The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

To Our Class Sisters and Brothers:
Escaping Poverty Is Not a Crime

Jun 26, 2023

This article is translated from the June 23 issue #2864 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

A boat carrying hundreds of people trying to reach Europe sank off the coast of Greece on June 13. How many children, women, and men died? As many as 500 or 600, as photos of the overloaded boat suggest?

Most revolting is that everyone on board could have been saved. The boat had been spotted by the European Union’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. The Greek coast guard was on the scene. Did they try to force the boat back onto the high seas, as survivors accuse them of doing? It’s possible, because the criminal policy of the European Union encourages that kind of endangerment.

We will never know the names of all the missing. But one thing is certain: among the victims, there are no gilded sons or trophy wives of millionaires or oil barons. The rich possess all the required documents and the resources to take a plane to travel wherever they want.

The migrants on this ship were destined to be part of the working class. They were all forced to find a way to earn their bread through their labor to make a future for their children. Because they could no longer do this in their home countries, they ended up on this floating coffin. It’s what any worker here would do in the same situation.

Escaping poverty is not a crime! Freedom of movement should be a basic right for every human being. This must be said loud and clear in opposition to the rulers of the European Union, who wage a real war against migrants. And we have to shout it in opposition to all the demagogues who make immigration a scapegoat.

No law in any country in this world guarantees women and men without capital the right to earn a living with dignity. The dominant law is the law of the capitalist jungle, which leaves the exploited with no choice but to struggle for the right to live. This is what we must fight.

Workers can not protect themselves by walling themselves off from other, poorer workers. The challenge is to fight together against the misery which exploitation and imperialism create.

Fighting the capitalist class—which thrives by impoverishing the crushing majority of humankind—can only happen when the exploited revolt here, in Africa, in the Middle East, and elsewhere, against all the barbarism capitalism brings.

This is not an abstract vision. Wherever there are workers, there is resistance and attempts at organization and struggle. Around the world, major revolts flare up, capable of overthrowing the most dictatorial regimes. And there are ceaseless local and partial struggles by workers. No one resigns themselves to misery forever.

Whether these struggles are fought in the ports of Dakar or Abidjan, in mines in Congo or South Africa, or in factories in Turkey or France, everywhere we see the same kinds of demands over wages and working conditions. All over the world, labor is subjected to the same corporate greed, to the arbitrariness of the market, and to the unpredictability of economic warfare.

And often we share the same exploiters, because big business knows no borders. It operates on a global scale. Multinationals in automobile, oil, agribusiness, construction, surveillance, and so on are so many examples of brothers or cousins operated by the same company—one on the African continent, one on the European continent.

Here in France [and in the U.S.], any big strike involves workers who came from all over the world. Some of the landmark struggles in recent years, like strikes by cleaning staff at major hotels, have been led by migrant workers.

Whatever our origin, culture, nationality, or beliefs, whatever country where we reside, we are all bound by the same chain: big capital which exploits us, destroys the planet, and stirs up wars. The only way to break this chain is to spread the awareness that we belong to the same side and that we must unite against the capitalist class and its political lackeys.

Let us never forget that our only enemy is the big bourgeoisie which dominates the world.

Unite against politicians who use immigration to create a diversion and hide their servility toward the richest! Unite against employers eager to find hands to exploit! Unite to defend our interests as workers!