Shipwreck in Greece: The Dead are at Sea but the Murderers are at the Helm of the European States

June 19, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French

600 dead. Men, women and children, crammed into a pathetic raft, most of them trapped at the bottom of the hold, were swallowed up on Wednesday before the eyes of the Greek coastguard and Frontex, the agency in charge of the European Union’s borders. Warned at least 24 hours before the disaster, they let them sink. The boat “did not wish to be rescued” say the Greek authorities. Who would believe this! For years, these same authorities, whether Greek or European, have been throwing people who ask for help and asylum straight back into the sea.

The Murderers are in the Governments and Serve the Bosses

It’s with the same cynicism that these officials pass the buck to the smugglers, whom they accuse of profiting from human misery. But the European governments are enabling the mafias to prosper by making the roads increasingly dangerous, guarded, impassable and ultra-violent. These mafia’s extort money from their victims using the pretext of the difficulties in circumventing the state barriers. At the very least, these governments are accomplices, and even in some cases the ones who gave the orders. For example, Giorgia Meloni, the head of Italy’s far-right government, recently visited one of Libya’s warlords, Marshal Haftar, to negotiate the price of their subcontracting the operation of the refugee camps – shantytowns surrounded by barbed wire. But who benefits from such negotiations?

We are all Immigrants

Those who died trying to cross into Europe, driven by war, misery, environmental disasters and the hope for a better future were not foreigners. Who among us doesn’t know a grandparent, a colleague, a relative, a close friend, who has broken all ties with his or her country, town or village, in search of a better future under the threat of war, hunger or persecution? Be it as of yesterday, or the day before, we are all immigrants or the children of immigrants. Welcoming all those who ask for help, opening our borders, is a human right and should go without saying!

Yes, We Could “Welcome All the Misery in the World”!

According to Minister of Cities and Housing Olivier Klein, we can’t afford to “welcome all the misery in the world?” But Frontex’s annual budget alone is going to reach 845 million euros by 2023! At the same time, military budgets are soaring to several hundred billion throughout Europe, another deadly consequence of borders and cut-throat competition between big capitalists. Wouldn’t that be enough to develop decent infrastructure and services that would be useful to all? Especially as this money is just a drop in the ocean of profits it serves to protect: in France, the shareholders of the CAC 40 (French stock market) companies alone pocketed 68 billion euros in profits last year! And what can be said of the immense waste and misery that this system spreads? An absurd system which, in order to maintain itself, has to carve out borders between peoples, even though they produce and consume goods in common, which already circulate freely.

We Could Put an End to this World of Misery!

President Macron, Minister of the Interior Darmanin, and all the others want us to see every refugee as a mouth to feed. But they say the same thing about the elderly, in order to make us work two more years! It’s the same logic. There are no borders between the xenophobic demagogues who govern or pretend to govern this system. Right down to the institutional left, most of whose leaders remained silent during the deportation operation carried out in Mayotte last month.

Demanding freedom of movement is not simply fighting for a human right, it’s a political duty: borders kill at sea, and they paralyze and divide us. Faced with the torrent of xenophobia pouring down from above, it’s all the more imperative that we make ourselves heard and go on the offensive. We need to talk to those around us, and by join all the rallies that will be taking place over the coming weeks to protest against these criminal policies.