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
• Immigrant workers comprise 15% of the workforce and 13% of unionized workers
• Immigrant workers who are unionized earn about $5 more per hour than
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. -- ##