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Preferred Citation: Grosfoguel, Ramón. Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ricans in a GlobalPerspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, c2003 2003. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9b69q8b2/Colonial Caribbean Migrations to France, theNetherlands, Great Britain, and the United States― 177 ―

Colonial CaribbeanMigrations to France, theNetherlands, Great Britain,and the United StatesVis-à-vis the developed West, we are very much “the same.” We belong to the marginal, the underdeveloped, the periphery, the“other.” We are at the outer edge, the rim, of the metropolitan world—always “South” to someone else’s El Norte.Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”This chapter attempts to understand the peculiarities of the migration processes of colonialCaribbean migrations to the metropoles. Specifically, it compares the migration processes andlabor market incorporation of Puerto Ricans to the United States, Martinicans/Guadeloupeans toFrance, Surinamese/Dutch Antilleans to the Netherlands, and West Indians to England. This broadcomparative perspective is important for understanding the peculiar modes of incorporation ofthese colonial migrations to their respective metropoles.The emigration processes from nonindependent Caribbean territories such as Puerto Rico,Martinique, Guadeloupe, British Caribbean, Suriname,My research and travel expenses assumed while working on this chapter were covered by theRockefeller Foundation during my tenure as a Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Puerto RicanStudies in New York (Hunter College-CUNY) and by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Parisduring my position as a visiting scholar in 1993–94. I would like to express thanks to MauriceAymard, director of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, and to Immanuel Wallerstein for theirencouragement and constant support during my research for this chapter. I would also like tothank Michel Giraud, Chloe Georas, and Gert Oostindie for comments on previous drafts.― 178 ―and the Dutch Antilles during the postwar era are quite similar. Migrants from these islands allshare citizenship with the metropole, their migration was more or less organized/stimulated byeither the peripheral or the metropolitan state, their class/social origin was more rural andunskilled than migrants from Caribbean nation-states, and they all form part of a world-systemicprocess of colonial labor migration to serve the needs for cheap labor and menial laborers in thecore zones of the capitalist world-economy during the postwar economic boom. Rather thanplacing the Puerto Rican, Dutch Antillean, or Martinican migration experiences in the spectrum ofmigration from Caribbean nation-states, we can better understand them in relation to theexperience of other Caribbean colonial populations to their respective metropoles during thepostwar era. Migrations from Suriname (before independence)/Dutch Antilles to the Netherlands,the West Indies (before independence) to England, Martinique/Guadeloupe to France, and PuertoRico to the United States are peculiar in that these migrants come from a new type of colonies,Colonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…1 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PM“modern colonies” (Pierre-Charles 1979). “Modern colonies,” as opposed to old colonies, wereformed after the Second World War. They share the metropolitan citizenship, have free labormobility with the metropole, have access to democratic and civil rights, and receive large transfersin the form of welfare, loans, or credits from the metropolitan state.Despite the similarities in the socioeconomic origin of these Caribbean colonial migrants, thereare interesting differences regarding the modes of incorporation to the labor market, the socialcontexts of reception, and the cultural/racial dynamics in the metropoles. A comparison ofCaribbean colonial migrations during the postwar period of 1945 through 1990 provides a uniqueopportunity to understand the different racial, ethnic, and social dynamics in France, England, theNetherlands, and the United States.THE FORMATION OF MODERN COLONIESIN THE CARIBBEANAfter the war, symbolic geopolitical strategies became an important structuring logic of thecoreperiphery relationships in the world-system. The defeat of the Nazis changed the geopoliticalconfiguration of the world-system. The bipolar division of the world between the Soviet Union andthe United States and the emergence of newly independent countries in the periphery were twocrucial features that transformed the― 179 ―interstate system. The decline of colonial administrations as the dominant means of core control ofthe periphery increased the instability in the system. Each superpower feared that the elites in thenewly independent countries might make an alliance with the other side. Within