“Detentions of undocumented immigrants,” reports Fox News Latino, “have become big business for private companies operating prisons in states like Arizona … ” The story goes on to observe that “[c]ontractors come to Arizona attracted by the increase in militarization and the criminalization of immigrants.”
Whatever one thinks about the substance of the immigration debate, it’s not hard to see why massive prison companies like Geo Group and Corrections Corp. of America (who contract with the federal government) support making criminals of desperate people crossing an arbitrary line on a map. If you’re anti-immigration for some other, less mercenary and arguably more philosophical reason, you might wonder whether some corporate exec is having a chuckle at your expense.
Part of the reason why market anarchists reject the state altogether is the understanding that the political process is not “broken” in the sense that word is used by “reasonable,” “moderate” commentators. Rather, the empty shifts that do take place within politics are only those permissible to the ruling class — the small group ultimately served by the aggregate of state actions.
As an incident of the fundamental right of self-ownership, each individual has a right to move freely wherever she’d like, provided that, on her way, she gives due regard to the rights of all others. Taking away that right, however, is a money machine for the powerful. In a way, then, the immigration issue is a good microcosm for the arithmetic that provides the basis for every policy that the political class undertakes to effect.
The state is a parasitic, predatory, antisocial device. It is a utensil of the ruling class not inherent in society or organization, but superimposed on human relationships from without. Even given the dialogues within market anarchist thought — differences as to the meaning of aggression and to what self-ownership implicates in the world of scarcity and tangible things — the opposition to authority and hierarchy is a constant.
Once one accepts the individual, her agency and sovereignty, the state is precluded as a matter of course, ruled out as a “solution” to societal problems. Since the state is, in Benjamin Tucker’s familiar formulation, “the subjection of the non-invasive individual to an external will,” it cannot be reconciled with the most basics notions of human autonomy.
Neither can it be squared with the requirements of social justice. Many of the forms of privilege that are so pervasive in — and so defining of — state capitalism are wrongly considered features of a free market, their coercive character either underestimated or ignored completely.
Kevin Carson’s examinations of taxpayer subsidies to transportation — propping up American capitalism’s “warehouse-on-wheels” system — are a revealing example of the kind of intervention that goes so unremarked upon in mainstream “debate.” Similarly, the cable news version of the immigration question isn’t as simple as they’d have us believe.
Market anarchists have demonstrated time and again that, without the economic suffocation of force and privilege, there would be more than enough “seats at the table,” that constraints are instituted by elites to squeeze more out of and give less to those of us who don’t have Washington lobbyists.
The idea that immigrants are “stealing jobs” or that they’re putting a strain on government budgets are intended to mislead. The current substance of the debate works just great for Geo Group and CCA; a market freed from the violent, plutocratic interventions of the state, though, would include neither of them.
Favoritism and venality are not things that can be fixed through “good government” reforms or anti-corruption slogans, but are the essential and indelible characteristics of the state. Market anarchists seek to replace its borders and restraints with free movement, free exchange, and free collaboration.
Limitations on the movement of people through immigration laws are like those on the movement of goods, profiting the few at the expense of the many. When society is purged of the state and its sponging class, so too will it be purged of the infirmities they thrust onto it.