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One World, One People - For World Socialism

The Tory prime minister declared he has no regrets about his recent use of the “swarms” to characterize migrants trying to reach the UK. David Ca-moron goes on to criminalise them further by alleging that they are trying to “break-in” to the UK although as refugees many have a legitimate and legal right to seek asylum in the UK without going through the proper channels and by any means possible. The government is purposefully trying to create an atmosphere of fear by stigmatizing vulnerable people as a threat to the UK’S security and sovereignty.
In a corner-shop near the Scottish Home Office, the Unity centre has been fighting for several years to protect refugees and asylum seekers who have made their home in Glasgow. Asylum seekers come in and report to Unity before signing in at the Home Office building nearby. If they are detained during their visit to the Home Office, activists can swing into action to try and get them released. It’s a system that has helped hundreds stay in Sc…

The immigration Issue

Migration is but yet another symptom of the bankruptcy of capitalism, yet another contradiction that cannot be solved on a capitalist basis. The only way to solve this, like all the other issues, is the socialist transformation of society which would remove the need for migration. The answer to people fleeing conflict, deprivation and brutal regimes is to remove the root causes of such nastiness—minority ownership and control of productive resources which generates rivalry for the upper hand, and restricts provision of, and access to, goods and services according to available profits and ability to pay. It is this exclusive possession and control of resources that also divides the world into separate competing countries and blocs, and the need for associated borders to prevent others from attempting to acquire these valuable assets by armed force, subversion or, in the case of migrants during economic downturns, "excess" demand (i.e., too many unemployed and unemployable pe…

Open Borders or Closed Minds

Capitalism's 'use-by' date is way overdue. We can enjoy a much higher standard of living because we're far more productive than ever before. When we argue for the abolition of private property, what we are referring to is the common ownership of the means of production (all the stuff such as machinery and raw materials) so that people have a better means to generate wealth, and thus diminish inequality. Socialists have no desire to take the clothes off your back, commandeer your car or squat in your house.

More people cross borders today than ever before. Historians, archaeologists, biologists, and the tales that people tell all point to the fact that around the world human beings have always moved and that they have done so for reasons not dissimilar to the reasons people move today. To be human is to be mobile.  For us, to be alive is to move.  We are not plants, rooted to a single place from which we grow and expand in more or less constrained or restricted ways.  …

Have labour power, will travel

From the August 1997 issue of theSocialist Standard
Inside a feudal, pre-industrial society it could be said of the majority of those who worked that they would live, work, marry, procreate and die within walking distance of the place in which they were born. Modern capitalism has changed all that.
The needs of the market have torn asunder all the old social ties of community. Families are spread all over the world as workers desperate for employment seek to sell their labour power wherever possible. They enter into competition with resident workers and thus the seeds of suspicion and hatred are sewn.
The driving force of capitalism is competition. Capitalist against capitalist for a bigger share of the product of labour. Worker against worker in the search for a job.It is into this desperate struggle for a job that various politicians spread the poison of nationalism and racism.
This poison is world-wide. In France at the recent election, one-in-ten voted for the openly racist, anti-…

Don’t blame newcomers

Capitalism is a system based on divide and rule, male versus female, young against old, employed pitted against unemployed and successive governments in Britain have played the race card (in Northern Ireland it was religion) or resorted to xenophobia to try to set workers against one another. The slogan of “British jobs for British workers” deflects from the possibility of solidarity and reflects a “divide and rule” situation in which fearful workers turn on “foreigners”. One section of the ruling class does not benefit from migrant workers and therefore does not want to bear the costs, while another section has been keen to defend the benefits of immigration. Political parties in Britain have once more begun to talk about immigration during this 2015 general election campaign. Unfortunately the debate is usually an ill-informed one and typically just a cover to introduce nationalist notions about the impact of immigration.
Migrant workers play a distinct role in capitalism as a “res…