this contextstrategies of symbolic capital (Bourdieu 1977) to gain “profits” of prestige and honor vis-à-vis theiradversary emerged as a central feature of the world-system.From the first meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, the Soviet Union and the UnitedStates began the struggle over who was the champion of decolonization, each accusing the otherof being a colonial power. The Soviets used the case of Puerto Rico to support its claims aboutAmerican imperialism. This context explains the political reforms that gave way to the emergenceof modern colonies in the Caribbean. The first step was the formation of the CaribbeanCommission. This was an international organization composed of core powers such as France, theNetherlands, the United States, and Great Britain. The commission dealt with economic andtechnical cooperation issues and became a showcase of the “goodwill” of the West toward thedevelopment of the “underdeveloped” world. As Dr. H. R. van Houten, chairman of the SeventhAnnual Conference, said:In no international organization have I ever felt such an atmosphere of cooperation and goodwill and such a desireto respect the points of view of others and to try to obtain results satisfactory to everybody. … [T]his organizationcould serve as an example to many international organizations. Fourteen countries are cooperating to the best oftheir ability to create happiness and a better way of life for their people. Any person, travelling in this area, willhave to agree that enormous results have been obtained. (Caribbean Commission 1957: 98)Thus, after the war, the Caribbean became a laboratory of the core states’ policies foreconomic development in the periphery of the capitalist world-economy and a showcase of their“goodwill” toward colonial people. The four colonial powers in the Caribbean pursued alternativestatuses for their colonies: the British established a self-government federation within an imperialcommonwealth community; the Dutch conceded autonomy; the French annexed the territories;and the United States basically concealed its colonial relationship with the semiautonomous EstadoLibre Asociado in Puerto Rico.Despite this diversity of status alternatives, by 1955 the largest of the British West Indies(Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, and Jamaica), the French West Indies, the Dutch Caribbean, and theColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…2 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMU.S. Caribbean all― 180 ―formed what are called “modern colonies” (Pierre-Charles 1979). The extension of metropolitancitizenship and/or civil and social rights to the colonies was part of the institutional reforms thatlegitimized or facilitated the transformation of classical colonies to modern colonies. “Moderncolonies” differ from classical colonies in that the colonial population has civil rights, universalsuffrage, access to metropolitan state capital through welfare programs or budget transfers, highwages, mass consumption, modern forms of labor processes, and free labor mobility between thecolony and the metropole. The relationship of modern colonies to the metropoles can beunderstood as a form of neocolonialism without a fully independent state or as a form ofcolonialism with access to certain state benefits and rights of the metropolitan populations. Insum, a modern colony is neither a classical colony nor a nation-state.The formation of modern colonies fostered the integration of the peripheral labor market to themetropolitan labor market by making possible the emergence of a “migratory field” between thecolony and the metropole. As citizens of the metropole, laborers from modern colonies had freeaccess to the core labor market. This coincided with the postwar world-economic expansionwherein the upper mobility of white workers to better paid jobs created a “labor shortage” at thebottom of the core labor market, which was filled by the colonial subjects. However, the entranceof colonial subjects to the core labor market was not perceived neutrally by the host society(Harris 1993). The history of colonialism preceding the migration from modern colonies markedtheir racialized and stereotypical representations as criminal, lazy, and dumb (Hartmann andHusband 1973; Hall et al. 1978; Anselin 1979; Fryer 1984; Essed 1990; Rodriguez 1991).THEORETICAL AND HISTORICAL RATIONALERecent historical-structuralist approaches to migration address the diverse class composition ofCaribbean migrant populations. This has helped deconstruct the assumption of prior debates thatall Caribbean immigrants are poor and illiterate. The historical structuralist approach alsoaddresses the socioeconomic conditions that explain why certain countries send more migrantsthan others. According to this approach, Caribbean migrants come mainly from peripheral societieswhere imbalances were created by U.S. foreign capital penetration and are mainly from urbanmiddle