The Spark

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

“Workers of the World, Unite!”
– Karl Marx

Oct 28, 2013

Le Pen, leader of the extreme right National Front party in France, is an expert at opposing one sort of poverty to another in order to pit the poor against those who are even poorer. But all the other politicians do the same when they say that “We cannot add misery to misery.” As if the misery of workers and the unemployed is caused by the misery of the poorest!

It is not a question of spreading around the misery, and still less of choosing between two kinds of misery. This misery needs to be fought by finding the money in the pockets of the exploiters.

To understand that there is plenty of money, all that is necessary is to go to the wealthy neighborhoods where bourgeois families live – the Arnaults, Bettencourts, and Peugeots. Last year, all of these people increased their total wealth by 30 billion euros. If they have made 30 billion euros extra in the middle of this crisis, it is because they have impoverished the working class even more.

Those who want to close the borders and keep workers from immigrating sometimes do it in the name of the crisis, and other times because unemployment is too high. But who plunged the global economy into this crisis if not the financiers? Who is responsible for unemployment if not the ones who ordered the layoffs?

Certain people accuse immigrants of occupying the housing that French people lack. But without them, millions of public housing units would never have even been built, roads would not have been constructed, and factories would not have been able to run. This is still the case today.

The greed of the financial and industrial capitalists is what plunges the workers here into poverty and unemployment. The capitalists operate at the global level; for them, there is no border that can stand in their way.

After they pillaged the poor countries during the colonial period and condemned them to underdevelopment, the big capitalist companies continue to exploit these countries and to drain their blood and resources. Hundreds of millions of poor people see no solution other than to risk their lives in attempting to secretly cross the borders, because they can no longer survive in their own countries.

“The workers have no country,” Marx said, since the fate that capitalism reserves for the working class is to go where there is work. Nothing will ever be “given” to workers; nothing is ever assured, not even the right to be exploited in the country where they were born! The life of many workers is that of a perpetual nomad. For some, it is necessary to travel dozens of miles to change their workplace. But others are forced to travel thousands of miles, to change continents, to change languages, and to cut loose their former ties.

Today, young French citizens with diplomas look for careers abroad – in Great Britain, in the United States, or in Singapore. No one denies them this right. There is no reason to deny it to other workers. No matter what their nationality, their origin, or their papers, every worker must be free to travel and to settle where they want.

A class-conscious workers’ movement has always fought against all those who have tried to pit workers against each other in order to keep them from fighting the exploiters. Class solidarity and internationalism should be fundamental values of the working class.

“No to deportations” and “legalization of all workers” are among its demands. These demands are linked to whether workers think of themselves as a single force carrying out a common fight to free itself and the entire society from misery and oppression.

Capitalism has allowed for the intermixing of workers from across the entire planet. It has united them in a common fate. Their struggle to free themselves must also become a common struggle!