1. Citizens and Aliens
it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.(Lev. 25:44–46)
When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.(Lev. 19:33–34)
2. Regulated Bodies
3. 5 October 2018: Eloy, Arizona
4. Christianity for Slave Societies
I have put in a place a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry on our southwest border. If you cross the southwest border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple… Illegal entry is a crime. It should be and must be if you are going to have a legal system and have any limits whatsoever. Persons who violate the law are subject to prosecution. If you violate the law, you subject yourself to prosecution. I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent fair application of law is in itself a good a moral thing and it protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short term separation of families is not unusual or unjustified.
‘Let everyone be subject unto the higher powers.’ Because they are breaking this obedience, and are setting themselves against the higher powers, willfully and with violence, they have forfeited body and soul, as faithless, perjured, lying, disobedient knaves and scoundrels are wont to do. St. Paul passed this judgment on them in Romans XIII when he said, that they who resist the power will bring a judgment upon themselves. This saying will smite the peasants sooner or later, for it is God’s will that faith be kept and duty done.
Everything, from the discovery until our times, has always been transmutated into European—or later United States—capital, and as such has accumulated in distant centers of power. Everything: the soil, its fruits and its mineral-rich depths, the people and their capacity to work and to consume, natural resources and human resources. Production methods and class structure have been successively determined from outside for each area by meshing it into the universal gearbox of capitalism. To each area has been assigned a function, always for the benefit of foreign metropolis of the moment, and the endless chain of dependency has been endlessly extended.
5. Obscured Nonconformists
6. Apophatic Peoplehood
So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel. You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who reside among you and have begotten children among you. They shall be to you as citizens of Israel; with you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.(Ezek. 47:21–22)
Conflicts of Interest
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“The assumption here is that the alien is a chattel-slave, not a debt-slave” (Milgrom 2001, p. 2230).
As Justice Byron White opined in the Cabell v. Chavez-Salido (1982) decision: “The exclusion of aliens from basic governmental processes is not a deficiency… but a necessary consequence of the community’s process of political self-definition. Self-government, whether direct or through representatives, begins by defining the scope of the community of the governed and thus the governors as well: Aliens are by definition those outside of this community.” Quoted in (Stumpf 2006, p. 412).
As Carl Schmitt—at the dawn of the twentieth century—claimed, “all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts” (Schmitt 1985, p. 36). For Schmitt, the religious legacy of political theory justified the fascist abrogation of democratic institutions for the sake of order, for the sake of national security; the sovereign decides on a state of exception to the law in order to protect the body politic from chaos, which involves the fundamental political distinction: that is, the friend/enemy distinction: “The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy,” Schmitt wrote, where the nature of the enemy becomes “existentially something different and alien” (Schmitt 2007, pp. 26–27). Giorgio Agamben explores how Schmittian political theory produces the categories of friend and enemy as internal to the logic of sovereignty (Agamben 1998). The sovereign produces the homo sacer, a bare life, stripped of status within the political order (p. 100): the sovereign and the bare life, each at the opposite extremity of the law’s domain from the other. “The paradox of sovereignty consists in the fact the sovereign is, at the same time, outside and inside the juridical order” (p. 15); and “He who has been banned is not, in fact, simply set outside the law and made indifferent to it but rather abandoned by it, that is exposed and threatened on the threshold in which life and law, outside and inside, become indistinguishable” (p. 29). In the same way that Agamben explains the interlocked nature of the sovereign and the homo sacer (“the production of bare life is the originary activity of sovereignty” [p. 83]), I describe citizenship as dependant upon the category of alien as its opposite—the citizen as saved from the plight of detainees, the citizen whose political identity depends on its others. The guarantees of citizenship are a kind of salvation from the conditions of immigrant detention: There but by the grace of the state go I, says the citizen when confronted with the news of another ICE raid.
This healthcare metaphor exceeds the metaphorical as contemporary nationalists correlate the arrival of foreigners to public health hazards: “People with tremendous medical difficulty and medical problems are pouring in,” President Donald Trump remarked at an Oval office meeting on 11 December 2018, “and in many cases its contagious—they are pouring into our country” (Trump 2018). Immigrants, according to the U.S. president, are a communicable disease threatening the integrity of the body politic.
(Goldberg 2002, p. 94). “Modern states invoke the classifying of races as offering structure to worlds seen as if by nature.”
“Apparatus of capture,” as a concept, comes from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, “7000 B.C.: Apparatus of Capture” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, chp. 13).