sectors of the sending countries (Portes 1978; Bray 1984; Grasmuck 1985; Portes andTruelove 1987; Grasmuck and Pessar― 181 ―1991). This literature marks an advance relative to the human capital approach and the push-pulltheories, both of which conceptualize the migration process as a result of the rational calculation ofindividual actors in a given national unit. Portes (1978) correctly states that the migration processoccurs within a single overarching capitalist worldeconomy wherein world-systemic processesbeyond the actors’ control condition the migration process. However, the problem of this approachis its overemphasis on the economic aspects of the coreperiphery relationship, overlooking the roleof the interstate system as a crucial structuring mechanism of the migration process.All the Caribbean postwar out-migration correlated with efforts of the local elites to moveCaribbean economies away from sugar plantation production toward industrialization, mining, ortourism. The role of foreign capital penetration in this process of development is considered amajor cause of international migration in the Caribbean (Portes 1978; Grasmuck 1985; Sassen1988; Maingot 1992). However, if we look more carefully at the postwar Caribbean out-migrationpatterns, although all the islands share the same patterns of transnational capital penetrationtriggering out-migration, there are major differences among the islands in both the amount andthe class/sectorial composition of the migrants contingent on the different legal-politicalColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…3 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMincorporation of the peripheral state in the interstate system.The spatial/geographical configuration of the Caribbean constrained the possibilities of outmigration. To migrate from an island is in general more difficult than to migrate from a peripheralcountry that shares a border with a core country (for example, Mexico). Thus, Caribbean peopleare more vulnerable to the legal-political institutional context of the interstate system at the timeof migration. Whether a given society’s incorporation in the interstate system is that of aCaribbean modern colony or a Caribbean nation-state has crucial consequences for the specificityof its migration process in terms of quantity and class composition. Those Caribbean societies witha colonial legal-political incorporation (for example, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and theDutch Antilles, along with Suriname and Jamaica before independence) have a proportionallylarger migration than those societies with a nationstate incorporation (for example, DominicanRepublic, Haiti, and Cuba) (see Table 8).Moreover, the migration from Caribbean modern colonies has a larger rural and lower-stratacomposition than that of Caribbean nationstates, which send mainly urban middle sectorpopulations. The middlesector― 182 ―migration from Caribbean nation-states includes mostly educated and skilled workers withhousehold incomes that are higher than the average income of the sending countries (Palmer1974; Foner 1979, 1983; Koslofsky 1981; Bray 1984, 1987; Pedraza-Bailey 1985b; Portes andBach 1985; Stepick and Portes 1986; DeWind and Kinley 1988; Grasmuck and Pessar 1991). Bycontrast, the lower-strata migration from Caribbean colonial societies consists largely of unskilledworkers with low educational levels who come from low-income households. For instance, PuertoRico, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Jamaica (before independence), the Dutch Antilles, and Suriname(before independence) not only had the largest number of migrants to the metropolitan centers asa percentage of the home population (see Table 8), but also the class composition of theirmigrants was more rural and lower class (Roberts and Mills 1958; BUMIDOM 1968; Bovenkerk1979, 1987; Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños 1979; Koslofsky 1981; Rath 1983; Bach 1985;Freeman 1987; Levine 1987; Falcón 1990; Condon and Ogden 1991). Puerto Rico, Suriname, andMartinique are the most extreme cases where the agrarian question became obsolete with themassive exportation of the peasantry to the mainland’s urban centers (Grosfoguel 1994).Jamaica illustrates the relationship between colonial incorporation and lower-class migration inthe Caribbean. During the 1953–62 period, while Jamaica was still a British colony, 179,049Jamaicans migrated to Great Britain. A large proportion were unemployed rural workers, urbanunskilled laborers, and semiproletarians (Roberts and Mills 1958; Koslofsky 1981). After Jamaicanindependence, from 1962 through 1980, approximately 108,843 people legally migrated to theUnited States (Bray 1987: 85). Because of the 1965 U.S. Immigration Act restricting entrance ofpoor and unskilled migrants, Jamaican migrant demographics changed to urban middle sectors(Palmer 1974; Foner 1979; Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). Therefore, the