Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Permissive Immigration vs. "Global Peace" in the 21 Century

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Permissive Immigration vs. "Global Peace" in the 21 Century

Article excerpt

The liberal internationalist tradition has historically looked askance at both the nation-state and its nationalist constituencies. Their belief in internationalism has been associated with opposition to national restrictions upon immigration. The central thesis of this work is that the doctrinaire liberal position has become dysfunctional for the pacific and egalitarian goals of proponents of both "negative" and "positive" peace. This is due to the contextual effects upon industrial societies of trade and financial market deregulation and the concomitant assault upon public sector welfare state roles. A concluding section elaborates the corollary thesis that "peace" prospects in the 21st century are most likely to be enhanced by recognizing the qualitative difference between aggressive and defensive nationalism on the one hand, and promoting new economic security policy priorities for the nation-state as the most inclusive viable source of mass identity and protection on the other. Key Words: Marxism, internationalism, nation-state, migration, immigration, economic security, peace


Peace and Internationalism

Two apparently consonant trends appeared within the "peace advocacy research" and associated non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Influenced by liberal internationalist and Marxian intellectual heritages, both tendencies continue to characterize and weaken domestic social harmony as we begin the new millennium.

The first pertains to the nation-state and its concomitant, nationalism. Indeed, a century earlier, when the nation-state was emerging as a dominant force in the era of the Franco-Prussian War, liberal internationalists began to define it as the principal threat to "world peace." Soon they, and particularly Leninists, gave salience to imperial rivalries in this context. Nationalism was portrayed as inherently chauvinistic and aggressive. Yet despite such essentialism, an apparently anomalous exception was invoked subsequently for what by the mid-20th century were self-depicted as "national liberation" movements.

The latter exception, or "Third Worldism," is directly linked to the second trend. Influenced by Johan Galtung and other neoMarxian structuralists, radicalized "peace researchers" of the 60s generation opted to complement the traditional focus upon "negative" peace (i.e., preventing the outbreak and restricting the brutality or destructiveness of war) with a new emphasis upon "positive" peace (i.e., eradicating what they called "structural" violence, including poverty). A ubiquitous assumption was that the latter constituted the "root" cause of war.

In the writings of Gernot Kohler (1982), and in the form of a more elaborate paradigm advanced by Johan Galtung (1990), Third World peoples have been generally portrayed as the primary "victims" of "structural" violence. Hence, when members of such populations migrate to, or enter and reside illegally in, OECD "oppressor" nations, they are accorded special status and "group preferences" by internationalists. Hostile to even defensive nationalism in the North, liberal internationalists along with their more radical brethren also strongly favor permissive immigration policies.'

A Contrarian View

This radical internationalist perspective is not only a reflection of egalitarian values and normative commitments, it is tantamount to an element of humanist religious faith. My thesis is that such a doctrinaire posture, in the current interstate context - i.e., the postCold War era of corporate dominated neo-liberal globalism - is politically counterproductive. In terms of ameliorating "structural" and overt violence and advancing a problematic egalitarian imperative, the "left's" permissive stance on immigration will become largely if not wholly dysfunctional as we enter the 21st century. Put bluntly, it will indirectly contribute to heightened economic insecurity, ethnic hostilities and violence. …

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