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

Migrants Dying in the English Channel:
The French Government Is Guilty

Aug 21, 2023

This article is translated from the August 18 issue #2872 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Migrants drown every day trying to reach Europe on makeshift boats. Those who die off the shores of Tunisia, Greece, Italy, and Spain join those who perish in French waters, under the watch of the French government and by its fault.

Six Afghans died this way on August 13 when a boat sank carrying 65 migrants trying to reach England. Six deaths following hundreds of others resulting from the criminal policy pursued for years by French and British governments on both sides of the English Channel.

Thousands of people try to cross every year in rubber dinghies on waters loaded with tankers and giant container ships. French authorities systematically closed all the other ways across.

Millions of migrants have been swallowed up by patrols in and around Calais in France. Its walls bristle with barbed wire, infrared cameras, drones, carbon dioxide detectors, and so on. Monitoring of trucks in the port of Calais alone costs eight million dollars per year, above and beyond the manhunt at the Channel Tunnel. Authorities have done everything possible to make life impossible for migrants. They even put fences under bridges in downtown Calais to prevent migrants from sheltering there.

But nothing deters these thousands of refugees who have already risked their lives several times over travelling thousands of miles from places like Afghanistan, Syria, or Sudan. The only effect this war on migrants has is to push them back to sea. Networks of smugglers are ready to offer attempts at extremely dangerous crossings.

Now again the French and British governments pass the buck and focus their rhetoric on these networks of smugglers which they themselves foster. These governments show no lack of cynicism. No matter what they claim, their policy turns the English Channel into a graveyard.