By Gonzalo F. Santos

[Published as Chapter 10 in the book California Social Problems, edited by Charles F. Hohm, published in 1997 by Addison Wesley-Longham in collaboration with the California Sociological Association. This web version omits the figures and tables.]

Migration in Human History

Human migrations are as old as humanity. Our homo ancestors, originally from Africa, roamed, populated, and repopulated every corner of the world in small band societies over the course of the last 3-5 million years, evolving culturally and biologically on the move - the world's first "immigrants," so to speak (Wenke 1984). These hunter/gatherer societies span 99 percent of human history, only becoming fewer and fewer in number in the past 10,000 years. Agrarian village life, slow in rising five-to-ten thousand years ago, just yesterday in human historical time, produced the first non-migrant, sedentary peoples.1

From the simple horticultural societies emerged the more recent great agrarian civilizations and their vast stationary peasantries, whose members never ventured farther than a few miles from their birthplaces in their lifetime. The only truly mobile peoples became the pastoral nomadic peoples at the boundaries of agrarian societies, the tiny classes of long-distant merchants, and the much less prevalent hunter/gatherer peoples still around. But occasionally, the peasants - and even the states and elites that regulated and exploited them - had to relocate, or had to disperse or dissolve permanently, as a result of changing environmental or human conditions, such as droughts, plagues, floods, resource depletion, "civilized" wars and the notorious "nomadic" or "barbaric" invasions, vassalage and labor tribute, massive state projects, and population growth. In the ancient Americas, after small waves of human migrations from Asia dating back 30-40 thousand years ago crossed Beringia between ice ages, the Paleo-Indians spread rapidly throughout the entire Western Hemisphere - America's first "immigrants." Hunter/gatherer as well as semi-nomadic horticulturilist societies evolved and flourished in the thousands, reconfiguring the continent culturally many times over and in many complex ways. The great geographic mosaic of scores of variously related language families testifies to a fluid history of migration and resettlement in ancient America. Nowhere was this more true in North America at the time of European expansion than in the region we now call California, where the diversity of peoples, cultures, and languages reached its greatest variety, in symbiosis with the region's rich variety of ecological niches (Coe et al (1986). Recent archaeological research has confirmed a high degree of mutual cultural influence, trade and physical contact - including migrations - the ancient peoples of the U.S. Southwest and Mesoamerica had with each other, on and off, over the course of at least three millennia, up to the time of Hernan Cortes's arrival (McGuire 1989).2

The sequence of great agrarian civilizations in the Andean region and Mesoamerica over the course of millennia involved significant human migrations. Migrations usually preceded the rise and followed the fall of a great new hegemonic culture. At their peak, these civilizations established sophisticated long-distance trade and road systems, which allowed for intense population concentrations in cities, migrations, and cultural diffusions to occur. Population dispersions usually followed the fall of these civilizations, creating many localized village cultures which would undergo prolonged periods of autonomous and differentiated evolution, only to be eventually partially unified and recast by a new core agrarian civilization. Similar accordion-like cycles of migrations and population concentrations within core cultural hegemonies followed by culturally and demographically decentralized "dark ages" can be found in Chinese, Mesopotamian, Hindu, and Mediterranean agrarian civilizations (Chase-Dunn & Hall 1991). The Roman empire and Medieval Europe merely represent a late pair of phases in pre-modern Mediterranean civilization.3 Their slave trade migrations were quite different (e.g., in the latter case, it went from north of the Black Sea to the Muslim world, transforming Venice into a great city-state.)

Migration in the Modern World-System, 1492-1996

Since the sixteenth century, according to Wallerstein (1974), a new historical social system emerged in Europe, the modern capitalist world-system, driven by the iron logic of endless accumulation of profits above all else and for its own sake. This social system allowed an economically linked plurality of polities (states) and cultures to develop within an hierarchical order4, while at the same time it fostered a single, global division and integration of labor based on production for exchange in world markets. Social, non-market, mechanisms of redistribution based on reciprocity, custom, ritual, and kin solidarity, inexorably began to be replaced by the institutional practices and processes of the self-regulated market (Polanyi 1957). Social relations became increasingly commodified, mediated by the money nexus, subject to purchase and sale. By 1650, this peculiar system was consolidated in its core area in Northwestern Europe, with vast new geographic zones of the Americas and the Mediterranean world firmly incorporated as its first peripheries and semiperipheries, from whence social surplus flowed towards the core in great gushes in the form of bullion, grains, and tropical cash crops like sugar, tobacco, and cotton. In subsequent centuries the world-system would incorporate all regions of the Earth as its peripheries and semiperipheries.

People began to "flow in great gushes," too. On the wake of agrarian-merchant capitalism first, and machine-based industrial-finance capitalism later, all the old agrarian societies became revolutionized, one after the other, beginning with Europe's own (Magdoff 1978:21-62). Very few hunter/gatherer societies, hidden in some of the world's most inaccessible rain forests and deserts, precariously managed to avoid this juggernaut to this day. Untold hundreds of millions of others became unhinged from their lands and from the social control of all sorts of traditional agrarian elites, swept from their historic homelands and subordinated to new profit-making ones.

In the ensuing social chaos, three main social forces would contend among themselves and between each other over the kinds, volumes, directions, and restrictions or unrestrictions to be placed on human migration flows in general, and labor mobility in particular: the economic elites that compete over profits (capital); the political elites that compete over power (states); and the laboring classes themselves, human families concerned with survival, aspiring to live the good life, and achieving social prestige (households) (Weber 1946). Within this complex and dynamic social, political, economic, cultural matrix resides the dramatic story and the keys to the explanation of the turbulent history of modern migrations. High politics, high finance, great cultural constructs, all tugging at modern humanity. We will therefore analyze the structural transformations of the interstate system and the modes of accumulation of historical capitalism, their great impact on human migration flows, and the role householders, states, and capitals, played in the social construction of difference between being "immigrant" and being "national."

From the "cosmopolitan" perspective of the commanding heights of capital, which became increasingly dominant vis-a-vis the states and households from the sixteenth century on, capital, labor, and land - the three so-called "factors of production" - were to be constantly and efficiently recombined, spatially and organizationally, to perform different productive activities in such a way as to maximize global profits and expand world production and markets. To achieve that no small feat, these factors needed to be "freed," in the sense of their geographic mobility and their commodification (the possibility and ease of buying and selling them as "commodities" brought to "market"). But who could achieve converting human labor power and the land into disposable commodities, and enforce the rules of their mobility, purchase, sale, use, and disposal?5

The core states - each the embodiment of strategic alliances between the old and new elites - were built to facilitate and guarantee the conditions within which the processes of commodity production, exchange, and surplus accumulation could operate maximally. The two most important things the new states had to facilitate and guarantee, vested as each became with the territorially circumscribed monopoly over the means and use of violence, were (a) the subordination of labor to capital; and (b) the protection of allied capitals' processes of surplus accumulation and their own viability as states from the competitive pressures and predatory practices of other capitals and states. To discharge these essential functions, the core states had to accomplish three things, all of which had a tremendous impact on modern migration history: erect monopolies of violence, expand and consolidate their territories, and establish an interstate system.

The states erected much larger and powerful coercive apparatuses with which to discourage and stamp out all kinds of labor resistance against commodification and other resistance (e.g. native colonial) against the new social order, and in so doing, they helped keep people "in their place" socially and spatially, or, when necessary, to forcibly move them into new occupations and geographies. Thus the so-called "labor markets," far from evolving into the self-regulated mechanisms exchange guided only by Adam Smith's famous "invisible hand," were politically "rigged" from the very beginning and would stay that way up to today.6

The core states also aggressively sought to enlarge and politically and militarily consolidate their territorial domains, both within the core areas and outside them, at each others' expense.7 A first wave of European empire-building commenced in the sixteenth century with the establishment of the Spanish colonies in the Americas and the Portuguese seaborne empire along coastal enclaves in Africa, Asia, and Brazil, followed by Dutch, English, and French colonialism in the Caribbean, North America, and Southern Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A second wave of imperialism was launched in the nineteenth century, just as the first wave's colonial areas rebelled politically and were admitted as new "sovereign states" in the interstate system. The new imperialism was much strengthened by the lessons learned from the first one and by the mighty economic and military fruits of the industrial revolution. By 1880-1900 a host of minor European powers and two extra-European new powers joined in the scramble for colonies: the United States, which joined in a small way as it remained focused on internal expansion and consolidation, and Japan, which joined in a big way. This second wave targeted all of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia for peripheral incorporation into the world-economy. Although it would peak at the onset of World War I when British global hegemony was shattered, this second colonial wave lasted until after World War II. Rapid decolonization occurred in the 1945-1975 period, yielding over 150 new member states at the United Nations (Bergesen 1980).8 Both colonial expansions of historical capitalism led to immense migration flows, within and across continents, involving tens of millions of mostly bonded non-European laborers transplanted from areas of supply to areas of demand within each European empire (Fig. 10-1).

