The Wages of Borders: Political Economy, Labor Activism, and Racial Formation in the Imperial-Mexicali Borderlands, 1937-1979
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The Wages of Borders: Political Economy, Labor Activism, and Racial Formation in the Imperial-Mexicali Borderlands, 1937-1979, is a historical investigation of the paradoxical formation of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands that encouraged and facilitated the movement of capital while simultaneously restricting and regulating the movement of workers. Centered in southeast California's Imperial Valley and the city of Mexicali in the Mexican state of Baja California Norte, The Wages of Borders traces the transition toward and celebration of a borderless capitalist landscape that led to passage of neoliberal deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994. At the same time, this dissertation explains the simultaneous entrenchment of racial and national borders to contain and control workers' movements and the strategies that working peoples used to challenge and transcend those borders after the end of the joint U.S.-Mexico guest-worker Bracero Program in 1964. Through critical examination of elite economic visions for the borderlands and workers' use of collective bargaining, labor boards, and healthcare as both reificaiton and resistance of elite planning. The Wages of Borders captures how laborers attempted to forge both nation-based solutions and cross-border alliances to address the transnational realities of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
- History