Global Independent Analytics
Van Gelis
Van Gelis

Location: Greece

Specialization: Middle East

Can US Style ‘Multiculturalism’ Apply to EU Nation States?

The issue that confronts every thinking person today regarding globalisation and its effects in every society is the question of multiculturalism.

In trying to analyse why America never really had a mass movement for equality (or socialism), Steinbeck noted that “we didn’t have any self-admitted workers. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist.[i]” What made America different from Europe?

The collapse of the feudal order i.e. the system that was based on monarchies and land, and the emergence of a system based on markets and products, occurred for roughly 500 years, from around 1500 to the early 20th century. Throughout this period of history we had in Europe the emergence of capitalist nation states, the creation of a uniformity in language, and culture to the extent each specific country developed, and to the extent it was integrated within larger economic and political zones created by the growth of Empires (sterling, francophone etc.) The emergence of the USA as the dominant world power due to the collapse of the European powers in two world wars led inadvertently to the adoption of the American multicultural system as the role model for the rest of the world.

Mass Immigration, Private Armies and Multiculturalism

The issue that confronts every thinking person today regarding globalisation and its effects in every society is the question of multiculturalism. Alongside globalisation, from nowhere suddenly appeared, millions of people from many countries in nearly every European metropolis. Are there historical examples for this event? Is it an organised plan? Without history as a guide for what is occurring no one is able to find a serious answer to the questions and concerns many have. The problem though remains: which particular history are we going to research? Where will we find answers for today?

The American state is the prototype as it wasn’t created from scratch due to some racial, national or cultural rebellion of a certain nation against another. Instead, it was a product of the expansion of European colonists on a new geographic plateau. The reasons as to why the Europeans went there aren’t part of this brief analysis. But the fact that they travelled from many European countries of different tongues and cultures does have some historical weight, when the original Americans, were those called ‘Indians’ and were erased by the pogroms of the colonialists and the importation of disease during the various phases of the expansion on the soil of the USA. Based on this experience and on what occurred in South Africa, the European would be global neo-colonialist was full of praise for the methods of concentration camps and reservations.[ii]

What distinguishes therefore a state of settlers from the indigenous development of a nation? That is the question that needs analysing. The settler doesn’t try to develop a country, on the contrary, he wants to survive firstly in his new surroundings, and the general wellbeing is subsumed into individual advancement. That is why when the colonists arrived in the USA, they sent the Indians to ‘paradise,’ and then they imported black slaves so as to continue the productive relationships with Old Europe - by creating their own version of heaven on earth: a society based on slavery. Many colonists were funded by European governments to create businesses in the USA and to send back their produce for a monetary gain. Thus the colonists were an extension of Europe, but without anyone essentially in charge and without a national coordinator. It is essentially like that in our days as well.

The development of the USA in the 19th century and the rise of the labour movement contained within it many new phenomena that weren’t the same as the rest of Europe. Three basic characteristics show a particular development:

  • Firstly migrants were leaving Europe en masse and going to the US in the latter half of 19th century. No such movement was happening towards Europe.
  • The use of private armies for the confrontation against strikes-popular demands was unique to the USA.
  • The non-existence a labour movement during the period of industrialisation of the country was specific to the USA.

No other advanced capitalist country had such an exceptional history. Bourgeois historical analysts had identified the historical peculiarity of America, but they had never focused on explaining how the country with the most advanced technology has the most backward civil rights movement for two centuries now? This historical contradiction is one that I will try to analyse, but not fully, as history is a work in progress and reality may disprove this basic analysis.

The creation of industrialised national companies in transportation, electricity, oil etc. created the so-called robber barons, arch-sharks and the American version of Aristotle Onassis (Rockefellers, Carnegies, Morgans etc.) Whole cities belonged to a single company. The American factories, the housing, the food distribution centres and, in parallel, the creation of private armies which supported the interests of the owners. Even the Federal Reserve Bank became a private concern. Politics became a vehicle for business and overt corruption as exemplified by Mark Twain’s novel The Gilded Age were everyone was on the make and the take (Tammany Hall), as the population boom after the end of the US civil war increased by an amazing 25% in a single decade…

The Creation of the USA: Multiculturalism Without Limits    

The arrival of immigrants from the USA in the 19th century was the following:       

