Thursday, December 4, 2008

America's Dirty Little Corporate Secrets by Edwin Young

Another of America’s Dirty Little Corporate Secrets
By Ed Young

I watched a movie the other night called “Conspiracy” (2008 staring Val Kilmer). It had received somewhat poor reviews. This was justified for a professional movie critic who bases their critique on traditional, Hollywood, Oscar-like standards. However, I saw it as a great ‘message movie’. I knew a little about the controversy over Mexican immigrant legislation, a little about the Maquiladores, as well as a little about the worldwide exploitation of underdeveloped countries by US corporations, so I immediately became engrossed in the movie. I have provided a few references at bottom for those who want to pursue this issue further.

This movie is a valid dramatization of what American corporations have been doing for many decades now. In the movie, Halliburton and Brown and Root and other such companies are all accurately portrayed by their compression into the movie’s one ‘fictitious’ corporation, Halicorp. The movie also accurately represents the true situation with respect to Mexican ‘illegals’. Americans have been employing them to do our dirty, hard work while keeping the death scythe of deportation or arrest over their heads to keep them working for slave wages that they need to save their families in Mexico from starvation.

A conveniently opportunistic system has been devised whereby US corporations undermine Mexican corporations and make it impossible for Mexicans to earn a living in Mexico. Consequently, Mexican laborers have to flee to the US and take below subsistence wages. The only other alternative for them has been the Maquiladoras.

In the beginning, the Maquiladoras were supposed to help the Mexican cities along the border economically but this turned into a nightmare as the US corporations exploited, virtually raped, the cities and their people who had come in the millions to live along the US-Mexican border and make a decent living. Eventually, these corporations moved on to cheaper slave labor in underdeveloped countries that were even worse off. Those border towns turned into impoverished garbage heaps. Those Mexican workers, therefore, had no choice but to swim across the border river or the climb border fences to find slave-wage work in the US.

Those who take the time to inquire and those with eyes and ears to see and to hear with their hearts know, understand, and grieve for these Mexican Maquiladores workers, Mexican immigrant workers, and their families who are caught in the tragic trap laid for them by the US corporations. There are those who know much of this and are happy to benefit from such dastardly exploitation. Yet, there are some caring few who create sanctuary churches and cities to care for desperate ‘illegals’ and their shattered families and often even sequester them from local ‘de jure’ police who are really serving as ‘de facto’ henchmen, a kind of recrudescent form of the KKK, for local businesses.

On the other hand, there are these unconscionably insensitive, narcissistic, obsessively avaricious employers who find all sorts of convenient ways to rationalize and blithely transform the plight of their Mexican illegal slave workers so as to make it seem like they are actually providing them with a great blessing, in fact, saving them. The white, well-to-do, ordinary American employers also rationalize this villainous behavior by seeing themselves as superior, a kind of unofficial master race, and their non-white slave workers as somewhat like mongrel dogs that must be kept from citizenship in order to prevent a pollution of our pure genes and true American heritage.

The movie drives home a final thrust by revealing the xenophobic bigotry of the Halicorp types like Rhodes, the local head of Halicorp, when Rhodes, attacks and demeans retired Special Ops Marine William McPherson, whom he thinks he has beaten, for being half American Indian and half Anglo American. War-hero McPherson is the stranger-newly-come-to-town who successfully defends the town, New Lago, and its ‘illegal alien’ workers against Rhodes and his puppet Sheriff, deputies, and other complicit locals who were acting as Rhodes’ thugs out of fear for their lives,. In the end, the people of New Lago, ‘emblematic of the vast majority of ordinary people’, finally rise up and turn against Rhodes, “emblematic of corporate American CEOs”, demonstrating that, after all is said and done, America is a land of non-xenophobic, non-bigoted, non-exclusionist, multi-colored, multi-racial immigrants.

On the other hand, however, in America, we know there are a great many Americans who simply choose to look the other way and let this corrupt and calamitous situation with our decent immigrant workers putrefy. Many are aware that this same type of exploitation by American Corporations is taking place in underdeveloped countries all over the globe and do nothing. Finally, there are the perpetrators who are running these US-legitimized criminal operations and hosts of rightwing political and media lackeys who are aligned with them.

For these criminal corporations, Halicorp is the perfect, ‘grotesques’ symbol!

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