Jamaican case illustrateshow whether a Caribbean territory is a colony or nation-state determines the migrants’ numberand class origin.Out-migration of lower classes and rural populations from nation-states like the DominicanRepublic has limitations. From 1961 to 1980 an estimated 268,770 Dominican immigrants hadestablished themselves in the United States; most of them came from urban middle sectors of theworking class (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991: 22, 75–80). As David Bray states:Unlike Jamaica, the Dominican Republic has not been a colony since the nineteenth century. Hence entry ofDominican citizens into the United States has always been regulated by immigration laws specifically designed toexclude the poor and unskilled. Although many of the rural and urban― 183 ―Colonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…4 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMpoor would clearly migrate if they could, it is difficult and expensive to enter the United Statesillegally from an island. … [T]hose who did leave the Dominican Republic were mostly middle andupper class. (1987: 88–89)This is not the case with Caribbean colonial migrations. One of the most important aspects ofcolonial migration is the shared citizenship, which allows migrants to have direct access to theirmetropole. As a result, they do not need a visa to enter the core country and have access to thecore’s welfare state. Migration thus becomes more accessible to the poorest sectors of the colonialpopulation and viable for larger numbers, as opposed to the migration from peripheral nationstates where citizenship is not shared with a core country and monetary solvency is a prerequisitefor a visa.Another distinct feature of Caribbean colonial migration is that it was organized, to varyingdegrees, by metropolitan and local political elites through state institutions as a so-called solutionto the unemployment problem or through direct recruitment (Maldonado-Denis 1976; Maldonado1979; Bovenkerk 1987; Koot 1988; Condon and Ogden 1991; Harris 1993). For example, thePuerto Rican colonial administration created the Migration Division under the Department of Labor.This division served as an intermediary between U.S. businessmen and Puerto Rican workers. Thedivision identified labor shortages and recruited Puerto Rican labor to fill the need. Inspired by thePuerto Rican example, the French state also fostered an organized migration in the FrenchCaribbean (Anselin 1979: 42). They created the BUMIDOM (Bureau pour le développement desmigrations intéressant les départements d’outre-mer), which served a similar role to the MigrationDivision in Puerto Rico. The BUMIDOM hired thousands of Martinican and Guadeloupean workers ascheap labor for the metropolitan labor market. In Curaçao and Barbados, the colonialadministration also stimulated the recruitment of workers by metropolitan industries as a“solution” to unemployment (Koot 1988: 249;Harris 1993: 40, 42–43).Overall, the emigration processes of colonial peoples such as the Martinicans/Guadeloupeans,Surinamese/Dutch Antilleans, West Indians, and Puerto Ricans have more in common than whencompared to the migration processes from Caribbean nation-states. Given the similar class, social,and political-legal background, what are the similarities and differences among them once they areincorporated to the metropolitan societies?― 184 ―BRIEF COMPARATIVE SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC DATAAlthough all Caribbean colonial migrants are incorporated into their respective metropoles ascheap laborers or in jobs that the white population rejects, the social and economic conditions arenot the same for each of these minorities. Table 9 shows interesting differences in the Caribbeancolonial migrants’ modes of incorporation to the metropoles labor market. The figures in Table 9reflect different measurement criteria for each country. However, they can give a rough estimateof the relative position of each ethnic group in their respective host society.French Caribbeans stand out vis-à-vis other groups in terms of unemployment rates, becausetheir rates are quite similar to the French national average. In fact, the Martinicans’unemployment rate is even lower than the French national average. However, this is not the casefor the other colonial Caribbean migrants. The Puerto Ricans, Surinamese, Dutch Antilleans, andBritish Afro-Caribbeans have unemployment rates that are twice or more the national average ofthe colonizing country. The Puerto Ricans’ unemployment rate is double the U.S. national average;the Surinamese, Dutch Antilleans, and West Indians unemployment rates are more than doubletheir respective national averages. The labor force participation rates (percentages of populationsixteen years and older who are either actively employed or actively seeking a job) show adifferent pattern. The Puerto Rican and Dutch Antillean