Initially, from the fifteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, the European colonial powers restricted the transoceanic migrations of capital and labor to their colonial domains, the hallmark of the era of mercantilism. American colonial labor in the new European zones, though highly mobilized, was for the most part not free in the human sense, only in the commodity sense: tributed (Amerindian), indentured (European), and chained (African).9 Two other forms, the waged and the contracted labor flows, would have to wait until the nineteenth century.

The first, most significant and durable, large-scale migrations of early historical capitalism - the first modern "immigrants" - consisted of the Amerindian tributary labor allocation systems (1492-1910) and the trans-Atlantic African slave trade (1440-1880). The first one immediately developed around all Iberian colonial enclaves - intracontinental, but no less massive, coercive, disruptive, or long-term than its transcontinental African twin (Saco 1932). The second spread throughout the Americas, but expanded mostly in the Pan-Caribbean region - the Caribbean proper and the mainland coastal lands from Northeastern Brazil to Maryland (Wolf 1982; Mintz 1986).10 The profits generated from the exploitation of these unfree labor flows and the industrial activities generated in the core to obtain, control and sustain them, lit the spark of the British Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century -- the early stage of industrial capitalism proper (Williams 1944).

Ten million Africans or so were brought to the Americas and sold as slaves alive (Curtin 1969) from Columbus's voyages to the 1880s, though most of them, over 60 percent, were brought in the eighteenth century alone, as industrialization revved up in Europe.11 Probably another 10 million died and 90 million more were dislocated by the slave trade in Africa proper, which constituted an "external" reservoir of labor until its incorporation to the world-economy in the late nineteenth century. After 1880, further massive, semi-coerced, intra-continental labor migration flows marked Africa's own colonial period. No question then that Africans in Africa, as much as Africans in the Americas, constituted an early, continuous, prolonged, massive and unfree category of "immigrants" of historical capitalism. Perhaps it is worth noting that most of the Africans brought in chains to the Americas came as legal, well documented migrants.

But it is a common mistake of migration historiography to assume that the untold millions of uprooted and relocated Amerindians of the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, and the Andes became any less relocated, any less exploited, any less "foreign" and culturally disoriented, and any less coerced and socially subjugated, than the Africans were for five centuries, just because their uprooting and labor mobilization was exclusively intra-continental. Amerindians endured European colonialism and EuroAmerican internal colonialism every bit as Africans, up to the present. Their migration flows were also as gigantic. Perhaps as many as 60 million Amerindians - half of the contact population - from the time of Columbus to the Mexican Revolution (which abolished indebted peonage) experienced various unfree "immigrant experiences" (Saco 1932).12

Mita mining in the Andes and its equivalent in Mexico siphoned vast Indian populations from wide regions, never to be heard of again (Galeano 1973). Even Indian-based agrarian production in Spanish America relied for centuries on forced migrant tributary schemes such as outright enslavement, the encomienda, and the repartimiento systems. Only later, after the demographic collapse of the Amerindian population had occurred, did Indian-based agrarian production relied on the geographic immobility and direct social control of Indian labor within the haciendas, in the old European feudal manor style, and to a lesser extent the missiones run by the Church.13It would not be until after World War Two that another huge wave of rural-to-urban migration of de-Indianized peasants - perhaps 100 million strong - would take place in Latin America within each country, as each became industrialized.14 A fraction of these and other proletarianized people crossed and continue to cross the political boundaries within Latin America; an even smaller fraction, have emigrated outside the area altogether, mostly to the United States.15

Another colonial migration flow to the Americas was European, relatively puny in comparison with the others just described and with the massive intra-European migration flows of that time, but destined to become as large as the others in America's postcolonial times. In Europe, the core absolute monarchies began consolidating their linguistically diverse regions, previously ruled by local nobilities in a quilt of partial sovereignties sanctioned and manipulated by the Church (Anderson 1974). These larger hereditary dynastic orders, centers of emerging empires overseas, allowed for the creation of the first large-scale labor markets within Europe, within which "their" subjects increasingly moved to sell their labor power whenever and wherever capital investments created a demand. During the period 1600-1800, large-scale cash cropping - which stimulated rapid population growth - and the rural cottage "putting-out" manufacturing system, kept the large migration flows within Europe essentially rural. A small fraction went to the colonies, especially the English colonies in the Caribbean and North America.

About 2 million Europeans came to the Americas in this period, most to New England. An estimated two-thirds of the total came as indentured servants, bonded for a few years to plantation colonies, then released (those that made it) (Wolf 1982). These not-yet-seen-as "white" indentured laborers actually preceded the African slaves in the British possessions in the Caribbean and North America as the main colonial labor force by up to a century. The other third of the European colonials, mostly English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Irish, Scott, and Welsh, came as soldiers, freemen, yeomen, artisans, fur traders, nobles, planters, and religious refugees. Transoceanic European colonial emigration essentially came to a stand still with the advent of the Napoleonic Wars and the EuroAmerican (Creole) settler revolts throughout the Americas. Not until after 1820 would it pick up again, mostly directed to the U.S.. After 1800, with European industrialization in full force, rural-to-city migrations grew exponentially in Europe. Large cities rose, crammed with people and a plethora of new machine-powered factories, first in England, then throughout Northwestern Europe (Wolf 1982: 360-363). Eastern Europe lagged behind industrially and had another intense cash-cropping period, its "second serfdom." In the same order in which these regions industrialized, uprooting people, extending wage labor and unemployment, Europe would send "excess" migrants overseas, unrestricted by either sending or receiving areas - most to the Americas, others to Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. A first wave, the so-called "old immigrants" of American historiography, migrated from (Protestant) Northwestern Europe from 1820 to 1860. A much larger wave of (Catholic) Southern and Eastern Europeans, the "new immigrants," emigrated between the end of the American Civil War and 1930, though their most intense period was from 1880 to 1914 (Fig. 10-2).16

A total of 50 million Europeans emigrated overseas between 1800 and 1914, 32 million of which came to the U.S., the large majority of whom arrived undocumented without fear of expulsion (Fig. 10-2). Being undocumented was "legal;" what mattered was being European, or "white," the only category of people invited to migrate to the U.S. freely without documentation and the only ones allowed to become U.S. nationals, what became known as naturalization.17

This large migration flow, elevated to become the archetype of the immigration experience in the U.S., was not the only one - nor the largest - at this time in the world-system - but it would be the freest ever in the history of the modern world-system.18 Especially if we compare it with another, even more gigantic flow of the era: the intra-continental migration flows unleashed by the incorporation of Southern Asia and the Pacific islands into the orbit of historical capitalism. Most of this flow would consist of contracted, racialized, overexploited Asian labor. It, in turn, would become the archetype of the immigration experience in the world-system's periphery in the Age of Imperialism. This two great tectonic plates of historical capitalism would hardly touch, but when they did, as in California after 1850, great tremors shook the local fault areas. After Britain bursted into India, flexing its new military-industrial might in the late eighteenth - early nineteenth centuries, inaugurating the second great colonial wave of historical capitalism, it firmly established a new prototype of European colonialism in the world, introducing a new and improved mode of peripheral expansion of the world-system. Peripheral production for the world-markets would henceforth be powered by the steam engine and no longer be based on slave or tributary labor, but migrant contract labor. But from where? The new imperialism, backed by technologically superior navies and armies, would subordinate the former great states of India and China in the first half of the nineteenth century, forcing them into onerous treaties allowing, among other things, for unlimited outward contract labor migration flows to occur.

Politically too, there would be no more bothersome settler revolts like the earlier ones in the Americas (except for the one that broke out in Boer South Africa in 1900 - not a bad record). No effort would be spared, unlike the previous colonial era, in elevating the social status and material rewards of the European colonizers to secure their loyalties to their mother country, while downgrading the social status of, and harshly penalizing any resistance by, the colonized "natives." All European countries, large and small, would join in after 1880, though the lion's share went to the British, who never forgot their North American "false start". The U.S., a rising power at the time, also joined in, importing relatively modest amounts of Asians to its Hawaiian plantations after 1850, to the West Coast from 1850 to 1924, and to its Philippines plantations after 1898.19 Japan would likewise join the colonization drive after its colonization of Korea in 1910, its annexation of Manchuria in 1931, and elsewhere up until the end of World War II. Britain began by sending some Asian migrants to its Caribbean colonies, which up to 1834 used African slave labor.20 But the bulk of core capital and Asian contract labor were combined to develop its vast new plantation and mining enclaves in Southern Asia and the Pacific Islands, working in them and building the infrastructures (ports, rail lines) to link them to the world-economy. The Chinese and the Indians were also sent as "middlemen minorities," merchant and clerical classes, to the British colonies in Africa. The new colonial ventures were much larger and profitable operations than the previous ones, generating a whirlpool of Asian overregulated and overexploited contract migrants in enclave regions in Malaya, Burma, Indochina, South Africa, Fiji, and Java. British imperialism alone is responsible for causing the emigration of an estimated 31 to 45 million Asian Indians between 1834 and 1937, mostly contracted to work elsewhere in Asia. Other powers were also involved in contracting so-called coolie labor from China, shipped mostly elsewhere in Asia but also as far away as Cuba, Suriname, and Peru. Perhaps 50-60 million unfree Chinese emigrated from 1850 to 1937, judging by the huge Chinese diaspora population in the world today. Many tens of millions more were mobilized within India and China as internal migrants. Combining the two major Asian flows of British imperialism, the Indian and Chinese ones, with all other Asian contract migrant flows from 1850 to 1937 (Vietnamese, Burmese, etc.,) it becomes clear that the great Asian unfree migration wave unleashed and regulated by Europe in Asia from 1834 to 1937 constitutes the largest ever in the history of the modern world-system, much larger than the better known and studied, and much freer, co-temporal European wave of wage workers to the U.S., and elsewhere (Fig. 10-1).

