Slavery in Libya, migrants drowning in the Mediterranean: the capitalist world is barbaric

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter

An American documentary showing a slave market in Libya has aroused indignation and rightly so. How could one not be shocked, upset and revolted at the sight of this modern-day slave trade, where human beings are sold like cattle?

It’s the first time that it’s been possible to film such horrors and broadcast them on such a vast scale but a number of associations have been denouncing them for months. Pretending to be moved, French President Macron declared: “These are crimes against humanity”. But who’s to be blamed for those crimes, if not Macron and his accomplices, the other European heads of state?

By transforming Europe into a fortress to keep out the poor, by opening its doors to rich foreigners only, the European leaders have turned the Mediterranean into a cemetery. Among the many people who try to reach the European coast on makeshift boats, tens of thousands of women and men never reach the shore

When Gaddafi – a dictator that French President Sarkozy greeted in a most spectacular way in 2007 – was still in power, the Libyan state acted as a sort of border guard for Europe, keeping migrants in detention centers under atrocious conditions.

Since his fall in 2011, militia – some backed by Western powers – have been fighting for power and for the right to become the new prison guards in those refugee camps.

The situation of migrants has worsened in recent months, now that the European Union has decided to rely mainly on the Libyan coastguards to catch them and has chosen to reduce the means devoted to the rescuing of shipwrecked people. By knowingly choosing to hold back migrants in Libya at all costs, the governments of the European Union are behaving like the sponsors of the mafia networks they denounce! When they sign agreements with Libyan or militia leaders, they are fully aware that they are handing migrants over to jailers in detention centers and to slave traders.

Macron justifies this criminal policy by quoting former French socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard: “France cannot accommodate all the misery of the world”. But the misery is created by the leaders of imperialist powers! They have continually instigated military interventions that serve their interests. For decades, they have sown the seeds of chaos and destruction in Africa and the Middle East. Macron is no different from all the leaders who, since the time of colonization, have helped the French bourgeoisie plunder those regions, creating the conditions of their current under-development.

France is one of the richest countries on earth and could easily afford to accommodate the refugees fleeing war, poverty and dictatorships. But instead, Macron attacks migrants – following in the footsteps of his predecessors both on the right and the left – to hide the fact that he’s waging war on all workers so that the bourgeoisie can increase its wealth.

Since he’s been in office, Macron hasn’t stopped taking measures that aggravate workers' living conditions. His ordinances will allow bosses to cut jobs more easily and encourage them to lower wages. Billions of euros will be shifted away from vital public services and redirected towards the pockets of the wealthy in the form of tax gifts. This is how Macron is making life harder for the proletariat at large – and for its members of foreign origin in particular.

The imperialist system is driving the whole of society into crisis and barbarity. Here in France, workers suffer from unemployment, precariousness and soaring poverty. In the poorest regions of the world, millions of people are condemned to exile or to survival in a refugee camp. The only future capitalism offers is more exploitation and more oppression. To escape this future, the only solution is to overthrow this unfair and criminal system.

We must refuse the war between poor people in which Macron and Co would like to plunge us! On the contrary, European and migrant workers need to stand side by side. We need to be aware that, whatever our origin or nationality, we have a common struggle to lead – the struggle to change society!