Typing International Apartheid

I claim that legal restrictions on the ability of people to travel, work and live across national borders is equivalent to apartheid, so naturally I’m intrigued by Randy McDonald’s Towards A Typology of Apartheid in response to a query from Jonathan Edelstein. McDonald lists six characteristics of an apartheid regime. Let’s see how the international version stacks up (read McDonald’s post for descriptions, I only reproduce openings below):

The group favouring apartheid is either a minority population or about to become a minority population.

In the case of the U.S. anti-immigration activists see an imminent threat anglo culture being swamped and ruined by hispanics and harbor fears that Mexican “elites” plan with the help of Mexicans living in the U.S. to reconquer the southwestern U.S., lost by Mexico in the war of 1848.

The group favouring apartheid believes itself to be indigenous.

In spades.

The group favouring apartheid believes that it must act immediately.

Anti-immigration activists want a “temporary” moratorium on all immigration and immediate “sealing” of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under apartheid, each group must develop separately.

Check. They should fix their own country instead of coming here and stealing our jawbs and living off welfare, natch.

The group behind the apartheid system must establish as complete a monopoly over power as possible.

This may be a stretch, but consider the extent to which U.S. relations with and interventions in Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, and others are aimed at assuring that “they” don’t come “here” in masses.

Defending the apartheid system requires constant vigilance.

Of course. This feels like a throwaway, but I’ll note that anti-immigration activists often claim that “we” face an invasion. What but vigilance could be required?

I think McDonald may have missed two characteristics:

The apartheid system is natural. The regime only gives the force of law to the natural ordering of things. People naturally live and work in their homelands and are most comfortable in their own culture.

The apartheid system is moral. People who are not born into a culture cannot really buy into a culture and introducing these people leads to moral rot and cultural decline.

I apologize for the U.S.-centric nature of the above. Similar could be written concerning anywhere non-open borders exist, particularly where freedom and economic opportunities available to individuals differ greatly across borders.

4 Responses

  1. Glen Raphael says:

    Well put. I’ve been thinking for a while that what this country needs is a new Underground Railroad movement – legals helping illegals relocate to friendlier states and localities. Just moving them a few states further north would probably do the trick in most cases.

  2. […] I usually do not mention race when framing immigration controls as the international equivalent of (former) South African Apartheid — race lies on the South African side of the analogy. But the case of those opposing unfettered ability of all to move, live and work anywhere on earth without respect to nationality is not helped by the fact that race and racism is part and parcel of controls on movement, residency and work, as explained by The Guardian’s Gary Younge in The west persists in using race to decide who can cross its borders: [W]hen translated into sterling, the mean income of a black Canadian is almost double that of a white South African. Yet a black Canadian is four times more likely to be stopped than a white South African. […]

  3. […] billions in poverty and oppression (or put another way, massively squandering human capital) out of fear and […]

  4. […] Typing International Apartheid. Cherry picks some sentiments that seem to align national borders with Apartheid, bypassing their fundamental dissimilarity. See Manifesto for the Abolition of International Apartheid refutation above. […]

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