The new imperialism was launched and sustained, from the very start and until its dismantlement after World War II, under an avowed ideology of white supremacy,21 making the hellish subjugation and exploitation of hundreds of millions on non-Europeans appear to European eyes, up to just five decades ago, as a generous act of inclusion into Europe's self-appointed mission to propagate progress and civilization, an endeavor the imperialists, especially the middle classes at home, frequently decried as a net "burden" on them. But, besides the pious platitudes and constant complaints against the "ungrateful," "useless," and "unreliable" natives, there would be no attempt to bring European indentured servants into the colonies this time around, not even European wage earners in any serious numbers - despite Europe's huge emigration wave at the time. Only a minor flow of sojourner investors, supervisors of non-Europeans and soldiers/ bureaucrats came, pursuing an attractive colonial tract for rapid social mobility. Working-class, artisan, and aspirant farmer Europeans were henceforth to go to other "white" countries (Europe), or to countries whose states were deliberately seeking to become white, like the United States22 (Saxton 1990) Argentina and Australia. On the other hand, none-white labor would henceforth be mobilized semi-coercively to non-white colonies,23 and only the tiniest number of non-Europeans, mostly from the collaborating elites and ship crews, were allowed to come to Europe during this period. The U.S. did flirt with Asian contract labor, as we have seen, but not much and not for long. White wage labor and non-white labor of any kind were not to be mixed in the same area or productive activity, and their levels of subordination would also be distinct.24

The consolidation of the ideology of white supremacy was as much a reflection of core labor's increased political bargaining power vis-a-vis core capital, as it was a reflection of the dramatic decrease of any bargaining power by the peripheral states, capitals, and especially labor forces. A new worldwide division of labor, especially of migrant labor, became institutionalized geographically between 1800 and 1945. The color line ("white" - "non-white", or its cultural equivalent, "European" - "non-European") was borrowed and reinforced from the first colonial period and was now institutionalized as the primary geographic social relation of the world-system, framing the status, rights, life chances and migration opportunities of all members of humanity along a single racial divide. Both European and non-European migration patterns, as we have seen, were dramatically altered - bifurcated and socially differentiated - from 1820 to 1945.

But this is not the whole story of the period. Another sociopolitical construct, nationality, was also maturing in the core. After 1914, it would lead to the granulation and restriction of the European migration flows while the non-European, periphery-to-periphery contract migrations would continue unabated until the outbreak of World War II. Only after 1945, in the wake of the second great decolonization wave of historical capitalism, would the proliferation of nation-states in the postcolonial areas greatly impact their migration flows, ending some of the most notorious and abusive peripheral flows and changing the direction of new ones towards the core countries.25Significant periphery-to-core migrations would then flow in large numbers to California and other U.S. "gateway states" from 1965 to now (Fig.'s 10-4, 10-5, 10-6), changing the ethnic character of U.S. immigration from a lily-white one to mostly Latino and Asian flows.

But first, why did the Europeans stop coming? Most of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century European migrants to the U.S., at the peak of the second wave, arrived hardly conscious of even having a "nationality," unlike their hosts, though many were made to think they did and needed to shed it, and all quickly learned upon arrival they belonged to "the superior race." But by 1920, all the hereditary dynastic orders of Europe metamorphosed or fragmented into one or several nation-states, just as the Americas did a century before, albeit some still with big "colonial tails" wagging. The proliferation of industrialized European nation-states and of the ideology of nationalism had the impact, after 1914, of essentially containing labor migration flows within political "national" boundaries - a mini-version of past mercantilistic state protectionism of "labor markets."26

Labor mobility that crossed nation-state boundaries - emigration and immigration, as it now became universally known - became increasingly subjected to strict state regulation. This was a reflection of increasing rivalry between core states as Britain's hegemony declined, of capital's quest for "national markets," but most important of all, it was a reflection of the gradual political ascendancy (from 1850 to 1914) of core industrial labor vis-a-vis core capital - householders resisting full commodification and seeking "protection" from labor competition. Nowhere was this truer than in the U.S., where by 1924 the exclusively white labor movement - having finally abandoned its would-be immigrant class and race brethren from Europe - would drive U.S. Congress to pass the highly restrictive 1924 National Origins Act. American labor had determined to be more "national" than "white," and it still does (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1980).27

But European labor, especially Northwestern European, was likewise demanding "protection" of its "national labor markets," and had become highly organized politically by 1914 along two wings: a nationalist, gradualist majority, pursuing parliamentary social democracy; and an internationalist, revolutionary minority, pursuing a direct assault on all core states. European capitals, about to plunge in a war with one another for colonies and profits, felt the need and convenience to forge a strategic alliance with "their" nationalist labor leaders, with the result that the workers' revolts in the aftermath of World War I were defeated everywhere - including those in the colonial world - except in semiperipheral Russia.28 But radical labor rose again, as the workers faced the woes of the Great Depression and the Russian "worker state" seem to offer an alternative, something which presented capital with a serious political dilemma. German highly monopolized capital opted for fascism, a program for submitting all labor, core and non-core alike, by means of naked terror, all in the name of Aryan superiority and building the "thousand-year Reich." The other core powers, except Japan and Italy, came together to defeat this latter-day attempt at world-empire building, even joining their nemesis, the U.S.S.R., to accomplish that. Again, a new strategic alliance with labor proved necessary within each core nation-state, which was not particularly difficult this second time around, given the foe and given Uncle Joe's blessing. After the fascist option badly backfired, and the western communist parties were domesticated in a deal with Stalin at Yalta - whereby the U.S.S.R. could "keep" Eastern Europe and each side would play "contained" boogie man to the other during the Cold War -, the social democratic labor parties were invited to share state power throughout Western Europe, with the blessings of its old strategic ally, capital.29

In the U.S., where fascism was only flirted with, and where the pact with (still mostly white) organized labor was struck first, it became known as the New Deal. An essential component of the deal was to retain the highly restrictive and racist "national origins quota" immigration system. The sole exception was the establishment of the Bracero Program, a purely temporary guest worker program regulated directly by the U.S. and Mexican Governments as a "war emergency" and highly circumscribed to manual agricultural labor in the U.S. Southwest. It lasted from 1942 to 1964 (Fig. 10-8).30

After the war, the new social contract between organized labor and capital in Western Europe, the U.S., and Japan consisted of institutionalizing state-regulated social welfare, protecting the "national" labor markets from "foreign" competition, and granting generous, long-term union contracts in the primary sector of the economy (labor's interest); in return labor gave its support to the Cold War, did not disrupt production in the vertically integrated primary sector, and gave capital total freedom to invest abroad (capital's interest). Not a bad deal for either side. It kept the peace, the production lines going, and the profits flowing. The 1945-1965 era of U.S. global hegemony represents the honeymoon period between core capital and nationally-granulated organized core labor. But like all honeymoons, it had to end; this one ended in the 1960s. Starting in 1965, U.S. and Western European capital began to fudge on protecting the "national labor markets" (though not Japan, where immigration remains tiny). In the U.S., this reflected the enormous success capital achieved in "going global," establishing branches of hundreds of so-called transnational corporations worldwide, exporting millions of manufacturing jobs to the world's South, and sweeping the rug from under the feet of a super-patriotic American labor movement unaware that Roger Smith's (General Motor's chairman) framing aphorism of the times, "what's good for GM is good for the United States," was a bad joke played on them. By 1965, the United States state faced three challenges: the decade-long extraordinary revolt of its own colored citizens against the color line, most of whom had been excluded from organized labor and the New Deal social contract altogether; leading the interstate system as the global hegemon of the period, which meant fighting the ideological and even military proxy wars with the Soviet Union for the "hearts and minds" of the newly independent, colored-led, former colonies of Africa and Asia; and assisting transnationalized American capital expand throughout the world and compete effectively at home and abroad against the fast-rising Western European and Japanese core capitals. It met these challenges, in part, by doing two things at the expense of white-protected, nationally-protected American organized labor, by 1965 greatly weakened in its bargaining power: first, it abolished apartheid at home and extended the New Deal to its "racial" minorities, having deemed it more costly to postpone doing this than to concede it;31and second, it opened up the numerically restricted, whites-only legal immigration process to areas of non-European labor supply, granting visas and even full U.S. citizenships to non-whites in large numbers for the first time in its history.32 The Bracero Program, officially terminated in 1964, would now be allowed to function as an informal (illegal) guest worker program of enormous magnitude.33 Abolishing the national origins immigration quota system for one based on family reunification not only seriously subverted the carefully crafted protections placed on the "national labor market," previously agreed upon by a U.S. state-capital-labor partnership going back to the 1920s, but it also help shatter the much older white supremacist scheme to maintain the existing racial, even ethnic, composition of United States indefinitely - the reverse (and older) side of the cultural coin used to justify the world-historic process of labor segmentation. To conquer the world and to re-subordinate American labor, American capital and state were willing to forego the Great White Republic, both as an exclusive white domain and as a nation-state construct, multiculturally from within, and by capital flight abroad and managing the gates more "flexibly." This achievement of the Kennedy/Johnson era, the apogee of Wilsonian liberalism, was planned and executed in the interest of global capital and not a gift to the world.34