participation rate is lower than theirrespective national averages, while the other ethnic groups have higher participation rates thantheir respective national averages. The French Antilleans and British Afro-Caribbeans have a muchColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…5 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMhigher participation rate than the French and British national average. The Surinamese have aslightly higher participation rate than the Dutch national average. It is important to mention thatfor 40 percent of the Surinamese and the Dutch Antilleans in the Netherlands, the principal sourceof income is state assistance as opposed to 19 percent for the Dutch national average (Penninx,Schoorl, and van Praag 1993: 119). Thus, the Surinamese and Dutch Antillean labor forceparticipation rates might include high numbers of underemployed workers.In terms of occupational characteristics, the majority of the French Antillean labor force (55percent for Martinicans and 53 percent for Guadeloupeans) are incorporated as public employeesand only 12 percent are in manufacturing. This contrasts strongly with the French national averageof 34 percent in public employment and 23 percent in manufacturing jobs. It is important tomention that of the four categories of public― 185 ―employment in France (agents de la fonction publique), the French Antilleans are located at thebottom of the ladder in terms of salaries, benefits, and working conditions. Approximately 75percent of the French Antillean public workers are classified in the C and D categories as opposedto 46 percent for the total of French workers in this sector (Marie 1986: 4). French Antilleans aregenerally clerks, janitors, drivers, auxiliary nurses, and postal workers in the French publicadministration.The employment level of the British Afro-Caribbean labor force in manufacturing is almostequal to Great Britain’s national average. Public employees are few in number in Britain comparedto other Western European countries. There is no national data available for Afro-Caribbean publicemployees. However, it has been documented that Afro-Caribbeans have made progress in publicadministration whitecollar jobs. In greater London, where the Afro-Caribbean population isconcentrated, 18 percent of their jobs are in public administration, compared to 17 percent forwhite workers (Cross and Waldinger 1992: 166). Afro-Caribbean occupational distribution inBritain shows a sharp division between males and females. Around 58 percent of Afro-Caribbeanemployed females are concentrated as cheap labor in health, clerical, secretarial, and personalservice occupations (HMSO 1993: table 13). Close to half of the Afro-Caribbean employed malesare concentrated as machine operators, assemblers, and skilled tradesmen in the transport,manufacturing, and construction industries (HMSO 1993: table 13). Other groups show a differentpattern. Puerto Ricans, Dutch Antilleans, and Surinamese have a higher concentration inmanufacturing jobs compared to their respective national averages. Because of the accelerateddeindustrialization of the United States, Puerto Ricans were displaced from their traditionaleconomic niche in the labor-intensive manufacturing industry. Today around 40 percent of thePuerto Rican labor force is concentrated as cheap labor in retail trade and services such as health,administrative support, and educational occupations (U.S. Dept. of Commerce 1993: table 4).Similar to the Caribbeans in Britain, Puerto Ricans have more public administration jobs than theU.S. national average. This is probably a result of both populations being concentrated in urbanareas. But in addition to this demographic factor, Puerto Ricans’ access to public jobs is related tothe political elites’ response to the 1960s civil rights movement led by African-Americans (Pivenand Cloward 1993). However, relative to other racial groups in urban areas such as AfricanAmericans in New York City, Puerto Ricans have a much lower representation in the public sector(Rodriguez 1991: 87–88; Torres― 186 ―1995: 87–88). The Surinamese have the highest percentage of their labor force in manufacturingjobs, with 43 percent as opposed to the Netherlands’ national average of 20 percent.Compared to the national averages of Western European countries and the United States,none of the Caribbean colonial migrants show high percentages of homeownership. Of theCaribbean colonial migrants, the British Caribbeans are the ones with the highest amount ofColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…6 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMowner-occupied households. This contrasts with their situation in the 1970s when the majority ofthe British Afro-Caribbeans were public housing tenants. This transition may be the result of theprivatization of public housing during the Thatcher administration. However, the houses purchasedby West Indians were council houses in