This issue of the 58 killed refugees was on the front page of
of 20 June, and how do they report the deaths of these refugees? Who do they blame? The blame is given entirely to the gangsters who are organising the journeys – “
who care only for money, not for the safety of their ‘customers’
“. Of course no-one asks the question ‘why are these people having to pay thousands of dollars to enter the country illegally on the back of a tomato lorry in the first place?’ – the question of the racist and divisive immigration laws is very quietly brushed under the carpet so that public outrage may be directed against the ‘racketeers’ and ‘gangsters’ rather than the Britain and other imperialist countries, who with their racist immigration laws publicly seek to blame immigrants for all society’s ills.
So our main lesson from the deaths of these 58 refugees is that we must fight harder than ever against the racist immigration laws. Capitalism is in crisis, and the government is anxious to direct people’s anger away from the cause of the crisis (i.e., capitalism itself) and so put forward the scapegoat of immigrants. White workers are left asking ‘why has this foreigner taken this council house?’ rather than ‘why is there not suitable housing available for all?’; ‘why has this immigrant got a job when I cannot find one?’ rather than ‘why aren’t there jobs for everyone?’. This frustration is leading to a rise in xenophobia and fascism. The number of racist murders and attacks on immigrants is increasing at a frightening rate, while the media – the organ of ‘free speech’, the symbol of our so-called democracy – continues to fan the flames of anti-immigrant feeling, as do Labour and Tory spokesmen.
It should be noted that New Labour have a direct responsibility in this regard. They have continued to bring in anti-immigration legislation, and are hence in no small part responsible for the anti-immigrant feeling that is becoming so widespread. At the same time as closing the doors to oppressed people from East Europe and Africa, they lay out the red carpet for the white farmers of Zimbabwe who are being evicted from the farms which their forefathers illegitimately stole from the black Zimbabweans. Organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party who are long-serving supporters of the Labour Party may try and tell you that William Hague is solely responsible for whipping up propaganda against asylum-seekers and that, inasmuch as ‘the Labour leadership’ take part, this is a battle to show the voters who’s the ‘toughest’. This analysis misses the point entirely. New Labour is the chosen representative of British imperialism and serves its master faithfully. Yet again New Labour have proved that they are not a party of the working class, not a party which has ‘socialist potential’ and not even a party that will bring in pro-working class legislation. No, New Labour are in power because they are the most accurate reflection of the needs of the British ruling class.
Socialists have to rise to the occasion. We cannot be silent on this matter, we cannot be inactive! The immigrants are our friends, our fellow oppressed. We have to actively (in deeds not just in words) extend our hand to the immigrant communities in order that we can fight united. Public meetings on immigration should be organised in every area and people from local community centres should be invited to speak.
Socialists alone are able to offer a solution to people’s problems, we are the only ones who can demonstrate why the world is in the state it is in and can show the way forward for humanity. We must explain that:
1. It is imperialist exploitation and imperialist wars which are forcing people across the frontiers;
2. It is capitalism, with its inbuilt capacity for overproduction, which produces a surplus population – immigrants or no immigrants;
3. Only the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism, which organises planned production to serve the needs of society, can provide a real solution to the problems discussed above.