Five months ago, Europe was seized by a wave of emotion after discovering the photo of little Avian, a Syrian boy found dead on a beach in Turkey. Since then, three hundred children have died in the Mediterranean, and ten thousand wander, isolated, on our continent, delivered to the mafias, for lack of a proper home.
“A duty to welcome refugees”, but not here
This has not prevented European leaders, gathered last Saturday, to lecture Turkey, about its “duty to welcome” the thousands of Syrian refugees blocked at its border. Misdirected charity? Not even that: the European Union has promised three billion euros to help Turkey build camps for the migrants, solely for the purpose of preventing them from reaching the European coasts.
Retention camps proliferate at the borders of the Union, for instance in Greece, small country without means. The walls and barbed wire reappear within the Schengen area, to prevent the movement of migrants.
Migrants, after being blocked, put into camps and moved are now bullied by customs officers, authorized to confiscate a portion of their property when they enter into Danish, Swiss or German territories. Germany, Sweden and Finland are preparing to expel a big part of the migrants arrived in 2015, because fleeing misery is not a valid reason to be accepted on the world’s richest continent.
If this were a hypocrite contest, the French government would get first prize
Calais is home to the largest slum of Europe. Sad record. There are 4,000 migrants in the “jungle” and 2,000 a few kilometers away, near Grande-Synthe, survive in tents while waiting to be able to go to England. Last Friday, the United Nations itself denounced the “alarming and unhealthy” conditions in which live the children of the slum.
Not enough to move politicians. The National Front displays its hatred of migrants by supporting a retired general who was arrested during a racist demonstration this weekend in Calais. Xavier Bertrand, president of the region, went further, requesting the intervention of the army to evacuate the slum. It is easier to attack the poor than to confront poverty!
But the people truly responsible for this situation are in the government. While Germany has received a million migrants in 2015, France has only committed to accommodate 24,000 in two years. Everything is done to discourage refugees from seeking asylum. Most pass through the territory only to arrive in England or Germany, before ending up blocked in Calais.
French and immigrant workers, together against “the misery of the world.
To justify the unjustifiable, Valls and Hollande claim, in essence, that “we cannot accommodate all the misery of the world.” But what have they done, here, to fight misery?
Their Government has facilitated layoff procedures for big companies. It requested a jail sentence against the union militants of Goodyear. It plans to lower unemployment benefits. To starve the unemployed has never reduced unemployment, neither did sending back families fleeing war and poverty.
Contrary to what demagogues of the left, the right, and the far right pretend, the workers are not threatened by a massive wave of immigration.
But they face an offensive of big business. Those who push the migrants into dire poverty in Calais are the ones who organize social regression.
Let us not deceive ourselves. The more we let them go for the migrants, the more they will feel free to take on our rights, our achievements, what remains of our living standards.
Let us not be split. Against the reactionary offensive, it is essential to affirm our solidarity with the migrants. That means strengthening the solidarity of the whole working class. That’s a way to prepare our response to their attacks.