Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 01:20:31 -0400 (EDT)
To: (Multiple Recipients of List Mexico2000)
From: "Victor O. Story" 
Subject: Re: [PNS] The Life of a Maquiladora Worker 

I think that the piece above has too much truth in it to be ignored.
There is a lot of anti-maquiladora sentiment among activists, but
these very activists tend to not know what is actually going on along
the border or how the people who work in the maquilas feel about their
lives and the maquilas.  The situation described below is identical in
Matamoros.  Certainly women workers are paid meager wages compared to
US women, but damn, women maquila workers in Matamoros are making
better money from foreign employers than the average man who works for
a domestic employer - not white collar workers maybe, but skilled
Mexican male workers make less per hour from Mexican bosses than
female maquila workers.  Secondly, along the Tamaulipas-Texas border,
common people want free trade - they always have.  It is not the gringo
they despise, it is the local Mexican bosses and corrupt bosses and
police who they hate and rightly view as their enemy and the cause of
their oppression.  True, the gringo companies are taking advantage of
the much lower wage scale, but the general tendency of the activist
crowd to attack maquilas demonstrates a debilitating ignorance of the
reality of border life for common Mexican people.

What is needed is of course a completely different system in both the
US and Mexico, but given the US middle class will not allow it, to say
nothing of the bourgeoisie, perhaps activists and scholars should be a
bit more empirical in their critical orientation and give the analysis
serious thought.  Instead of speaking so self-righteously for the
Mexican worker along the border, maybe we should try listening to them
sometimes.  They are busy building better lives the best they can with
the few resources they have, and the maquilas are among the best
resources the Mexican and US governments and economies allow the
access to.

Thank you Mr. Kraus for your input here.

Victor Story