For a World Without Borders

The large-scale movement of people has a long history. Migration has always been high on the agenda of the ruling classes, particularly in the core capitalist economies, as they have sought to balance the need for migrant workers to fuel expansionary periods of capitalism against picking up the bill for reproducing and maintaining these workers. The use of migrant workers also allows the receiver country to externalise the costs of renewing the labour force. The state uses migrant workers to fill gaps in the labour market but does not pay any of the costs of them or their families settling. Migrant workers play a distinct role in capitalism both as a “reserve army of labour” and as a means of raising the rate of exploitation for some employers will try to employ migrant workers even when indigenous workers are available because they assume that migrants’ status will make them easier to exploit. There is nothing new about the idea of a reserve army of labour. In 1845 Federick Engels w…

Scots are Anti-Immigration

A decade ago Scotland had the fastest falling population in Europe, with the birth rate at an all-time low and more people leaving the country than were arriving from overseas. The population of Scotland was hovering just above five million at the end of 2003 after a decline of almost a quarter of a million in the previous 30 years. All the projections said the decline would continue but since 2004 there has been a dramatic change which has seen the Scottish population grow past its 1974 peak to its highest level ever.

Economists say Scotland's population needs to grow by 24,000 people a year just to keep pace with European economies.

The majority of immigrants to Scotland have traditionally been from Pakistan and India but over the past decade the number of people from Poland has risen from just a couple of thousand to about 60,000.

Despite the rise over the past decade Scotland still has a relatively small immigrant population relative to England, especially London. About 7% of…

Scotland needs more immigrants

Scotland’s ageing population will struggle without the help of younger immigrants from other European countries. The Scotland of the future will need more immigrants. This is going to be true regardless whether an independent country or not. Scotland has a workforce which is ageing. Before long, the need to pay for the ever growing numbers no longer working by the efforts of the shrunken proportion still working will become a big social problem.

One answer would be a greater rate of increase in the native population, though it is hard to see how the long-term trend towards smaller families can be halted. Another answer is that emigration  could be diminished though that again seems unlikely to happen. Another alternative would be to increase participation in economic activity by people such as young mums or OAPS. The white paper on Scotland’s future proposed a scheme of childcare is presented as a social measure but its real rationale was economic.

 These measures, even in combinatio…

"I'm not racist, but....”

Scotland’s immigrant population is 369,284 -7% of the total population. Edinburgh has the highest number of immigrants with 75,696, but Aberdeen’s 35,436 is the largest proportionately, representing 16 per cent of the population. And Glasgow has seen the largest increase in numbers, up by almost 40,000 in a decade. 55,231 Poles were living in Scotland in 2011, more than 20 times higher than in 2001.

Europe as an ethnically homogenous nation-state is just a dream, and a pretty nasty one at that.  The free movement of labour is one of the basic premises of EU membership. It is always the way with  nationalists to hide racism under a cloak of caring about social conditions and forget that these were just as bad before any influx of immigrants. As the recession continues to bite, negative attitudes towards foreigners are becoming more common. Integration is often regarded as the key factor, but immigrant advocates say the whole burden of adjustment should not be borne by migrants themsel…

Migrant workers rules

Nearly 37,000 foreign nationals are said to have settled in Scotland in 2012, with migrants from Poland the largest group. This is followed by nationals from India and Spain, where youth unemployment is on the rise. There are about 150 languages in use in Scotland, although many of these have only a few speakers. The General Register of Scotland estimates that 11,000 people from outside the UK now live in Dundee, while as many as 9,000 live in Perth and Kinross and a further 17,000 in Fife.

Tayside has been the cultivation of soft fruit and field vegetables, for many years and have had to depend on non-UK migrant workers. Their importance was highlighted in the summer of 2008 when a real shortfall in migrant workers meant that farms struggled to bring in certain harvests.

These are the rules that the Cameron government wish to remove or amend.

People coming to Scotland from an EU member state have every right to be here in the same way that  we have the right to go to their country o…

The welcomed immigrants

With training numbers cut, budgets frozen – it costs on average £70,000 to educate and train a qualified nurse in England – and the winter coming, foreign nurses represent a quick fix. Public spending cuts combined with nursing training places falling from almost 21,000 in 2009 to fewer than 18,000 this academic year means there is a significant shortfall in hospitals.

