French People and Immigrants (Documented or Undocumented) Make One Working Class

November 14, 2022, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), translated from French

The ship, Ocean Viking, was finally able to disembark its 230 passengers last Thursday in Toulon, France, but the refugees’ ordeal is far from over. After several weeks of wandering without permission to dock, many refugees in poor health have been locked up in an open-air prison guarded by the army. Two-thirds of them will be sent to other European countries. OFPRA (the French Office for the Protection of Refugees) will interrogate those who remain, which may well lead to deportation for those whose immigrant status is judged “not legalizable.”

The Massacre Continues

To add insult to injury, the French government has announced that it is cancelling the plan to welcome 3,500 refugees who are currently in Italy by 2023. This is allegedly to “punish” Italy. Thus, the “republican” President Macron and the “neo-fascist” Prime Minister Meloni are deploying their racist demagoguery and settling their diplomatic quarrels literally with other people’s lives. Since 2014, more than 25,000 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean, including 1,900 this year. This is an orchestrated massacre for which all the governments of the European Union are responsible, regardless of their political bent. All of the politicians who are speculating about racism and a so-called “immigration problem” are complicit.

A New Anti-Immigration Law…

At the same time, the government is preparing a new anti-immigration law. This law will be worse than previous ones, making scapegoats of foreigners, accusing them of crimes and misdemeanors, and for this purpose exploiting the atrocious murder of little Lola, using the pretext that the culprit was the target of a deportation order. The main measure of this law is to register the “OQTF” or the “requirement to leave the territory” into the files of those who are sought by the police, as well as various legal measures to facilitate and accelerate deportation. It also includes the possibility of deporting people who arrived in France before the age of 13. This will make the lives of immigrants even more hellish. Carried away by his demagogy and his eagerness to keep up with the far right, the Minister of the Interior, Darmanin, is even going so far as to announce measures that… are already on the books, such as knowing how to speak French. Just to toughen them up. And why not a doctorate in literature or a degree in grammar while they’re at it?

…To Put Immigrants at the Mercy of the Bosses

At the same time, Minister Darmanin is reimplementing and updating the pro-Medef (Medef is largest employer federation in France) policy of “selected immigration,” which was put in place in 2007 under French President Sarkozy. He is updating the list of “jobs in high demand,” and providing immigrant workers a temporary residence permit, renewable every year, for those who are exploited in jobs – most often extremely hard and poorly paid – which the bosses can’t do without. The race to the bottom with the National Rally (French far-right party) and the hunt for migrants can’t be allowed to disturb the business interests of the bosses!

For the Unity of Working People

The more precarious the situation of immigrant workers (undocumented or with extremely short-term residence permits) the more the bosses have a workforce at their disposal that can be forced to accept miserable wages and difficult working conditions. This weighs on all employees, dragging down wages and working conditions for all workers. The bosses play on divisions to attack us all. It is in our interest as workers to be as united as possible, to enjoy the same rights, and to fight together. And therefore, to fight for the end of all divisions and discriminations:

“Legal documents for all!”

“Freedom of movement and to live where we choose!”