(Goldberg 2002, pp. 188, 190). “[R]acial states define populations into racially identified groups, and they do so more or less formally through census taking, law, and policy, in and through bureaucratic forms, and administrative practices” (p. 110). “Emerging out of colonial regimes, the modern census developed as a more or less comprehensive state mechanism to map population size, shape, distribution, quality and flow of labor supply, taxation and conscription pools, political representation, voter predictability, and the necessities of population reproduction” (p. 189). Cf. (Goldberg 1997): “Conformity and the uniformity that are both its products and presuppositions are manufactured by silencing and rendering invisible or placing outside the margins of the form the data of pure heterogeneity” (pp. 31–32).
(Goldberg 1997, pp. 32, 33). In his chapter on “Census, Map, Museum,” Benedict Anderson makes similar observations—from another context—about the emergence of the census as a colonial tool to calculate the value of human populations: “For the colonial state did not merely aspire to create, under its control, a human landscape of perfect visibility; the condition of this ‘visibility’ was that everyone, everything, had (as it were) a serial number. This style of imagining did not come out of thin air. It was the product of… the deep driving power of capitalism” (Anderson 2006, p. 190).
As Michel Foucault has argued, knowledge and power are intertwined. Regarding biometric data, in his Security, Territory, Population lectures, Foucault notes that demography—as “an apparatus of knowledge”—is “an essential dimension of the exercise of power” related to the function of policing: “the first object of police is the number of citizens” (Foucault 2009, pp. 275, 324).
Since he is a minor, I have provided “Josué” as a pseudonym even though he gave me permission to tell his story.
Citizens are provided, in Goldberg’s phrasing, “the mirror of their negation, of what they took themselves not to be” (Goldberg 2002, p. 178).
See (Jacobs 2018).
(Müntzer 1991b, p. 30). “But for this use of the sword to occur as it should and in the right manner, our dear fathers who confess Christ with me—that is, the princes—should do it. But if they do not do it, then the sword will be taken away from them.”
(Glancy 2002, pp. 142–43, 147): “The household codes articulated a strategy that Christian slaveholders could use to pacify members of their households… The household codes identified submission and obedience as the highest virtues that slaves could attain. Slavery was thus perceived as a kind of moral training… The Pastoral epistles represent slaveholder morality as compatible and possibly synonymous with Christian morality… By teaching slaves that honoring their owners was part of their Christian obligation, 1 Timothy sanctified slaveholder morality beyond the standard claims of the Greco-Roman ethos.”
For the conditions of enslavement under the Roman Empire, see (Harris 1999, pp. 62–75).
(Glancy 2002, p. 128): “In the only extant version of this parable, Jesus asks the hearer explicitly to identify with the slaveholder who benefits from the labor of the slave… What may ultimately be most challenging to New Testament critics is to confront the degree to which the slave parables undergird the horizon of normalcy and reinforce other evidence concerning the practice and ideology of slavery in the early Roman Empire.” Cf. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez, Racism and God-Talk: A Latino/A Perspective: “none of the Gospel narratives ever depict Jesus in conversation with slaves, even though he is shown transgressing other social boundaries… Not only does Jesus remain silent about an institution that at its core defaces the image of God in all humanity (Gen. 1:27), he then utilizes slavery as the model for proper obedience to the Word of God” (Rodríguez 2008, p. 143).
(Glancy 2002, p. 131): “Some Christian slaveholders had fewer slaves and some Christian slaveholders had more slaves…but the fact that Christians owned slaves was a matter of public record and not of contention nor controversy.”
(Davis 1998a, pp. 74–95). “In constructing prisoners as human beings who deserved subjugation to slavery, the Constitution allowed for a further, more elusive linkage of prison and slavery, namely the criminalization of former slaves” (Davis 1998b, pp. 96–107). Cf. (Davis 2003, chp. 2): “Slavery, Civil Rights, and Abolitionist Perspectives Toward Prison.”
(Graber 2011). “The Reverend John Stanford kept a copy of the first sermon he preached at Newgate. He took his text from Isaiah 48:10: ‘Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction’… The prison was to be a furnace of affliction, a well-running, orderly machine designed to put great pressure on inmates, who would then emerge transformed by the experience” (pp. 54–55).
In her book Carceral Capitalism, Jackie Wang describes—borrowing an image from Karl Marx—the global economic order as vampire-like, “a parasitic relationship” (Wang 2018, p. 107). Wang develops this analysis of the global economic sovereignty from Rosa Luxemburg’s observations at the beginning of the twentieth century: “capital ransacks the whole planet, procuring means of production from every crevice of the Earth, snatching up or acquiring them from civilizations of all stages and all forms of society” (Luxemburg 2015; Wang 2018, p. 108).
