“Lenin, Communists, and Immigration” is a crucial text in Balibar’s trajectory, as it demonstrates that the focal points of his research in the 1980s and 1990s, and continuing into the present – on nationalism, xenophobia, class identity, imperialism, the persistent racialization of immigrant populations, and the ways these phenomena sustain working-class divisions – did not come from a break in his thinking, but rather emerged from his long-term engagement with an open “knot” of questions within the Marxist problematic.
Lenin’s analysis forces us to consider immigration – the living and working conditions of immigrant workers – starting from the theory of imperialism, outside of which the contemporary forms of immigration remain unintelligible. The concrete knowledge of the causes and effects of immigration is, reciprocally, a guiding thread towards an understanding of imperialism.
It was necessary to put in place a practice, capable of determining displacement and at least of alluding to an “offensive” move, beyond the necessarily defensive character of the resistance – why not buy a ship, put it at sea?
Few media accounts have bothered to understand or record the multiple organizational processes and dynamics that underwrite it as a powerful social movement. The diverse, entwined histories behind the caravan-form – assemblies and related tactics and strategies for cultivating solidarity – seem beyond the frame of most discussions.
We must refuse to process the migrant caravan through a looking glass of fear or violent repulsion, but also refuse to relegate this event as a footnote to the supposed strategic core of electoral work. Instead, a true “domestic” alternative insists on considering that maybe “we” are not who we thought.
In the first decades of the 21st century, the men, women, and children detained, imprisoned or slain by U.S. police in excessive and grotesque uses of force remain disproportionately black.