bad condition (Brown 1984: 71–78). In terms of housingtenure, the French Antilleans, British Afro-Caribbeans, Dutch Antilleans, and Surinamese showhigh percentages of people living in public housing, amounts far above their respective nationalaverages. It is well known that the Netherlands and France have an important social housingprogram (Preteceille 1973; Choay, Brun, and Roncayolo 1985: 295–304; Dieleman 1994). Thesame was true for Great Britain, at least until the late 1970s when the Thatcher administrationcame to power. Figures for public housing for the United States are not available. However, it iswell known that, compared to Western European societies, the United States has never hadsignificant public housing programs (Keith 1973); it has instead relied on private housing as themain source of housing development.All Caribbean colonial migrants are geographically concentrated in the metropoles’ world cities.The French Antilleans are concentrated in Ile-de-France, better known as the Parisian region. Mostmigrant Surinamese and Dutch Antilleans live in the Randstad region, an urban networkconnecting the largest four cities of the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and theHague. The majority of British West Indians are concentrated in greater London. One-third of allPuerto Ricans living in the United States live in the New York metropolitan region. Thisdemographic aspect is crucial in relation to the modes of incorporation to the labor market. Sincecities in the core of the capitalist worldeconomy were the most affected by processes of industrialmobility to the suburbs and deindustrialization in the last twenty years, those colonial Caribbeanimmigrants incorporated mainly in the manufacturing sector were the most affected in terms ofunemployment rates and labor market marginalization. Puerto Ricans and West Indians were themost affected because of their large numbers of unskilled laborers and the dramatic― 187 ―deindustrialization of England and the United States. Dutch Antilleans/Surinamese were alsoaffected by these processes, although to a lesser degree because of the lower level ofdeindustrialization in the Netherlands. However, migrant concentration in the Randstad hasaffected them as well. As Atzema and De Smidt stated:In 1985, 63 percent of the male working population in the Randstad manufacturing sector were employed in manualjobs. Five years later this figure had dropped to 33 percent. The proportion of executive and specialist professionsamong the male working population in the Randstad, however, increased from 18 percent in 1985 to 39 percent in
A spatial division of labor is developing whereby manual labour jobs are increasingly concentrated outside theRandstad, in the rest of the Netherlands. (1992: 294)Compared to the white Dutch population, the Dutch Antilleans/Surinamese areunderrepresented in mid- and high-level jobs and overrepresented in long-term unemployment(Roelandt and Veenman 1992: 135–37). Since 1985 unemployment rates have increased for thesecolonial migrants (Amersfoort 1992: 448;Roelandt and Veenman 1992: 136).The situation of the Martinicans/Guadeloupeans differs from that of the rest of the colonialCaribbean migrants. They were not affected by these processes because of the high number ofworkers concentrated in the relatively protected public sector. Their economic niche as low-levelpublic employees has insulated them from the private market cycles.In terms of housing segregation, the Dutch and French cases more effectively disperse theseethnic populations, while Puerto Ricans are highly concentrated in urban ghettos and British AfroCaribbeans are concentrated in urban slums (Brown 1984; Ratcliffe 1988; Massey and Denton1989; Amersfoort 1992; Body-Gendrot 1993, 1994; Hamnett 1994). Nevertheless, thecommunities of Caribbean colonial migrants in France and the Netherlands have the potential ofbecoming ghettos of nonwhite immigrant populations. The Parisian banlieue area called SeineSaint-Denis and the area called Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam concentrate high numbers ofColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…7 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMimmigrant workers from different ethnicities. Approximately 20 percent of all the French Antilleansliving in Paris are concentrated in Seine-Saint-Denis together with North African minorities (Marie1993b). Approximately one-third of all Surinamese living in Amsterdam live in Bijlmermeertogether with North Africans (Amersfoort 1992). Recent reforms shifting social regulation in favorof market regulation of housing provisions in the Netherlands and the increased racist demandsundermining the situation of immigrants in― 188 ―France could lead to the formation of an underclass and the emergence of immigrant ghettos. Themore the welfare state becomes inscribed in “us and them” racist discourses, the higher becomesthe possibility of cuts in welfare