(Galeano 1997, p. 8). The plot of Galeano’s historical narrative of the exploitation of the Americas culminates with a focus on plunder, “despojo” in the original Spanish. His final chapter is titled, “The Contemporary Structure of Plunder.” The legacy of Europe’s dual operations of enslavement and colonization is, according to Galeano, understood as the plundering of other peoples and lands, which is a central theme for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ work. The word reoccurs throughout his collection of essays published as We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (Coates 2017)—a concept that becomes a lens through which to see the original sin that birthed the United States (pp. 9, 85, 112, 114, 158, 159, 180, 181, 185, 196, 198, 204, 211, 214, 215, 222, 231, 250, 279, 324, 330, 341, 366, 367): for example, “The sins of slavery did not stop with slavery. On the contrary, slavery was but the initial crime in a long tradition of crimes, of plunder even, that could be traced into the present day” (p. 158); “America begins in black plunder and white democracy, two features that are not contradictory but complementary” (p. 180). While “plunder” enables Galeano to pay attention to the nexus of European exploitation of peoples and lands and resources—including the enslavement of Africans, the conquest of civilizations, and the genocide of indigenous populations—Coates narrows his focus on the singular plunder of slavery. Writing in the late eighteenth century, the Ghanaian abolitionist Ottobah Cugoano considered the European plunder of African bodies (including his own) and the destruction of indigenous civilizations of the Americas as concomitant: “The French and English, and some other nations in Europe, as they founded settlements and colonies in West Indies, or in America…joined hand in hand with the Portuguese and Spaniards, to rob and pillage Africa, as well as to waste and desolate the inhabitants of the Westerns continent.” There is an intersectionality to this description of colonial plundering that Coates ignores. His focus allows him to set aside a whole conflux of oppressions that happened together, historically, which continue to shape our world—“the emergence of a structure of control and management of authority, economy, subjectivity, gender and sexual norms and relations,” as Walter D. Mignolo argues, “that connected European initiatives, enslaved Africans, dismantled civilizations (Tawantinsuyu and Anáhuac, and the already-in-decay Maya), and encompassed the genocide in Ayiti (which Columbus baptized Hispaniola in 1492)” (Mignolo 2011, p. 7).
https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-sessions-delivers-remarks-association-state-criminal-investigative (accessed on 4 January 2018).
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/us/politics/trump-undocumented-immigrants-animals.html (accessed on 4 January 2018).
(Davis 2016, p. 107). In her essay on “Race and Criminalization,” Davis makes clear the inseparability of racism and economics, which produces social mechanisms of incarceration: “racism is more deeply embedded in socio-economic structures, and the vast populations of incarcerated people of color is dramatic evidence of the way racism systematically structures economic relations” (Davis 1998b, p. 66).
This sentence is an allusion to Albert Schweitzer—the concluding image of Jesus in The Quest of the Historical Jesus (Schweitzer 1956, p. 403): “He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: ‘Follow thou me!’ and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship.”
(Olyan 2000, p. 73). Olyan notes that Ezekiel’s prophecy diverges from the biblical legislation regarding the composition of Israel’s peoplehood. “The assignment of patrimonial shares to resident outsiders of foreign background is a radical departure from previous practice, which viewed the foreign resident outsider and his descendants as outside the lineage-patrimony structure of Israel. Even Holiness texts that insist on the equality of the native and the circumcised resident outsider in cultic and quasi-cultic settings do not propose to integrate the resident outsider in this radical way… In a word, this radical reform envisioned by Ezek 47:22–23 represents the granting of (fictive) kinship to the resident outsider; he becomes at last a brother rather than an other”. While the prophecy imagines a divergent trajectory for Israel’s body politic, the blurring of the juridical distinction between citizen and alien harkens back to the customs of integration during the early formation of Israel. “When emerging tribes fully incorporated alien groups, their incorporation was reflected in the genealogical idiom, and their alien origins were for all intents and purposes erased. The Judahite genealogical record provides the best example of this kind of radical assimilation of outsiders in early Israel. As early Judah grew, it absorbed a number of non-Israelite groups as well as the tribe of Simeon. Extant evidence suggests that Judahite groups such as the Jerahmeelites, Qenizzites, and even Zerah, Judah’s second clan, were originally foreign and were absorbed into Judah’s kin structure” (p. 73).
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