DNC Deputy chair Keith Ellison told left-wing Tikkun Magazine editor Rabbi Michel Lerner in an interview released Tuesday that he believes national borders create injustice.
Transcript is as follows:
REP. KEITH ELLISON: And I might also mention to you, Rabbi, and everyone listening, that look, the so called, or what we used to call the first world, the developed part of the globe, relies for its prosperity, let’s be honest, on low wages, low levels of civil and human rights enforcement, low levels of environmental protection in what we used to call the third world. Right?
MICHAEL LERNER: Yeah
REP. ELLISON: And in fact – you know, so our prosperity is based on the want that is experienced in other parts of the world. And it’s important to understand that, you know, we should give something back to make – because if there’s prosperity all over the globe, then why would anyone want to leave a place where they speak the language, they have their family, they know the culture just to go to another place to be discriminated against and mistreated? It doesn’t make any sense. They’re leaving because, take for example Mexico. Since NAFTA, Mexican wages have dropped between nine and thirteen percent. Now, some people have said to me, oh Keith, that’s too bad for them and my answer is, no that’s too bad for us because that means those people are going to be a low wage sector not only in Mexico but here in the United States. The undocumented worker is an exploited worker. We just have to say that the 12 million undocumented people in the United States are here because somebody wants them to be. But they want them here to do the work, but they don’t want them to get any rights. They don’t want to pay them fairly. They don’t want them to be able to bargain collectively.
They don’t want them to be able to get occupational safety and standards and that is what’s really going on. And these trade agreements – you know– they allow capital to travel other borders, and all capital is, is people who happen to own something we call a corporation, which is a legal arrangement which gives them special rights and labor, which is a regular person, cannot travel back and forth across the border. And so corporations, certain people who get certain rights, can go back and forth across the border seeking out the lowest wages, but people, regular people, cannot go back and forth across the border seeking out the highest wages. So what it creates is an imbalance. It creates an injustice. And it creates the need for something like a global Marshall Plan. Yes, we need to have fair trade rules. Yes, we need to make sure we raise labor standards everywhere, not reduce them. We need to raise environmental standards everywhere, not reduce them. But, we also need to rebuild the part of the world that so many of us rely on to get everything from cheap flowers, to cheap strawberries, to cheap this, to cheap that. We need to understand our interconnectedness globally.
[H/T Steve Guest]