Waiting For Rostock?

By John Tanton
Volume 5, Number 1 (Fall 1994)
Issue theme: "Irredentism and the American Southwest"

As we put this issue of The Social Contract to bed, the California vote on Proposition 187 is a few days away. The vote at bottom is on whether to cut off social services (including schooling) to those illegally residing in that state. We await the results with trepidation, whichever way the vote turns out.

If the initiative passes - and we support it - it seems likely that the result will be the same as with Proposition 63 in 1986 - the one that made English the official language of California. As with 187, nearly all state officials opposed it, while the public voted for it 74% to 26%, one of the biggest landslides in California initiative history. But public officials declined to enforce it, as will likely be the outcome with 187 if it passes.

The supporters of 187 will then go rapidly through the four stages in the development of any new idea that doesn't work out (1) wild enthusiasm when it is adopted, (2) bitter disappointment when it is not implemented, (3) a search for the guilty, and, (4) punishment of the innocent.

The opponents of 187 will doubtless be whipped into a frenzy if it passes. The looser lips among them have already talked about 'burning the state down,' forgetting the World War II counter-espionage dictum loose lips/sink ships.

In contrast, if the initiative fails, some proponents - if one can judge from the many personal com-munications this writer has had - will give up on the state. Those who can afford to lose $50,000 or $100,000 on their homes will leave for (temporarily) greener pastures; those who are stuck will not likely take it gracefully. One of the chief differences between Yugoslavia and California over the last five years has been that disgruntled Golden Staters have been able to leave, whereas the Bosnians had no place to go. Having a populace that feels trapped is not a pleasant prospect.

If the initiative fails, it will be its opponents who will be ecstatic (initially); this will shortly fade when they learn that the defeat has only hardened the oppo-sition, stiffened its resolve, and broadened its objectives to include legal immigration. The opponents will then mount their own search for the guilty, before they punish the innocent.

Where is the Federal Government in all of this? Are they waiting for Rostock, the city in the former East Germany where violence against immigrants finally forced the government to act?1 Is it bloodshed for which the politicians are waiting?

It didn't have to be this way. Ever since we began working on the immigration question in 1969, it was readily apparent to anyone with a sense of history and human psychology, that if the issue was not resolved early by reasonable people, it would end up in the streets ... as it has, with 70,000 opponents marching in Los Angeles. My physician's perspective it is usually easier, less expensive and painful, and the prospects for success are better, to treat a problem early, rather than wait until the patient is moribund.

Let's not wait for Rostock.

In this issue we explore the phenomenon of irredentism, the desire to regain lost territory. It is common enough around the world ... in the Middle East, the claims go back thousands of years. We have been spared it in North America, except in the southwest. Brent Nelson briefs us on the escalating rhetoric and possible forms and degrees of separation that its proponents envision. Next, we reprint the famous (infamous?) article on the topic from Excelsior, a leading newspaper in Mexico City. Odie Faulk writes that the Mexican claims do not have much legal or factual substance, and K. L. Billingsley questions whether there was an Aztlan. Gerda Bikales comments on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and Sam Francis then briefs us on a forthcoming study of the Ford Foundation's role in funding opposition to immigration control. Wayne Lutton closes this section by reviewing the book, Gringo Justice.

Next, we present critiques of our Spring 1994 cover article, 'End of the Migration Epoch?,' and responses by the author.

Finally we call your attention to a proposal for Chinese enclaves, first in Arkansas, but then in six other locations around the United States. This promises to be a hot issue, as was a similar proposal in Australia several years ago. We round out this issue with a number of insightful articles and reports, original and reprinted, and reviews of important new books.

We wish you some good late fall reading.

John Tanton

Editor and Publisher

1 See our editorial, 'We Told Them So,' Fall 1992, p. 3.

About the author

John Tanton is Editor and Publisher of The Social Contract and founder of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His personal website is www.JohnTanton.org.