 One NHS employee said: “If you need a lot of nurses quickly, then the best thing to do is jump on a plane and bring them back from an EU country. They’re happy and the hospitals are happy.”

Howard Catton, RCN director of policy, said: “When employers are getting on planes to recruit nurses, you know you have a crisis in workforce supply. That is happening right here, right now.”

Forty trusts have already recruited from overseas in recent months, resulting in more than 1,360 nurses coming to work in England. A further 41 hospital trusts will follow suit. Spain and Portugal are the most popular sources. As more than 10,…

Buying a nationality

Malta set a price tag for acquiring citizenship: 650,000 euros (£548,000)
Spain grants residence to foreigners who spend at least 500,000 euros on real estate or invest at least 2m euros in Spanish government bonds.
Hungary grants residence to foreigners who invest at least 250,000 euros in government bonds.
Cyprus cut the amount of investment required to be eligible for citizenship, from 10m euros to 3m, in its existing "citizenship by investment" programme.
The UK also offers a fast-track residence scheme for foreigners prepared to make a big investment.
Wealthy foreigners can settle permanently in the UK if they have been officially resident for at least two years. The continuous residence requirement is two years for individuals who have at least £10m in personal wealth in the UK; three years for those with at least £5m in the UK and five years for those with at least £1m.
Netherlands plans to give residence to foreigners with more than 1.25m euros in their bank account…

In Defence of Migrants

The Scotsman carries an article that tries to repudiate the xenophobic scare-mongering against Eastern European immigration.

She promotes the idea of the EU free movement of labour a little bit naively, however, instead of advocating the case for workers solidarity, regardless of nationality - and that also includes the right of non-EU citizens to seek a better life in the UK.

We are All One

Capitalism is as much to blame for the death of migrants as human traffickers. Were the  fortification of borders not a priority, the value of the service offered by migrant traffickers would plummet along with their ability to detrimentally affect individual fates.

The New York Times notes: "European Commission officials expressed sadness about the Lampedusa accident and blamed criminal syndicates and human smugglers for exploiting desperate people. They called for a crackdown on the smugglers”

Yet in 2011 the Guardian's reported on a  'left-to-die' boat in 2011, in which 61 migrants were left to slowly perish  at sea, despite distress calls being sounded and their vessel's position being made known to European authorities and NATO ships".

Human Rights Watch researcher Judith Sunderland explains: "'What we really don't see is a presumption of saving lives; what we get instead is every effort to shut down borders, said Sunderland, who pointed ou…

An injury to one is an injury to all

Ignorance leads to indifference. If somebody suffers and I don’t do anything to diminish his or her suffering, something is wrong with us. One can be raised in ignorance and educated that eliminates others’ suffering. Entire populations can be psychologically shaped this way, with those doing the shaping being the truest of the true believers. Such conditioned ignorance lays the foundation for indifference to the fate of others.

It is all too easy to blame immigrants for causing problems such as unemployment, bad housing or crime. Whether it is Eastern Europeans or Asians, a finger can always be pointed at “them” for making things worse for “us”. Some cannot contain their indignation that immigrants should try to come here at all and talk about foreigners undermining “our” culture. It is bulls**t. The problems facing working people and their families are not caused by immigration or immigrants and will not be solved by the Fortress Britain or a policy of "British Jobs for Britis…

Here to work, here to stay, here to fight !

As the global crisis reduces living standards and conditions throughout the world the everyday reality for millions of people is to flee its effects by migration. It goes without saying that socialists are opposed to all borders and frontiers. Migration has always been a part of human history and population border controls are relatively new. Only in 1905 did the UK pass an Aliens Act, and only during the First World War were passports first introduced. Immigration controls are by their nature racist in that they always aim to exclude particular distinct groups and in doing so promotes racism. It causes massive human suffering and tragedies. The newspaper headlines that men and women would arduously travel thousands of miles, sometimes risking their lives, pay over every penny they have to the people-smugglers just to "milk" our benefits system hardly merits serious discussion. Immigration, for sure, generates problems and can strain the social services but it isn't th…