douglas—that he had “no very vivid impression that the Negro is a human”—would also apply to Van Buren. He was an unscrupulous man in the process of creating an unscrupulous party who would stop at nothing to take America hostage and attempt to recreate her in their own image. Van Buren’s interest in the planter class was merely political.

Starting in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing through the early twentieth, America experienced one of the largest immigrations in human history—the uprooted from Europe. Some thirty-five million people left their homelands in Europe and moved to the United States. They were running for their lives. Six million came from the region that fell to the Germans, four and a half million from Ireland, four million from Great Britain, almost five million from Italy, two million from the Scandinavian countries, three million from Greece, Macedonia and Armenia, and eight million or so more from the east: namely Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Ukraine. We say these individuals were immigrants, but most of them in fact were refugees. They all were fleeing something. So these were the people who washed up on the shores of the United States after permanently cutting their ties with the past.

Post WW2 Immigrants

These immigrants  faced the immediate, pressing need of finding a livelihood and of adjusting to conditions that were completely unfamiliar. In their misery, Van Buren saw a political opportunity. He knew these people well, having been a first-generation American of Dutch immigrant parents.  And seeing the starving hordes—lost souls if there ever were such people—wandering aimlessly in cities like New York, Van Buren noticed that they resembled a group that he had become quite familiar with in his travels through the South: American slaves. So Van Buren said, “Why not re-create the Democratic model of the rural plantation in the Northern cities?” In other words, why not make the new immigrants just as dependent on the Democratic Party in the North as the slaves were dependent on the Democratic planters of the South?

Obviously, the immigrants and refugees were not slaves; they could not be held by force. Also, the new immigrants were white. But the deeper point is that both groups—the immigrants and the slaves—were wretched, impoverished, helpless. Their whiteness didn’t even matter to Van Buren. He saw only a clannish solidarity—people huddled together looking for solace and assistance from fellow countrymen. Van Buren saw that the slaves, in a parallel if not similar situation, had created precisely this sort of communal solidarity to survive on the plantation. From the immigrant yearning for survival and security that he well understood, and from their collective ethnic identity that he carefully observed, Van Buren realized the possibility for creating the same type of enduring dependency he had witnessed on the slave plantation, but this time in the Northern cities. The Democratic machine demanded complete allegiance. The machine’s agenda became the immigrants’ agenda. The machine told them how to vote and required them to campaign for its entire slate during elections. Its currency wasn’t patriotism; it was party loyalty.

Piles of Cash

For Van Buren, the treasury was not a fund of tax money accumulated to finance and promote the common good; rather, it was a prize to be distributed to those who enabled politicians like Van Buren to dip their hands into the treasury. It’s as though Van Buren’s mantra was To the victor go the spoils! Politics wasn’t a vocation; it was a business. While progressives admit that the Democratic urban machines were a for-profit enterprise, thoroughly imbued with corruption and election-rigging, they insist that the bosses gave immigrants a “voice.” Yet this “voice” was nothing more than the ventriloquist preferences of the bosses themselves. Plain and simple.

Much has changed. The Democrats gave up their system of ethnic mobilization under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, then took it up once again under Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. Today, Democrats don’t bother to mobilize white ethnics anymore; they have moved on to other groups: blacks, Latinos, feminists, homosexuals. The old Tammany Hall regime is gone now, but what Tammany represents—the dehumanizing system of Democratic ethnic exploitation that Van Buren created—is still very much with us today.