Jacobin magazine, which positions itself as the thinking socialist’s journal, has published several useful articles explaining & promoting open borders. It is also campaigning for Bernie Sanders in the 2020 elections. Since they’re such smarty-pants, they should elaborate how they can advocate for open borders while going gaga for a candidate vociferously against them because, according to him, it would allow too many ‘poor, unskilled workers’ into the US, undercut the wages of American-born workers, & undermine the nation-state? Classic xenophobia stuff, classic white supremacy, classic pandering to rightwing voters. Also detestable elitism & upper-class snobbery. The only way Sanders doesn’t sound like Trump is that he doesn’t claim those hordes of ‘poor, unskilled workers’ are criminals & terrorists from the Middle East.

Indistinguishable from Trump, Sanders has been railing against open borders since the 2016 election campaign calling them a “right wing, Koch brothers proposal.” He repeated this rubbish while campaigning in Iowa this weekend. Insistent in saying he is “absolutely opposed” to open borders–what some of us call immigrant & refugee rights–Sanders pulled a Hail Mary pass by calling for ‘comprehensive immigration reform’. Good for him. Has he ever defined what that means? Has he ever proposed a program for such reform in the US Congress? Would such comprehensive reform include stopping US corporations from developing the sweatshop economy at the expense of those ‘poor, unskilled workers’ in other countries? Or is Sanders, like a true xenophobe, only concerned about the wages of native-born workers?

It is US corporations that are undermining the wages of working people in other countries through the sweatshop economy. It is US, European, Chinese, Japanese, Indian corporations imposing neoliberal policies in other countries that force millions to move elsewhere. The problem is not ‘poor, unskilled workers’ from other countries & the solution is not pandering to xenophobia among American voters. If Sanders wants to protect the wages of workers, he needs to engage in union-building & organizing so that immigrants cannot be used in a divide & conquer chokehold. He needs to propose legislation stopping corporations from using sweatshops against workers in other countries. But mostly he needs to help break the hold of the Democratic Party over the US labor movement because that party has consistently sold workers down the drain for the past 150 years. You’d think a so-called socialist magazine would understand that. Or are they getting caught in their own contradictions? It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you can’t have it both ways in politics. You can’t play both sides of the street. The dialectic doesn’t work that way: to justify betrayal. Either you stand with working people, regardless of their immigration status, or you stand with the corporations.

(Photo of Sanders by Seth Wenig/AP)