  • 1841-50 - 1.7 million people
  • 1851-60- 2.6m
  • 1861-70-2.3m
  • 1871-80-2.8m
  • 1891-00-3.7m
  • 1901-10-9m
  • 1911-20-5.8m

In the 1850-60s the first unions of workers were created (Knights of Labour) with the result being to try to maintain their work, as there was a mass immigrant flood. The fact that America hadn’t as yet industrialised and hadn’t been occupied from one end to another meant that many movements could occur from area to area. In the first 40 years of the period we are analysing, immigrants came from Germany, England, Ireland, China and the Scandinavian countries. After the 1880’s immigrants came from Italy, Greece, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines. No other country on earth in that period of history had such a migrant flow from all the corners of the earth. No country since either.

The right of the bosses to recruit whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted, under a regime of permanent importation of foreign-born labour, made the creation of real unions almost impossible. A characteristic example is a not too well publicised book in Greece, but one that is very important for our days, which was printed in Greece by the KKE (the Greek Communist Party), The Unknown History of the Labour Movement in the USA(1993).

There we see a description as to how the American bosses functioned in the 19th century (bold mine):

The contractors make their appearance as representatives of the American flag in the most impoverished parts of Hungary, Italy, Denmark, they say stories about fantastic wages in America, they lie to the impoverished souls and they get them to sign contracts which aim to provide funds for the trip which very few understand. When they arrive at the pre-agreed destination of the contracts, they discover that their golden dreams have turned into a nightmare as they make them work in mines factories or railroads, with even lower wages than their compatriots, whose place they take. (p.121)

John Swinton’s Newspaper, 30th December 1883                                                                   

In the publication of 18th May 1884, Swinton recounted that thousands of Hungarians were imported into the areas of Connellsville in Pennsylvania where the young Frick made millions. Here sixteen men and women were placed in small huts, each the size of 2.5 to 3m. This was a usual phenomenon. The owners “turned the English against the Irish and the opposite... the Germans against both... they maintained a constant war amongst the tribes... The harshness was described openly by the words of an owner: “It’s better to lose two men, than a cow.”

These industrialist slaves were also used as strike breakers... They were recruited so as to go into work, without knowing their rights... Honest working men... these poor souls, from poor Italy, would never play the role of a strike breaker if they could choose. But they couldnt. From the ships they were received like herds in scenes of frightening violence, they passed them via the lines of strikers who fought throwing stones and swearing towards the gates of the closed factories or the mines whilst everywhere there were battles.[iii]

The first unions tried to block the importation of foreign born labour as contracts were signed in other countries, but they weren’t able to defeat the bosses on this crucial issue.

Multiculturalism: The Main Reason for the Backwardness of the American Labour Movement?

The question that arose is as follows: whilst America had the most advanced technology on earth in relation with Old Europe (despite that it almost always used Europeans for its technological advancement!) why did the labour movement remain so backward in relation to the European one? In contrast to all other industrialised metropolises the USA never created a pan-national labour movement with parliamentary representation. The closest it came to this was the growth of the Socialist Party[iv] prior to WW1 and the emergence of the CIO[v] (Congress of Industrial Organizations) via the sit-down strikes of the 1930’s.

Whenever there was a strike, a security company with arms in hand was called to defend the interests of the bosses. The characteristic of the era was that due to the unlimited number of immigrants, one strike could easily be replaced by newly arrived immigrants who got work as the spies-grassers of the security company of the bosses and then they stole the work of those who came before them. Until, of course, their time came up for firing and then the same thing happened to them. The most famous company was called Pinkertons and it was created so as to help the bosses maintain low wages. The strike-breakers were given prominence.

