The Spark

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

Down With Fortress Europe!
Up With the Unity of the Working Class!

Jun 22, 2015

This article was translated from the June 19 edition of Lutte Ouvrière, the revolutionary workers group of that name in France.

Tens of thousands of women and men who risk their lives to try to set foot in Europe are hunted, harassed, and beaten. In Paris, there has been violent destruction of migrant camps. In the city of Calais, immigrants face police brutality. French police are setting up a wall against refugees who want to enter the country. And the Minister of the Interior talks about humanity!

Stopped in trains or trucks when they travel, kicked out of the places where they sleep for “illegal occupation of public space,” the immigrants can’t move, and they can’t stay still.

It is inhuman and absurd. These women and men won’t dissolve in the air, and nothing will stop them, because they have no choice but to keep coming.

The immigrants’ conditions illustrate Karl Marx’s expression that “the workers have no country.” What is the country for the Iraqis who fled Mosul when ISIS took it over? What is the country for the Syrians caught between the barbarity of Assad and that of the Islamist militants? Or for the Eritreans who risk life in prison?

These women and men cannot live in their home countries anymore, but in Europe they are rejected as undesirables.

Never has Europe more deserved the name “fortress.” The European governments are not content to multiply the walls and barbed wire around Europe. Now they are reestablishing borders inside of it.

Using the pretext that the Dublin convention requires asylum seekers to register their request in the country where they first enter Europe, France and Austria, for example, have closed their borders to block immigrants from Italy.

The European leaders love to talk about cooperation and solidarity. In words, they recognize that it’s necessary to welcome the refugees. But they leave it to Italy and Greece to deal with the emergency. The hell that they condemn the immigrants to in Calais isn’t enough; they are trying to recreate the same thing in Vintimille, in Rome, in Greece!

In this despicable game where different European countries pass refugees around like a hot potato, the French government wins the prize for cynicism. While it denounces the anti-immigrant demagogy of the right and the National Front, the so-called “socialist” government of Hollande turns the refugees into pariahs and denies them the right to request asylum or to freely move about the country.

The refugees don’t ask for the moon, and many don’t want to stay in France. But the government denies them even the most minimal emergency shelters and provisions.

The government justifies this restrictive and repressive policy with the pretext that “this would create an incentive for people to come” and that “we cannot accommodate all the poverty in the world.” This excuse cannot hide their crime: denying aid to people in danger.

“We don’t have the means of welcoming new immigrants.” But they have the means to welcome new millionaires and satisfy their whims!

“We don’t have the means of welcoming new immigrants.” But they are ready to lay billions on the table for the Olympic Games!

All these politicians mock poor people. They mock the immigrants, just as here in France they mock the working class, and they don’t budge a finger to alleviate their suffering. Enough of these fake arguments to defend inequality, exploitation and injustice!

We must fight those who are really responsible for unemployment and poverty: the capitalists. Against them, the refugees are sisters and brothers of our class. This is why fighting deportations and demanding the legalization of undocumented immigrants who want to stay here must be part of the demands of the working class.

We must also demand the right for people to move freely between countries. Capitalist Europe guarantees this right for merchandise and for capital, but it multiplies the obstacles for workers.

For rich foreigners, like the sharks of finance, the doors are wide open. For those who don’t ask for anything more than to be useful to society, they are shut out. This is a clear picture of a rotten society!

Capitalism mixes workers from the whole world. When conscious of belonging to one international class, the working class can be a force that can revolutionize this rotten society from top to bottom.