programs. Puerto Ricans in cities such as New York, Chicago, andPhiladelphia live in segregated ghettos (Massey and Denton 1989). Similarly, many West Indiansconcentrated in greater London and Birmingham are also segregated but not in zones asdevastated as the Puerto Ricans in the United States (Rex and Tomlinson 1979; Brown 1984).What accounts for the differences among the modes of incorporation of Caribbean colonialmigrants to their respective metropoles? Why do the French Antilleans have similar unemploymentrates and participation rates to the French national average? Why did the Surinamese and DutchAntilleans show similar or worse economic conditions than the British Afro-Caribbeans and thePuerto Ricans, yet not experience the same ghettoization? What makes the British and Americansocial systems produce marginalized communities such as New York’s Spanish Harlem, NorthPhiladelphia’s Puerto Rican “barrio,” or the inner London boroughs such as Brixton, Hackney, andLambeth? What are the prospects for the same occurring in France and the Netherlands? What arethe differences in the racist discourses of each metropolitan society, and how do these differencescreate important nuances in the peculiar incorporation of each Caribbean ethnic group? These arecomplex questions that cannot be answered by looking at a single variable, but rather require aninterdisciplinary, world-historical, and multidimensional approach. Obviously, the answers to thesequestions are well beyond the scope of a short chapter like this, but I pose them as guidingresearch questions. In what follows, I address the relative situation of each group’s incorporationto the metropolitan labor market.DIFFERENTIAL MODES OF INCORPORATIONThe main difference in the modes of incorporation between the four colonial migrations discussedabove lies in the level of development of the welfare state in the metropole and what peculiarpublic policies the state implemented toward their colonial populations. We can advance thefollowing proposition: the more developed the welfare state and the greater the state efforts todevelop public policies addressed at the successful labor market incorporation of the colonialpopulations, the more successful the process of incorporation to the host society.― 189 ―The relative success of the French Caribbeans’ incorporation to French society exemplifies thisproposition. The Martinicans and Guadeloupeans show a more successful incorporation to the labormarket and the receiving society than the other colonial Caribbean migrants despite the absenceof “positive discrimination” policies in the French system. The number of marginalized amongMartinicans and Guadeloupeans is even lower than the French national average. This is the resultof an organized migration process with sophisticated public policies to guarantee the relativelysuccessful incorporation of these colonial migrants. The French state fostered the massivemigration of French West Indians to France through the BUMIDOM. Although most of the migrantscame from unskilled labor backgrounds, they were directly recruited by the BUMIDOM in theislands, helped with transportation costs, and trained in the metropole (Condon and Ogden 1991).This educational training developed skills proper for the French labor market. The dominant policyColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…8 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PMwas to incorporate the migrants within the French public administration. This privilegedincorporation insulated them from the cycles of the private market. When France suffered fromdeindustrialization, the French Caribbean population was the least affected ethnic group. Publicemployees in France enjoy job security as well as many benefits not accessible to the majority ofthe workers in the private sector. In addition, the BUMIDOM helped with housing, social work, andorientation concerning welfare programs in the metropole.Despite experiencing a process of marginalization in the labor market similar to that of PuertoRicans in the United States (see Table 9), Dutch Antilleans and the Surinamese have notexperienced a similar process of pauperization in the metropole. This is because of the advanceddevelopment of the welfare state in the Netherlands relative to the United States. Social housing,as well as the high welfare benefits for single mothers and unemployed persons, serve as a bufferagainst discrimination and marginalization in the labor market (Hamnett 1994). They havesuffered the impact of deindustrialization more than the “native” Dutch in the Netherlands.However, this has not led to ghetto formation or extreme levels of poverty (Amersfoort 1992). Themain difference between Dutch Caribbeans in the Netherlands and French Caribbeans in France isthe lack of state policies oriented toward the successful incorporation of the former. There arepositive discrimination policies for minorities in the Dutch system, but unlike in France, there areno specific public policies addressing the economic incorporation of the Dutch Caribbean populationin the Netherlands.