Victor Serge, a revolutionist in the time of Lenin, had written this about this period:

In the United States, the participation of the private police in the conflicts between labour and capital has grown fearfully. The offices of famous private detectives provide the capitalists with discreet informers, expert provocateurs, riflemen, guards, foremen and also totally corrupt “trade union militants”. The Pinkertons, Burns and Thiels detective agencies have 100 head offices and about 10,000 branches: they supposedly employ 135,000 people. Their annual budget comes to $65 million. They have set up industrial espionage, factory-floor espionage, espionage in the workshop, the shipyards, offices, and wherever there are workers employed. They have created the prototype of the worker-informer.[vi]

From the Marxist tradition people have grappled with the issue. Examples are Engels and Trotsky, who each in their way and their own period of history tried to find answers. Engels tried to do so towards the end of the 19th century, Trotsky during the period of Roosevelt’s New Deal[vii]. US exceptionalism alone cannot explain the phenomena. In an article just before he was murdered, the Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky tried to outline the differences between the European labour movement and the American one[viii], by making the observation that in every European country we had the creation of national unions and political parties of the working class, but not in the USA.  We have one party with two names: Democrats and Republicans. On this issue very few have paid attention, assuming that America is simply an extension of Europe and the same with Europe, but in reality it is an abortion of it.

Reduction of the Immigrant Cataclysm-Rise in Peoples Power

Up until the First World War, the Americans didn’t have a national Labour Party, nor did they have national unions. Their rise occurred after the end of WW1, with the ending of the importation of foreign-born labour, in particular after 1924. The 1929 crash led to one in three Americans becoming unemployed and this destruction led those remaining in work to fight to maintain their jobs by engaging serious struggles. Thus were formed the national unions. The rise of the post-war labour movement of equality with blacks in America (CIO allowed black members in 1935), almost led to the creation of a national labour party as the one that existed in England (Labour Party) or Germany (Social Democratic Party).  Almost.

But it never occurred, even after the global meltdown following 1973 that hit the advanced capitalist countries. In the 1980’s decade we had a new round of foreign born labour being imported into the USA which led to 10% of the population coming from one country, Mexico, whilst the total volume of immigrants became equivalent to more than 40-50 million during the last 25 years[ix].

The creation of a state-excrescence with many nationalities where each lived in its own ghetto while the state had the supra-national role of overseeing ‘good behaviour’ of the ghettoes, led to the creation of an infamous theory of progressive ‘multiculturalism’, which isn’t related to the peaceful co-existence of the various nationalities, but to a society whose aim is a race to the bottom and where relationships are based on backs against the wall in various ghettos. From here comes the common refrain that trying to say anything political that does not cause offence is like walking on eggshells. The police and the state security services became the final arbiters.

The national products of America in food for instance, are of a worse standard than anything produced by the nation states of Old Europe, as America is forced to produce products of low quality so that they can be acceptable across the board for all the various nationalities. Thus they have neither any taste nor any characteristic, nor any particular quality. In the final analysis that is the aim of the ‘multicultural’ melting pot. For every peoples/nation to lose their history, their traditions, their diet and their historical means of survival. All of this is done not to replace a given with something of a higher standard. An industry of fast food, with the imported junk of low cost is therefore directly related to the rot of intellectual thought for those who are apologists of “multiculturalism”. Those who propagate that American multiculturalism is the highest standard achieved by humanity - at a time when we all recognise that it is a system in dissolution of a perpetual race to the bottom with the aim of getting people to fight each other so a higher power can manipulate and control them better - will be defeated by the nations that want to survive. Assuming, of course, there are any. TTIP, GM foods and Monsanto are in no way the high point of human civilisation we must all emulate.

It’s no coincidence that as noted in the passage below by a US General Thomas P. Barnett in his book Blueprint for Action that:

We will rarely find societies adequately prepared –  either intellectually or emotionally – for the travails that lie ahead. Instead the elements most prepared will be those most willing to wage bloody resistance against this process: educated, worldly young men who are familiar with the future we offer and have already decided that it is corrupting beyond all reason. So yes I do account for non-rational actors in my worldview. And when they threaten violence against the global order, I say Kill them’[x].

Industrial scale ‘Multiculturalism’                                          

There is obviously a difference between countries that had modern colonial empires in the recent historical past, such as Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal etc. and those that were parts of other Empires, like Greece or Serbia. They aren’t the same. Creating mini-USA’s in every country cannot but create a justified nationalist backlash, as the independence of small states was gained through battles sometimes beyond human comprehension as the example of Serbia shows when it lost 75% of all its adult males during WW1 in its independence struggle against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nowadays we have organised NGO’s helping millions relocate, labour agencies offering work contracts in countries other than the ones the applicants are residing in (widespread in Eastern Europe for workers to work in Western Europe), electronic spying on all employees via CCTVs, the monitoring of emails etc. A recent European Court ruling held that workers have no right to privacy. The massive growth of globalised non-union labour in every major metropolis and the massive overwhelming retreat of labour rights is evidenced by plans to introduce 1 Euro an hour wage for newly arrived migrants to Germany[xi].