U.S. Immigration grew dramatically again after 1965.35 This situation could only destabilize things politically in a country where EuroAmerican householders were the immense majority (Fig. 10-9). As New Deal liberalism and U.S. hegemony reached their peak in the early 1960s, whites began to feel increasingly threatened and besieged by legally having to live in an increasingly multiracial, multicultural society as equals, which meant becoming just one more group among other "fully American(izing)" groups - the rise of the state-sanctioned ideology of egalitarian panethnicity.36They also felt appalled at the rate of evaporation of their American nation-state construct, helpless to stop corporate (and job) flight abroad - courtesy of a private sector and a state sector committed to U.S.-style global "free enterprise" and the "magic of the marketplace" -, and frustrated by growing legal and illegal immigration, despite the many restrictive bureaucratic visa procedures still in place and the increasingly visible coercive work of the Border Patrol and other migra agents. White workers and whites in general began to feel "cheated out" and "betrayed" by "their own" state and capital, for "selling out their country."37Long socialized to white supremacy and "American exceptionalism," whites began to abandon liberalism as poison since Nixon's victory in 1968, and began to embrace an ever more off-center version of right-wing politics with each passing election, trying to roll-back the gains of the "minorities" and the "immigrants," perceived to have been achieved "at their expense," and trying to regain control over "their country."38With the political leadership of both Republican and Democratic parties now openly embracing the new anti-immigration fever in the country, especially after the challenge of the neopopulist campaign of Ross Perot in 1990, there is every indication to expect immigration will become severely curtailed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, in a desperate attempt to resist the further erosion of American (nationally-bound) labor's bargaining power vis-a-vis America's (unbound) global capital.

But scapegoating immigrants and minorities and insisting on placing further protectionist safeguards (e.g., trade) to its "national labor market" while ducking the growing structural imbalance between capital and labor is a losing proposition. The entire edifice of the New Deal itself is being dismantled blow by blow before American labor's very eyes, unable to do anything about it - all in the name of stopping welfare cheats and other "freeloaders."39 As American jobs continue to be exported not just to post-NAFTA Mexico but to the post-WTO world-economy at large, and as the world-economy integrates further, American labor will have to either free itself from its nationalist procrustean bed and obdurate white supremacy and confront American transnationalized capital on a new plane, or slide into a neofascist direction (Amin et al (1990).

European EC householders are in a similar bind. Rystad (1992:1170-1172) distinguishes four periods in industrial European immigration history:

(1) The no gate period, 1820-1914, was characterized by free migration both within Europe and to transoceanic countries. "People could, in fact, begin to work in a new country without seeking a permit to do so." (1170).

(2) The shut gate period, 1914-1945, witnessed the introduction and institutionalization of systematic immigration and border controls. War and the generalized unemployment of the Great Depression popularized "Alien Control." Demands were raised for protecting the "domestic" workers against "foreign" competition by elder politicians and labor leaders whose parents had thought of themselves as "subjects" of one or another of the great, cosmopolitan monarchical houses of Europe. People were now required to have passports and visas to "go abroad."

(3) The gate ajar period, 1945-1974, was characterized by the direct, active recruitment of millions of Southern European and nearby non-European foreign "guest" workers brought in to assist in the re-industrialization of Western Europe, and a propaganda-driven open arms policy towards "refugees" from communist Eastern Europe. The decolonization wave of the period also led to extensive immigration from the former colonies to the former "mother countries" under relatively liberal immigration control.

"Immigration problems" developed. The guest workers, on the one hand, though kept segregated and supervised, turned out - surprise! - to be socially "sticky:" they tended to lay roots in the host countries that had contracted them with the facile view of squeezing their "instant adult labor power" from them at a fraction of the cost of "domestic" labor, and then dumping them back to their countries of origin. The colonials who arrived in large numbers, on the other hand, were deemed culturally and racially undesirable by Europeans long accustomed to eurocentrism, nationalism, and white supremacy. Western Europe now had "minority problems."40

(4) The EC-no-gate / non-EC-shut-gate period, 1974-1995, is characterized by the very draconian, xenophobic restrictions placed on immigration from outside the European Common-market (EC) countries, and the simultaneous, dramatic, tearing down of all the internal walls separating the EC countries, including all restrictions to free internal mobility. EC "nationals" - whatever that means now - are back to where they were last century, not having to bother with legal documents to work anywhere they please inside the EC. All guest worker programs, on the other hand, were terminated. The only immigration allowed from the previous sending countries is a highly controlled trickle based on family reunification. All immigration from former colonies has likewise been reduced to a trickle. When the Cold War suddenly and peacefully ended in 1989-1992, several million "refugees" (of what now, one could ask?) from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union caught Western Europe by surprise. They took Western Europe's word that they were welcome and showed up! The shrill level of xenophobia this caused reached new heights. The rising electoral strength of the extreme right-wing, overtly racist and xenophobic political parties (now at the 20% levels) and the increase in anti-immigrant violence, has led parliaments everywhere to pass new laws that cancel the generous Cold War provisions for refugee immigration. The doors are now slam shut to the East as well as to the South.

What this means is that the social construction of "immigrant alien" has now shifted in EC Europe, one of the three core areas of the world-economy, from a non-national to a non-core definition.41 This is still quite a potent stigmatizing and exclusionary mechanism for those "outside", as well as a potent coopting social control mechanism for those "inside." But those on the "outside" willing to endure a life of hardships, persecution, and stigma to live a better life or just to survive, are increasingly responding with unauthorized, undocumented, illegal immigration, Fortress Europe's, Fortress (North) America's, and even Fortress Japan's new big "problem."42


To sum up things, the immigrant-national antinomy only recently became a new social relation of the modern world-system, born in the era of universal nation-stateness. It reproduces a deep social division within highly commodified, mobile labor, granting one type of mobile labor freedom to relocate geographically, full cultural membership and identity, social prestige, and full legal status, all of which it uses to participate politically and have a higher bargaining power vis-a-vis "its" capital and "its" state, while denying all of these things to the other type of mobile labor - to the point of even denying immigrants many of the much-touted universal human rights.43 It is the product of an historic compromise between core capital and core labor, later extended to all postcolonial areas. In this way, labor in the core areas has been given - or has fought its way into having - a stake in the world-system. It is now an indispensable social relation of historical capitalism, successfully and flexibly regulated by the interstate system to maintain, even increase, a highly stratified world-economy while promoting labor docility everywhere. It is the twin antinomy and usually the antecedent of the national majority-ethnic minority social relation within each nation-state - both of which historically combined with the much older color line antinomy of colonial times. It is also in deep crisis. Since the 1950s and 1960s workers from the world's semiperipheries and peripheries, as well as their ethnicized relatives in the core itself, have begun to seriously challenge the nation-state construct by "voting with their feet" and "voting for their cultures" without permission from anyone (Arrighi et al 1989). The concepts of "national sovereignty" and "national culture," ideological pillars of the interstate system, have become increasingly delegitimized in the eyes of the third great social actor in world migration patterns, the vast majority of the world's householders who find themselves geographically or socially excluded from sharing in the good life, achieving social prestige, or just surviving. In contrast to past migrants, transoceanic and inter-continental travel is fast and cheap nowadays. Political borders are becoming porous and unenforceable. The immigrant-national antinomy, as well as the majority-minority antinomy, are fast approaching a rendezvous with history. But what that rendezvous will look like, we do not yet know.44 We are at the very threshold of the post-national reorganization of the world-system. Science will be a factor, but only a factor. Humanity in the next century will most certainly assist in the creation of a new de-territorialized and knowledge-oriented world-economy, based on the new production and communication technologies being developed today. But whether it will be as inegalitarian as the present one, despite our universalisms and all the technological advances we have witnessed, is up in the air. New "Thems" may be lurking just around the corner - e.g., the "knowledge have-nots"- subject to worse socially subjugated than today's "aliens." That, essentially, is what the "immigration problem" and the "ethnic problem" represent today: how to generate complex, world-wide, mobile civilization without enduring systems of social segmentation.

The twenty-first century need not become a global variation of Hitler's authoritarian "thousand year Reich" E Pluribus Imperium Unum; nor remain the granular system of 186 Mini E Pluribus Unums - today's system of "multicultural societies" (nation-states-in-crises), freer but still deeply stratified socially and economically on a world scale; nor get locked into a three-pole core system E Pluribus Tres, as prophesized by George Orwell in his book 1984, and a situation which the Western Europeans, the North Americans, and the Pacific Rim Asians seem to be heading toward with all deliberate speed, leaving everybody else "out," told to fend for themselves.

