Monday, March 29, 2010

For May First

Gearing up for the May 1st immigrant rights mobilization, here are data to clarify the debate, from the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

• Immigrant workers come from Mexico (32%), the Philippines (4.9%),
India (4.9%), China (4.2%) and El Salvador (3.5%) -- top five
country-suppliers

• Immigrant workers comprise 15% of the workforce and 13% of unionized workers

• Immigrant workers who are unionized earn about $5 more per hour than
non-unionized workers.

It's curious that the Philippines -- which is quite a distance from the US and with a smaller population -- should rank equal to India. I am surmising that the Western-style educational system, a product of colonialism, comprises part of the impetus for emigration. I have to check whether the gender ratio for the Philippines (65% female) holds true for the other countries.

Being a predominantly female population has its advantages and disadvantages. The push to build a women's network is there; but the vulnerability to a predator (and that has many meanings to me, including political; many entities profess to be pro-woman but actually work to bring women under patriarchal control) is also pronounced.

Building sisterhood is always a step forward but replicating feudal or nativist power hierarchies among women works against equality. Such hierarchies are usually patriarchal based. Hierarchies, to my mind, should only be based on skill, ability, knowledge and capacity for work, so they represent more of a structure of competence and wisdom than anything else.

The drive for women's emancipation has or should have the undercurrent of enabling women to engage with one another and with society on the basis of democratic equality. The drive for women's liberation builds on this internal emancipation and pushes forward to crush class and other structures that exploit and oppress women. Minus one or the other and everything backslides.

My two cents for this month. -- ##

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness it wasn't set for April 1st. Can you imagine the April Fool's jokes?

Merci said...

I am glad to come across this blog post, Ninotchka. I am pondering on the relevance of the Philippines' being the first Asian country to claim its own Country Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, the UN Security Country Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security which calls on governments to give women bigger roles and more participation in peace building and peace keeping. Women from the elite groups have come forward to claim their roles. Grassroots women have been left out.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

First, consider that the UN is an assembly of government representatives. Second, consider the nature of the Philippine government - one of the landed gentry, bureaucrat capitalists and their proteges, the technocrati. Third, consider the role of imperialism and its weapons manufacturers. Fourth, consider the possibility of peace and security in such a highly stratified society as the Philippines. Personally, I think all talk of peace are deceptive in a society of such acute contradictions. And fifth, consider the inadequacy of the permeation of ideas about emancipation and liberation among women of the Philippines, as opposed to feudal subservience to authoritarianism. There you go.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

... all talk is deceptive... I must find a better software for this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Try actually working as a women's rights activist commenter #1...sometimes you wonder if every facking day is just April Fools and you're the only who wasn't in on it....sometimes....