This shift towards the 19th century labour practices of the USA started forcefully in Europe after 1989. It began in the UK and France (the two countries with large ex-colonial empires). The role model was then adopted to a lesser or greater degree by those politically tied to these centres of imperialism. ‘Antiracist’ laws have been passed in a series of countries making it a criminal offence to criticise either ‘multiculturalism’ or any ethnic group, despite the evidence of ghettoes in schooling, living accommodation and social-cultural outlooks[xii].

The level of integration of the nation state

Greece had around 98% homogeneity achieved in over 70 years of a rigid school curriculum, one national religion, one language (with regional dialects), and a national cuisine. This resulted in a uniformity where a ‘multinational’ existence created by the presence of different foreign-born migrants didn’t grow organically over a period of decades - as in America - but grew in the space of 25 years - at a breakneck speed. Just as assimilation was going to occur - as for instance in the case of the large Albanian community within Greece (their offspring went to Greek schools while the parents did not) -  the rug was pulled under their feet with the collapse of the building trade where a majority of Albanians worked. Many have been forced to emigrate once more.

American multiculturalism grew throughout the 19th century and in the latter half of the 20th century on solid foundations even ghettoised ethnic communities existed. That’s what’s unique about America. It’s no coincidence that Americans greet themselves with the prefix Irish-American, Italian-American or African-American. Greece on the other hand, had to fight tooth and nail over a period of around 150 years to first of all secure its land and sea borders (from the 1821 Greek Revolution to the incorporation of the Dodecanese Islands e.g. Rhodes, Kos etc. in 1948). No Albanian greets himself as Albanian-Greek neither does any Bangladeshi that resides in Greece greet himself as Bangladeshi-Greek.

The agenda therefore is not only to have a globalised labour movement, but to have a globalised society, a melting pot of inter-ethnic ghettoes. If anyone raises his heads above the parapet, he will be crushed. The mean can vary. From fines and imprisonment up to targeted assassinations. The form which is being created mirrors the large transnationals that rule the world as they can operate in any country, have a multinational managerial administration and utilise whatever labour force they see fit. The old nation-states of Europe are now on suicide watch. They will be blown apart if the people that reside in them don’t organise to stop this globalist NWO agenda.

 

 


[i]  “Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle class, middle aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: “After the revolution we will have more, won’t we dear?” Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picnickers on her property”.

“I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the Investigation Committee were a danger to America, but the ones I knew – at least they claimed to be Communists – couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides, they were too busy fighting among themselves”. Steinbeck, J.,  A Primer on the ‘30s, Esquire, June 1960: 85-93 https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck

[ii] “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination –by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity,” Toland, J., Adolf Hitler, p. 202 https://espressostalinist.com/genocide/native-american-genocide/

[iv] The Socialist Party founded in 1901 once received 6% of the national vote https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Party_of_America#Early_history

[vi] Victor Serge: What everyone should know about repression http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1926/repression/ch2.htm

[vii] Engel’s Letter to Sorge about US Labour:

“Then, and more especially, immigration, which divides the workers into two groups: the native-born and the foreigners, and the latter in turn into (1) the Irish, (2) the Germans, (3) the many small groups, each of which only understands only itself: Czechs, Poles, Italians, Scandinavians, etc. And then the Negroes. To form a single party out of these requires quite unusually powerful incentives. Often there is a sudden violent élan, but the bourgeoisie need only wait passively and the dissimilar elements of the working class fall apart again”. http://classicalmarxismvsimmigration.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/engels-letter-to-sorge-why-no-us-labour.html

[x] Barnett, Thomas, P., Blueprint for Action, p. 282

[xii] German Historian to be prosecuted by Greece in anti-racist law http://www.avgi.gr/article/6076832/antiratsistikos-nomos-vs-xaints-rixter

 

 

Bibliography

Robert Michael Smith, From Blackjacks to Briefcases              

Vernon Briggs, Mass Immigration and the National Interest

 

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