Ignominy in Power

This is a translation of an editorial of a workplace newsletter of the organization L'Étincelle (The Spark), a Trotskyist group in France.

The migrants of La Chapelle, in Paris, expelled by the police, and their brothers in Ventimiglia, blocked at the Franco-Italian border, may not have noticed, but yes, really, France is a land that welcomes the stranger, oh so humanitarian, as Valls (the Prime Minister) or Cazeneuve (the Interior Minister) would say. No worries for the dictators from Africa or from the oil Emirates, who indulge (or should we say squat) in much of the mansions of the Champs-Elysées and its vicinity. A dictator of a former French colony is hunted by his people? The French Republic, understanding and generous, welcomes him in one of its castles of the Loire valley… The Russian oligarchs? Welcome to the French Riviera! The emir of Qatar needs a hobby? Let him have a football club…

That’s how it is. France welcomes the wealthy, not the poor. No borders, no barbed wire for the murderers in power, who plunder their own people. After all, they are only subcontractors for the multinationals of the great powers like France. The mafia order of the world’s great has its logic and its kinship.
So, woe to the poor, to those expelled from their lands, woe to civilians fleeing the massacres and civil wars maintained by our wealthy arms dealers. But no borders for Hollande who plays traveling salesman in Egypt, India or Brazil, to sell Dassault’s Rafale fighter.

It takes months or even years facing all kinds of dangers to go from Mali, Sudan, Syria or Eritrea and end up on an old tub in the Mediterranean without being certain to reach the Italian shores… It takes less than an hour for Valls aboard a Falcon jet, all paid by taxpayers money, to attend a football Champions League final. A “blunder”, he said. Sure. A distinct lack of taste just when, at Charles de Gaulle airport, two girls were separated from their respective parent and detained for several days in the “holding area for people whose cases are pending”…  And at the same time that migrants were brutally expelled from their camps in Paris.

Two worlds apart

And what lies does the State use to make us accept its anti-immigrant policy. The government claims the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants in France poses “a significant problem”. Really? Lebanon, a small country of 4 million people took 1 million Syrian refugees. France, a rich country of over 66 million inhabitants, leaves in the street or chases almost 100 times less migrants. 35 years ago, it had no problem hosting about 130,000 Vietnamese boat people! Of course that was during the cold war and this could have served as anti-communist propaganda.

An invasion from the South to the Northern countries? Another lie. “South-North” migrations are much less numerous than migrations between countries of the “South”: it is mostly poor countries that host the majority of the 50 million people displaced because of war, persecutions or climatic disasters.

The migrants show us the way

In fact, our leaders take their propaganda from the National Front, preferring to feed the fear of the foreigner and create undocumented workers that unscrupulous bosses overexploit. But only as long as these workers are not organized: following the successful fights of 2010, hundreds of undocumented temporary workers without papers occupied three temp agencies near Paris on June 9 to get the forms required to obtain their regularization. The La Chapelle migrants demonstrated despite police repression, they occupied a closed down fire station, with the support of hundreds of local residents. By struggling collectively, the migrants in Menton, and Paris are showing the way.

Yes: it is time for the international solidarity of the exploited against the supporters of the capitalist system.