Tightening borders and anti-migrant demagogy: a trap for workers

Marine le Pen thought she was making a great publicity stunt when she arrived with television and radio crews in a small southern village that will host 72 migrants in an old retirement home… But instead of finding sympathy from the villagers, she had to face 50 people blocking her way and shouting at her “beat it, we don’t want the National Front here.” Workers from a nearby construction site even brought in a mechanical shovel to make things clear and le Pen had to run off, in front of the cameras she had invited.

A kind of racism that comes from the top

This well-deserved thrashing shows that the far right’s racism hasn’t convinced as many people as some would like us to believe. Far from being a “natural” reflex, xenophobia and anti-migrant messages are repeated by political groups that want one thing only: that workers fall into the division trap and believe migrants are responsible for their daily problems, rather than take on the capitalists who are responsible for low wages and unemployment.

Using this anti-immigrant populist stance, and thanks to the social-democrat party’s lost credibility due to its anti-worker policy, the far right has made further progress during the recent general election in Sweden. In Italy and in Austria the far right is already in power. Everywhere, the rejection of migrants is exploited and may result in violent behaviour, such as the anti-foreigner wave of attacks in Chemnitz, Germany.

Once in power…

Far right parties use xenophobia to gain votes, but once elected they target the whole population. In Poland, the PiS party plans to harden the law on abortion. In Hungary, Prime Minister Orban tightly controls news media and education programs, and obstructs the operation of organisations that critic his policies. While only 13 people have attempted to enter Hungary last month, he keeps extending the state of emergency, thus targeting the freedom of all Hungarian people in the name of a “migratory threat.” In Austria, the far-right leader Strache, in a coalition government with conservative Kurz, pushed through a change in labour law increasing the maximum weekly hours from 44 to 60. The far right pretends to defend workers to get their votes. But once in power, it wages a war against workers, like all the political parties that serve the bourgeoisie.

Politicians’ lies and hypocrisy

In France, Macron was elected in part thanks to people who feared a le Pen victory. But through his policy, he strengthens le Pen’s ideas. He is the one who closes the borders. He lectures the semi-fascist Italian interior minister Salvini, who forbids migrants saved at sea from landing on Italian soil. But at the same time, he fights with all his energy to keep migrants out of France.

Not just the far right or the right are using foreigners as scapegoats for the social situation. Some on the left are also trying this line, such as a leader of the Die Linke (The Left) party in Germany or la France Insoumise (Rebellious France) in France. This is not good. When Melanchon (leader of la France Insoumise) says “shame to those who organise immigration through free trade treaties, and then use it to put pressure on wages and benefits” he participates in making this lie commonplace.

The only border that matters is the class border

Olivier Besancenot reminded us during an interview on LCI that the bosses are the ones who put pressure on wages, by pushing for higher and higher profit margins. Rather than take on each other, we could protect ourselves from the evils of capitalism by fighting together against the bosses and the governments that serve them. There is no lack of attacks against our working conditions and our living standard these days…

All united, wherever we were born, we will be stronger to fight back the attacks.