Perhaps humans will freely move, again, all over the good Earth next century, as their hunter/gatherer ancient forefathers and foremothers did for eons, and do it within an egalitarian world-system not based on endless accumulation, but on celebrating and sustaining life itself: E Pluribus Unum Vivus Orbis - "from many, one living world." It will all depend on the tug of war next century between the world's states, the global capitals, and us 6-10 billion householders.


1. Agricultural societies rose slowly because people resisted inmobility and rigid agrarian class stratification as long as possible, though world populations grew dramatically with the full blossoming of agrarian societies, from about 5-7 million entirely mobile humans circa 4000 B.C. to 150-200 million increasingly immobile humans at the time of Christ. (Chirot 1994:5). But in terms of health, freedom, leisure, and intensity of work, hunter/gatherers were much better off than most peasants; only the agrarian elites were much better off than anybody before them (Sanderson 1995:74-147). Agrarian civilizations represent the least mobile as well as the most intensely oppresive, inegalitarian social systems in human history; the opposite is precisely the case of hunter/gatherer band societies,  which Sahlins (1972) calls the "original affluent society." back

2. The Aztecs favorite, most used gem - turquoise - was "U.S. imported." Ancient turquoise routes from the Southwest to Mesoamerica are described in Harbottle & Weigand (1992). Other things, such as domesticated Maize, copper, architectural and religious ideas, came up north. back

3. Curtin (1990: 24-25) compares Roman and Medieval enslaved migrations. Islamic civilization was on an opposite "timing." What connected all of these civilizations? Sanderson (1994) argues that since about 5,000 years ago there was an important process of expanding world commercialization. Gills & Frank (1992) believe that the extent of markets and commercialization over the last few millenia has been greatly underestimated, and therefore that the shift to modern capitalism in the sixteenth century was less radical that is usually thought. back

4. Wallerstein (1974) calls such social systems world-economies, regardless of size. The modern world-economy covered the entire planet only at the turn of this century. Many ancient  world-economies existed before or after world-empires or next to them, e.g., the Maya regions. back

5. As Wolf (1982:356) points out, prior exploiters were at least more tied to their surplus producers: "Under the kin-ordered mode, kinsmen cannot be hired or fired. A tributary overlord must exercise military force or a functional equivalent to expand or decrease the number of surplus producers under his jurisdiction. Even the slave owner is restricted in his ability to manipulate his labor supply, for he must protect his investment in slaves by feeding them during times when they do not labor. In contrast, capitalists entrepreneurs can hire and fire or vary their wages in response to changing circumstances." A similar argument can be made for the land. back

6. This is no surprise, for labor power is only a fictitious commodity borne by pesky, unreliable humans pursuing social and cultural goals that fiercely compete against and inevitably obstruct endless accumulation. Entire institutions have had to be set up to socialize or coerce people to work for others for the sake of profits, profits not even shared with those that produce them. Two such institutions are the nation-state and their educational systems. Both would also serve to "congeal" the "common sense" distinction between "national" and "immigrant" labor, between "citizen" and "alien." Labor was socially subordinated as it was spatially segmented. back

7. Powerful states charged "protection rents" to capital, taxes to pay for the navies, mercenary troops, etc., needed to do the job (Lane 1979). The goal was to gain competitive advantage. back

8. In this paper the issue of tsarist Russian colonialism followed by Soviet-style colonialism is left unanalyzed. Suffice it to say the U.S.S.R. and its client states broke up in 1992 in much the same way the Austro-Hungarian empire broke up in 1917. There are 186 or so states now. back

9. Just as most hunter/gatherers resisted but succumbed to agrarian civilization, most early modern peoples resisted but succumbed to their incorporation to the capitalist world-system. Even in the emerging core, people resisted. Peasants in Europe had to be dispossessed, subjected to unacceptable rents and taxes, and finally legally expelled from their lands, their "vagrancy" criminalized, before they acquieced into becoming "free" wage factory workers. Artisans similarly faced the loss of ownership over their means of production (Marx 1967). Many of these "urbanized peasants" and artisans fled to America precisely to avoid becoming "free" wage workers, and to return to, or more accurately, try to become independent farmers and artisans. Many achieved it, most did not. But first, early colonials had to bond themselves to come. back

10. After the initial phase of plunder was over, trafficking in Indian and African slaves, mining gold and silver, harvesting pearls, and planting tropical cash crops such as sugar and tobacco, became the most profitable "productive" activities of the colonial period. These activities required not just the forced relocation of non-European from a myriad social formations in two vast continents, but their social and cultural transformation. From the American caulderon into which these intra- and transcontinental migrants of early capitalism were thrown, the survivors emerged culturally flattened into "Indians" and "Blacks", fused non-peoples without any claim to peoplehood other than to exist as socially subordinated, ethnically segmented laboring classes in peripheral areas. America's first melting pot melted former peoples into subordinated races. back

11. A small fraction, about 4 percent of the total Atlantic slave trade, went to the British colonies in North American; about twice as much went to Haiti. Brazil absorbed a third, the most. back

12. Though not labor-based, the diverse Native American peoples of North America made into "Indians," 5-to-12 million in 1492, 600,000 in 1800, 250,000 in 1850, militarily decimated in the postcolonial period and forced repeatedly to relocate to reservations during the nineteenth century, only to be subsequently forced to migrate to the cities in the mid-twentieth century, constitute a part of this history. (Nabokov 1992). back

13. Most late colonial and postcolonial Indians underwent a further socio-cultural transformation than just being cast as a "race," becoming peones encasillados (indebted peons), neofitos (neophytes), or campesinos (peasants), all  made relatively immobile. Most of those who managed to survive as semi-autonomous, communal village peoples increasingly had to engage in seasonal regional migrant work for the Ladino or Criollo haciendas, ranches, and farms. This became a near universal condition in the twentieth century and continues to be significant today. back

14. Not all urban immigrants arrived or became de-Indianized. See Winn (1992: 239-270) on how Andean and Maya indigenous communero migrants have used urban resources to strengthen their communidades indigenas and become politically organized along ethnic lines. Equivalent cases in the U.S. today are the Onondaga in New York and the Lakota in Minneapolis. There are over 30 million indigenous peoples in the Americas today, 2 million in the U.S.. back

15. There were 10 million Latin American-born living outside the area in 1990 (Lattes 1991), of which 8.4 million, mostly Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean, are living in the U.S.. This is relatively insignificant to the over 450 million people living in Latin America. back

16. It must be pointed out that it is precisely this period that the European scramble for colonies led to the incorporation of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia (India belongs to the first period) into the world-economy, which now covered the whole planet for the first time. The millions of European troops and attendants who temporarily "migrated" to these areas as part of the colonizing enterprise, though not "counted," also form part of the European migration story. back

17. Not all had that aspiration. Using the new lexicon of migration, courtesy of U.S. regulators, depending on the European nationality, or ancestry, the rate of repatriation (return migration) among these immigrants varied from 25 to 50 percent (Yans-McLaughlin 1990:7). back

18. In time, the descendants of the migrants (that stayed) would choose this experience - the steamship arrival to Ellis Island passing the Statue of Liberty, the white ethnic melting pot in New York City, and the white ethnic succession mechanism of social mobility, as the great symbols of the U.S. as a land of opportunity, freedom, and cultural amalgamation, with its "golden gate" open to the world's "huddled masses." But after 1914, American xenophobia and European nationalism, wars, and the Depression, led to the gates being closed to even the Europeans. back

19. The U.S. admitted 293,000 Chinese from 1850 to 1890, most self-contracted to work on the railroads; 271,000 Japanese were admitted from 1868 to 1925, first contracted to work in the Hawaiian plantations, after 1908 as free immigrants to the mainland; at least 50,000 Filipinos came to the U.S. between 1924 and 1935 as agricultural workers and many more went to Hawaii since 1898 (Bureau of the Census 1976; Parrillo 1994; Saxton 1971). Added all up, far less than a million Asians migrated to the U.S. and its possessions from 1850 to 1950, a tiny amount compared to the tens of millions of European "new immigrants" that came to the U.S. during that period and the tens of millions of Asian contract workers that went elsewhere in Asia. back

20. Between 1834 and 1918, the British brought 430,000 Indians and 250,000 Chinese to the Caribbean (Curtin 1990: 32), including to Cuba, where the British, in partership with Spain and the U.S., experimented the longest and most succesfully with combining African slave, Asian contract, and Spanish wage labor in producing sugar industrially, substituting the old ingenio mills with gigantic centrales. Other Asians went to Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. back

21. White supremacy had two advantages over religious supremacy, the Spanish and Islamic colonial ideology: the native labor forces targeted for super-exploitation could not become white whereas they could adopt the colonizers' religion; and the color line placed the metropolitans and their progeny born in the colonies on the same side. The Spanish never learned to do that with their Criollo descendants in the Americas, nor the English in North America in time. The key disadvantage was that if and when the second colonial revolts would come, they would most certainly not be Creole revolts but native ones, more prone to be antisystemic than the American republics, as indeed China, India and the rest of Asia and Africa would demostrate after 1945. back

