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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…

No worker is illegal

Phil Taylor, regional director of the UK Border Agency in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said:"We will not tolerate illegal working which threatens to damage our communities - it undercuts wages and exploits vulnerable workers."

Simple solution - make them legal. Cracking down on illegal immigration only leads to the creation of an underclass of undocumented migrants

It is all too easy to blame immigrants for causing or at least aggravating problems such as unemployment and low wages. The socialist response to this is simply to point out that poverty and social disruption are caused by capitalism. All those people seeking migration, whether legal or illegal, are simply obeying the imperative that they must try to find a place to work; and no amount of government restrictions will change that fact.

Driven to Suicide

Three immigrants facing deportation died after jumping from the 15th floor of a high-rise flat. Two men and a woman tied themselves together before making the 150ft suicide leap. Locals said they may have been Kosovans who faced being kicked out the country.

Socialist Courier can only regret the price they felt they had to pay for being victims of capitalism .“Illegal” remains a class-based description that politicians, through their two-faced cant and deceit, will continue to attach to asylum seekers entering the UK for “economic reasons” rather than “genuinely fleeing persecution”.

We are all asylum seekers.

We are not slaves

There are those who decry migrant workers because of the fact that capitalists use imported labour to lower wages and it canot be denied that inded some employers do use that tactic . But Socialist Courier has always said that the way to fight this is not by imposing immigration bans on workers from abroad but by engaging in class struggle here in the work places to stop this exploitation of foreign workers .

Gleaned from the Polish mainstream press and reported at the Anarkismo website is this story .

Radoslaw Sawicki came to Ireland seven months ago. Grafton recruitment agency offered him work carrying boxes of goods in Tesco's largest warehouse in Dublin. The wage: 9.52 euros per hour, or about 360 euros a week. Sawicki quickly realised that Irish people working in the same job, but employed by Tesco and not by the agency as the foreigners were, earn at least 200 euros a week more. Poles also did not receive bonuses or additions although their work quotas were continually rai…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 10 , and other climate change threats

Been a while that Socialist Courier reported on the competition to exploit the ever warming Arctic regions , the last time being here . Well , just because the problem isn't reported , it doesn't mean it has disappeared . Also raised in the article are the other potential causes of conflicts , like for instance possible "water wars" and other competition for resources

European Union leaders will receive a stark warning next week of potential conflict with Russia over energy resources at the North Pole as global warning melts the ice cap and aggravates international security threats. A report by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the executive European Commission describes climate change as "a threat multiplier" that will exacerbate many existing tensions and heighten instability.

"A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in Polar regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of glo…

Workers Have No Country

From the editorial of December's Socialist Standard

Whether Polish plumbers, Portuguese hop-pickers or Chinese cockle-pickers, migrant labour in the UK is undoubtedly higher profile now than it has been for many decades. The focus groups and private polling used by the major parties are confirming immigration as the No 1 issue for voters at the moment.

In some parts of the UK the influx may well have resulted in increased unemployment for existing workers and appears to be putting a downward pressure on wages in some sectors.

It’s worth noting that there has been an enormous effort made to vilify, criminalise and erase racist language and ideas over the last few decades. World socialists have not opposed these developments but we have argued that racism – like other the so-called "hate" crimes – is usually fuelled and ignited by poverty and fear, and therefore cannot be removed until the cause is.

For workers fighting over crumbs in lower wage unskilled jobs, the temptation…

Scotland's Slaves

Some migrant workers in Scotland are being treated like "modern day slaves", according to campaigners being reported by the BBC . Promises of good accommodation and pay quickly disappear when they arrive in Scotland.

Two Polish workers told BBC Scotland that after two weeks of labour they actually owed the farmer money.

The Prague Post reports that the life many migrant workers find in Scotland is not what they had envisioned. They are frequently abused and coerced into accepting illegal working conditions, said Beth Herzfeld of Anti-Slavery International.
The most common form of abuse is debt-bondage. This is the illegal practice of paying an employer up-front for work, rent and food . Sometimes said, it takes workers six weeks to repay these debts, and then they are fired. This is a common “trick” employers use to leech money from vulnerable workers explains Paul Millar , the Czech honorary consul in Scotland .
According to Herzfeld, debt-bondage is one of the tactics used …

More migrants die at sea -and ignored

Further to an earlier story , an UN refugee agency official has said 210 illegal migrants were reported drowned or disappeared in the Strait of Sicily in June while attempting to cross from northern Africa into Europe. Migrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa often attempt the treacherous journey in small, rickety boats after paying large sums to smugglers.

Paolo Artini, an official with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Italy stated:-

“When it is a matter of saving lives at sea, a narrow interpretation of what constitutes a distress call, and any protracted discussion on search-and-rescue responsibilities should not be considered ethically acceptable,” .

He criticised “gaps in the legal framework concerning rescue at sea, and insufficient cooperation among states who often hold different views.”
Disputes have erupted recently over which country should take responsibility for migrants rescued in the international waters between Italy, Malta and Libya.

The Bitter Price for Better Life

The Independent carries this story -

Spotted by a Maltese armed forces reconnaissance plane on Monday morning 80 nautical miles south of Malta, roughly halfway between the coast of Libya and the southernmost point of the EU. At around the same time, some of the 53 people on the boat, all of them from Eritrea, were begging their friends and relatives in Europe by satellite phone to help them, saying the boat's engine had stalled, that the sea was rising and that the boat risked being swamped. Calls were placed to Malta, towns in northern Italy and to London.
"They called me to say water was coming on board, the engine was broken, they wanted me to get people to help them," An Eritrean woman called Lepetan, living in the Italian city of Bologna said. "Nobody had come to help, they told me."

Yet it took nine hours for a fast offshore patrol vessel of the Maltese armed forces to reach the zone where the 10-metre-long boat had been logged , 4 hours after the last fina…