Home | About | Donate

Fear and Loathing on the Border


Fear and Loathing on the Border

Belén Fernández

As Donald Trump's sordid vision of a "big, beautiful wall" on the United States-Mexico border begins to take shape, The Guardian has revealed that - of the more than 600 companies currently vying to get in on the wall-building action - 10 percent are identified as "Hispanic-American-owned" businesses.


Somebody help me out here. Is it wrong to have countries?
Or is it OK to have a country as long as it doesn't have borders?

I'm really interested in some opinions here about this fundamental topic.
Not just more "Trump is Hitler", but some opinions on this question.

For example, is it bad to have a defined entity such as what we generally recognize a "country" but OK to perhaps have a smaller entity such as a house or apartment over which someone has the ability to control the entry and exit of persons or things.

What are your thoughts?



A country needs borders to be defined as a country.

Border walls should be considered when they are a viable means of controlling a border.

History has confirmed that walls that include towers manned 24/7 are the most effective control in the wall category. Although manned walls have been viable in urban areas like Berlin and Tijuana, they are not viable in other areas like the 1700 mile long US - Mexican border. The $40 billion wall construction cost will be a fraction of what towers with 24/7 manning will cost during the first decade.

Not to mention that there have been more Mexicans going south than going north for the past eight years.



Immigration policy, sans open borders must equal a fascist jerk driven policy of rounding up them thar illegals?

Most people who support this redneck policy of Trump, have also supported every single illegal border crossing of the US military.

In fact, such border crossings usually result in foreign made US flags being hoisted on their monster trucks when the first bomb drops.


Withdrew my initial comment realizing I'm not quite clear on your position.


The US should construct walls where a reason exists to construct the wall. There is currently no venue that a wall will improve border control or security.

Trump's expanded Mexican border wall will waste billions of dollars on a wall that will do nothing more than keep his base loyal to him.


You are confusing "countries" with nation-states. The two are not analogous. An someone with anarcho-sindicalist sympathies, nation-states - with their controlled borders - eventually have got to go. But "countries" - i.e. areas which celebrate a distinct culture and language, they are fine - and poeple should be free to enter and leave and contribute their talents as they wish. A white European-descended person is free to enter an Indian restaurant - even though almost all the people there are Indian (at least the ones in my area are mostly like that).


the general problem you have now is that the idea of the nation-state applies only to those not in the ruling classes. you have a global capital system where money has no borders to cross and can move instantly, anywhere. Labor, on the other hand, has no such mechanism. And even if there were a global agreement to erase borders and a recognized right of free movement around the planet, it would be a right most could not afford to exercise (which begs the question, would it then be a right at all? Or a commodity?).

A stateless planet is an abstraction only a relatively affluent person can love. there is a real cost to movement, and as such, border controls are at least necessary in any society determined to manage its own economy. It's no coincidence that Brexit-type sympathies are growing quickly, as the lowest social rungs understand their total disadvantage in a world where only some can move towards work while others are bound by their terrain.

So yes, I think right now, borders are more than necessary. They are vital. Even though my path getting there couldn't be further removed from the cultural supremacy reasoning of the right. As long as we are forced to live in a system with a massive reserve army of labor, any addition to that already enormous force further disadvantages workers. I find that unacceptable.

Having said that, it's equally vital to work hard towards stopping capital from disrupting the peasant political economy to the point where they are driving others off their own land and forcing them to take the chance to flee to the few countries willing to accept them as replacement labor for the domestic force.

It's a recipe for worker division and hatred, as one group is pitted against another: both victims of the same drive to profit at all costs.


All your arguments about a stateless capitalist planet are correct, bot not a stateless libertarian socialist (i.e. anarchist) one. And I have yet to meet an affluent anarchist. But yes they are all abstractions at this point.

But no, anyone coming here for work or any reason should not be stopped from doing so, just as I resent being stopped from moving to another country to work and join their society (even, due to my age, Canada)

And also, you may not notice it, but distinctly right-wing ideas, with a whiff of John-Birchism, have infiltrated your arguments - and the US left in general. So, it seem that "Workers of the World unite!" and any talk about revolutionary socialism at all, has been "rendered quaint". How did this happen?


I thought it was interesting to see the request for proposals for the design of Trump's wall that came out on Friday (the full document is at

Design requirement #6 says "The north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment."

Classic Trump - show our ugly side to the whole world and pretend all is wonderful for those at home.

The wall is just one example of the structural xenophobia built into our system that is the foundation of the Trump administration. Try going to the design requirements on page 62 of this document (or page 2 of attachment C). As you read the eleven requirements for the wall, mentally replace “the wall” with “Trump’s structural xenophobia.” It's an amazing read.


Yes - the Israeli apartheid wall is similar. It has an aesthetically pleasing simulated stone-masonry pattern on the Jewish side, but ugly formed concrete without a finish on the Palestinian side. At least the latter is more amenable to the protest graffiti that covers it...


Honestly, I expected "FLAGGED!!!!" or, some version of, "You suck!!!!!"

You did manage to get a "Bircher!!!!" in there, so it wasn't all a loss.

There are two words that condition the argument entirely. They're included because they are important. I'm confident you'll figure it out.


My point was simply that you, and the US "left" seem to be embracing insularity over international solidarity and therefore are not leftists. Your opposition to open borders has an element of "one-world-government-phobia" which is of course a right wing Birchist perspective.


Your point about international solidarity is important. Supporting self-determination for the peoples of the world (including the right to reap the benefits of their labor and to control their own destinies politically) used to be a key hallmark of the left. It does seem to be on the back burner lately.