22. Despite the large numbers of African Americans and Native Americans in its population, once the U.S. began to be flooded with what now came to be seen as "white" immigrants, the "white" U.S. nationals imagined they were building a Great White Republic, a racially- homogeneous nation-state. Many became apoplectic when the immigrants, many sojourners, did not wish to become Americanized. In time, though, most white immigrants and nationals became as thoroughly convinced they all were the bearers of Progress and Anglo Saxon Civilization as the British imperialists did in India. This Manifest Destiny became part of the great founding myth of American nationhood. The publication of Darwin's theory of evolution in 1859 gave a "scientific" veneer to the whole ideology of white supremacy as applied to American nation-building. back

23. African Americans were not generally allowed in, even as slaves, after 1812. Most white abolitionists before the Civil War, and whites in general after the war, including Lincoln, strongly advocated deporting the "blacks." Mexican Americans were subjected to persecution, dispossession and expulsion from the Southwest to make way to "Anglo-Saxon Civilization" after the U.S. incorporated the area in 1836-1848. Native Americans of this period faced genocide. back

24. This explains what happened to the Chinese and other Asians in California after the Anglos took it over from the Californios in 1846. When the Chinese began to migrate to the state in 1850 attracted by the Gold Rush, there was an Anglo uproar. The Chinese were legally excluded from mining (1852), from testifying against whites (1854), from naturalizing (1855), from intermarrying whites (14 states), then subjected to "race riots." In 1882, they were legally excluded from coming to the U.S. even temporarily, a policy that would last until 1943 officially, but having assigned China a "national quota" of 105 immigrants per year, exclusion would last until 1965. All other Asians were legally excluded from 1924 to 1965. Only the Filipinos slipped in after 1924, declared by the U.S. Supreme Court, despite Californian howls, "nationals but not citizens." But by 1934, the same court declared them "non-whites," thus ineligible to become citizens, then strictly restricted to whites only. After the Philippines gained independence in 1945, Filipinos joined the excluded category of Asian "foreigners." What accounted for all this?

The Chinese migrants, the largest Asian group, constituted a mere 0.002 percent of the U.S. population in 1880 - though 7.5 percent of California and 26 percent of San Francisco, (Saxton 1971) where they were forced to live. The real (undocumented) aliens, the European immigrants, then 15 percent of the U.S. population and heavily concentrated in its strategic industrial sector of the economy, were not perceived by California Anglos, themselves internal whites migrants, as a threat, thus not targeted for exclusion. The hysteria of California's press and Anglo labor against the "Yellow Peril," therefore, had nothing to do with protecting "its labor market" from "foreign competitors." It had to do with the maturation of the social construction of race in the world-system, as much in its core (Europe, the U.S.) as in the colonial peripheries. back

25. Of these flows, Curtin (1990:33) states: "The economic motives were now those of the migrants themselves, not the organizers. The element of coercion, indeed, dropped steeply after World War I... In Europe, the countries that had once sent migrants across the North Atlantic now became targets of immigration from the South: Surinamese and Indonesians to the Netherlands, Pakistanis and Jamaicans to Great Britain, Turks to West Germany, Italians to Switzerland, Algerians and West Africans to France." These would become in the 1970s-80s Western Europe's new "ethnic minorities," bringing Europe to look more than the United States than the other way around. Today, most countries have "minorities," a residue of recent past migrations. back

26. Adam Smith's point was that core nations could accumulate more wealth via free trade (including of labor) with each other and everybody else, than empires via directed trade with their colonies and restricted trade with each other. Marx, a century later, did not dispute that; he merely revealed that the accumulation process of capital within core industrial countries had its locus in the wage-capital relation, not trade - in which presumably equal values were exchanged in free markets. Actually, the accumulation process of historical capitalism relied on both peripheral non-wage-capital relations and core wage-capital relations, regulated politically by an interstate system that periodically underwent trade "granulation" (protectionism) and  "free trade," as global political hegemonies and/or economic long waves of expansion and contraction came and went. (Arrighi 1994). Labor migrations, free and unfree, occurred within and across alternatively softening and hardening political boundaries of empires as well as nation-states. back

27. The law limited the number of "aliens" of any "nationality" who could immigrate, henceforth only possible by securing a prior "visa" and having a "sponsor," to 2 percent of the U.S. population of that "nationality" back in 1890. Total yearly immigration was capped at 150,000. 1890 EuroAmericans, 87.5 percent of the U.S. population and about 90 percent of California's, were much more WASPish than in 1924 - thus Catholics and Jews, not just non-whites, were to be minimized. By prohibiting the immigration of "aliens ineligible for citizenship," which since 1790 was reserved to "free white persons," the door was closed to Japanese immigration but avoided naming Japan. Agrobusiness got Western Hemisphere immigrants exempt from the quotas, in return for the baning of all Asians. This was, therefore, a deliberate way to reconcile labors' "protection" of its "national labor market," with Europe's new nationalisms and Japanese sensitivities, with the social exigencies of white supremacy, and with industrial capital's insatiable appetite for immigrant cheap labor. The law set the pattern of strange-bedfellow, labor- capital- white- supremacist alliances in the U.S. for the remainder of the century, though the white supremacist part would eclipse from 1965 to 1980, only to resurface again since then. back

28. The Russian Revolution sought and failed to delink from the world-economy. The other great revolution of the time, the Mexican, set the mold for peripheral capitalist national development. The Chinese, who tried the Mexican approach in 1911 would fail and would try the Russian approach in 1949. The Indians and most other British colonies followed the Mexican approach, though other African and Asian national liberation movements tried to "go" socialist. back

29. All of this political history of core nation-states has had profound social and cultural implications to migration flows this century. Nationals began to be assumed to have national cultures. The social stigma of being un-national grew in direct proportion to the social prestige of being national, which meant free to move around and endowed with full political, economic, and social rights, legally encoded but only operational within national jurisdictions - citizenship. Immigrants had none of that. Those that now aspired to become nationals or even just seek work were now often socially rejected, physically excluded, segregated, or denied entry. Their un-national status converted the immigrants and their progeny into "ethnics," or cultural others, and as such became subjected to discriminatory practices and prejudice. Immigrants that rejected assimilation to the host countries' "national cultures" were often forced to assimilate, attacked violently, or expelled en mass. The United States, the primary receiving country of transoceanic European immigrants as well as minor flows of Asians, socially constructed and violently applied the immigrant-national social relation first, in the second half of the nineteenth century. back

30. Chicanos in the area were mostly dispossessed and marginalized through 1880, a pattern started by the Texas revolt (1836) and extended after the Mexican American War (1846-48), after the area, especially California, was flooded with internal Anglo migrants from the East Coast, South, and Midwest regions. Once cash-cropping farming began to substitute cattle ranching in Texas and agriculture boomed in California with the arrival of railroads in the 1880s, Mexican unregulated free migrants were sought after as seasonal farmworkers, especially after the Asians were excluded. They were not welcomed to stay, but subjected to segregation and "race riots." Mexican nationals began "immigrating legally" in significant numbers (as refugees) only after the Mexican Revolution detonated in 1910, actually "invited in" to help alleviate the labor shortage caused by World War I, despite organized labor's strident opposition. Following the Great Depression, organized (white) labor and stagnant capital egged-on the state to launch a draconian "repatriation" campaign to expell - not just exclude - Mexicans and Mexican Americans alike. Half-a-million were expelled, more than half U.S. citizens. Legal immigration of Mexicans as such came to a halt in the 1930s-40s and would not reach the 1920s paltry levels until after 1965. The total Mexican "legal immigration" from the entire period 1820 to 1993, 4.8 million,  barely equals the total entries of the Bracero Program, 4.7 million. It was this highly regulated, oppressive, formal guest worker program that stimulated the "illegal" migration, informal, seasonal, and much freer, of Mexican nationals. But in the decade of the 1950s, when most braceros came, organized labor pushed for and got "Operation Wetback," the expulsion of 4 million illegals, legal immigrants, and Mexican Americans. The policy was still to round up and deport these "undesirables," in part for daring to come on their own, but much more for daring to stay. back

31. Besides, it gained tremendous milage abroad in the propaganda wars, "proving" to the world's colored  majority that the American "Free Enterprise System" was superior to the "Communist System." The decolonization of Africa and Asia made it politically expedient and urgent. back

32. The Western Europeans did not sit idly by. Core recovery after the war meant catching up to the U.S. and eventually trying to challenge its economic predominance in Europe proper. The labor forces, politically sophisticated after two world wars, were nevertheless greatly reduced by war.  This was especially true of West Germany. Worse, the colonies and their vast labor forces ceased to be the cash cows of Europe. European capital would have to bring labor from somewhere if it was to recover. The Eastern Europeans and Russians were out of the question, given the Yalta deal. The gingerly response the highly nationalist West European organized labor gave to capital was to trade a share of state power for a highly supervised non-European guest worker program not very different than the Mexican Bracero Program. The dramatic turnaround in immigration policy in both the U.S. and Western Europe in the 1960s reflected the increased competition between them in a new, postcolonial, "scramble for peripheral labor." back

