Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Evidence of Paradox

Recently in the Arizona News it was found out that Border Patrol uniforms are are made in Mexico. Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Is this not the perfect representation of the critical connections between politicians, bureaucrat's, and their business. Here's the basic scenario: our government (who contracts out to a foreign producer) to make cheaper uniforms as a cost-cutting measure (a strategy derived from an economic system that produces disenfranchised migrant workers) for an agency (that has received the greatest increase in funding than any other U.S. agency) assigned the enforcement of the immigration policies that the government has mandated. Does the right-hand know what the left is doing? More importantly, does this contradiction matter to them? Paradox has come to define many of the explanations that social scientists come up with to explain our world. Is it possible to have a hegemonic power that is not contradictory? Is paradox not integral to the practice of hegemony? What does it mean, to say that Border Patrol uniforms are made in Mexico? Could it mean that it means nothing and that hegemony is complete and that disparities in the distribution of power are the only way to maintain the status quo? Or does it mean that the underbelly of hegemony is being exposed? When Gramsci talks about hegemony, he is also quick to point out that hegemony is never complete and that hegemony must always be adapting to the production of new systems of meaning. Evidence of paradox seems to be the fracture in hegemony. The observed paradox is the target for action. This is the location with the most leverage for change.
Here are a few other locations of leverage...
repatriations policies of the Border Patrol, enforcement of state and federal laws concerning vigilantes on the border, and one of my favorites...the Nogales Complex. The Nogales Complex is the name I have given to the condition of the Ambos Nogales (Sonora and Arizona). Nogales was one of the first locations along the border to receive phenomenal growth in Maquiladora development from U.S. investment. Because of a lack of enforcement protocol in Mexico these Maquilas have had the opportunity to turn the Nogales watershed into one of the most toxic places in North America. Here's the twist. Because the U.S. now receives about 80% of its produce from Mexico, and much of that is located in the northern half of Mexico, 80% of the produce produced in Mexico comes through the Nogales, AZ port of entry. This would not be a bad thing if the produce distributors did not wash the produce with water from the Nogales watershed. Does this make sense to anyone?


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