Entering the New Year with Rising Rates of Murder. What Lies Behind It?

Hot off the press. Milwaukee has shattered its homicide record for a third year in a row. Murder there is growing exponentially. In 2019, the city reported 97 homicides. As 2022 draws to a close, the city has recorded 214 people murdered—in a single year. (The below chart reflects statistics through 2021. I do not yet have the number for nonfatal shootings.)

This phenomenon affects black families far more than any other racial group in Milwaukee (and this is true in most major US cities), with young black men comprising most perpetrators, as well as most victims. See my recent blog, America’s Crime Problem and Why Progressives are to Blame for a deep dive into the problem (based on a talk I gave in the fall at an academic conference).

The root causes of the phenomenon of inner-city gun violence are well known: the effects of globalization, i.e., loss of low-skilled labor-intensive jobs to immigration and off-shoring, exacerbating the structural inequality endemic to American capitalism, physically deteriorating and socially-disorganized neighborhoods, and a corresponding situation of idleness reinforced by progressive welfare policy, accompanied by family disintegration and a culture of violence perpetuated in gang life. All this feeds a worldview that at once dehumanizes people while compelling them to find meaning in backwards tribalism and ritualized violence.

Washington spends a trillion dollars annually on the military-industrial complex. The president invites the world to come live with us. But “Black Lives Matter.” Really? Do any lives matter to these sociopaths beyond their own self-importance?

* * *

The first draft of this blog was a Facebook post. A friend pushed back against the argument, asking if we should close the borders, only employ citizens, kick out work visa and green card holders, and nationalize. He wondered where it ends before asking “Is that what we were founded on?”

The nation was indeed founded upon economic nationalism and a fashion of geopolitics that cultivated advantageous international relations in the context of the world capitalist economy. Nation-state have borders. Every country in the world regulates travel across its borders. The more the government sides with of citizens, the tighter restrictions on immigration—and the better the social conditions. 

What is government for if not to represent the interests of its citizens? Presently, the United States has the most lax immigration rules in the West. Was I have blogged about extensively, half a trillion dollars is transferred from the native working class to the capitalist every year because of immigration. That’s not representative government. That’s government for corporations—against the people. 

So, yes, we restrict immigration as we did in the 1920s, a policy change that played a key role in producing the golden age of US economic development—with growing union power, rising wages, improving working conditions, as well as greater national unity and assimilation/integration that focused labor on class issues and powered the civil rights movement. The US made the greatest progress in its history when it most sharply restricted immigration. Growing national unity is what made the golden age possible.

So, yes, we employ citizens. We stop sending hundreds of billions to military contractors and foreign governments and invest instead in education and training and community development in our central cities, employing the millions of Americans, disproportionately black and brown, who have been idled by globalization and progressive policy.

Of course, there are foreign workers who contribute to the economy. I’m married to an immigrant who is a model naturalized citizen. I have nothing against immigrants per se. But we have tens of million of American workers who need jobs. The elite don’t want to put them to work because this drives up wages (it also empowers citizens)—and this is the reason why elites push immigration. Supply and demand. Produce a surplus of workers and drive down the price of labor. We seek the opposite: put Americans to work and drive up wages. 

You have to think is terms of the totality of relations in a capitalist economy and the profit motive to understand why elites push immigration—in this case the transnational system constructed by globalizing elites. The effect of immigration restrictions and the concomitant growth of union power sharply reduced inequality in America.

One effect of this was a fall in the rate of profit, which was why Democrats and Republican allies opened borders in the 1960s—to weaken private sector unions, put native workers at a disadvantage, and decouple compensation from productivity. It worked. As a consequence, inequality skyrocketed, structural employment increased, union density plummeted, wages stagnated.

My friend came back with “As a nation we have always welcomed others to join us if they have a valid reason and agree to follow our laws.” At one point he suggested that corporate personhood its a “conservative” idea.

Both statements are factually wrong. From the early 1920s (and really before) to the late 1960s we welcomed almost no one to come to our country. Corporate personhood is not a “conservative” idea. Modern conservatism is largely republican (note the small “r”)—and Republicans were largely populist back then. It’s not a liberal idea, either. Corporate personhood is a product of big finance and industry assuming control in the period of Redemption.

The diminishment of quo warranto in the context of the administrative state means that corporations easily skirt the demands of the sovereign (the people in a republic). The regulatory apparatus was set up to service corporate interests not public interests. And where it might have served some public interest it experiences elite capture. Corporations run the government—most easily when Democrats are in charge.

Corporatist arrangements have proved remarkably effective in preventing the development of democratic socialism. That’s the genius of the welfare state.

Progressives are the handmaidens of the corporate state and run the administrative state (and dominate our academic and cultural institutions)—the same people who push mass immigration and cultural pluralism. (See the historical work of Richard Grossman or my many blogs on this topic.)

Today’s system is evolving towards global neofeudalism. Workers are becoming serfs—and will be when the guaranteed basic income and cashless economy is rolled out. The technocracy is already in back of it. 

That’s not just my expertise in political economy talking. I watched globalization fundamentally change my state of Tennessee. Now there are beggars everywhere. I saw firsthand how mass immigration wrecked major cities in Sweden. They, too, have beggars everywhere—when they didn’t before. Crime is out of control. In some neighborhoods, women are afraid to walk down the street. They’re harassed for their dress. And for walking their dogs. 

Civilization is hard. Some cultures make it a lot harder. Some make it impossible. Yet another reason to oppose mass immigration.

Finally, as for the fear mongering over Russia and China, which was also noted in a comment, the threat Russia presents to the US is not conventional military prowess but nuclear weapons. That’s the issue. The transnationalists are for NATO expansion and a proxy war ways through Ukraine, both actions that antagonize that nuclear power. And, to be sure, China’s is a problem. That fact only strengthens my critique of globalization. China built its power on precisely the globalization progressives tout. I am writing this on a device—a very recent iMac—that was manufactured in China.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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