33. In a wink to California agrobusiness, facing strong labor organizing, the U.S. state allowed the unauthorized seasonal migrant flows from Mexico to continue, against the strong objections of even Mexican American farmworker organizer Cesar Chavez, albeit with beefed up deportations sweeps of the urban industrial zones where the illegals increasingly went, generating impressive statistics meant to show white labor the state was doing its best to protect their U.S. labor markets. The resourceful Mexican illegals continued to come throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and capital continued to hire them. Employer sanctions against hiring illegals were passed in 1986, with no appreciable effect. For this century, Mexican and other Latino illegals have been California's key source of cheap labor. The U.S.-Mexico unauthorized migrant flow is now the world's greatest (though most unavowed) informal guest worker program, quite apart from the much smaller Mexican legal immigration flows. It not only constitutes the oldest and largest migration flow from the semiperiphery or periphery to the core of the world-system, until recently it was also the fastest growing. It is estimated a total of 36 million unauthorized entries from Mexico and 31 million undocumented returns occurred in the 1965-1990 period alone (Massey & Singer 1996). After 1992, the U.S. state began to "clamp down" at the border. back

34. The colored householders of the world's South, by rising to end colonial oppression and contract migrations within the periphery, and the segregated colored householders of the world's North, by refusing to remain socially subordinated to whites through legal or unlegal apartheid, greatly contributed to persuading the powerful U.S. state of the wisdom of moving with "all deliberate speed," as the U.S. Supreme Court instructed the school systems to desegregate. The alternative, as Che Guevara, the Latin American revolutionary, put it, would be "one, two, three, ... many Vietnams;" or as Malcolm X, the African American revolutionary, put it, to fight "by all means necessary." The color line would have to come down (somewhat) worldwide, even if in so doing, the border line would be seriously compromised, destabilizing the interstate system itself and its construct the nation-state, and with it the way labor has been primarily segmented. back

35. The "new immigrants" after 1965 came from Latin America and Asia in dramatically increasing numbers (Fig.'s 10-4). They have greatly assisted American capital weather the dramatic contraction of the world-economy from 1973 to the present, in fact helping reverse it within the U.S. since 1985 or so. Like past immigrants, they have been faithful surplus producers, willing to work hard within the low-wage secondary sector of the economy, subsidizing capital accumulation and greatly enhancing the lifestyle and comfort of the (mostly white) surplus producers in the primary sector of the economy. They have helped stem the tide of cultural decay in American consumer oriented society, infusing it with the values of hard work, devotion to family, and their rich homeland cultures. They are on average less unemployed and dependent on welfare and other social services, and are healthier, younger, and better achievers in school, things Americans claim to admire. And they pay taxes. The illegals fit essentially the same profile, especially paying taxes and using less social services; they are mostly seasonal Mexicans, Caribbeans, and Central Americans, and on average less proficient at school given their low level of English proficiency. About 3.2 million were "guesstimated" to be in the U.S. in 1992, out of about 20 million foreign-born and 229 million U.S.-born residents in 1990. This means only about 16 percent of the foreign born are illegals (Fig. 10-11) (Lapham 1993). But none of this is great consolation to large numbers of EuroAmerican householders, especially in California, where immigrants, legal and illegal, are concentrated (Fig.'s 10-5, 10-7, 10-10). The immigrants, in their minds, continue to be unnationals, "foreign competitors," and worse: non-white. They are resented for having significantly changed the ethnic composition of the U.S., (much fewer return now than earlier in the century) and for being poised to change it even further in the next century (Fig. 10-9). And nowhere else is this more true than in California, the one state facing the Pacific Rim and bordering Latin America, the biggest gateway in the U.S. (Fig. 10-3). back

36. Essentially, the belief that there are five culturally homogeneous populations in the U.S., four of whom - African-, Asian-, Native-Americans, and Hispanics - are deemed entitled to legal remedies for past discrimination, at least for some time to come, the basis for affirmative action. By conflating and statistically augmenting the historically oppressed non-European groups within the U.S. with the much larger new Latino and Asian immigrant populations - an example of state-sponsored ethnogenesis no different than the earlier conflation and augmentation of EuroAmericans and European immigrants into privileged "whites" -, the panethnicities grew in size and political clout and indeed experienced to some degree intra-cultural amalgamation, but at the expense of generating a much deeper rift with EuroAmericans, who began to point out the ahistoricity and "unfairness" of granting immigrants special treatment "just off the airplane." Even voices within the historically oppressed components of the panethnicities began to point out how they were being "passed over" for professional foreigners. But what appears as a gross unfairness to those defending the American nation-state construct - from both the "majority" supremacist or "minority" assimilationist perspectives -, is but the third round of labor segmentation and stratification in the world-system: first amagamating people into races, then into nationals, and now into panethnicities. The fact that all three coexist in complex intersected laminations within the nation-state construct today is a reflection of the higher geographic and sociopolitcal mobilization of competing segmentations of world labor. back

37. American capital and state were never truly "theirs" to begin with, but rather the other way around for most of U.S. history; nor was North America itself "theirs" - not only were "others" always a central part of it (Takaki 1993), but bordered lands are porous sociopolitical constructs. Essentially the problem was that by 1965 American capital and state had become less "national" than ever, the great consequence ("burden") of achieving world hegemony. back

38. EuroAmericans began to put legal pressure on the state to roll back or water down civil rights since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court's Bakke Decision, and to stem illegal immigration since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The political agenda of the center has dramatically shifted to the right since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The increasingly brazen "playing of the race card" in political campaigns and the stridency of anti-immigrant, nativist, anti-affirmative action rehtoric and legislative actions reached a new high with the 1994 reelection campaign of  California Governor Peter Wilson and his public support for Proposition 187, the most draconian anti-illegal-immigrant California grassroots initiative since Operation Wetback in the 1950s, denying education and health services to illegals. He claimed California "net costs" of educating, jailing, and curing illegals amounted to $2.7 billion a year (Governor's Office of Planning and Research 1994). According to others, immigrants in the U.S. contribute $25 to $30 billion more in taxes than the costs of the services they receive (Hinojosa & Schey 1995). The initiative passed (59%-41%) and greatly polarized ethnic relations, but it is held up in court and may be overturned. Emboldened and in preparation for a (failed) presidential bid, Wilson got the University of California regents to "abolish" its affirmative action programs in 1995. Where Wilson left off, the new U.S. Congress, Republican-controlled after the 1994 elections, has greatly escalated things, presently considering and passing much more draconian anti-legal immigrant legislation anything contemplated by the U.S. state since 1924. back

39. The New Deal social contract would last until the Thatcher-Reagan years. It was artificially sustained beyond its usefulness to an increasingly globalized capital by the exigencies of the Cold War - such as sustaining a war economy and combatting revolutionary, socialist and anticolonial challenges in the periphery and semiperiphery. Now that the Cold War is over, embolden by its victory over historical socialism and operating much more strongly and flexibly on a global stage, core capital has unilaterally declared the New Deal social contract at home null and void, on everything, that is, except immigration policy, core labor's last line of defense. back

40. Only the Cold War open door policy towards Eastern Europe worked like a charm, especially given that, with the assistance of the Soviet block states' hermetic emigration laws, few came! Labor discipline and docility on both sides of the Iron Fence was greatly enhanced for 75 years by constant reminders of the demonic alien system on "the other side." back

41. This is the long-term direction of North America, as well. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was the formalization of a long-established integration trend among the three countries, or more exactly of Canada and Mexico with the U.S.. The short- and medium-term problem, of course, is how to integrate the U.S. and Mexico, given the huge disparity of wages and living standards - Canada is much closer in wages, thus Canadians are not perceived as an "immigration problem." Ultimately, though, Mexican "illegal immigration" will only be resolved by... making it legal!, just as freely and legally as Spaniards move within the EC. What is needed, and inevitable, is NAFTA II, the North American Free Transit Agreement. back

42. They were an estimated 30 million unauthorized migrants worldwide in 1990 (Purcell 1991), most of them not in the U.S. and planning to return to their homelands (Fig. 10-12). Together with legal immigrants, they remitted $66 billion dollars to their households in 1989, $15 billions more than the 1988 U.S. foreign aid, making immigrant labor the second largest "primary commodity" traded, after oil. (Russell & Teitelbaum 1992). Not all work in rich countries. Capital, always searching for cheap labor, has figured out a way to subordinate labor everywhere and make it even cheaper globally: increasingly, illegals get hired in countries that are sending their own nationals as illegals to the core - e.g., Jamaicans in Haiti, Haitians in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans in Puerto Rico, and Dominicans over Puerto Ricans in New York. In all these poor countries, illegals have higher rates of employment than the nationals. The entire region's labor is thus devalued further and its capacity to resist further weakened. State boundaries are thus being used to endlessly segment labor markets, not just in the core areas, but in the peripheral ones as well. See Bonacich (1972) for the classic theory of split labor markets. back

