November 7, 2022, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, translated from French.
On November 3 in the French Parliament, the sparse ranks of representatives were treated to a special session. One of them, Gregoire de Fournas, the elected representative from Gironde (the largest department in Southwestern France) and member of National Rally (Rassemblement National) – a right-wing party – violently interrupted a deputy of La France Insoumise, – a left-wing populist party – Carlos Martens Bilongo, when he intervened to raise the problem of a boat of 234 migrants caught in a dramatic situation in the Mediterranean Sea, with no port to land in. “Send him[or it] back to Africa” yelled the Le Pen follower to this deputy whose parents themselves are from Africa. [Note from the translator: in French “send him” sounds the same as “send them” and “send it”, leading to multiple interpretations of the outcry.] This was raw racism from the mouth of a deputy who apparently has the habit of this kind of thing, and it caused an outcry on the benches of the Assembly, interrupting the session. National Rally tried to argue that Deputy de Fournas was not referring to the Deputy Bilongo, but to the boat – and so, according to him this was a simple reminder of his party’s program against immigration. The very next day, the bureau of the Assembly excluded de Fournas for two weeks and deprived him of half his parliamentary allowance for two months. At a time when Marine Le Pen’s party was holding its congress and wanted to appear respectable, the xenophobic and racist barking by one of its members in the Palais Bourbon caused a stir.
Hypocrisy at the Top
Macron’s indignant deputies denounced the “intolerable” remark. We could say “that’s great” if it weren’t for the fact that Macron and his Minister Darmanin ooze xenophobia and yes, racism too, as they orchestrate the tracking of migrants, dismantle their makeshift camps, and condemn them to unworthy living conditions in a country that is so rich. If the La France Insoumise deputy brought up what to do about this ship lost at sea, it is because no French port offered it a haven. This is a political decision! The Mediterranean is the deadliest migration route in the world, with over 25,000 deaths and disappearances recorded since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – a deadly toll for which the leaders of the European Fortress, including Macron, are guilty.
A New Law Against Immigration
And yet Macron persists. Next January, his government is launching a new law against immigration. His Minister Darmanin is already promoting it with a dishonest, xenophobic campaign on the alleged link between immigration and criminality, very much in the style of National Rally. According to him, in the first half of 2022, in Paris, “48% of criminals were foreigners.” This is because he considers undocumented aliens to be criminals, and he himself has created them by denying them asylum. Darmanin also wants to accelerate deportations, to process foreigners more systematically, and impose a French-language test to limit family reunifications. It doesn’t matter that there is already an impressive arsenal of horrible laws in France that make the lives of undocumented migrants who are driven from their homes by poverty or war more difficult. Macron wants to show that he can do better than Le Pen. He is acting while all she does is make promises!
Let’s Put Pressure on the Bosses Altogether!
In the construction industry, the catering industry, the cleaning industry, and the many jobs where workers are in high demand because the working conditions and wages are inhumane and lead people to flee, certain bosses are pushing to hire foreigners. The government, while maintaining its policy of tracking them down, is therefore nonetheless preparing to legalize many, and to wipe the slate clean on the illegal hiring practices of its employer friends. They will relax the rules here and there the better to exploit them and make profits. But in our working world, where in hospitals, transportation, schools, industry, and among home aides people of all backgrounds and skin colors already work together, this will just make us all the more numerous to fight with strength and efficiency against modern wage slavery. The working class is international. We are for opening borders, for welcoming and legalizing all undocumented migrants, and for the rejection of racist poison.