― 190 ―The West Indians in Britain are an interesting case. They had access to a well-developed welfarestate before the rise of the Thatcher administration in the late 1970s. During those years thewelfare state helped to contain the impact of racism in British society toward West Indians.However, after the dismantling of the welfare state, the West Indians have been vulnerable to theprivate market cycles, deindustrialization, and institutional racism. This led to an increase in themarginalization of the second and third generations of West Indians in Great Britain during the1980s. Although they are not as marginalized in the labor market as the Dutch Caribbeans are inthe Netherlands, they experience segregation and poverty similar to that of Puerto Ricans in theUnited States. An explanation for this lies in the lack of specific policies to address the economicincorporation of this population and the effects of cuts in welfare benefits. However, because theyenjoyed access to a well-developed welfare state during the 1960s and 1970s, their standard ofliving has not yet deteriorated to the level of Puerto Ricans in the United States.The Puerto Rican experience in the metropole is the worst among these colonial migrations.They were recruited as cheap laborers for the declining manufacturing sectors of the northeasternregion of the United States. As a result of the deindustrialization process, the number of PuertoRicans out of the labor force has increased (Torres 1995). Moreover, the United States has anunderdeveloped welfare state relative to Western European countries. The United States lacks anational public educational system, national public health system, and public policies addressingthe marginalization of Puerto Rican migrants. In other words, there are no social buffers for PuertoRicans, as there were for Dutch Caribbeans, to contain the experience of deindustrialization. Thus,the deterioration of Puerto Rican communities in the United States has increased dramaticallythroughout the past twenty years.CONCLUSIONCaribbean colonial migrations to the metropoles during the postwar era are similar. The commonlegal status as citizens of the metropolitan society, the more organized character of the migrationprocess, and the large representation of low-skilled workers are distinct features that differentiatecolonial Caribbean migrants from Caribbean nation-states migrants. The main differences amongthese colonial Caribbean migrations lie in the processes of incorporation to the metropoles.Different types of welfare states make a significant difference in terms of cushioning theColonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…9 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PM― 191 ―relative difficulties confronted by these migrants in the host society. French Caribbeans in Francehave a relatively more successful incorporation to the labor market than the other Caribbeancolonial migrants, because the French state created a state institution to guarantee the successfulincorporation of these migrants. Dutch Antilleans and Surinamese in the Netherlands haveexperienced a high marginalization in the labor market similar to Puerto Ricans in the UnitedStates. But the advanced welfare state in the Netherlands has been crucial to avoid the formationof ghettos or the dilapidation of the housing conditions experienced by Puerto Ricans in the UnitedStates. The Afro-Caribbeans in Britain are in an intermediate position. They had access to anadvanced welfare society until the early 1980s when the Thatcher administration dismantled manywelfare programs. Thus, they are now confronting processes similar to those of Puerto Ricans inthe United States where marginalization in the labor market has translated into a deterioration oftheir living conditions.The comparison of the Caribbean colonial populations in the metropoles provides anopportunity to understand the differences and similarities between France, England, theNetherlands, and the United States. Future studies should focus on the different meanings ofcitizenship, race, and national identities in each metropolitan society and how they have affectedCaribbean colonial populations. This research agenda is an attempt to break with our parochialapproaches and to pursue a more comparative, transnational approach.Colonial Caribbean Migrations to France, theNetherlands, Great Britain, and the United StatesPreferred Citation: Grosfoguel, Ramón. Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ricans in a GlobalPerspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, c2003 2003. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9b69q8b2/Colonial Subjects “ch06” https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt9b69q8b2…10 of 10 9/17/20, 10:19 PM

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