43. Fig. 10-7 is illustrative of this differential; nobody seems bothered by the fact that half of the Anglos and Blacks in California are out-of-staters, because they are seen as "not foreign," even if they came from 3,000 miles away; Latino Californians, over half of them out-of-staters, are a "big" problem, because they are seen as "foreign," despite the history of the area or the fact they may come from just over the border or be bi-residential. In fact, California's history and modern social fabric has been the product of three migration flows: from the South, from the Pacific Rim, and to and from the rest of the U.S.. In 1993 there was, for the first time in its history a net domestic out-migration of 426,000, while there was a net international immigration of 272,000. This is a reflection of the post-Cold-War restructuring of California's economy and the drying up of defense contracts. It is estimated that in the 1980s, three-fourths of all jobs in San Diego were directly attributable to federal spending, while half of all manufacturing jobs in the Los Angeles/Orange counties were driven by defense contracts. From these dislocated areas came the social basis for the Proposition 187 Initiative targeting illegals (Davis 1995). back

44. Wallerstein (1995: 26) predicts the North will not be able to stop the immigration flow from the South, legal or illegal, in the next expansion phase of the world-economy, even if it happens, as it is supposed to in the first quarter of the twenty-first century. This is because "the economic gap will become larger, the recovery of the world-economy will be greatly unequal." The most strenuous xenophobic political opposition to South-North immigration will not "be enough to close the doors [because there are no mechanisms to stop it, and even to seriously limit it," and since the immigrants "are determined to arrive." He therefore envisions the core countries - even currently sealed Japan - changing demographically in the next century to where 10-35% of their populations will consist of socially and politically denied and persecuted Southern immigrants and their "minoritized" descendants. He therefore characterizes these "Southern immigrants" as the "dangerous classes" of the next phase of historical capitalism. back


Acuña, Rodolfo (1988), Occupied America. A History of Chicanos, 3rd ed, New York: HarperCollins.

Amin, Samir, Giovanni Arrighi, Andre Gunder Frank, and Immanuel Wallerstein (1990), Transforming the Revolution. Social Movements and the World-System, New York: Monthly Review Press.

Anderson, Bennedict (1983), Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso.

Anderson, Perry (1974), Lineages of the Absolutist State, London: Verso.

Arrighi, Giovanni (1994), The Long Twentieth Century. Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times, London: Verso.

Arrighi, Giovanni, Terence K. Hopkins, and Immanuel Wallerstein (1989), Antisystemic Movements, London: Verso.

Bergesen, Albert (1980), "Cycles of Formal Colonial Rule," in Terence Hopkins and Immanuel Wallerstein , eds, Processes of the World-System, Beverly Hills: Sage.

Bonacich, Edna (1972), "A Theory of Ethnic Antagonism: The Split Labor Market," American Sociological Review XXXVII, pp: 547-559.

Chase-Dunn, Christopher, and Thomas D. Hall, eds., (1991), Core/Periphery Relations in Precapitalist Worlds, Boulder: Westview Press.

Chirot, Daniel (1994), How Societies Change, Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.

Coe, Michael, Dean Snow, & Elizabeth Benson (1986), Atlas of Ancient America, New York: Facts on File Publications.

Cook, Sherburne F. (1976), The Population of the Californian Indians, 1769-1970, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Curtin, Philip D. (1969), The Atlantic Slave Trade: An Inventory, Madison: University of Wisconsin.

_______ (1990), "Migration in the Tropical World", in Virginia Yans-McLaughlin, ed, Immigration Reconsidered. History, Sociology, and Politics, New York: Oxford University Press.

Davis, Mike (1995), "The Social Origins of the Referendum," Nacla, Report on the Americas XXIX (3), pp 24-28.

Galeano, Eduardo (1973), The Open Veins of Latin America. Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, New York: Monthly Review Press.

Gills, Barry K., and Andre Gunder Frank (1992), "World System Cycles, Crises, and Hegemonial Shifts, 1700 B.C. to 1700 A.D.," Review XV, pp 621-687.

Governor's Office of Planning and Research (1994), Shifting the Costs of a Failed Federal Policy: The Net Impact of Illegal Immigrants in California, Sacramento: Governor's Office.

Harbottle, Garman, and Phil C. Weigand (1992), "Turquoise in Pre-Colombian America," Scientific American , February, pp 78-85.

Heizer, Robert F., and Alan F. Almquist (1971), The Other Californians. Prejudice and Discrimination Under Spain, Mexico, and the United States to 1920, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hinojosa, Raúl, and Peter Schely (1995), "The Faulty Logic of the Anti-Immigration Rhetoric," Nacla, Report on the Americas XXIX (3), pp 18-23.

Lane, Frederick C. (1979), Profits from Power. Readings in Protection Rents and Violence-Controlling Enterprises, Albany: New York State University Press.

Lapham, Susan (1993), "Census Bureau Finds Significant Demographic Differences Among Immigrant Groups," United States Department of Commerce News September 23, pp 1-9.

Los Angeles Times (1993), "Reprint on Immigration Issues from Editions November 14 - November 30, 1993 of the Los Angeles Times", Los Angeles Times, November 14-30.

Lattes, A. and Z.R. Lattes (1991), "International Migration in Latin America: Patterns, Implications and Policies," Paper presented at UNFPA/EC Informal Expert Group Meeting, Geneva, 1991.

Magdoff, Harry (1978), Imperialism: From the Colonial Age to the Present, New York: Monthly Review Press.

Massey, Douglas, and Audrey Singer (1996), "New Estimates of Undocumented Mexican Migration and the Probability of Apprehension," Demography [forthcoming; cited in Raul Hinojosa and Peter Schey, "The Faulty Logic of the Anti-Immigration Rhetoric," Nacla Report on the Americas XXIX (3), pp 18-23.

Marx, Karl (1967), Capital. A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. I, New York: International Publishers.

McGuire, Randall H. (1989), "The Greater Southwest as a Periphery of Mesoamerica," in Timothy C. Champion, ed, Center and Periphery. Comparative Studies in Archaeology, London: Unwin Hyman.

Mintz, Sidney W. (1986), Sweetness and Power. The Place of Sugar in Modern History, New York: Penguin Books.

Moore, Joan, and Harry Pachon (1985), Hispanics in the United States, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Nabokov, Peter, ed, (1992), Native American Testimony. A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present, 1492-1992, New York: Penguin Books.

Parrillo, Vincent N. (1994), Strangers in These Shores. Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States, 4th. ed, New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.

Polanyi, Karl (1957), The Great Transformation, Boston: Beacon Press.

Purcell, J. N. (1991), "Opening Address by the Director General of the International Organization for Migration," Internationa Migration Review XXIX, pp 157-161.

Russell, S. S., and M. S. Teitelbaum (1992), "International Migration and International Trade," Discussion Paper 160, Washington, DC: World Bank.

Rystad, Goran (1992), "Immigration History and the Future of International Migration," International Migration Review XXVI (4), pp 1168-1199.

Saco, José Antonio (1932), Historia de la Esclavitud de los Indios en el Nuevo Mundo, La Habana: Editorial Cultural.

Sahlins, Marshall (1972), Stone Age Economics, Chicago: Aldine.

Sanderson, Stephen K. (1994), "Expanding World Commercialization: The Link Between World-Systems and Civilizations," Comparative Civilizations Review XXX, pp 91-103.

_______(1995), Macrosociology. An Introduction to Human Societies, 3rd ed, New York: Harper Collins.

Saxton, Alexander (1971), The Indispensable Enemy. Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California, Berkeley: University of California Press.

_______(1990), The Rise and Fall of the White Republic. Class Politics and Mass Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, London: Verso.

Smith, Sandra (1995), Affirming Minority Rights. A Modern Perspective, New York: XXX.

Takaki, Ronald (1993), A Different Mirror. A History of Multicultural America, Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

U.S. Bureau of the Census (1976), Historical Statistics of the United States. Colonial Times to 1970, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

_______(1980), Census of the Population, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Press.

_______(1990), Census of the Population, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Press.

_______(1993), Current Population Reports, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Press.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1980), The Tarnished Golden Door. Civil Rights Issues in Immigration, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S. Department of Commerce (1994), Statistical Abstract of the United States 1994, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1984), 1984 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

_______(1986), 1986 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

_______(1991), 1991 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Universidad Simon Bolivar (1983), Migraciones Latinas y Formación de la Nación Latinoamericana, Caracas: Instituto de Altos Estudios de América Latina.

Wallerstein, Immanuel (1974), The Modern World-System I. Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, New York: Harcourt, Brace-Jovanovich, Publishers.

_______(1995), "La Reestructuración Capitalista y el Sistema-Mundo," Keynote address at the XX Congress of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Sociología, Mexico City, October 2-6.

Weber, Max (1946), "Class, Status, Party," in H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, eds, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York: Oxford University Press.

Wenke, Robert J. (1984), Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Three Million Years, 2nd ed, New York: Oxford University Press.

Williams, Eric (1944), Capitalism and Slavery, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Winn, Peter (1992), Americas. The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean, New York: Pantheon Books.

Wolf, Eric (1982), Europe and the People Without History, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia, ed, (1990), Immigration Reconsidered. History, Sociology, and Politics, New York: Oxford University Press.

wave line