To support the ongoing fight against the racialized power disparities imposed by citizenship and national boundaries, we’ve prepared a new poster, “Borders=Global Apartheid.”
National boundaries are one of the chief structural factors that enforce de facto white supremacy. While Donald Trump’s remarks have made it clear that he sees immigration policy as a way to systematically privilege whiteness on a global scale, the regulation of immigration has always served that function, ever since this land was wrested from its original inhabitants. National boundaries are one of the ways that the state purports to protect citizens from the Other—when nothing is more dangerous than to concentrate so much force and legitimacy in a single militarized institution.
The constructs of race and national citizenship are two of the most fundamental tools used to divide those who are exploited under capitalism. We do not believe it is ever truly in the interests of any group to identify with those above them in the hierarchy rather than organizing alongside those who are less privileged than them. If we permit our rulers to determine whose lives are valuable and whose lives are not, they will ultimately target citizens with the same repressive apparatus they use against those who lack documents.
Our hearts go out to all the people who are suffering in detention centers at this moment—to all the families who have been separated by ICE agents or immigration protocols—to everyone who is treated as expendable and inferior.
This poster draws on material from the book we published last year, No Wall They Can Build, about the forces driving and impeding migration throughout North America, and from our earlier poster, “Borders: The Global Caste System.” Please print these out and wheatpaste them around your community. We’ve also published a sticker you can use to the same purpose.
The poster text follows.
Borders don’t surround populations; they run through them. They don’t protect communities; they cut them apart. There are 11 million undocumented people in the United States, many of whom have lived here for decades. Without their labor, the economy would grind to a halt. Of those who cross the border without papers, half are deportees attempting to return to their families in the US.
The point of deportations is not to empty the US of undocumented people. It is to terrorize them with the threat of deportation in order to maintain a caste system. As long as part of the population lives in constant danger, employers can exploit a vast pool of disposable labor. This drives down wages for workers with US citizenship, too. But it’s not undocumented immigrants who are “stealing their jobs”—it’s the border itself.
The border enables the ruling class to force down wages, suppress dissent, and channel resentment towards those who have the least power in society rather than those who have the most. The solution isn’t just to abolish the border—it is to put an end to the social order it protects.
The Limit Point of Capitalist Equality: Notes towards an Abolitionist Anti-Racism, by Chris Chen