Productive Slogans

Yesterday’s protests started with folks declaring, “I don’t believe in borders, I don’t believe in walls!” Which is as productive as starting a pro-choice rally with the slogan of “I hate babies. Let’s kill the whiny little bastards!”

11 thoughts on “Productive Slogans

  1. The phrase “I don’t believe in borders/walls” (or some variation thereof) is rapidly joining references to the Statue of Liberty or that dreadful sonnet by Emma Lazarus – a sure sign the person doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
    A complete halt to migration or fever dreams of deporting tens of millions of people are tells on the other side that the person is completely uniformed.


  2. The poor suckers chanting those slogans are either deluded liberals who think they will unseat Trump, or deluded actors who think Trump will reimburse contractors in a timely manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I don’t really believe in borders or walls either.

    I do however believe in the vast changes that would need to occur on a world scale and in the necessity of those changes in order for the borders and walls to come down altogether.

    I don’t believe any of that will be happening in the near term future at least.


    1. It’s happening already. The welfare state is collapsing. Which is the reality behind the cliche “I’m against borders.” So congratulations, you’ve got your dream. 🙂 I’m glad somebody is happy about it at least.


      1. Yes “I’m don’t believe in borders” is often shorthand for “screw the poor!” and it’s a really puzzling talking point for supposed progressives to take up…
        Borders don’t make sense between countries with similar cultures and economies (think Sweden and Norway or Argentina and Chile) they make a lot of sense otherwise.


        1. The trouble is “build that wall!” is basically “screw the poor!” as well. Just the poor of countries other than your own in order to keep your own country’s poor on side. Indeed I dare say the world is run on as much “screw the poor!” as the rich and powerful can get away with irrespective of the existence and openness or otherwise of borders, as it has been throughout history and woun’t be changing any time soon.

          As you say they at least seem to make sense between parts of the world with different cultures and economies. The question is as to whether that is on balance a good thing or sustainable in a globalized and heavily interrconnected world with easy travel?


          1. Very true. And the only thing that maintains the distinction between the other poor and our own, the only thing that even allows for the concept of our own is nationalism. Without it, it’s screw everybody.

            No national borders means an explosion in impenetrable gated communities. Which is exactly what we’ve been seeing in the past couple of decades.


      2. Never claimed I was happy about the consequences of open and/or less relevant borders with all other things about the world being as they are. I suppose your reference to the welfare state is somehow connected to the kind of things you were writing a few years ago about the decline of the nation state as an ideal and the social contract that pertains to the nation state. In which case I’d still prefer some reassurance that any connection of the decline in the welfare state to those other things has some kind of economic dimension to it, and it isn’t simply a political/ideological failing. (I mean is it really even true that large influxes of low-skilled migrants or any migrants for that matter, represent a net drain on the welfare system or government finances in general?) I also suspect also that a large part of the failure of the welfare state has to do with the proponents of neoliberal capitalism trying to prevent anything that might impede the maximization of shareholder value and/or draw the ire of the working class away from themselves and onto the most vulnerable.

        Indeed the point I was trying to make was not that a “world without borders” should be pursued without first tackling everything else which make borders seem necessary in the first place. If it is immigration we are talking about, that would mean the reasons why mass migration occurs in the first place especially from poorer, less stable, less safe countries to those which are richer, safer and more stable. (This is not to say we should fall into the trap of assuming that everything wrong with those parts of the world is the fault of rich Western/First World nations or that the latter is responsible for fixing everything in the world!) If it is more about the mobility of capital than labour, then we need to address one way or another why the owners and controllers of that capital have so much sway over how the world is governed, effectively holding states to economic ransom if their needs are not met, etc. There remains the differences in language, culture etc. which I don’t see have any particularly easy answers.

        I think a those of the “no borders” types at least amongst the mainstream bourgeois left probably don’t get this or don’t want to, or those that have the real power are doing it more out of their own interests than those of the common people. If the radical left do, they aren’t doing a very good job of getting those outside their own circles on side or any idea of how to achieve their vision, if indeed it is even possible to achieve.


        1. No borders obviously means no welfare. If a national government is so weak that it can’t define its sovereignty on a clearly defined territory, how will it grant welfare protections and to whom? To an itinerant populace that happens to be here at the moment? And why would anyone want to provide anything to an itinerant populace? Why wouldn’t anybody in the position to pay taxes that are large enough to sustain welfare just scram all the way to a place where rich folks can congregate in a small gated community and not share a dime with anybody else. And yes, this is called neoliberalism. Open borders is a neoliberal dream.


  4. Weird:

    // An Indiana State Police news release about 129 arrests in a series of drug busts in northern Indiana includes a photo of what police describe as “Trump-shaped ecstasy pills.”

    They are orange and stamped with a face. On the back are the words “great again,” an apparent reference to Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

    Traffickers sometimes produce uniquely shaped or colored drugs as a marketing technique to encourage buyers to return for more.


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