The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Hard on Migrants, Servile to the Rich

Feb 5, 2018

This article is from the January 22, 2018 edition of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Macron claims his policy toward migrants combines “humanity” and “efficiency.” In reality he’s a true lackey of the rich: hypocritical and hostile to migrants, just as he is to workers.

What Macron’s government means by “efficiency” is clear: expulsions have increased by 14 percent. As soon as makeshift camps appear in big cities, they are evacuated and destroyed – often with brutality, contrary to what Macron says. In Calais, the police have “succeeded” by tracking down migrants and scattering them along the coast.

What about Macron’s “humanity?” Dozens of migrants die every week as they try to cross the Mediterranean. Those who want to cross the French-Italian border are now forced to risk their lives through the Alps. In Paris and in many towns around the country, migrants sleep on the streets because there are too few shelters. In Calais, where 8,000 migrants once lived in the refugee camp called the “Jungle,” the figure is down to 600 – but how many are now hiding in the woods?

If migrants find comfort, it is thanks to the non-profit organizations and individuals who help them – in spite of the growing number of “prosecutions for solidarity.” Yes, many people still know what the word “humanity” means. And one can bet that, despite all the intimidation, Macron’s repressive policy will meet with more and more opposition.

Macron’s policy is hypocritical from A to Z. He assures us that he is ready to grant asylum to all political refugees, especially to those stranded in Calais. It’s a lie.

Most of them have had their fingerprints taken in Greece or Italy, so they fall under Dublin Regulation III and are supposed to be sent back to those countries. It is this absurd situation which stops France from recognizing them as asylum seekers and prevents them from leaving for Great Britain. Macron is well aware that this situation is not about to change. So well that he’s just renegotiated the sordid Le Touquet agreement with Theresa May and obtained 50 million euros to keep British border control on French territory.

As for so-called “economic” migrants, Macron says that he is resolute. But here again, his demagoguery and cynicism have no limits, as he knows perfectly well there is no way to stop them from coming. He can multiply expulsions and make life a nightmare for them, but they will never give up. For rich countries are bound to attract those who see no future for themselves in their homeland plundered by Western companies.

This increasingly harsh policy concerns all workers because it threatens a vital right that we all share: that of moving and settling freely.

For the rich, free movement is a formality. For the poor, it is an essential right, because no worker can be assured of finding a job to support his family in his region or country of origin. So it’s up to all of us to defend that right.

The Minister of the Interior, Collomb, says it is impossible to accommodate 100,000 asylum seekers and the 85,000 people who are refused that status. But 185,000 women and men represents less than 0.3 percent of the population. How can welcoming them be a problem?

From Macron to LePen, Collomb to Wauqiez, all politicians present migrants as a burden. But the real burden on the workers is the bourgeoisie.

If there are parasites in our society, it is the bourgeois dynasties who live off the working class. The NGO Oxfam has just announced that 82 percent of the wealth created in the world last year was monopolized by the richest one percent of the population. If the laboring majority, which includes yesterday’s and today’s migrants, is condemned to low wages, temporary jobs and unemployment, it is because this ultra-rich fringe of parasites is running the economy for its exclusive benefit.

It is to serve this privileged class, to distract our attention and divide the exploited classes that all politicians call migrants “a problem.”

We must not fall into their trap. Recognizing migrants as our comrades and brothers, imposing the freedom to move and settle: such is the common interest of all workers.