Monday, April 10, 2006
Mud People vs. The Bush Administration
Posted by Jeremy Adam Smith
I don't know much about how my ancestors came to the U.S. There are Native American names in my family tree, so some of them came over from Asia during the Ice Age. Many came down from Canada bearing both French and English names. I don't know if they were legal or illegal.
Shelly knows a bit more about her family. Her father's mother's family had households in China and Hawaii, and shuttled back and forth on cruise ships. When the Communists gained power in China, the family divided. Shelly's grandmother stayed in Hawaii and was raised by relatives. Shelly doesn't know much about her father's father's origins. The whole family became citizens when Hawaii became a state in 1959. Shelly's mom's family, meanwhile, is supposedly descended from Peregrine White, born on the Mayflower (" ...it pleased God that Mistriss White was brought a bed of a son, which was called Peregrine." -- Mourt’s Relation, ed. Jordan D. Fiore, Plymouth, Mass: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1985.)
Our collective, familial memories are fading; we're forgetting that we were once immigrants, driven to the States by politics, economics, unhappiness, yearning. We flutter together like quantum butterflies, every flap of our wings triggering hurricanes in times and places we can't even imagine. How did all these people, bedraggled and confused, traveling from every corner of the earth, come together to form Liko Wai-Kaniela Smith-Doo, my miracle, my hurricane? His name is a trainwreck; so's his bloodline. He's a mutt, my son, a walking, talking Amerieuroasiapacific mashup. I think he's pretty cool.
And this afternoon (I'm starting this late Monday night; will probably post early Tuesday morning) Liko and me and Shelly joined 5,000 other mongrels in marching against...well, who cares? Sure, the Senate wiped out on passing some racist immigration law that would have made illegal status a felony; yes, there was talk at the rally of work permits and legal status for illegal immigrants. There were policy issues at stake, but in many ways, policy wasn't the point.
I don't know about everybody else, but my family was marching for cross-pollination, miscegenation, globalism, cosmopolitanism. We were marching for cities and against the suburbs. My utopia is closer to William Burroughs's Interzone - "the Composite City where all human potentials are spread out in a vast silent market" - than gleaming, seamless, monolithic visions like Plato's Republic or the underground cities of H.G. Wells.
The world is globalizing. Good. But if capital can move across borders so that capitalists can make money, then ordinary working people should be able to do the same. That seems fair, doesn't it? And a world full of Likos wouldn't be a bad place. Si se puede!